Friday, March 7, 2008

New Direction

Tuesday night after the results from the latest primaries, Mike Huckabee formally ended his bid for the presidency. So, where do we go now? What is next for the governor and for those of us who supported him?

Reading the messages sent to supporters after his withdrawal, it is clear that Mike Huckabee isn't planning on fading into obscurity. He intends to keep his online presence and I imagine that you will see him spend the next four years continuing to build his grassroots network. He will further hone his message of optimism and a return to basic principles for the Republican party. He will be a champion for those who value life and morality. And rest assured, we will get another chance to get behind Mike Huckabee for President.

Meanwhile, what do we do? What you out there do is entirely up to you, but this being my blog, I will share my plans and encourage you to consider some thoughts.

First, yes, I intend to fully support Sen. John McCain for President. I know from contact with other Huckabee supporters and conservatives that there are some out there who cannot do this or will not do this for various reasons. I respect your position and would probably feel the same way had certain other candidates gained the nomination. However, I can get behind McCain, especially considering the other options. I feel that the damage that Hillary or Obama could do in four years outweighs any concerns that there might be for McCain. Therefore, I will do what I can to support him.

Second, I intend to get as involved as I can at the state and local level. As the Huckabee campaign petered out over the last couple of weeks, I have given a lot of thought to the state of conservatism in this nation. We are rapidly losing a generation of conservative leadership that rose to prominence in the Buckley-Goldwater-Reagan era. We must replenish those leaders or we will find ourselves in a much greater wilderness than any loss of congressional or presidential power will create.

It is said that all politics is local politics. It is time for those of us who stand for limited government, lower taxes and national pride to take our places in city councils, school boards and state legislatures. Conservatism needs a deep bench in order to continue to spread the message on to the next generation. We need to stop just watching CNN and complaining and do something about it on whatever level we can access.

To this end, I am personally making the effort to learn more about what is going on right at home, participate in local GOP politics and conventions, and meeting and supporting local and statewide conservative candidates at all levels. I for one am tired of looking at a ballot and not knowing which commissioner or state official to vote for. I am going to go out of my way to educate myself and support those candidates that agree with basic conservative principles. These men and women are the ones that are making decisions that affect our daily live to a much greater extent than do senators and presidents. Let's get the right folks in the right places. And if your community can't put up a suitable candidate, consider running yourself. You can make a difference too.

Third, I am planning on transitioning this blog into a general conservative politics site, focusing specifically on North Carolina politics. I want to do what I can to inform those few that might read here which candidates align with conservative ideals. As such, the domain name will change to something a little more general. When I set it up I will post the link here.

Finally, I received some criticism for my last post indicating that I was accepting the inevitability of McCain as nominee and that I believed the time was come to stand behind him. I did not apologize for my stand then nor do I now. Mike Huckabee left the race with grace and civility and that will be remembered when he comes again. Those that were advocating brokered convention will hopefully see how damaging that can be to a candidate by watching the Democratic convention this year, assuming the superdelegates don't intervene too much. Huckabee can now spend his time building his coalition and laying the groundwork for the future. He will be back and I will be ready to stand with him once again.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Catching Up

Once again, I go through a drought of posting. In the interim since the last post announcing Romney's withdrawal, Huckabee has gained a few wins, but the McCain momentum has grown steadily as well.

What I am about to say might alienate me from many of the other hardcore Huckabee supporters, but understand this: I believe that the best choice of all the candidates on either side is the former governor from Arkansas. However, I also see the reality of the delegate situation. I know that McCain hasn't locked it up completely yet, but I also know that Huckabee's only hope is a brokered convention. Unfortunately, I do not think that would be in the best interest of conservatism or the Republican party. For better or worse, more or less by default, the voters have chosen John McCain as the nominee. I fear that if Huckabee pushed hard for a contested convention, the ensuing disarray would sink our chances in November. It would reopen the field to Romney and others and if we were to choose a nominee that did not win the majority of delegates it would be disastrous.

