A new Des Moines Register poll, conducted November 25-28 of 500 likely Iowa GOP Iowa caucus participants and 500 likely Iowa Democrat caucus participants, now exactly one month away, showed new presidential candidate leaders for both parties:
Democrat strategist Susan Estrich says Huckabee's rise is due to GOP weakness. I wouldn't be sure how that translates had I not read Robert Novak's column last week, which I'll excerpt next....
Estrich says Huckabee's appeal to "right tail of the right tail of the Republican party" will be out of step with mainstream America in the general. She uses Huckabee's support of a flat tax and privatizing Social Security as examples.
I disagree. Steve Forbes and President Bush began the ripening process on these issues. I'd say they're ripe, if Huckabee has the ability to overcome Democrat fear-mongering and get through to the people
Estrich, understandably, overlooked Huckabee's two true weak spots. As a liberal she's pro-illegal immigration and pro-tax-and-spend, so she either doesn't get that America is anti-both, or she's trying to ignore it. As governor Huckabee supported in-state college tuition credits to illegals and "increased the Arkansas tax burden by 47%" during his 10-1/2 year tenure, according to Novak. (On the latter it helps that he has signed the ATR tax pledge.) He also supported the recent Democrat-driven SCHIP funding increase, clearly a back door attempt to increase socialist health care in the U.S.
Excerpt from Novak column, November 26:
The rise of evangelical Christians as the motive force that blasted the GOP out of minority status during the past generation always contained an inherent danger if these new Republican acolytes supported not merely a conventional conservative but one of their own. That has happened now with Huckabee, a former Baptist minister educated at Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The danger is a serious contender for the nomination who passes the litmus test of social conservatives on abortion, gay marriage and gun control but is far removed from the conservative-libertarian model of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.
A couple other interesting asides....
Here's a CBS story on Mike Huckabee's friendship with Dick Morris, which has been and may be a working relationship, according to Politico. Although Morris has noted Huckabee's rise, I thought he was a Giuliani guy.
And Andrew Sullivan thinks Obama and Huckabee's surges are related:
What do they have in common? Huckabee is a conservative whose character appeals to liberals; Obama is a liberal whose temperament appeals to conservatives.
I think Sullivan's got it wrong. As for conservatives, we're eager for a fighter who will buck the status quo.
I think both candidates are appealing to the base of their party as well as to the all-important moderates/independents who are either left- or right-leaning and who don't like animus.
Also, for all their political quirks, both Huckabee and Obama appear genuine. This is where a match-up would prove Huckabee a winner. He is. Obama is a poser.
[Photo credits: Huckabee playing bass at an October Iowa fundraiser, Los Angeles Times; Obama playing with a baby he would have rather seen killed several months prior, Scott Morgan/Getty]
Obama playing with a baby he would have rather seen killed several months prior
LOL, You so crazy, Jill. You know damn well pro-choice people don't prefer that women abort their pregnancies. If a woman wants to have a baby, that's wonderful.Posted by: tp at December 3, 2007 8:52 AM
Novak is usually a pretty good writer but he seems to have gone off the deep end here. So we should now be afraid of someone who passes the litmus test of abortion, gay marriage and gun control? Weird . . .
This is the third poll in a row that shows Huckabee increasing his lead. It's time to panic in the Romney campaign offices.Posted by: Andrew at December 3, 2007 9:45 AM
"LOL, You so crazy, Jill. You know damn well pro-choice people don't prefer that women abort their pregnancies."
Really? I wouldn't know, I don't think they mind either way.....kill a baby? no sweat of off a pro-choicers back.Posted by: jasper at December 3, 2007 10:29 AM
One wise thing the Republicans are doing is backing off the abortion issue.
The Kansas GOP sent out a missive telling their candidates to drop it altogether as nobody cares, and it's not a "winning issue":
In Kansas, GOP abandons abortion focus
And party leaders suggest that conservative candidates do the same, saying the issue could alienate voters nowadays.
By Stephanie Simon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 1, 2007
It would seem an ideal time for Kansas politicians opposed to abortion to push that agenda, hard. The state's two biggest clinics are under criminal indictment, and two grand juries will soon convene to consider additional charges.
