The Campaign Spot

Assessing Huckmentum After Mike Huckabee’s Win at the FRC Summit

During the Family Research Council’s summit Friday and Saturday I got to meet some of my blogging brethren in the flesh – for example, I was surprised to learn that N.Z. Bear is not actually a bear in a tie and fedora as his logo suggests – and while chewing the fat on the GOP primary and how the candidates were doing with the FRC crowd, I think it was Bear who said, “you can make a case that none of these candidates will win the nomination. But somebody has to.”

That sentiment feels even stronger this morning. On paper, the big winner is Mike Huckabee, blowing away the rest of the field among the conference attendees.#more#
Huckabee is something of an enigma in this race. He blew the doors off the place in his speech, but he’s been doing that, in one form or another, in almost every debate or candidate forum since the race began. But that unrivaled personal charisma and rhetorical prowess hasn’t (yet) yielded enough financial resources to make a serious run at it. You don’t get elected president in today’s world by raising a million dollars a quarter.
Am I harsh cynic for that conclusion? I’d say look at history – John Kerry, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, Bill Clinton – none of these guys were underfunded in their successful efforts for their party’s nomination. (Yes, Kerry loaned his campaign $6 million financed by a mortgage on his Boston home at one point, but he had raised $4 million in the preceding quarter, and $7.5 million the quarter before that.) Money doesn’t guarantee success, as President Gramm, Forbes, Perot, and Dean can attest, but it is extraordinarily difficult to win when you’re supremely underfunded compared to your rivals.
One or two readers think I’m downplaying Huckabee in my coverage. He’s come a long way, and with Brownback’s departure, and Fred not locking up the religious conservative vote (more on that later), he’s clearly the guy at the back of the first tier and gaining, no longer just the guy at the top of the second tier.
Besides wondering if Huckabee can keep up when all the top-tier candidates are on the airwaves, I’d offer two other cautionary notes before riding the wave of Huckmentum.
In terms of state polls, the only place Huckabee’s getting traction is Iowa. Right now, he doesn’t have the resources to spread himself too thin. Let’s say he does something fantastic, places a close second in Iowa. If New Hampshire is seven days later, does he have enough time to turn that into a decent showing? In two weeks, can he organize enough of an effort in South Carolina? Can he put together phone banks, door-knockers, rallies, etc.? It’s not impossible to imagine, but extremely difficult.
The other thing is, as much as social conservatives are not comfortable with the thought of Giuliani as the nominee, fiscal conservatives don’t like Huckabee. They’re burning him in effigy at the Club for Growth. Erick suggests Huckabee could tear apart the conservative coalition more than Giuliani. I had figured that once it came down to Rudy and Not Rudy, that the social conservatives (and perhaps some 527s) would push hard and put Not Rudy over the top. Perhaps we would see a similar push from fiscal conservative groups if the race comes down to Huck and Not Huck.
Of course, that raises the possibility that i the race came down to Giuliani vs. Huckabee… could it mean a brief all-out war between the SocialCons and FiscalCons?

Most Popular

Elections

About That ‘Broken Algorithm’

Of all the loopy assertions made at the press conference President Trump’s legal team conducted last Thursday, the one that has been most roundly derided is the since-ousted Sidney Powell’s claim that the national popular vote was such a landslide for President Trump “that it broke the algorithm that had ... Read More
Elections

About That ‘Broken Algorithm’

Of all the loopy assertions made at the press conference President Trump’s legal team conducted last Thursday, the one that has been most roundly derided is the since-ousted Sidney Powell’s claim that the national popular vote was such a landslide for President Trump “that it broke the algorithm that had ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More
U.S.

The Coming Anti-COVID Restriction Backlash

The backlash is coming. It already seems clear that the first major political and cultural eruption of the Biden years will be a roiling populist backlash against the next round of COVID restrictions. We saw this sentiment play out in sporadic anti-lockdown demonstrations last spring, and it has driven ... Read More
U.S.

The Coming Anti-COVID Restriction Backlash

The backlash is coming. It already seems clear that the first major political and cultural eruption of the Biden years will be a roiling populist backlash against the next round of COVID restrictions. We saw this sentiment play out in sporadic anti-lockdown demonstrations last spring, and it has driven ... Read More
Elections

A Hard Look at Those Post-Election Legal Efforts

On the menu today: Michigan certifies its vote totals; the General Services Administration starts the transition; and it’s time for a hard, unflinching look at the president’s post-election legal efforts. What Did the President Get from His Legal Team? Michigan and Georgia have certified their election ... Read More
Elections

A Hard Look at Those Post-Election Legal Efforts

On the menu today: Michigan certifies its vote totals; the General Services Administration starts the transition; and it’s time for a hard, unflinching look at the president’s post-election legal efforts. What Did the President Get from His Legal Team? Michigan and Georgia have certified their election ... Read More
History

From Hate to Heroism

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about language, culture, politics, and, lately, relentless book-hawking. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox, please follow this link. From Hatred to Heroism Daniel Cordier, when he was young and getting started in life, did not seem ... Read More
History

From Hate to Heroism

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about language, culture, politics, and, lately, relentless book-hawking. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox, please follow this link. From Hatred to Heroism Daniel Cordier, when he was young and getting started in life, did not seem ... Read More
Elections

It’s Only ‘Free and Fair’ When We Win

Indeed, this is astonishing: https://twitter.com/felixsalmon/status/1331295033325219840 In 2018, after two years of media spinning tales about shady Russian infiltrators in our government, 67 percent of Democrats believed that Putin’s gremlins had bored into our voting machines and altered the outcome ... Read More
Elections

It’s Only ‘Free and Fair’ When We Win

Indeed, this is astonishing: https://twitter.com/felixsalmon/status/1331295033325219840 In 2018, after two years of media spinning tales about shady Russian infiltrators in our government, 67 percent of Democrats believed that Putin’s gremlins had bored into our voting machines and altered the outcome ... Read More