Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What we should have done

I will be the first to admit that my views changed-strongly so-about the nature of this presidential election. For those of us who are cultural conservatives, we now understand that we had an opportunity in this election to elect a candidate that was really our man, and we completely blew the opportunity. This was largely due to the reality that conservatives were divided. Beyond that, however, conservatives could not find a candidate that clearly articulated their values-or so they thought.

Many cultural conservatives now see what they should have done, and have great regrets:

Then, venerable Paul Weyrich—a founder of the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the Council for National Policy (CNP)—raised his hand to speak. Weyrich is a man whose mortality is plain to see. A freak accident several years ago left him with a spinal injury, which ultimately led to both his legs being amputated in 2005. He now gets around in a motorized wheelchair. He is visibly paler and grayer than he was just a few years ago, a fact not lost on many of his friends in the room, some of whom had fought in the political trenches with him since the 1960s.

The room—which had been taken over by argument and side-conversations—became suddenly quiet. Weyrich, a Romney supporter and one of those Farris had chastised for not supporting Huckabee, steered his wheelchair to the front of the room and slowly turned to face his compatriots. In a voice barely above a whisper, he said, "Friends, before all of you and before almighty God, I want to say I was wrong."

In a quiet, brief, but passionate speech, Weyrich essentially confessed that he and the other leaders should have backed Huckabee, a candidate who shared their values more fully than any other candidate in a generation. He agreed with Farris that many conservative leaders had blown it. By chasing other candidates with greater visibility, they failed to see what many of their supporters in the trenches saw clearly: Huckabee was their guy.

There are few men in this country with the credentials in the conservative movement that Paul Weyrich has. When the Catholic Weyrich supported Mitt Romney, many of us could not understand his reasoning-we wondered if the ole boy had lost his marbles considering Romney's shady history. We now know that, like many of us, Weyrich simply refused to consider Mike Huckabee or give him a chance, even though Huckabee was the most clearly pro-life and pro-family candidate in the race. Adam Graham, Warner Todd Huston, John McJunkin, and myself spent virtually our entire Iowa Caucus Roundtable podcast blasting Huckabee for everything from high taxes to scholarships for illegal aliens. We brushed off the fact that the Minutemen endorsed Huckabee-and that group does not endorse immigration softies. We blasted Huckabee as a liberal, said he wasn't really one of us, and that he was a phony (as if Mitt Romney were the real thing). We held out feigned hope that Fred Thompson would light a fire under himself and actually run to win. The truth was that his numbers were poor because he got in the race too late, and all he did was help John McCain (by blasting Huckabee instead of McCain in South Carolina) whether he intended to do so or not-and of course he endorsed McCain just days after his mentor Howard Baker did the same.

Then there was Huckabee, the pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-public prayer, pro-God, anti-atheist, social conservative Southern Governor. We couldn't endorse this man...why? We all called him the Huckster-I remember Frank Cagle and myself both calling him that in a conversation-but Huckabee survived and showed integrity while doing so. With guts and gusto, Mike Huckabee carried on until the end. He wasn't the perfect candidate, but for years we've said the Supreme Court was the place where the future of the country would be decided, and there would be no question of the kind of justices President Huckabee would appoint. We've collectively said we wanted a real pro-lifer in the White House, and a "true believer" in the Second Amendment. Mike Huckabee was all of these things, and we all got behind him (myself included), when the proverbial Sherman's Army was about to enter political Atlanta.

I should have gotten a clue when I talked to a few very good Catholics who told me they were backing Huckabee, and that they thought he was the candidate who best represented our values. I blew it-but we all did. We had a candidate in this race, and that candidate did not fail conservatives-conservatives failed their candidate.

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At Wednesday, April 02, 2008 5:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What, Huckabee finally found one conservative to support him? Wow, after all this time, Huckabee finally gets a supporter. Impressive.

At Wednesday, April 02, 2008 5:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh brother, here we go again.

Thats right, conservatives all over the country are clamoring for Huckabee. The roar is deafening. Geese, give it a rest. Try again in 4 years. You don't think there are Huckabee voters who wished they hadn't wasted their vote that got us McCain?

Perhaps in 4 years Huckabee might get out of the single digits in a few more states. Miracles do happen.

At Wednesday, April 02, 2008 7:42:00 PM, Blogger Stushie said...

I was for Duncan Hunter until he dropped out, and voted for Mike Huckabee in the election, David.

The GOP shot itself in the foot twice as far as I'm concerned.

I was never part of the Thompson bandwagon either.

McCain is not my candidate because he doesn't have a conservative bone in his body. I really don't know what to do about November.

At Wednesday, April 02, 2008 9:44:00 PM, Anonymous Adam Graham said...

David, I was going to write a more full post on this, but yous said it far better than I. Next time, we'll do this right. I also submitted this on Real Clear Politics and am linking it elsewhere.

At Wednesday, April 02, 2008 9:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could not figure out why so many conservatives fought the idea of Huckabee; it is refresing to see that many have changed their minds and see this authentic, conservative for the great man he is. My hope is that he will be selected VP; if not, I'm looking to 2012 as the year we elect Mike Huckabee as president of the U.S.