But as the political season revs up, the executive director of the Kansas Republican Party has issued a stern warning to his fellow conservatives: Abortion is not a winning issue.
"This is not something that the Kansas GOP is going to go out and lead on," Christian Morgan said.
Morgan said that he and his party remain firmly opposed to abortion. Most Republican voters in Kansas feel the same, he said. But Morgan also believes that those voters are fed up with years of fruitless political and legal maneuvering aimed at driving abortion clinics out of business. They would much prefer to see an all-out focus on curbing illegal immigration or cutting taxes, he said.
In an e-mail rebuffing an antiabortion activist who asked for more GOP support, Morgan explained: "My job is to win elections. . . . Your agenda does not fit my agenda."
The hands-off stance frustrates Cheryl Sullenger, a leader of the antiabortion group Operation Rescue. "They're turning their back on the grass roots," she said. "All you're going to see from this is defeat."
Abortion dominated the political debate in Kansas last year, especially in the race for attorney general. The incumbent, Republican Phill Kline, was hailed as a hero by abortion foes for subpoenaing patient medical records in an attempt to build a criminal case against abortion clinics. He was soundly defeated by Democrat Paul J. Morrison, who vowed to back off the clinic prosecutions.
This election cycle, "there's a sense of 'Let's move on,' " said Alesha Doan, a political scientist at the University of Kansas.
Candidates risk a backlash, Doan said, if they're too closely associated with the efforts to pin criminal charges on abortion doctors. "At some point, a line is crossed, and you're no longer just expressing your opinion and trying to do God's work. Now you're harassing, and voters say, 'We don't want to be part of that,' " Doan said.
Though the political rhetoric may be muted, the legal battle is intensifying.
Morrison declined to pursue the most serious charges Kline had laid out against abortion doctor George Tiller of Wichita, Kan. Morrison did, however, file 19 misdemeanor counts against Tiller, alleging that he failed to get an independent second opinion before aborting viable fetuses.
Tiller, who denies wrongdoing, is one of just a few physicians in the country to take late-term patients; he has reported aborting more than 2,600 viable fetuses in the last decade. His trial is set for March 31.
Meanwhile, Kline, newly appointed district attorney of a suburban county, has pursued a criminal case against a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic near Kansas City.
In October, a judge reviewed Kline's evidence and found probable cause to proceed with 107 charges, including 23 felonies. Among the allegations: illegally aborting late-term fetuses; failing to determine viability; and keeping false or incomplete records.
Planned Parenthood's regional executive, Peter Brownlie, called the charges "baseless and bogus." The clinic's website advertises abortions at up to 23½ weeks gestation -- a point at which at least some fetuses would be viable -- but Brownlie said that for several years his doctors had turned away any patient past 22 weeks. Under Kansas law, no viability test is required before 22 weeks.
On a separate track from the criminal cases, antiabortion activists have taken advantage of a Kansas law allowing citizens, not just prosecutors, to convene grand juries. This fall, they collected enough signatures to set up two juries: one to study Tiller and the other to examine Planned Parenthood.
Tiller tried to block the process, calling it harassment, but the Kansas Supreme Court ruled this week that the 15-member grand jury must be impaneled.
Both grand juries will probably scrutinize patient records to check compliance with Kansas law, which says a viable fetus can be aborted only when two independent physicians agree that the mother would face "substantial and irreversible" harm to "a major bodily function" if she continued the pregnancy.
Nationally, some politicians have tried to make an issue out of the Kansas clinics' legal troubles. Twelve U.S. senators recently cited the criminal case against Planned Parenthood as reason to revoke more than $300 million in federal tax money the nonprofit receives for non-abortion care, such as cancer screening and birth-control counseling.
A coalition of 60 conservative advocacy groups, including Focus on the Family and Americans United for Life, echoed that call in a letter mailed to every member of Congress.
But on the stump in Kansas, Republican candidates are largely following Morgan's advice to steer clear of an issue that has the potential to alienate as many voters as it inspires.
"Right now it's halftime at the 2008 election and what we've been doing isn't working," Morgan said. "It's time to change it up a bit."
email@example.comPosted by: Laura at December 3, 2007 10:58 AM
Why the hell is Romney getting so much support? I have seen him in debates, he's such an idiot! He often can't answer anything asked of him with any degree of conviction, stability, or logic.
