Category Archives: Mike Huckabee

What Was Cracker Barrel Thinking?

Cracker Barrel thought they would get out in front of the Phil Robertson controversy and be the first to officially ban Duck Dynasty items from their stores.

Hmmm …? Cracker Barrel? What could they have possibly been thinking? Who does Cracker Barrel thinks eats there, urban hipsters and metrosexuals? (Maybe urban hipsters eat there to be “ironic.”) I thought Cracker Barrel was known as a Republican leaning company. I could have told you this wouldn’t end well for them, and it hasn’t. Now after a major outcry, they have returned Duck Dynasty items to their stores.

Update: Rod Dreher comments on the Cracker Barrel incident here. His thoughts are the same as mine. Does corporate Cracker Barrel know who eats at Cracker Barrel?

No Huck and weak Mitt – the GOP’s 2012 presumed frontrunners

Mike Huckabee said himself that the world isn’t revolving around whether he runs for President or not. Certainly a billion Chinese don’t care and I think it is a refreshing attitude there’s no will to destiny unlike the Republican’s resident Nietzschean Newt Gingrich. Knowing in all likelihood he would run another grassroots rich but cash-poor campaign which wasn’t a pleasant experience the last time for him and his family and leave him vulnerable to another pounding from his enemies he couldn’t respond to, Mike Huckabee probably did the wise thing and said no, he’s more happy doing what he’s doing right now maybe in four years, with presumably Obama re-elected and the White House open for a non-incumbent, he’d have a better shot of winning.

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Is Huckabee Running

A while back I predicted Huck wouldn’t run. More recently I backtracked away from that prediction somewhat. Now it looks like he is running.

Huckabee gets angry at rumors he isn’t running.

Huckabee sounding like a candidate for the NRA.

Huckabee’s people deny rumor he isn’t running.

I’m not a Huck supporter, but he is a much better frontrunner than flip-flop Mitt.

Huckabee’s Kenya Gaffe and George Will’s Pompous Establishment Shilling

Recently Huckabee made news when he said the President grew up in Kenya. He later corrected himself and said he meant Indonesia, where Obama actually did spend some time as a child. I don’t doubt that Huckabee misspoke, but this incident doesn’t speak well for him as I explain below. But George Will has now chimed in on the gaffe and is at his pompous, condescending, elitist worst. Ostensibly the article is about potential Republican contenders for 2012, but Will can’t help but take a swipe at Huckabee over the Kenya misstatement.

Daniel Larison has commented on the article here.

Below is the comment I made on Daniel’s website. What I say regarding the birth certificate issue I have said here several times before, but at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I will continue to say it. My position seems so commonsensical to me that I have a hard time believing that opposition to it is motivated by genuine disagreement on the issue. Maybe that makes me pompous and condescending, the same thing I accuse Will of being, but if so, so be it. I’m just irked by the whole unnecessarily toxic dynamic surrounding the birth certificate issue.

This is George Will at his condescending, elitist, inside-the-beltway worst.

The (One) problem with Huckabee’s answer was that it indicated he hasn’t really been keeping up with the birth certificate issue, and seemed to be just babbling off the top of his head about some peripheral issues he was remotely familiar with. I don’t expect Huckabee to necessarily be an expert on the Obama birth certificate controversy, but I do expect someone who holds himself up to be a conservative commentator to be at least somewhat familiar with the issue. How could he not be? Is he that insulated and/or incurious? (Or dense? ~ Not in original.)

I have never believed that Obama was born in Kenya. That has never made logistical or any other kind of sense. (Especially when you consider that his mother’s marriage to BO Senior seems to have been mostly a sham anyway.) But I do think BO should release his long form birth certificate because people are rightly curious about it and there is no good reason he shouldn’t.

