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February 11, 2008

Picking Through the Leftovers: McCain or Huckabee

With Romney out of the race and a few days to ponder the remaining options, I've come to a decision on whether to cheer for Huckabee or McCain.  Neither of them were my first choice, but after spending some time evaluating what I like and don't like about both candidates, I've settled on a number of things I like about each, but alot more that I don't like about McCain than Huckabee.

I've noticed a trend during the candidacy of John McCain; that he seems to think that if he says something enough, that it is true.

I first noticed it in the back-and-forth between McCain and Romney when McCain took attempted to twist a Romney quote to allege that Romney supported a timeline to withdraw from Iraq.  When it was clearly showed that Romney never said nor meant such a thing, and McCain was confronted about the attack not being "straight talk" McCain simply held to his position that the attack was true and repeated multiple times that he was just giving "straight talk."

In recent months I've become confused about the definition of "straight talk" because I'm learning that it has less and less to do with the truth.

We've heard over and over from McCain that he doesn't support amnesty for illegal immigrants, when Kennedy-McCain clearly does. 

We've heard that he is pro-life, when he supports the expansion and federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and opposes the human life amendment. 

We've heard that he supports traditional marriage when he staunchly opposed the federal marriage amendment.

We've heard that he will nominate strong judges, but not judges like Justice Alito who wear their Conservatism "on their sleeve."  (brief aside, in my opinion, Justice Alito is the best appointment to the Court since Justice Scalia.)

He tells us he is a fiscal Conservative but he opposed President Bush's tax cuts.  And while he says that he would not raise taxes publicly, there are reports that he has said the opposite privately.  Take that for what it is worth and a totally unconfirmed rumor.

Certainly, there are areas for debate and excuses that could be made for some of these, but when I find myself questioning the sincerity of a man over and over, it really makes it difficult to support his candidacy for the presidency.

Add to that the fact that he almost seems to relish crossing over the isle to not just work with Democrats, but advance their causes rather than those of the Republican Party, leaving us with gems like McCain-Finegold, and I've got some real concerns.

On the other hand, Huckabee is no knight in shining armor either.  His history of tax increases in Arkansas, his very recent conversion to strong immigration proponent and his "big government" approach on a number of issues leave me with many of the same questions.  But what I don't question is his position on social issues.  I don't question that he will nominate textualist judges.  I don't question that he will be a strong advocate for life and traditional marriage. 

I'm not totally sold on the Fair Tax idea, but I'd take almost anything as opposed to the IRS.  Though I'm also not convinced that we could get it passed.

I'm not sold on Huckabee's foreign policy credentials either, but this is an area that I see as being heavily influenced by advisors and military insiders as opposed to many of these social issues we face being a matter of personal conviction.  I believe Huckabee will stay the course in Iraq and while he doesn't have the same exposure to foreign policy that McCain does, I can't anticipate any tangible difference in the way they would handle foreign affairs.

At the end of the day, as a Conservative, I find myself with an easy choice between McCain and Huckabee; Welcome to the Huckabee wagon.  I question his history, but I don't question that he will at least attempt to do the things he says he will.  I can't say the same for McCain.

Let us not forget the "is he electable" factor, however.  I know many have gone the way of McCain based solely on the idea that he is the only one who stands a chance against Hilary or Obama.  I'm an optimist though, and I truly believe that both McCain and Huckabee could beat either of the Democrats through their respective playing to the middle (as McCain is currently doing) or playing to Conservatives (as Huckabee is doing and Bush did in 2004).  Though Huckabee also has a tough road ahead to even secure the nomination, I also believe it is still a possibility.

Though as a Floridian I'm really just on the sideline as our primary has come and gone, I still encourage those of you out there who live in, or have friends and family in states with primaries yet to pass, hop on the Huckabee wagon with me.


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Come on Mr. G. Say it with me: "President Hillary Clinton"

John McCain WILL be the nominee. It's not a question of if any longer. At that point, he will need not only the votes of Conservatives, but their help. Conservatives make up the largest portion of campaign volunteers. If they stay home and don't help, they will guarantee a Democratic victory in November.

So, I give you, the complete inevitability: the first woman president in American history.

I'm not so convinced.

Look, I realize that many, including yours truly, feel completely disenfranchised by the notion of a McCain nomination. Many are saying they are going to stay home. And some surely will. However, November is a long way away.

Once the nomination is sealed we're going to start hearing from our Conservative leaders encouraging us not to give up and warning us against the dangers of a Clinton or Obama presidency.

McCain may not motivate Conservatives, but "President Hilary Clinton" sure does.

"First Lady Bill Clinton" sure does.

"President Hussein Barrak Obama" sure does.

Yes, we Conservatives are upset, but don't count us out just yet.

Mr G, I agree completely. I do believe now its going to be Obama versus McCain. IF, and only IF, Obama's extreme liberal positions are blared to the people in full, will McCain win.

Plus if and when conservatives realize his positions overall, they will be mobilized as well. He may speak passionately and well on "vision", but his stances are France plus.

If they stay home and don't help, they will guarantee a Democratic victory in November.

I agree with Jim. McCain hurts Republicans in November. Huckabee is contesting the Washington results. He has right to bitch. McCain was declared the winner with a 224 vote difference and 87 of the votes counted.

Republicans are now voting against McCain.

Mr. G, to quote a famous Democrat, "I feel your pain." Nancy Pelosi must be excited about a McCain candidacy.

On my side: Hillary is in trouble. She fired her campaign manager and she did poorly in this past weekend's elections.

I honor the right to protest, and indeed, my conervative bretheren, in joining the Huckaboom at the bitter end nothing more than protesting as it is mathematically impossible for Huckabee now. McCain will win in November - because Americans respect strength and they care about two things: jobs and security. Plus, Obama will undoubtedly make a mistake. It is not a matter of if, but when. All campaigns do, but once the curtain comes off of "change" speech, and he is asked to spell out what he means by change, you will hear crickets chirping and the swooning crowds will evaporate. Obama's only policy to date is to surrender Iraq to terrorists and fight the war in America. Once that is brought in sharper focus, people will reject him in droves. Don't get me wrong, he could be a formiddable campaigner in peace time. Indeed, I suspect Obama would win American Idol over John McCain, hands down. Fortunatelty for us, will not defeat McCain for Commander in Chief. It would be shame to think he could do so only on the backs of suicide conservative voters in a pique over McCain only having a 92% instead of a 100% lifetime conservative rating.

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