Monday, June 9, 2008

Why McCain Should Choose Huckabee

In my previous post I argued that McCain needed a strong running mate as his choice and that his choice is much more important than Obama's. I then argued that the two best choices for McCain would be Louisiana's Governor, Bobby Jindal and former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee. I also received a suggestion for Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin. She would also make a fine choice but I don't know enough about her to argue for or against her. To her supporters I do apologize. On the surface she looks like she'd be great running mate as well.

Yes I will openly admit by bias towards Mike Huckabee. I've supported him and his efforts for the past eleven months. However my opinion that he would be a better choice than Bobby Jindal for McCain's running mate is not based on that bias. There is nothing wrong with Bobby Jindal. I like him a lot! He is definitely a rising star within the Republican Party, one of several Republicans trying to change the GOP's brand into something much better for the people and for our Nation. Some people and pundits have said that Jindal is too young compared to how old McCain is. This to me is irrelevant.

The state of Louisiana still needs Bobby Jindal. The Pelican State is just beginning its new day after years of corruption under the Democratic party. Before last year's revolution (that Jindal led), Louisiana was one of the last states swill part of the "Solid South." While voting for Republicans for President, Democrats dominated state politics (only Arkansas and West Virginia are left in that boat today). Jindal is cleaning up the corruption but some of it still exists. Wonder why Governor Huckabee never visited The Pelican State to campaign before their primary? As a neighbor to the north he knew the books were still cooked and indeed they were. On February 9th Huckabee won the popular vote in Louisiana's primary but because he did not win a 50% plurality he received no delegates and McCain won them at a convention later.

The people of Louisiana need Jindal to stick around a little bit longer. I don't know if there is anyone that he could pass the torch to within his party. In fact the Jindal Revolution could be fought back and crushed without him to lead it. The people of the Pelican state deserve better.

Now why do I think Governor Mike Huckabee is a perfect choice for McCain's running mate? In a campaign strategy presentation the McCain camp is more worried about attracting Independents and Democrats instead of clinching the support from his base. While this appears to be the right strategy on the surface, I don't think having someone that could appeal to both Indies (& Reagan Democrats) as well as the conservative base at the same time. Governor Huckabee could be that perfect choice! Behind McCain, Huckabee came in 2nd with Indies during the Primary season (of course McCain won them).

McCain/Huckabee would be a maverick ticket with both of them caring more about the American people and what's best of our nation instead of what is best for their party. These are also two candidates who know how to work together with the Democrats to make things work. Regardless of how you think about McCain and what he has done in the Senate he has reached across the aisle many times to get things done. Governor Huckabee served with a largely Democratic state legislature for his 10 years in Arkansas. He knew how to get things done and work together for the greater good of the Razorback State.

Also while a bunch a bologna, the media driven perception is that Mike Huckabe is not a conservative. However, Huck mobilized conservatives and others so much that he was able to win a bunch of states on a shoestring budget fueled by passion more than greenbacks. This army of passionate volunteers is waiting for the call from John McCain and at the exact moment Huck is chosen will mobilize with great speed. There are thousands of soldiers in "Hucks Army" (I am one of them) ready to hit the streets to wave signs, knock on doors, make thousands of phone calls, raise money, and whatever else we are needed to do to achieve victory (which is obviously what McCain wants). I am sure some of us will mobilize no matter what but the best way to energize and mobilize us is to pick Huck or someone like him. Remember Bush's success in 2004 was an energized base and the same base that he energized is the same base that supported Mike Huckabee with such vigor. If McCain doesn't work to get their support he'll have to find another group to energize and that doesn't seem like something he is good at.

It is possible for John McCain to have his cake and eat it too. Not only will he be able to appeal to Independent voters and Reagan Democrats with a maverick ticket, He will gain a base of energized support from the Conservative base. I think it is his best shot, and the best shot the GOP has at playing damage control in races down the ticket. Otherwise it may not be pretty for McCain or his party.


Ted said...