What Huckabee should have known if he was remotely familiar with the issue is that the focus has shifted away (for the curious and thoughtful who are not already convinced “birthers”) from BO being born in Kenya to a more generalized “What is he hiding?” given all the many documents he refuses to release. This is clearly what the talk radio host was driving at, and Huckabee could have fielded the question easily with a simple “Yeah, I’m curious to see those things too.”

Will is typical of what I call taint phobics of which conspiracy phobics are a subset. They are so concerned about their reputation (they will claim they are worried about the brand, but what they are really worried about is their own status), that they run screaming from any whiff of the disreputable -”racism,” conspiracy theories, the gold standard, etc. – and then point and mock from a distance like a bunch of children on the playground.

The problem with this mindset (besides indicating the person who has it is a suck up) is that it distorts your ability to think objectively and rationally about an issue to the same degree that the automatic embrace of conspiratorial explanations does.

To want to see the long form birth certificate and the many other things Obama has refused to release is the naturally curious, intuitive response, and it has to be actively suppressed by conspiracy phobia. But it shouldn’t be up to conservative talk radio hosts or potential Presidential candidates to raise the issue. That is the job of our worthless press corp, whose incuriousity about these issues has to be willful.

Boiled down to it’s most basic my position is this: Obama should authorize the release of his long form birth certificate. How can anyone disagree with that? I don’t get it.

Palin Wins January Town Hall Straw Poll, Paul Places Third

Here are the results. (Curiously they make you go to their Facebook page to get the full run down. Likely a way to increase the number of people who “like” it.)

Sarah Palin – 22.27%
Mitt Romney – 14.48%
Ron Paul – 11.52%
Mike Huckabee – 10.76%
Newt Gingrich – 10.03%
Herman Cain – 7.14%
Chris Christie – 5.55%
Tim Pawlenty – 3.02%
Jim DeMint – 2.97%
Mitch Daniels – 2.90%
John Bolton – 2.57%
Undecided – 2.55%
John Thune – 1.55%
Haley Barbour – 1.03%
Rick Santorum – <1%
Gary Johnson – <1%

Here is their story (what there is of it) covering the release of the results.

Go here to vote in the Feb. straw poll.

Town Hall is about as conventional conservative “movementy” as they come. I really don’t know what to make of these results. The strength of Palin is not surprising. The relative strength of Romney may be or it may not be. I suspect the average Town Hall reader fancies himself a conservative activist, but is still Republicans to the core and not devoid of political pragmatism. It is not surprising that the alleged front runner, Romney, would place second among that group relative to how he might do among generic Republicans. But that such an obvious flip-flopping opportunist garners much support at all is rather sad. Obviously Paul’s Internet brigade has not yet cranked into high gear for this election. Whether or not his showing is exciting or disappointing depends on what percent of his voters were Town Hall regulars vs. people who just went there to vote for him. If a lot of them were Town Hall regulars then that might be somewhat encouraging.

Barbour, Santorun and Johnson can not be happy about the results.

What is glaring is how awful the field is except for Paul. I don’t consider Johnson an acceptable non-interventionist alternative because he is horrible on immigration and is not rhetorically pro-life. DeMint is solid in many ways, but would have to distance himself significantly from belligerent mainstream “conservative” rhetoric on foreign policy for me to consider him as a possible alternative. As I have said before, Palin and Huckabee have all the right enemies but are too interventionist on foreign policy to deserve support. That jingoistic alarmist buffoons like Gingrich, Bolton and Santorum get any support at all is depressing.

If Paul decides not to run (I think he will run), non-interventionists are going to have to draft a candidate. Rep. John Duncan comes to mind, but I have no idea if he has any interest in running.

If Paul doesn’t run and no non-interventionist steps up, I will be turning my sights to the Constitution Party nomination battle early on.

Haley Barbour Kisses the Ring

For those who thought Haley Barbour might be different, he’s not.

He’s headed to Israel to kiss the rin… err… I mean speak with Netanyahu.

The blurb also informs us that Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee have already met with Netanyahu. Check.