At Wednesday, April 02, 2008 10:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I have a pretty good Idea who the anon is but hey what do I know. Huckabee would have made a great candidate however there were people who were closer to my alignment and I had to go with what I thought was best at the time. We were wrong and now we have McCain to show for it. You live you learn. Good Post.

At Thursday, April 03, 2008 2:12:00 AM, Anonymous Afterthought said...

I was always for a Huck/Mitt ticket and I feel very sad at your hatred towards Mitt, It's people like you that cost us this valuable combo, if Huck/Mitt would have been united the election would have been in the bag but the complete animosity towards Romney is what caused the riff!

At Thursday, April 03, 2008 5:37:00 AM, Anonymous BigMeanUglyOgre said...

I'm not really second guessing my support during the primaries. Huckabee would be one of the few candidates that I would have actively voted against.

Let him disappear. Let him run for Congress or give him his own little talkshow. Either way, keep him out of the White House.

At Thursday, April 03, 2008 7:03:00 AM, Blogger Flacracker said...

Early on in this election, I was listening for certain things to be said by the candidates that would indicate to me which one shared my thoughts and ideas. After a couple of debates, I found myself focusing on Mike Huckabee. I began nodding at the TV. I believed then, as I do now, that he had the clearest vision of the state of America today. I began to research him online at I felt like he lined up the most with my values and priorities. Huckabee is the only political candidate I ever contributed money to - and it wasn't wasted. I applaud all who understand his value now (wish we had you on board back in S.Carolina) Keep your eye on He has made a hint at starting a new social-political organization that should be interesting to be involved in - that is if he isn't picked for VP. Oh, by the way, check our GET INVOLVED!

At Thursday, April 03, 2008 9:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was obvious Huckabee ran as a religious bigot. Besides that, he's the least qualified of the major Repub candidates. Hate to tell all Huck supporters--Romney has a lot more executive AND "Pastor" experience than Huckabee. Besides, compare the two when it comes to accomplishments and intellect and Romney wins hands down. Didn't Romney end up with more delegates than Huck, and he wasn't in the race nearly as long as Huck was. Please, support whomever it is that McCain selects as VP, but I'm betting Romney is higher on the list than Huck is.

At Thursday, April 03, 2008 9:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting post with many important factors to consider and analyze, all worthy of serious and detailed attention. Let me begin by saying:



At Thursday, April 03, 2008 10:14:00 AM, Anonymous Marshall Gill said...

Are Huckabee supporters closet drug users? Insane? Illiterate? The exibit the most bizarre ignorance I have seen since the last time I view the "Daily Kos".

Why on Earth do they continue to talk about him like he was a "conservative"? How do you square this with his attacks on "unearned" income? His belief in class warfare? You know, "main street vs Wall street"? His very basic misunderstanding of the idea of government vouchers for school choice? The list is extensive, but Romney is a devil worshiping Mormon so who cares? Someone mentions how he raised taxes and all of the sudden "conservatives" don't care about that because he did it for "GOOD" or because Reagan did it?
How does an endorsement of the "Minutemen" square with his comments about illegal immigration? It doesn't, but who cares, Mike LOVES JESUS?!

You admit that Huckabee is "anti-atheist" yep, if you are not part of the "Jesus vote" Huckabee is not for you, indeed he opposes you. I am sure glad he will not force his religion on anyone.

Please, quit saying he is the "conservative". It is a lie. He does not know "Free to Choose" from "Born Free". You like his populist positions, that is your choice. They are not conservative.

At Thursday, April 03, 2008 10:21:00 AM, Blogger Peter said...


Making fun of someone does little to prove your point.

At Thursday, April 03, 2008 10:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Huckabee is most certainly not "non-Athiest". I know, because I am a populist leaning Athiest, and I was also a Huckabee supporter. Huckabee said, repeatedly, he would prefer an honest Athiest over a hypocritical Christian. He is also not "anti-Gay", just against a redefinition of marriage. In that respect, he is completely mainstream. He stated he had gays and Athiests as part of his administrative staff as Governor and respected everyone's beliefs.

Please take the time to thoroughly research a candidate, as I did, before assuming as fact what is simply popular misconception.

At Thursday, April 03, 2008 11:28:00 AM, Anonymous Marshall Gill said...

I took the "anti-atheist" comment directly from this very blog post. So I am only repeating the words of a Huckabee supporter.

Bizarre how the Huckabee supporters are all over the place. One claims he is Mr. Conservative, and then another chimes in "I support his populist positions". If you point out he raised taxes they will either claim "Reagan raised taxes" or alternatively "it was for GOOD", never realizing that neither of these positions can be defined as "conservative".

A "populist leaning Atheist"? FINALLY, a Huckabee supporter who does not claim to be an economic conservative! Thank you for your honesty, sir.

I can only assume that there will now be a hoard of Huckabee supporters who will chime in to tell you he does not hold populist positions. Of course he does, and they are not usually called "conservative" except of course, by Huckabee voters. And all of you, those who admit he is a populist, and those who deny it, claim to have "researched" the candidate.


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