Friday, February 8, 2008

Water Under the Bridge

I suspect I'm not the only one who was furious about Mitt Romney's attack adds. I think his attacks against Huckabee were, if not for the most part fraudulent, at least extreme spin.

But at this point, considering Romney has suspended his campaign, I think it best that we consider his previous attacks "water under the bridge." Let's give Romney the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he made those attacks because he sincerely thought he was the best person to serve as president; Just as Mike Huckabee sincerely believes he is the best person to serve. Let's choose to believe Mitt was just fighting for that chance to serve the best way he knew, rather than out of any animus for Mike Huckabee.

Looking at the declared platforms of Romney and Huckabee, they have a lot in common. Solid national security (including border security), lower taxes, smaller government, energy independence for America, preserving family values, etc. That's why I would have much rather seen the final race come down to Romney vs Huckabee, rather than either against McCain; but that too is water under the bridge.

With all the similarity, and the fact that Romney's campaign and pundits were speculating that Romney and Huckabee were "splitting the conservative vote", it seems clear what Romney's likely tactic was. Try to convince voters Huckabee was a "tax and spend liberal", and thus siphon off conservatives to himself; while splitting some liberals/"moderates" from McCain to Huckabee.

Again, although I can't say I approve of such methods, I'm trying to give Romney the benefit of the doubt on the matter of his motives. If his motives had been of a hostile nature, he'd probably still be in the race.

I think one of the things that motivated him to withdraw, was reading the results of many exit polls. These polls indicated two extremely relevant points. First, that although McCain's support came more from liberals/moderates and Romney's and from conservatives; Huckabee's support came not from moderates to any noticeable degree, but from conservatives; and that those identifying themselves as extremely conservative mainly supported Mike Huckabee.

The second relevant point from the exit polls was that Huckabee voters were likely to have McCain as second choice (rather than Romney) and vice versa. Since the base support of McCain and Huckabee were at opposite ends of the spectrum; it should be obvious that it was not similarity of positions that made the second choice, but a dislike for the Romney attacks. Again, now water under the bridge.

I even suspect there were some conservatives who voted for McCain, but really liked Huckabee; and did so because, as an unintended result of the interaction of multiple instances of pundit spin, they had been convinced that "a vote for Huckabee a vote for [Romney]".

That brings us now to a point where we have a race between a barely Republican front runner John McCain and tenacious underdog Mike Huckabee as the defender of a platform mostly shared by everyone from Mitt Romney to Fred Thompson to Duncan Hunter and others with at least a serious claim to conservatism.

Now pundits say a McCain nomination is inevitable. I want to know; is this is more or less inevitable than the Hillary Clinton nomination was before Obama started getting all those delegates?

Yes, I saw Karl Rove lay it out mathematically on the FoxNews channel. He said Huckabee would need about 83% of the remaining delegates in play, to win a majority before the convention. It does seem that would take a major miracle. But Mike Huckabee has been counted out so many times and been the brunt of so many attacks from pundits supporting other candidates that the fact he's still standing is in itself a miracle.

Rove then pointed out that McCain only needed 40% of the remaining delegates for majority. But the obvious converse of that is that Huckabee (with a small % assist from enthusiastic gadfly Ron Paul) only needs 60% to stop McCain from getting a majority and force a "brokered convention." Considering which states are left in the rest of the primary season, if conservative would simply be willing to consider past campaigning "water under the bridge" and honestly examine Huckabee's real achievements and positions unfiltered by past preferences; then achieving that 60% chance of stopping McCain's liberal express becomes a fairly minor miracle after all.

Now while I really want to see Huckabee get that 83% and be the presidential nominee; and while I'm positive Mike is fighting for that nomination rather than VP; I'd settle for getting to a brokered convention where Huckabee could end up in either the top or second slot, but where we could get both filled by at least a 90% conservative. When it comes to the highest office in the land, I'm sorry Senator McCain, but a supposed 83% rating from one group just isn't enough.

To sum up a probably much too long article: There may have been a lot of water under the bridge; but I'm convinced there's still enough water upstream to sail a conservative ship of state; especially if we have a skipper like Mike Huckabee, and potential shipmates like Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Duncan Hunter, and their compatriots and supporters.