If anybody is a flip-flopper...Posted by: prettyinpink at December 3, 2007 11:16 AM
In the youtube debate McCain totally owned him on the torture question.Posted by: prettyinpink at December 3, 2007 11:21 AM
If you look at Romney's record, he is has been a consultant and an analyst for businesses. The company he began and ran manages $40 billion in assets. So he knows how to run a big enterprise effectively. He would be a great asset fiscally. On other than economic issues, I don't really know. He would probably be great at overseeing the nuts and bolts of creating a national health care plan because he knows how to finance things and not lose money, which would be critical to any health care system. Does that make him best for president? Well, I don't know, but he definitely has some things to offer. The WSJ said basically what you say that he can't answer a question. Interestingly they said from anyone else it would be silly, but Romney really is an analyst type who doesn't make snap decisions. He looks over tons of data and then formulates his plan. That was their opinion, but it is an interesting insight into how he thinks.
I didn't know too much about Obama so I looked up his voting record. He sponsored 91 bills of which one passed. I am not an expert on what percent of bills usually pass but one out of 91 sounds kind of low. I also found that he voted present a lot when he was in Illinois. I don't know about you, but if we elect a legislator to vote, he should vote even if a bill will pass without him or won't pass with him. He voted present on the Born Alive Infants Protection bill that even NARAL didn't oppose. I mean wouldn't even lift a finger to help a baby that has already been born alive.
You have to be able to work with other people to be successful and in politics that includes the other team. That is why people like Huckabee because he was successful working with democrats in a democrat state.
I am interested in what others know about these candidates, too, since I really know little about any of them.Posted by: hippie at December 3, 2007 1:33 PM
Jill: man, if people get mad at your description of that picture, let's hope they don't head over to my journal ;)Posted by: Nathan Will Sheets at December 3, 2007 4:38 PM
AGH! why so much support for Romney!! Please God do not let him get elected...
I think A Huckabee/Obama race would be interesting, though first each needs the nomination, and Iowa is only one state.
Well, we'll see what happens.Posted by: Dan at December 3, 2007 5:39 PM
"Obama playing with a baby he would have rather seen killed"
that's real nice.
I think you're right though, both appear very genuine, and Americans (I hope) will go for that.
I'm beginning to think Obama is going to make it. No republican looks like they have a chance.Posted by: hal at December 3, 2007 9:00 PM
My point about Obama is can he work well with folks who don't agree with him? He got one out of 91 bills through the senate. Does he know how to effectively compromise? Up to now, has he been sheltered and groomed by the party? I don't know, but it looks like it could be. Huckabee seems like Ron Paul in that he is a stepchild in the party. Guiliani and Romney are the darlings of the republican influence peddlers, that is why they have so much money. Most influence peddlers have moved on to the democrat party because they think the pendulum is swinging that way because of the war. They sure as heck don't want to be out in the cold. I don't think the rich care if dems or reps win as long as they have access to the politicians with the power to do them favors. We see that now as the dem congress is outdoing the republicans in corporate welfare.Posted by: hippie at December 3, 2007 10:12 PM
I wouldn't mind an Obama/Huckabee run either, because Huckabee is one of the better ones.Posted by: prettyinpink at December 3, 2007 11:30 PM
PIP, it could be Obama versus Huckabee..who knows?
Yesterday I was hearing people on the radio saying that those two candidates are liked because they're straightforward about what they think, with a lot less BS than other candidates.Posted by: Doug at December 4, 2007 8:23 AM
Huckabee supports the Fair Tax, not the Flat Tax. Of the two, some sort of Flat Tax is the smarter way to go.Posted by: Connie at December 4, 2007 1:27 PM
Hi Connie. I like Huckabee's tax ideas. They may not be perfect, but I'd be willing to give them a shot.
My dad worked for the IRS for 33 years, and in his office he had the entire Tax Code. Huckabee has said it's 177,000 pages. Not sure of that, but it was in many volumes that occupied a shelf the entire length of the room.
DougPosted by: Doug at December 4, 2007 6:51 PM