But I’m sure this is just because Barbour wants to meet a lot of different foreign leaders in preparation for a potential run for President. I’m sure we will soon be hearing about his plans to travel abroad to meet with the leaders of Moldova and Burkina Faso as well, no doubt accompanied by the Republican Moldovan Coalition and the Republican Burkina Faso Coalition respectively. I anxiously await reports of these subsequent trips in Town Hall.

Weyrich Endorsing Huckabee

This is disappointing. Obviously Weyrich should endorse Ron Paul if he wasn’t putting pragmatic (I guess) concerns above principle. Weyrich had previously endorsed Flip-Flop RINO Massachusetts lib Mitt which was equally disappointing. The Flip Romney endorsement was particularly disappointing because Weyrich has recently been anti-intervention, and he is against the Iraq War. He seemed to be conspicuously drifting paleo. Now with Mitt out of the race he had a chance to redeem himself and endorse Ron Paul who he should have endorsed originally. But instead he takes the easy Beltway option and endorses Huck. I keep hoping for better from the Beltway movement conservatives, and they keep letting me down.

The Inside Scoop on Huckabee and the Confederate Flag Issue in South Carolina

This article by Tim Manning was written before the South Carolina primary. It contains some inside scoop on how the the Flag became an issue late in the South Carolina campaign. For those who are unaware, a group of Confederate Heritage supporters bought some adds supporting Huckabee. This was apparently in an attempt to stop McCain more than it was committed support of Huckabee. Tim Manning is a Ron Paul supporter, and is upset that the Confederate Heritage supporters didn’t support their more natural candidate, Ron Paul, and didn’t do so earlier. I agree with him, although I don’t know all the personalities that were obviously involved.

Be sure to read the comments that follow for some interesting exchanges.

Discuss the Iowa Caucus Here

Give us your thoughts on the Iowa results below.

One thing that strikes me is that conservative Christians really flexed their muscles. They just flexed them for the wrong guy, Huckabee. I am curious to see if the establishment cons will go back into anti-Huckabee meltdown mode, or will they reconcile themselves to the fact that this guy might actually win the nomination? Do they really want to tear this guy down if they may have to rehabilitate him later on?

Winners and Losers Tonight

Here is James Ostrowski’s take from Lew Rockwell. He has been pretty good with his prognosticating.

Winners

Huckabee–But where does he go from here? The Improv?
Thompson–still alive but at 2% in New Hampshire
Paul–double figures after every single press report stated he couldn’t win–exceed his poll average by 40% in a hostile environment

Losers

Romney–bet the ranch on winning there
McCain–badly wanted third place
Giuliani–a humiliating 4% …

…Big picture: none of the candidates up against Ron Paul is looking good nationally. This will be a war of attrition down to the convention.

Coulter Slams the Huckster Again

This slam is savage but clever. Personally, I think making fun of Huckabee because he used to be overweight is out of line. On substance, however, she makes some good points.

Huckabee claims he’s against punishing children for the crimes of their fathers in the case of illegal immigrants. But in the case of slavery, he believes the children of the children’s children should be routinely punished for the crimes of their fathers. Huckabee has said illegal immigration gives Americans a chance to make up for slavery. (I thought letting O.J. walk for murdering two people was payback for slavery.)

Just two years ago, Huckabee cheerfully announced to a meeting of the Hispanic advocacy group League of United Latin American Citizens that “Pretty soon, Southern white guys like me may be in the minority.” Who’s writing this guy’s speeches — Al Sharpton?

More From Dreher on Huckabee

Here is Dreher’s take from his website. It is different than the article linked below.

It’s funny, but when it looked like Rudy Giuliani, a social liberal, was going to be the nominee, we didn’t see many, if any, establishment Republican opinion leaders freaking out over what kind of danger to the future of the party and the nation he represented, even though as Ross points out, Giuliani hasn’t exactly been deep on policy(I had to research Giuliani for our Dallas Morning News editorial board debate on which candidate to endorse, and I was genuinely startled by how vague he was on many things). I think it’s fair to say that it was assumed that Giuliani would be a sound representative of the Republican Party, and that the social and religious conservatives would do like they always do and get in line. Pat Robertson sure did.

