Monday, February 25, 2008


Posted today on Article VI Blog by John Schroeder. I couldn't agree more with his assessment of Mr. Huckabee.

What IS Mike Huckabee’s Game?

Posted by: John Schroeder at 06:01 pm, February 25th 2008

Think about it, that is the question that has plagued this entire Republican campaign. Absent Mike Huckabee, or even if Mike Huckabee had played this thing by the normal rules, we would be in a very different place right now. Increasingly, those that supported him are making noises of embarrassment, or at least confusion and disappointment.

In the past week we have seen stories about the Baptist minister’s wife in Las Vegas and Huck huddling with James Dobson, creating a great deal of cognitive dissonance even from this occasional Vegas-visiting church-goer. But with his SNL appearance over the weekend, Huck moves into sheer ridiculousness.

Through the course of all of this my opinion of Mike Huckabee has moved from a religiously-motivated, but severely misguided candidate, to a closet hard-line fundamentalist whose real motivation was to “stop the Mormon,” to someone with whom I disagreed but was seeking to move the party in the way he felt appropriate. It is probably some of all of the above.

But one thing, given the tacit admission of the ridiculousness of his situation on SNL, is that Mike Huckabee does not care about much of anything other than Mike Huckabee. Hotline reports on his comments after the experience:

As tradition dictates, Huckabee returned at the end of the show, to be thanked by guest host Tina Fey. After the show ended, he told NBC/NJ that the experience was “a blast.”

“It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever got to do,” he said.

Obviously, Mike is having fun attracting attention to himself. There seems to be little else at play here. Huckabee has never clearly annunciated a strategy, a desire, or a motivation - in fact those things seem to be constantly shifting in a direction dictated by what will attract him the most attention. He is rapidly becoming the political equivalent of Brittany Spears - and as the political press is paying less and less attention (it ought to be even less than it is) the paparazzi seems more than willing to pick up the slack, and I am not at all sure Huckabee can tell the difference. or he does not care about it.

The man has claimed divine intervention on his behalf, something he even did humorously in the SNL appearance, and he has mocked other religions. But when it suited the public mood in the locale he was working he dropped all religious mention and played the class card, or some other tactic - whatever got him attention.

Now the world is full of people who want attention, that does not make Mike Huckabee unique or special. There have even been presidential candidates in it such selfish motivations, but never has a candidate pushed it this far, and on these basis’. Not only has Mike Huckabee soiled the political environment, something that happens in every election cycle, but he has soiled the religious environment as well, and that is problematic.

The problems with how Huckabee has used religion to benefit himself are multitude, but I want to examine just a few.

Ghettoization of religion in the political sphere.

Both myself and John Mark Reynolds have discussed this idea at some length. Identity politics, which is pretty much what Huck has played all along, although the identity has shifted from time-to-time, means the identity group must isolate itself into a ghetto of some sort and only what is in the ghetto matters. Huck’s primary identity has been that of Evangelical - that is certainly the one he has played to most, and definitely the one the press has assigned him - and as such they are currently residing in a political ghetto, there effectiveness minimized.

Playing Evangelicals for Dupes

In “ghettoizing” Evangelical voters, Huckabee has played us for dupes. He cannot hope to accomplish anything politically, but he continues to collect and represent Evangelical votes, apparently so he can have “a blast” on Saturday Night Live.

When the primary charge against the average evangelical voter is that they are “poor, uneducated and easily led.” What is going to come out of being played this way? Doesn’t Huck’s playing us this way reinforce precisely that characterization?

This guy no longer simply looks extraordinarily foolish, he now looks extraordinarily opportunistic, and what does that say about those that supported him? “Smart” is not the first answer that comes to my mind.