I think our focus now needs to shift to the general election and us putting our weight behind John McCain. No, he isn't the perfect candidate, nor is he my first or even second choice. But he's the guy and we need to get him a victory. It seems that the Obamamania is nigh unstoppable at this point and that the Senator from Illinois will be the opponent this fall. The more I see of him and the more I read his policy views, the less I think of him. I appreciate his attempt to appeal to unity and his general optimism, but he is a McGovern liberal dressed in a JFK costume. We need to maintain our hold on the White House in order to try to keep the Democratic congress in check. John McCain is our guy now and he needs all the support he can get.

So what of Huckabee? Am I a traitor to the cause for saying such things even before Texas and Ohio vote? Perhaps some will think so, but I have to be true to what I think is the best course of action. I hope that if Huckabee is offered the VP slot by McCain that he respectfully turns it down. Huckabee has established himself as the voice of social conservatism and the standard bearer for the Fair Tax cause. He can take a page from Reagan in the late 70s and remain very much in the public eye while championing values and fiscal reform. With the internet and Huckabee's natural charisma, he can speak, blog and show up on TV often. Should McCain lose in November, Huckabee (along with Romney) will be an automatic frontrunner for the nomination. And I will be waiting to support him once again.

As for this blog, I intend to leave it open for the time being. I am personally going to start focusing on the gubernatorial race here in North Carolina. After 16 years of Democratic leadership, it is time for a conservative in the Governor's Mansion. I personally support State Sen. Fred Smith for the Republican nomination. Check out his website for more information on Sen. Smith. I will also be getting more openly behind McCain once the nomination process is over.

I will probably start a new blog focusing more generally on politics, particularly NC politics. So, keep your eyes peeled and on this spot. I will put clear links to the new blog when I decide to start it. Thanks to the few of you who have read this blog with regularity. I hope you will join me at the new one to continue to fight for conservative ideals both in NC and across the nation.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Bye Bye Mitt!

As everyone knows by now, Mitt Romney took his opportunity to speak at CPAC yesterday as his chance to formally suspend his presidential campaign. It seems that he has his sights set on 2012, a'la Reagan in 1976, however, Reagan stayed in through the convention and won a multitude of states versus Ford. Romney showed that all the money in the world couldn't buy states unless he had lived there or it was a small state caucus.

The media is trying very hard to coronate John McCain, but even he is continually reminding voters that yes, Mike Huckabee is still very much alive in this race. So now, these Limbaugh "conservatives" have a choice. Will they hitch their wagons to Huckabee, as Neal Boortz suggests they do and try to stop Big Mac? Will they suck it up and support McCain anyway? Or will they continue to sit on the sidelines and whine and moan about the sad state of affairs and dream of the increased ratings they will enjoy as President Clinton/Obama take us you know where in a handbasket?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Now What?

(Decided to split up the Super Tuesday analysis into two posts)

So, where do the candidates go from here?

McCain: The numbers give the impression that he is on the verge of running away with the nomination. But, for better or worse, there is a 20-25% portion of the Republican base who would rather commit political suicide than vote for McCain. Could he win without them? I am not sure that even with his appeal to independents that McCain could compete without the passion of the base behind him. He will lag in fundraising and volunteer support and that will cost him on election day. McCain has to hope that he can mend enough fences to get back 10 or so percent of those voters. But I fear that is not an option at this point. He will have to focus on the idea that he is electable and hopefully stop Huckabee from gaining any more momentum than he has right now.

Romney: Oh, boy, things look kind of bad right now for Mittens. Sources say he has poured over $35 million of his own cash into this campaign. Pundits are predicting he will drop out. I think he stays in a bit longer and hopes that an anti-McCain surge will carry him to some wins. But if fundraising doesn't pick up, he will have to decide how much more he can pour into this sinking ship. The Talk Radio Republicans have to make a choice now. Will they continue to back Romney, even though voters repudiate him? Or will they go for the lesser of two evils and try to use Huckabee to take down McCain? My guess is that they will go down with Romney. It is a dangerous game for them to play...if McCain wins the election, they are marginalized as out of touch. If McCain loses, they can tout that they were right, but at the cost of President Clinton/Obama's liberal policies which the Democratic congress will gladly approve. Pyhrric victories all around...