Related Posts:
"Duncan Hunter Endorses Mike Huckabee" - 2008.01.23
"Limbaugh's Logic Proves Huckabee Lowered Tax Rates" - 2008.01.15
"Will McCain-Feingold be the Elephant in the GOP Room?" - 2008.01.04
"Huckabee Shows Fiscal Conservatism" - 2007.12.14
"Kudos to Romney on Faith Speech!" - 2007.12.07
"A Candidate with Moral Clarity" - 2007.11.20
"No Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion" - 2007.11.17
"Where Mike Huckabee is Wrong... (but it's 'alright') " - 2007.11.05


Lucca Brazzi said...

I will never forget what Huck has do in his attempt to get the nomaination. If his actions are the reflections of what makes a good Christian then maybe it's time I look for a new faith.

The 'Huckster' wiil always be Greg Stillson to me.

Vradic said...

I'd like to know what you think Huckabee did that you "will never forget".

The thing I've heard some Romney supporters objecting to is just that Mike stayed in the race instead of backing out and supporting Romney.

I've also heard false anti-Mormon accusations. Those are totally untrue. Check what Huckabee said himself, and you'll see he never made that an issue.

If there are any trying to elect Huckabee as some kind of national pastor, it's a tiny minority smaller than the number of people actually voting for Ron Paul.

I appreciate your feelings at having your candidate suspend his campaign. I tried to avoid blaming Mitt in my article, but I wonder if you've been influenced by exactly the type of untruths I'm trying to view as water under the bridge.

Anonymous said...

I am so amazed by your article. The negative ads that Romney ran against Huckabee in Iowa were based on the issues only. They were negative only in explaining differences the two candidates have in the issues.

Mike Hucakbee, in my opinion, attacked Romney the person when he said that Mormons believe that Satan is Jesus's brother. Those were not the only Mormon views that he distorted. I am also aware that he went to Salt Lake City in 1998 to preach against the Mormons.

Romney, on the other hand, never once made any negative comments about Huckabee personally, especially not about his faith.

When it comes to dirty politics, I think what Huckabee did was far worse. Yet he likes to take the "holier than thou" position by complaining that Romney started it. So is Huckabee saying that his attacks against Romeny were for revenge?

I personally believe that Huckabee would make a great president for Southern Evangelicals. However, I fear that he and his supporters have alienated some others not of his religion (Mormons, Jews, catholics).

Your article talks about "water under the bridge" in an attempt to unite all conservatives. I too, would love to see this happen, but I'm afraid the more accurate phrase to use is "burned bridges". In this tough primary, it appears that is what has been done.

Vradic said...

As to the "anonymous" assertion that Romney's ads against Huckabee "were based on issues only"; I'm afraid that since they included false facts, I'd still have to put them in the category of attack ads.

Now whether Romney himself knew the claims in his ads were false, I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.

In the same way, I hope you would give Huckabee the benefit of the doubt concerning his question about Satan and Jesus being considered brothers in Mormon doctrine.

That initially bothered me too, but I immediately checked it, and true or not, I found a widespread discussion of this as a Mormon belief WELL BEFORE HUCKABEE asked about it.

I also checked and found out he really was asking a question and not making a statement. It seems the reporter who was interviewing him knew a lot more about the Mormon religion than Huckabee, and Mike was curious, having heard that brought up before.

I strongly urge Romney supporters to check the facts on Huckabee's history against the Romney campaigns assertions (especially on fiscal issues), before denying they were "attack ads".

carrie wigal said...

I came across this sunday school lesson put out by the Church of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormon Church). After having read through it, it seems to me that there's a clear reference to Jesus as being a brother to Lucifer (aka Satan). This is not an attack. This is an observation. Asking the question, "do Mormons believe that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers?" is a completely reasonable question, especially after reading this. How is asking that question an attack?

My impression is that the idea of Jesus and Lucifer being brothers goes against common knowledge about Jesus and the Devil. Therefore instead of researching to find out what the Mormon doctrine teaches, people automatically assume it is not part of the Mormon doctrine and therefore is a lie. But what if it is part of the Mormon doctrine? If it's true, would it still be considered an "attack" on the Mormon faith or a person's beliefs? No, instead it would just be pointing out one of the points of doctrine in the Mormon faith.

All that aside, Huckabee has been very clear about not seeking to exploit his faith or anyone else's for that matter, so it is a moot point.

