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Tuesday, February 12, 2008
By Steven L. Taylor

I really am wondering what Mike Huckabee is after at this point. At one point I thought he was angling for the veep slot, but since he has been poking McCain with a stick since Romney exited, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Further, at this point, barring an actual miracle, Huckabee isn’t going to win the nomination, so all he can accomplish by staying in is the draining of McCain’s resources (that could be used to start the general election campaign) and the painting of McCain as a weak candidate.

Assuming that what Huckabee wants in November is a GOP victory, I am vexed by his behavior at this stage of the game.

Any theories?

(Note: I am not saying he is obligated to get out, just that I am trying to work out his motivations/understand why he is doing what he is doing).

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20 Responses to “What is Huckabee After?”

  1. Political Mavens » What is Huckabee After? Says:

    [...] Bring your theories here. [...]

  2. Chris A. Says:

    Huck wants it. He’s obviously not lobbying for a VP spot and he’s not giving up on what he wants. Quite frankly, why the heck should he give in? No one has been named the nominee. Obviously the best thing to do (for the party, not for self) would be to bow out to McCain, let him build his cash and momentum and let him rally for the General. The “Republican Machine” is a tough thing to go against, but Huck is doing it. So it might not be the best thing for the party, but at the moment he is there and he’s doing much better in Virginia then everyone (including polls) predicted. Why should he bow out? He could take this all the way to the convention.

    I was never one for “presumed” or “predicable” outcomes anyway.

  3. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    Chris,

    The thing is: he won’t take it to the convention. There is reality to be dealt with here.

  4. B. Minich Says:

    I think he’d like to see how many delegates he can get before McCain turns from the presumptive nominee to the prohibitive nominee. Huckabee probably wants to go at this again. Staying in gives him campaigning experience he won’t get any other way, and gives him more and more name recognition. Had he gone out before tonight, he wouldn’t have gotten any press for giving McCain a scare in Virginia. I think that staying in for close contests is bound to leave a favorable impression for the future, when he may be able to get more funding in place before the elections take place.

  5. B. Minich Says:

    Plus, he gets all sorts of good press while no one looks closely at his positions (because no one cares about those - he can’t win!). I think most candidates would take that, no matter what their positions.

  6. Patrick Says:

    Huckabee may have calculated (rightly or not) that McCain cannot beat either Clinton or Obama in November. If the GOP then decides it must nominate a more conservative candidate in 2012. Huckabee is setting himself up to be that guy. He will have four years to build bridges to the wings of the party that found him unacceptable this time around.

  7. StephenBainbridge.com Says:

    Huckabee takes licking but keeps on ticking

    CNN:

    Mike Huckabee vowed to stay in the race despite losing three more primaries Tuesday night, pledging to give voters in the coming primaries "a solid, conservative, absolute pro-life candidate" as an alternative to frontrunner John M…

  8. Maniakes Says:

    I think Minich is right. At this point, Huckabee is taking advantage of Romney’s departure to try to overshadow him as the guy whose “turn” it is next if McCain loses in November.

  9. Rob Mellen Jr Says:

    I’ll 2nd, er 3rd, what Minich said. This is all about 2012 or 2016. The GOP knows that it has no shot in 2008, especially with McCain. This one will be kind of like 1996 with Bob Dole running as the GOP standardbearer. Huck has no desire to be the Veep nominee for a losing ticket…see where that got John Edwards this year.

  10. Captain D. Says:

    I’m going to go in a different direction, and maybe I’m being politically incorrect to harp on it, but the man is a Baptist minister. And from what little digging I’ve done on his preacher past, he’s hardcore.

    I think that he feels McCain is not a true conservative or a true Christian; therefore, it does not really matter to him if the GOP or the Democratic Party take the White House. To him they are just different flavors of the damned, and our nation is no better either way.

    If he thinks the way that most of the Baptists I know think, he believes that the important thing for America is to be “in God’s grace.” Nothing good can happen to America apart from the direct will of God. It is therefore important for leaders to be “in God’s grace,” more important than anything else. In this line of thought, it’s better for the President to be a regular church-goer than it is for him to have real experience, a solid platform, or anything that the non-fundamental christians of America at least pretend to want from a candidate.