What is most troubling about all this is that in the best sense seeking office is called “public service” - that means one seeks our votes not to gain personal advantage, but to serve us. Huck seems to be operating in precisely the opposite mode. He appears to be seeking our votes to meet his need for media attention. Which brings me to my final concern

True religion is an end, not a means

Regardless of how you want to characterize Huckabee’s religious plays in the election , what is undeniably true is that he has used his faith and the faith of those that voted for him to achieve his personal ends. That strikes me as antithetical to the true aims of religion. As I understand it, we are to subject ourselves to our faith and allow that to make us into better people. As far as I can tell, that assertion is true for creedal or Mormon Christians. If we treat our faith as something we control and use, then we tacitly admit that religion is purely something that man has created to order society.

Now, the initial claim that started this blog, that Evangelicals would not vote for a Mormon is presumptive of the fact that Evangelicals hold their religious faith to be TRUTH, a higher truth, a truth apart from themselves, coming from the supernatural. So once again, we see that Huckabee has played those of us who take our faith seriously as dupes, since he apparently takes his faith in a very different fashion.

But more, he demonstrates that his ends are not necessarily the same as those of us that take our faith in a more traditional fashion. I do not know the theological basis’ that Mike Huckabee has to justify his behavior throughout this campaign, but as a pastor, I presume he has one. What I can say, is that based on his behavior, I would conclude that there is a theological canyon between myself and Huckabee that is as large as the one between Mitt Romney and myself.

So how, precisely, have Evangelical won in this deal? I don’t think we have - that’s the problem.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

If Huckabee Wasn't On a Vanity Run!

If Mike Huckabee had any class and wasn't pursuing his vanity run, he would stand aside and assure a unified Republican Party a chance in November. Huckabee will not displace McCain as the nominee and from inside sources, and most reasonable thought, McCain will not allow Huckabee any proximity to a McCain candidacy. Mike - get a clue, and stand aside!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Disappointed but Grateful!

Thank You, Mitt and Ann!

It has been a very difficult and soul searching week. Even so, amid the disappointment I am grateful for the candidacy of Governor Mitt Romney, our friendship and participation in the cause we fought together. Mitt and Ann Romney stated over a year ago that they would never embarrass those who supported them. Not only were they true to their word, they have made us very proud. Hugh Hewitt speaks well to it HERE. They have sacrificed more than many realize out of love of country and patriotism. They ran not out of selfish interest, but out of duty and service to our nation. I am further convinced that the nation and the Republican Party will have sincere regrets over this past week and the absence of a Romney nomination and Presidency. It was the option of the nation to choose the most qualified candidate for President of the United States in nearly 100 years, and yet… We are now left with choosing the lesser of two evils in John McCain and Barack Obama (yes I believe he will win over Hillary). All that has been stated previously about John McCain stands as true today as it was when written. And so it pains me greatly as I personally choose to support one who is unworthy of the office by virtue of his lack of integrity over an individual who stands in good character but has the wrong philosophy for America. Mitt was right when he stated at CPAC, it is critical that we as a nation stand together in defending freedom and not abandoning our troops who are in harm’s way. The only shot we have to elect a Republican candidate who will preserve our National Security interest and espouse Freedom is to coalesce now and support cause over individual, in the form of John McCain. I still struggle with our chances in November when faced with an Obama rush, however, if we stand as one, experience and judgment should prevail. Furthermore, if John McCain were smart and intelligent, he would ask Mitt to join the ticket, thus giving substance to the conservative platform and strength in assuring a stronger economy. Notwithstanding, there is no promise of such.

My wife and I have taken leave of the country (Antarctica) for a couple of weeks to decompress and recharge. Even so, we press forward in a great cause of patriotism, trusting in the Almighty that America will be wise. Let us not lose hope, but hold fast in what is right. Thank you all for your support of Governor Romney!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Cause Worth Fighting!

To Ann and Mitt Romney - we cannot say it enough, thank you for the continued sacrifice in leading this great cause. It is a cause worth fighting for, and if ever a Title of Liberty was needed in our day, it is now. Although, we have all thought that we would be in a different place than we are, we are anxiously engaged in the fight, having rallied a conservative groundswell. We find it interesting and somewhat disappointing that we are opposed by those who would say and do anything to gain the Presidency, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Thanks for the resolve to continue and defend what is right, it is worth it! Eleven golds, eleven silvers and 6 bronze, Congratulations!

