the state of the race

Congratulations to Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee on winning in Iowa. It was a well-deserved win for each of them. Mitt Romney got a second-place finish out of his millions. He’s not dead yet, but he has some work to do to stay in this race until the end, especially if he loses New Hampshire. The Iowa results aren’t the end of the story. Hillary isn’t going away. Mitt isn’t going away. Fred is still alive…and his third place result showed that there are some conservatives who aren’t willing to settle for Mitt and Huck just yet. McCain might win New Hampshire, and if that happens, while it would be another setback for Romney, it still indicates that nothing will be decided this early in the primaries.

There are glaring deal-killing flaws in McCain and Huckabee (in my view anyway). McCain’s sins against conservatism are many, and the negatives outweigh the positives, especially on illegal immigration. Even if he has heard the voice of the people and decided to emphasize border security as a first priority for immigration reform, we can’t trust him not to cut deals with the Democrats whenever it is politically convenient. That’s his record. That’s what he has done in the Senate.

There are many things to like about Mike Huckabee as a person.  Christian conservatives love his boldness about his Christian faith and that he is pro-life.  We appreciate the fact that he is willing to allow his faith to influence his decisions, both personally and politically.  He would make a great pastor for a megachurch.  If he had a daytime talk show on TV, he might even draw a crowd there.  But are we seriously going to nominate Mike Huckabee to represent all Republicans as our nominee for President of the United States?  He’s not ready for the job now, and I don’t think he would be even if he had four more years to prepare for another run at the Presidency.

His faith in government as another taxpayer funded charity organization disturbs me.  He also would use government to regulate the lives of people for their own good.  Sound like any Democrats we know?  I also don’t see much difference between the foreign policy views of Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee, except that Huck seems to be more committed to finishing the war in Iraq (no matter what his current criticisms of that war may be).  There doesn’t seem to be much intellectual curiosity in the Huck, or the willingness to do his homework on important foreign and domestic policy issues.  If you are starting out as someone who has no foreign policy experience, the smart thing to do is to ask advice from people who have that experience and who can speak with authority on things like the NIE and Pakistan.  At the very least, he could read the NIE — and when speaking about Pakistan, get the facts right.  We need a credible and competent President to lead our nation from day one. I’m not saying that Hillary fits that description, but I think we need to start evaluating Huckabee on those criteria.

I haven’t mentioned his mixed record on taxes or his indefensible record on illegal immigration.  Those should be bigger concerns to conservatives that his record on pardons.  If Huckabee is our nominee, there are more flaws to forgive in him than in Rudy Giuliani (the forgotten man in all this Iowa hoopla).   I don’t like the way his populist rhetoric divides people, whether it is intentional or not.  I don’t like that he is whining about rich ol’ Mitt Romney.  Grow up Huck.  If the fire is too hot for you, you know where the sidelines are. This may sound mean, but Huckabee shouldn’t attack Romney directly or indirectly without expecting return fire.  That’s the way this process works.

That said — I don’t like the process.  I don’t like watching Mitt and Huck and McCain snipe at each other. They are caught up in these petty personal attacks when they should be talking about their vision for the country.  We need good men with big ideas.  Mitt, Huck, and McCain don’t quite fit that description…but Fred does. He just needs to prove in future primaries that he is worthy of the support that he already has.

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