    I mean, I’m a Catholic, and I’m routinely called “damned” by my Baptist neighbors. They, incidentally, would rather see a Democrat elected than McCain, although their rationale is a bit more bizarre. They reason that the Democrats are more likely to aid in the creation of a Palestinian State, which would, they hypothesize, bring the world closer to “The End Times.” These are folks that believe they will be raptured just before that happens, and sent off to paradise to watch the rest of us slug it out in Armageddon. They are literally hoping for an end to the world, and contribute to causes that they believe will accelerate the process. They’re real LaHaye/Jenkins junkies.

    I won’t go as far as to say I think Huckabee wants the world to end (maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t,) but I know my Baptist neighbors get their ideas from their Baptist pastor, and I know Huckabee was (is) a Baptist preacher.

    Just my paranoid thoughts.

  11. Patrick Groff Says:

    The single unique reform that Huckabee claims he would instigate is to rid the nation of the Internal Revenue Service. Any candidate who would provide that relief for the people surely deserves our vote.

  12. Richard Stark Says:

    I really have to second Post #8. Although I am a “Yankee” from NY, I have friends who live in the Atlanta suburbs, as well as experience traveling through the South and living there for a brief period. Baptists are absolutely firm on one point: NO ONE is going to Heaven unless they accept everything the Southern Baptist Church tells them. And yes, the rest of us are “damned”, no matter how sincere we are in our beliefs or how much good we do (Mother Teresa comes to mind).
    You are trying to analyze Huckebee from a political point of view, as though he were a politician like all the others. He is not. He is a member of the extreme Religious Right, and nothing matters except being “in God’s grace”. Nothing. Not Iraq, not the economy, not waterboarding, not terrorism, nothing.
    And the part about supporting Israel in order to hasten the End Times and the Second Coming is right on.

  13. FromTheTop Says:

    Perhaps the only reasons are those mentioned in this blog, especially to gain name recognition for a later run, but I think he really wants a plank or two in the platform.

    Some discoveries about the Preacher Man from Hope, AR and why he should not be considered for POTUS or VP.

    Governor Huckabee actively invited the corrupt Mexican government to establish a Consulate in Arkansas to give Mexico’s President, Calderon an office for $1 per annum special office space rate to expedite Matricula Consular ID Cards to illegal aliens for: illegal banking, employment, voting privileges, social security benefits, college tuition, illegal alien discounts in AR and the expansion of the proposed Federal Dream Act.
    http://michellemalkin.com/category/immigration/dream-act/

    Governor Huckabee said, “the legislation for: A Voter ID; NO Social Security benefits; NO college tuition for illegal aliens and those who supported it were inflammatory, race-baiting and demagoguery and those who oppose illegal immigration are racist, bigots, un-Christian, un-American, irresponsible and anti-life”. This from Preacher Mike??
    http://www.diggersrealm.com/mt/archives/002611.html

    The Club for Growth on Governor Huckabee: “Nominating Mike Huckabee for president or vice-president, would constitute an abject rejection of the free-market, limited-government, economic conservatism that has been the unifying theme of the Republican Party for decades”. Documented, verified and dated proof of ALL you need to know about Governor Huckabee while governing AR for 10 1/2 years. Be afraid! Be very afraid! http://www.clubforgrowth.org/2007/11/updated_huckabee_white_paper.php

    Governor Huckabee was charged with ethical violations by the AR government. He pardoned of over 1,000 criminals resulting in one rapist, Wayne Dumond, sentenced to life plus 20 years for raping Ashley Stevens of AR.

    Governor Huckabee appealed to the Parole Board to pardon Wayne Dumond. He was pardoned and moved to MO where he raped and murdered two more women. If he is soft on crime, what else will a “Christain Leader” do to our country?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpcpczd6Lvg by Brian Ross.