To our readers - It is clear that our message hasn’t fully saturated and electrified the electorate where it needs to; to the point of people abandoning the media bias and wanting to be enlisted into our Cause. Of course, when faced with a two-pronged counter attack from McCain and Huckabee, it is not surprising. But our cause and the message has begun to take hold, it is resonating and will lead the majority to abandon the media bias and the McCain ways of Washington, and join with us in Changing that which is broken! Keep the faith and continue to invite others to join us, it is a cause worth fighting.

From our vantage point, the key takeaways from Super Tuesday are:

1) It’s the Economy and it is inextricable link to National Security. You can't have one without the other, and John McCain admittingly, knows nothing of economics.

2) Washington IS broken and needs to be FIXED, and can only be fixed by someone capable from outside the hallways and backrooms of Washington.

3) The Heart and Soul of the Republican Party needs defending and unifying, and one who does not hold such in his heart (John McCain) cannot not lead to a place he is not at.

4) Mitt Romney is the one to lead this effort. He is the only viable candidate that can Unify that which has been fractured by the detractors of conservatism.

John McCain and Mike Huckabee have compromised the principles of integrity by their continued distortions, lies and misrepresentations. They have employed dishonest and backroom politics to win at any cost. Truth and right ultimately prevail and as such their true characters of duplicity and willingness to say and do anything, without regard to integrity and honesty, to win will be revealed. This is a significant battle for what is right and in spite of negative and dishonorable tactics by McCain and Huckabee, Mitt Romney will stand tall and on principle, and win with integrity. To paraphrase John McCain, "when you play in the mud with pigs, you get muddy, and the pigs like it."

John McCain, if he were to represent the Republican Party, would be shellacked by Barack Obama. As Ann Coulter has stated, Hillary would beat him as the conservatives in our Party would not rally behind him. Mitt Romney is the only one who can win this election for conservative Republican principles.

For those who stand with Mitt and Ann, appreciating their sacrifice and commitment, remain constant and true. Continue to make your contributions to the primary campaign, and above all invite those that you know to join the cause. We fight on!

For those with questions, some further points to consider below:

· Super Tuesday proved that this is a very fluid election. Gov. Romney won seven states, including Colorado and Minnesota where Republicans must be competitive in the general election.

· The nomination is by no means settled. Even assuming that McCain reaches 700 delegates once counting finishes in California, he would still need to win 77% of delegates from upcoming states to secure the nomination by April 1.

· Gov. Romney did surprisingly well in several key, battleground states. Gov. Romney won Minnesota despite Sen. McCain have the support of the sitting Republican governor and senator. Gov. Romney also did better than expected in Georgia and Missouri.

· Gov. Romney has received eleven gold medals, eleven silver medals and six bronzes. He is the clear full-spectrum conservative in this race.

Post-Feb. 5:

· On Thursday, Gov. Romney will be at the Conservative Political Action Conference where Gov. Romney will address his vision for the future of the Republican Party and nation.

· After Feb. 5, we expect to be competitive in the Kansas and Washington state caucuses on Feb. 9 and then the Feb. 12 states – Virginia, Maryland, and also Washington, D.C.

· Upcoming states will be fertile ground for Gov. Romney because the two largest states on the primary calendar between today and April 1, Texas and Ohio, are favorable terrain. Texas has a very conservative GOP primary vote and 140 delegates; Ohio's economy is similar to Michigan and the state has 88 delegates.

· Gov. Romney did well in caucus states where we focused our energy and resources. In just a few days, Republican voters will caucus in Kansas (39 delegates, winner-take-all) and Washington (40 delegates, proportional) which promise to be strong states for Gov. Romney.

Conservatives Are Coalescing Behind Governor Romney:

· Once again, Gov. Romney carried conservative voters by wide margins. Nationally, he won conservatives by double-digits, 42%-31% over Sen. McCain.