Huckabee: He gets another chance at trying to position himself as the anti-McCain. Huck has proven he is a winner or is competitive in traditional Republican states. If he can snag wins in LA and KS, he could very well put Romney out of the race. Huckabee voters can point to these wins as reasons to keep supporting him rather than going to Romney to stop McCain. He was very close to winning OK and MO in addition to everything else. Huckabee needs to position himself as the viable alternative to John McCain. He can do this without resorting to the negative attacks that Romney uses. Huck speaks at CPAC on Saturday morning. He really needs to hammer home his genuine conservative credentials to show that he is not the "liberal" that Limbaugh and his ilk paint him as. If Huckbee can get conservatives to coalesce around him instead of Romney, his chances are better to win the nomination. Huck needs to win at least one of LA or KS to show that he has continued strength.

Aftermath we sit. The day after Super Duper Tuesday and Huckabee is back in the thick of things. I must confess. My hope had waned. I was not looking forward to yesterday. I feared that it would be over for the best candidate in the race. However, a funny thing happens sometimes when you entrust actual voters with their responsiblity. The pundits and talking heads are proven wrong. Let's look at the results:

Huckabee wins WV, AR, GA, AL and TN.

Romney wins MA, UT, MN, MT, ND, CO and AK.

McCain wins CA, NY, NJ, CT, DE, MO, OK, AZ and IL

What can we glean from these results?

1) McCain is currently the official frontrunner....but look at the states he won. With the exception of MO, OK and AZ, these are faithful blue states. I seriously doubt that even Big Mac has the support to flip NY or CA in November. MO and OK were just narrowly won with Huckabee right on his heels in both. He won his home state of AZ but not by as much as he should have. It is clear now that McCain has the support of liberal and center-left Republicans in the blue states. But whither the conservatives??? Can McCain win without them?

2) Romney is dangerously weakened. Yes, he picked up seven states last night, but did anyone really do any campaigning in any of them? Looking at his wins as a whole, Romney wins when he has a family or religious connection or when he is the only candidate competing in a caucus. The only true primaries he has won are MI, MA and UT. Romney claims that Huckabee is damaging his campaign and taking away votes. But it seems that should be the other way around. More on that later.

3) Huckabee has risen from the political near-dead. Yeah, looking at the tally it seems that Huckabee can only win Southern states. And he has thus far, Iowa notwithstanding. But what is neglected is that for the most part, Huckabee is winning the conservative states. Not bad for a guy who is supposed to be a "liberal." Huckabee is strongest in traditional red states. As much as I would like to see a Reaganesque landslide in 2008, it is just not going to happen. We need to hold on to every single 2000/04 red state and pick up a couple of midwestern states too in order to win in 2008. Romney is a non-factor in the South. McCain pretty much is too, even with the SC win thanks to Fred Thompson.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Final Super Tuesday Polls

Huckabee, after slipping behind in the necessary Southern states, has surged back in some key Super Tuesday states.

ARG Tennessee 2/5/08

Huckabee 36%
McCain 30%
Romney 27%

Insider Advantage/Majority Opinion Alabama 2/5/08

Huckabee 38%
McCain 29%
Romney 20%

In addition to these, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas all are close. Good weather, Romney/McCain backlash and the WV win could converge to give Huck wins and valuable delegates in these places. Could it be a better than expected day today??? The momentum in these vital states seems to be shifting...

Win for Huckabee!

The first Super Tuesday state has voted, and the winner is Mike Huckabee!

West Virginia's GOP convention caucused today and Huckabee beat Romney. Romney led the first ballot, but McCain supporters moved over to Huckabee on the second, giving him the win.

Now, Romney supporters are screaming and crying that this was a conspiracy and Huck is just spoiling for McCain, blah, blah, blah. However, my question is this...why is it that the more a state sees Romney and the more he touts organization...he loses? If Romney really were the choice of conservatives, why couldn't he have won on the first ballot and ended it right there?

Sorry Mittens, spending millions and slamming your opponents with lies doesn't equal support.
Mitt Romney learned again today that in primary politics, your enemy yesterday might just need to be your friend tomorrow.

And Mitt hasn't done much to make many friends...

(He is now alleging "back room deals", implying that people actually voting in a state organized caucus is somehow fraudulent...this is going to backfire on Mitt if he is not careful...)