  14. PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Back to Huckabee Says:

    [...] A possible theory, as proffered by some readers last night, is that Huckabee is practicing for a 2012 run. And, in his mind, he may very well be doing so. [...]

  15. james Says:

    Captain D. : firstly, thanks for your explanation the other day regarding primaries and caucuses. About your comment above: I believe you! I’m sure it’s not paranoid, and it really does fit in perfectly with my picture of America.

    regards.

  16. B. Minich Says:

    I’m going to disagree with you on the “in God’s grace” thing for why Huckabee himself is in the race. As a card carrying member of a protestant church (well, OK, I don’t have a card), Huckabee strikes me as someone who isn’t as out there as some of the Southern Baptists (and I say this as someone who likes some Southern Baptists).

    I have another reason after hearing Huckabee last night - I think he really likes the idea of staying in for the sake of states who normally get no say whatsoever in the Presidential election. If this is the case, I respect him for that. This front loaded system is idiotic.

  17. Stephen Braunlich Says:

    Two things:
    1) As long as he keeps racking up 30-40% or more in the primaries it constitutes a big red flag that people are willing to vote against McCain even when it doesn’t matter. This ought to concern the McCain team, and could force it to shift McCain’s position on the issues that Huckabee represents (mostly social values ones) in order to secure that portion of his base. Although much of the South won’t be in contention, several states (such as my own, Virginia) will be up for grabs and McCain won’t want to lose it.

    2) I agree that it puts him in position for the future, and so long as he doesn’t go negative, doesn’t hurt him *too* much with the McCain folks either.

  18. Outside The Beltway | OTB Says:

    Potomac Primary Postmortem

    Last night’s sweeps by Barack Obama and John McCain of the so-called Potomac Primaries in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia were widely expected. Since public perceptions are mostly shaped by press coverage and the press uses thei…

  19. Leslie Howard Redweik Says:

    Well, for one I’m sure he really does believe in miracles. Most Christians do I imagine. But anything can happen and McCain doesn’t actually have it yet. He does not have the delegates yet.

    He could have a Howard Deanesque meltdown. Not like he’s know for his calm cool demeanor as it is. He could have physical reasons for not continuing. It has happened!

    Why quit until someone else has ‘officially’ been chosen. With those possibilities, Huckabee could indeed win. Those options are not over until at least March 4th. Again, these things could happen before he is sworn in for that matter and the convention would probably reconvene, and who’d be the next in line by then?

    He’s not dumb and he’s gotten to higher ground in just as interesting ways before.

  20. Captain D. Says:

    James:

    I think it’s important to note that the particular brand of Christianity that I experience where I live, and described as a potential motivator for Huckabee, is not representative of a majority of Americans, or even of a majority of the Americans who describe themselves as “Christian.” You really only find large concentrations of fundamentalist christians in the 12 or 15 southeastern US states.

    It would not be accurate to think of Americans in aggregate as fundamental christian. This is why Huckabee was never a viable candidate in the first place, and why he’s not really winning very many states south of the Mason-Dixon Line or West of the Mississippi River. In fact, he’s been single-digits in a lot of those places.

    The last numbers on the matter that I saw are that about 76% of Americans describe themselves as “Christian.” Of that, 25% are Catholic and the other 51% are Protestant. Of the 76%, only about 63% say they practice their religion. The Catholic Church is the single largest Church, with the 51% Protestant population consisting of literally hundreds of denominations, some big, some small. How much of that is “fundamental” depends on where you draw the line of “fundamentalism;” fundamental christianity and evangelical christianity are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are NOT the same thing. The Methodist Church, for example, is an evangelical church, but I don’t think it should be categorized as “fundamental.” It is not a church that interprets all of the Bible literally.

    As a matter of history - fundamental christianity is relatively young, dating really only to the early 20th century. Most fundamental churches are offshoots of old-world protestant churches, or offshoots of offshoots of old-world protestant churches. Most have their genesis in the southeastern US.

    My point is that we’re talking about a small but vocal minority of the overall Christian population in the US, whose influence on politics is a very recent - and I predict short-lived - phenomenon.


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