· Even in states Sen. McCain won, Gov. Romney carried conservative voters. For instance, in California, Gov. Romney won conservatives by six points, 39%-33%. Gov. Romney even won conservatives in McCain's home state of Arizona, 43%-40%.

The Republican Party Is Not Coalescing Behind Sen. McCain And Gov. Huckabee:

· Super Tuesday's results show that Sen. McCain is not the presumptive Republican nominee as he himself had expected.

· Sen. McCain made several campaign mistakes. He spent the last few days campaigning where he was the strongest – New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He also spent time in Massachusetts where Gov. Romney won comfortably.

· Gov. Huckabee is not expanding his base of support. He overperformed anywhere where there were large numbers of evangelical voters and underperformed wherever there weren't. Gov. Huckabee's lack of support is evident in his underperforming showings in AZ, CA, NJ, NY, CT and MA.

· Gov. Huckabee has lost five states to Ron Paul, including at least three on Super Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Its all about Character and Integrity.

Each Presidential Campaign reflects the character and integrity of its Candidate. Yes, policies and issues matter and they are that which draw us to our respective candidates, but it is their character and integrity that commits us to the effort. Even so and notwithstanding policies and issues, in my opinion, if a candidate is without integrity and character, the policies and issues are of no consequence. We are a principled people, at least in the majority! Maybe I am too idyllic in my expectation, but this has been and continues to be an educational experience. Given our proximity to the inside of a Presidential Campaign, I find the juxtaposition interesting when comparing the 4 remaining Presidential contenders. The distinctions in both the Democratic and in the Republican races are quite similar and dramatic.

For example, when comparing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, both have similar policies and positions on the issues, albeit it one may be more left than the other, and both have committed supporters. Barack and his campaign have reflected integrity in their pursuit of the Presidency and his supporters are more committed to the cause he espouses because of such (a mile deep), whereas the Clinton campaign also having avid supporters, has been without honor or integrity in their pursuit of the Presidency, and it is my opinion that the Clinton base is less educated and those that are educated are driven more by compulsion, power and position than anything else (an inch deep). It is an interesting dynamic that is not lost in the Republican race either.

In comparing the current Republican race, Mitt Romney and John McCain are not equals by any measure and their positions and capabilities are quite distinct and different. Setting aside the disagreements on issues, solutions and capability, it is the character and integrity of the candidates that matter most to me. Even though I do not and cannot agree with John McCain's positions on matters critical to our nation, i.e., energy independence, immigration, national security, the economy, education and so on, it is the lack character and integrity reflected in his campaign that distresses me so, for it is a clear reflection of the man. Today my phone line and email have been inundated with complaints of California voters who have been called by the McCain campaign with false statements and lies about Mitt Romney, calls stating Mitt supports abortion or amnesty. These dishonest characteristics were also employed in Florida as well. Conjunctive with the recent backroom deal to hijack the West Virginia election process reflect accurately upon John McCain, an individual without honor, integrity and honesty. I have pondered the nature of those who support Mr. McCain and how it is that he can find enough people to lie on his behalf. What is it that drives them? Is it their ignorance and their blindness to his duplicity? Is it power? Is it compulsion and fear? Most likely, all of the above! Even so, I don't know if we will ever know for sure. But this I do know, John McCain is no Mitt Romney. I have known Mitt for a few years and I know him as a man of honor and integrity, committed to a righteous cause for the right reasons. Ann Romney stated early in the campaign, "we will never embarrass you," and they continue to keep that promise.

The Republican race is very competitive and Mitt continues to run a campaign that reflects who he is, a man of honor and integrity, while John McCain runs a dirty and dishonest campaign, again a reflection of the man that he is. I find it also interesting that because of his incapacities and failings in things that matter, John McCain has resorted to the tactics that he has, a win at any cost approach. It will not work! I have faith in the people of this nation and my further hope is that America will finally see John McCain for who he is and what he represents. California will lead the way and deliver a decisive victory for Mitt today.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Leadership and Electability Indices