From something I recently read:

"Mike Huckabee is a candidate whose campaign was almost as tenacious as Hillary Clinton's He's chronically underestimated by the national media. However, it's hard to see what he could bring to the ticket that Sarah Palin can't.

"She's just as "Christian" as Mike, but has less of a tendency to wear it on her sleeve. Also, she has pro-life credentials (having opted to give birth to a Down Syndrome child) that no other politician can match."

Jason Kersey said...

Problem with that is, Huckabee isn't conservative! Or he isn't that conservative. Check his record while he was governor of Arkansas, and you'll find a record full of raised taxes and expanded government. Romney or Jindal are the right choices.

Tact_Prez said...

Great points, I agree. Think about the voting bases: fiscal minded voters will almost for certain "hold their noses" and vote pragmatically (for McCain), but the social voters are sticklers and will be a tough sell without a star player like Huckabee. And, history has proved that the evangelical/social voting base is critical for a Republican to win the office. So Huckabee would bring a huge asset to the ticket, because he would undoubtedly draw social/evangelical conservatives to the cause. Also, this is why Romney would NOT work. He who singly pushed for state funding of abortion, got gay marriage made in MA, etc, etc... he would be a huge deterrent to the same voters. Finally, we need good governors like Jindal. Huckabee's the choice, my friends.

Sign the Huckabee for VP petition at!

Larry Perrault said...

First about Jindal and Palin: Both come from states that McCain will win, anyway. Frankly, he may well win Arkansas, too, assuming he picked SOME conservative VP. Both Jindal and Palin are budding Republican stars and of course, Jindal is Asian and Palin is a woman. She might have been more helpful had Hillary won the Democratic nomination: in pictures alone, Hillary would pale in comparison. And Palin is bright, sober, diligent and conservative.

Frankly, I predict that both Jindal and Palin WILL be on a national ticket within eight years. But, both will fare better after they have ripened on the public vine for at least a full term. And, you are right that Jindal is needed in Louisiana, where frankly he is happy to be for now.

Now, about Huckabee. Let's be honest. As to his conservatism, Huckabee's problem isn't the media. His problem is very viscerally-driven conservatives who were set off by 1) the disingenuous political attacks of The Club for Growth, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson; and 2) Huckabee's so-called "populist rhetoric that spoke of "Main Street more than Wall Street," average people, and his addressing of and support by traditionally Democratic constituencies like minorities and unions.

These fears are misguided. I am a lifelong philosophical conservative and Huckabee was in fact, the most intellectually conservative of al of the candidates, save Ron Paul, who obviously had a problem with a practically anachronistic foreign policy.

To begin with, conservatives must believe in their philosophy enough to take it to EVERYONE. And secondly, Huckabee is exactly right when he says that if Republicans do not appeal to these constituencies, they can look forward to a long time in the minority. Especially in the case of appealing to Main Street voters more than Wall Street voters: the former outnumber the latter more than 10 to 1!

But, notice how Huckabee does it. He does not propose government solutions that will not work and do more harm than good, especially at the federal level.

He signed the no new federal taxes pledge. Cynics called that political pragmatism. But, Huckabee knows and said that the federal government does not need more money, AND that there are appropriate state and federal functions: a Governor, remember?

Huckabee also doesn't pick unnecessary fights, but takes the debate in a positive direction. For example, when asked about the environment or global warming specifically, Huckabee talks about human stewardship of creation and improving energy Independence. Global warming is a contrived political crock! But why, particularly as a politician, get into an arcane science debate? This is just one example.

Robert Novak admitted during the campaign that while social conservatives pulled The Republican Party out of the minority with Reagan, it raised a problem that they might one day want to nominate one of their own. And, it's true both that without them Republicans are likely headed back to the minority, and also that social conservatives provide the campaign elbow grease, getting out the vote, stuffing envelopes and knocking on doors.

McCain must have this and Huckabee would provide it. But, I acknowledge that these visceral conservatives and also bitter LDS people in The West must be resolved to Huckabee. Huckabee must be given that assignment and he has the mind and the character to do it, himself.

Larry Perrault


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