One other thing on this point of contention between some Romney-supporters and Huckabee...look at who is distorting this exchange between Huckabee and the interviewer. The Media. They are the same people who tried to incite contention at the debates...asking questions, trying to bait the candidates to attack one another. Time and time again, Huckabee would not "go there". The media is intentionally trying to cause dissension within the party. So, people need to redirect their anger.

The media needs to just do their job: report the news and LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE!

anonymous from before said...

I feel like I need to clear something up regarding the 'Satan as Jesus's brother' argument. I too referenced that same Sunday school lesson that Carrie did.

Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe that we are all spritual children of our Heavenly Father. We had agency even before we came to earth. Before any of us came to earth, there was a council in heaven where Satan and his followers put forth their argument that he (Satan) should be the ruler over all of us. For this, Satan was cast out from heaven and became the spirit we know as the devil. (please reference Isaiah 14:12-13 and Luke 10:18). The rest of the spirits include all of us who chose to follow Jesus's plan and come to earth and gain a physical body.

We believe that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of our Heavenly Father. Not Satan, nor any of us. However, we all are spiritual children of the Father. So, I suppose, that in the broad sense that Jesus is our brother, I guess you could say that Satan is His brother as well. This is a very obscure point, and not ever even mentioned in Mormon meetings or teachings. That is why Huckabee's comments struck so many Mormons as so strange.

Having said that, me and my Mormon friends have a hard time believing that Huckabee's question was innocent. I think this is mostly due to the fact that he came to Salt Lake City in 1998 as part of a Southern Baptist anti-mormon mission, and preached against the Mormons. This leaves the impression that he knows more about us than he let on in that interview. Is it possible that he knew enough to slickly ask that question, especially when he knew it would incite so much anti-mormon rhetoric?

Maybe the reason why Mormons are so skeptical of him is that almost all of the anti-mormon literature that exists is written by evangelicals. Most of it is a distortion, or inaccurate representation of the truth. So can you understand why Mormons would have a hard time supporting someone whom they feel can't respect them because of their beliefs? Are we supposed to vote for him and then go on living with anti-mormon sentiment? Don't we want a president who doesn't alienate any group of people soley based on their religious beliefs?

Let me say that I have a great deal of respect for Huckabee as I do for all evangelicals. I lived in the South for 3 years and loved the associations I had with the evangelicals there. We actually have more in common than most would think. Especially the desire to be Christ-like.

I really hope that we can get past all of this bigotry talk. It is hurtful to both relgions. I hate reading the slander coming from both sides on the blogs. I just wish there could be more understanding and more civility, and therefore, I will try to give Huckabee the benefit of the doubt regarding his statement.

I'm sure Mitt Romney would be the first to admit that he isn't perfect either, and probably regrets a lot of the attack ads by his campaign.

When it comes down to it, people just need to vote for whom they feel in their heart is the best candidate. Personally, I will be looking for someone whom I feel can unite this country, and get past all of the divisions among various groups. Maybe Obama?

Vradic said...

I agree at least with the "anonymous" comments that we need to put the bickering behind us and be united.

(That puts us both of us in disagreement with Rush Limbaugh, whose biggest beef with Mike Huckabee seems to be that he doesn't poke liberals in the eye enough)

As to "Obama", however, I hope you meant that as a joke. We need someone who will take us UP using conservative solutions, not someone who will take us down the same type of socialist road to ruin that collapsed the Soviet Union.

As to the "faith" question, I really don't want Huckabee for my preacher, I want him for President. While there are things in the Mormon religion I don't agree with, I also disagree with some things Baptists (such as Huckabee) teach.

I think it's appropriate that people of different faiths discuss and teach points where they believe other religions are in error. But I think it's important to do so in love, not in hate.

After all, if there is a God and he has a way he wants us to follow, (and I certainly believe there is and he has) then I believe we show love for each other by sharing our knowledge in a civil manner, in hopes that we might all find favor with our Creator.

(and while on the subject of religion)

anon. again said...

I agree with all of your comments, even the part about Limbaugh. I have always found him and most of the talk show conservatives to be too extreme.

Thank you for the reference to I checked out the site, and have to say that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe those same principals as well.

While we're sharing websites, please check out

And best wishes to your candidate and all of his supporters.