But lo, it turns out that the candidate who’s caught fire comes straight out of the religious/social conservative wing of the coalition, and he is unsound on issues most important to the fiscal wing. It’s not supposed to work that way. Nobody at the elite level seems to expect the economic conservatives to suck it up for the sake of party unity. What does that say about the place of social conservatives in the party all these years? - emphasis mine

The fact that Giuliani is acceptable to the establishment cons and Huck is not is very revealing.

Crunchy Con Rob Dreher On Huckabee

Good stuff here. I think all this talk of Huckabee’s populism is mostly a projection onto him from an establishment that is in meltdown because he doesn’t mouth the right rhetoric. I am not sure how Huckabee is really all that populist in reality. Just promising new spending projects is not really all that populist anymore. You could argue that budget cutting (at least the rhetoric) is the real populist position these days. And how can one be a populist and be soft on immigration. Opposition to the cultural and economic effects of immigration is an essential element of populism, is it not. 

Last week, National Review Online blogger Lisa Schiffren, a Giuliani backer, laid into Mr. Huckabee with a screed pithily summarized by Mr. Douthat as, “Go back to Dogpatch, you stupid hillbilly.”

Alas for the GOP and for the old guard religious-right leadership, the view from Dogpatch these days is looking up for the populist Huckabee. Could it be that cultural and religious conservatives are fed up with being treated like useful idiots by the Republican establishment?

Religious conservatives have been treated like useful idiots. Let’s hope they wake up to that. But Huckabee is not the right vehicle.

Daniel McCarthy Takes on Huckabee

This is the kind of reasoned analysis we need more of. Not “Oh my word, Huckabee mentioned the word Jesus” hysteria.

All of this alarms neoconservatives like Charles Krauthammer, who detects in Christian conservatives’ reluctance to back the chameleon-like Romney the dread specter of bias against Romney’s Mormon faith. He doesn’t deign to mention Romney’s socially left-wing gubernatorial record and past campaigns, instead asserting that the Romney trails Huckabee “because about 40 percent of the Republican caucus voters in 2000 were self-described ‘Christian conservatives’—twice the number of those in New Hampshire, for example—and, for many of them, Mormonism is a Christian heresy.” Before Mormons or anybody else rushes to embrace Krauthammer as a paragon of religious tolerance, however, one should consider whether the Washington Postcolumnist doesn’t think that denominational commitments of all kinds are a distraction from the one true faith: the Church of America. Says Krautie, “The God of the Founders, the God on the coinage, the God for whom Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving day is the ineffable, ecumenical, nonsectarian Providence of the American civil religion whose relation to this blessed land is without appeal to any particular testament or ritual.” (Krauthammer isn’t endorsing secularism here: he’s conscripting religious sentiment, stripped of theological content, into the service of Proposition Nationalism. But that’s a subject for another day.)

Authentic (paleo) conservatives need to criticize Huckabee for all the right reasons without siding with Krauthammer style historical revisionists in the service of some benign civil religion and a buck naked public square. McCarthy hits the right note here.

Coulter Takes on the Huck

But she is reasonably gentle. She gets this right.

“He has many good qualities. Unfortunately, the things that are upsetting to the mainstream media about Huckabee are what normal Americans like.”

She cited as examples Huckabee’s “religiosity and his questioning of Darwinian evolution.”

She rightly criticizes him on immigration.

But she criticized the former Arkansas governor for opposing a bill that would have required Arkansas residents to prove they are Americans before they could vote or get social services.

I bet Huckabee is regretting all his pro-immigration grandstanding right about now.

Note: I added a Mike Huckabee category.