An interesting comparative between the four leading candidates in the Republican and Democratic Presidential races. John McCain claims to be the leader of our day, because he led a Naval Squadron of 400 men for patriotism, not profit. He further claims that Mitt Romney is just a manager and not a leader. Senator McCain does compliment Senator Clinton stating that she would be a "good" President of the US, a claim he is unwilling to make of any Republican candidates. Given the claims of John McCain, and the similar claims of his soul mate Hillary Clinton, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to compare the leadership qualities of each candidate. Bear in mind, the criteria reflects my opinions, with hoped for objectivity. As a foundational point, I believe that leadership qualifications demand experience, be it private, public or philanthropic, with a marginally greater emphasis on the private sector over the public sector. Additionally, there had to be a standard for comparative purposes. Given the breadth of Mitt Romney's experience in all sectors (private, public and philanthropic), he is identified as the standard to which all others are compared. Effectively, Mitt Romney's index is 248, Barack Obama is 150, Hillary Clinton is 82 and John McCain is at 50. The conclusion being that Romney and Obama have the greater leadership skills and experience, while Clinton and McCain are similar and less experienced in leadership and the skill sets attributable to leadership.

John McCain claims that he is more electable in the Republican Party and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton each make the same claim for the Democratic Party. Below is an interesting Electability Index wherein the greater delta between the candidates indicate stronger contrasts between each candidate. At the end of each spectrum, you have Mitt Romney as the conservative with an index of 273 and Barack Obama as the more liberal with an index of 2. John McCain would be more proximate to the liberal spectrum (moderate to liberal) with an index of 84 while Hillary Clinton is nearly competitive with Obama, having an index of 5. The point of electability wrests in the greater contrast between the conservative and liberal candidates. With Romney at 273 and Clinton and Obama at 5 and 2, respectively, Mitt Romney would draw a greater contrast and thus appeal to an electorate that is like minded. John McCain, with an index of 84 and nearer to the Clinton and Obama indices would not contrast as well, thus leaving an electorate to choose candidates that are like minded. In McCain's case, his campaign against Clinton and Obama would be less idealogical (given the similarity of positions) and based more upon personality. Against Obama, McCain would appear old, less energetic, less capable in debates and far less charismatic. A McCain - Clinton comparative would be difficult, again because of little contrast on ideology and more an election of similarity, leaving a flip of the coin to who might prevail. A Romney campaign against Clinton and Obama would be distinct and based upon primarily on ideology and capability.

When both indices are employed, leadership and electability, in head to head contests, Romney vs Clinton or Obama, and McCain vs Clinton or Obama, the contrasts are clear. Romney holds the leadership card with ideology and experience that significantly contrasts with Clinton and Obama. It has been said when you put a straight stick next to a crooked stick, the crooked stick seems more crooked. By these measures, Romney would beat Hillary Clinton in a head to head contest. A Romney - Obama contest would be more competitive, but based upon the indices it would appear that Romney carries the advantage, and again wins the day. Alternatively, considering both indices, a McCain - Clinton matchup would produce an uncertain victor (anybody's guess), but given the Clinton machine, a likely Clinton victory; while a McCain - Obama contest would clearly favor Obama. In fact, Obama would far outpace John McCain leaving a repeat of the Dole demise.

None of these points have taken into consideration the financial capabilities of the 4 remaining candidates. Three are competitive with each other in financial resources and John McCain is severely handicapped with significantly fewer financial resources than the other three.

Notwithstanding the assessment above, each can draw their own conclusions. However, it seems readily apparent that Mitt Romney has the greater leadership experience and skill sets, and holds more consistently to the conservative principles of the Republican Party. As has been written, the heart and soul of the Republican Party is threatened with McCain and assured with Romney. Likewise, the Republican Party has a strong opportunity to win the general election with a Romney nomination. As much as McCain can protest his position as the front runner and likely nominee, it is without substance and shallow in its foundation. Saying it doesn't make it so!

Disclosure: As a Romney supporter, I have tried to be objective in this assessment. If not, I apologize, and would suggest that you can discount the indices to satisfy the perceived bias. Even discounted, Romney stands much stronger than McCain, Clinton and Obama.