Huckabee, the Strongest Nominee?

7 01 2008

Filed under: Huckabee, Politics, Christianity, Election, 2008

William Kristol has an op-ed in the NY Times today that addresses the realization that Gov. Huckabee might actually be the strongest nominee for the Republican party. Serious consideration must be given to a non-Hillary opponent in the national election this fall with Obama’s win in Iowa and now there is talk of Hillary withdrawing, though that’s unlikely. In the debate last Saturday night at St. Anselm College, each Republican candidate was asked why the nation should vote for them instead of Barack Obama, should they be the nominees.

The best answer came, not surprisingly, from the best Republican campaigner so far — Mike Huckabee. He began by calmly mentioning his and Obama’s contrasting views on issues from guns to life to same-sex marriage. This served to remind Republicans that these contrasts have been central to G.O.P. success over the last quarter-century, and to suggest that Huckabee could credibly and comfortably make the socially conservative case in an electorally advantageous way.

I was watching the debate at the home of a savvy, moderately conservative New Hampshire Republican. It was at this moment that he turned to me and said: “You know, I’ve been a huge skeptic about Huckabee. I’m still not voting for him Tuesday. But I’ve got to say — I like him. And I wonder — could he be our strongest nominee?”

If the Daily Kos thinks he would be devastating to their cause, that should be at least an indicator of his conservatism.

Now it’s true that many conservatives have serious doubts about Huckabee’s positions, especially on foreign policy, and his record, particularly on taxes. The conservative establishment is strikingly hostile to Huckabee — for both good and bad reasons. But voters seem to be enjoying making up their own minds this year. And Huckabee is a talented politician.

That he is.

The piece goes on to discuss the fact that some liberals have been salivating at the chance to run a Democrat nominee against Huckabee, assuming he’d be an easy win for them. They shouldn’t be. First, if Huckabee wins the nomination, he will have far more evangelical support nationwide than any Democrat. Second, Michael Bloomberg may run as an independent. And if he does, he will likely take votes more votes away from a Democrat than Huckabee. Third, the Republican party obviously underestimated Huckabee in 2007. The Democrats would only be hurting themselves if they made the same mistake in 2008.

Others: Captain Ed, Hot Air.

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