Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mike Huckabee Concedes With Honor

Mike Huckabee Concedes

Everyone associated with Mike Huckabee’s campaign for the presidency, regardless of their association, was honored to be a part of the effort. In the twelve months or so that I have been involved to one degree or another I have never met anyone who regretted in anyway working with Mike Huckabee on his campaign. Some college age young people worked full time for more than a year for free, in various states. One attorney left his practice to work full time without pay, and on the night Mike Huckabee conceded he had no regrets.

Over the past year I have met with Governor Huckabee numerous times, including a meeting with him shortly before he conceded on the night of March 4th. At no time did he show resentment or anger toward the other candidates. His positive attitude toward life and his love of God and country was evident to me in all that he did. Everyone that came in contact with Mike Huckabee was immediately struck by the honorable way in which he conducted himself at all times. My only regret is that I could not have dropped all that I was doing to work full time in his campaign.

During the campaign I was part of Team 100, the group of men who had promised to raise $100,000 each for the campaign. I actually fell short, raising just under $70,000. I regret that I was unable to raise twice or four times that amount. Mike Huckabee’s campaign was run with about 30 employees plus volunteers. Compare that to Hillary Clinton, who had hundreds of employees just in New Hampshire. Rudy Giuliani spent more than $40 million and won only one delegate. Mitt Romney spent nearly $90 million officially, for about as many delegates as Mike Huckabee won with about one tenth as much money spent. And Mitt Romney’s total does not include the millions of dollars he directed to third parties such as the Club for Growth to run a smear campaign against Gov. Huckabee.

If Mike Huckabee had won South Carolina he would have won the nomination; there is no doubt about that. He lost because those who should have been the most supportive of him abandoned their core beliefs to seek favor with those they thought would be in power. Most of America’s evangelical leaders supported a rich Mormon over a poor evangelical. They sought out the loud bandwagon leading the parade, instead of sticking with those committed to righteousness. Their support of Romney assured the victory of John McCain. There is now a wide disconnect between evangelical leaders and their grass roots. Most evangelicals in the pews were more interested in righteousness than their leaders were, and voted for Mike Huckabee. That could not have been more evident than in Texas where he received more than half a million votes, for 40%, despite the lack of support from men such as Rev. John Hagee who sold out to John McCain at the last minute to seek favor in a future White House. I have bad news for Rev. Hagee; all he did was to assist the Democrats in winning the White House.

John McCain’s mindset is still somewhere between the Nixon and Reagan administrations. He does not even think in this century. He won because of a bandwagon effect and there is no true enthusiasm for him within the party. As a Washington insider I can attest to the fact that there is a “this is the guy we are stuck with” attitude toward him.

I am writing this in Texas the day after Gov. Huckabee conceded the nomination. There is just no enthusiasm here for McCain either, not even among those who voted for him. In interviews many said they voted for McCain because he was “inevitable.” That is not the kind of support that can win an election in November. Twice as many were showing up at the polls to vote in the Democrat primary as in the Republican primary.

The outlook for November is bleak, unless ….

Unless John McCain looks at a map and realizes that that he needs to win not only the states, but the counties that Mike Huckabee won. Mike Huckabee could help John McCain carry southern states despite the huge black turnout there will be for Barack Obama. One way or another Obama will be on the Democrat ticket, either at the top or as the vice presidential nominee; that is inevitable. If McCain does as Senator Dole before him and picks a relatively unknown congressman as a running mate his fate will be the same as Bob Dole’s.

There is also the matter of temperament. John McCain is known throughout Washington, DC for his volatile temper. Having a more temperate running mate such as Mike Huckabee would help to relieve fears that he would be fast to the trigger in international disputes. Americans are not presently keen to any new armed conflicts. There is also the matter of age. McCain is twenty years older than Huckabee. Many have fears that he will not run again in 2012 at age 76, even if he wins in 2008. A young, strong conservative such as Mike Huckabee in the vice presidency would give people confidence of a continuum.

I see little hope for Republicans in November without Mike Huckabee on the Republican ticket with John McCain unless another running mate with all of Mike’s attributes can be found.

William J. Murray


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