In the course of just a few weeks, Mike Huckabee has capitalized on his Iowa surge and roared to the front of the Republican pack in South Carolina, largely on the strength of social conservatives frustrated with the current crop of candidates.
“We’ve been on the stove simmering for about 11 months,” Huckabee said at a rally in Greenville on Saturday. “Somehow in the last two weeks, the lid blew off and the pot started boiling.”
A month ago, Huckabee was fifth in South Carolina polls. Now, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll conducted in the state, Huckabee comes in at 20 percent, putting him in first place with a narrow lead over former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who comes in at 17 percent.
They are followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 15 percent, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson at 14 percent and Arizona Sen. John McCain at 10 percent.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, himself a die-hard supporter of McCain, predicted the political wave last week, telling reporters in Washington, “what you see nationally with Huckabee is happening in South Carolina.”
Oran Smith of the conservative Palmetto Family Council said Huckabee’s momentum, media attention and strong debate performances may have given once-hesitant voters newfound confidence in Huckabee, who for months was considered a long-shot.
“So many now are focusing on people they think are more in line with their values, but can win. So you’ve got Romney and Thompson vying for that ‘conservative who can win’ label, and all of a sudden here comes Huckabee,” Smith said.
That enthusiasm was on display over the weekend in South Carolina, when supporters and media jammed into a Lizard’s Thicket restaurant on Saturday morning in Columbia to see the former governor of Arkansas.
The cluster of camera crews may have been in town to cover Oprah Winfrey’s upcoming rally for Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, but Huckabee was happy to put on a show for them a day early.
Hoisting himself up on a step ladder above the noisy elbow-to-elbow crowd, he gave a rousing speech laced with his trademark wit and intriguing brand of Republican populism (“I’m a conservative, but I’m not mad at anybody,” he likes to say).
Huckabee implored the audience to vote in the primary on January 19.
“We need to be able to nail something down after coming out of Iowa and New Hampshire,” he said. “We want to put down some deep roots here.”
Huckabee will run his first television ad in South Carolina on Monday, a family-friendly 30-second spot called “A Better America.”
Rep. Bob Inglis, who represents the Greenville-Spartanburg area, jumped off the fence to endorse Huckabee last month. Inglis said his candidate “has the authenticity and transparency” to attract new voters.
“I see he and Obama as very similar in what they’re trying to do,” Inglis said, referring to the Illinois senator’s willingness to break with party orthodoxy on certain issues.
“I think that Huckabee has got to find a way say things that need to be said, that we’re not going to scare them into voting for us, we’re not going to demonize Democrats, we’re not going to hate immigrants,” Inglis said. “We’re going to be rooted in principle and focused on the future, and that’s what I think he’s found.”
As Huckabee begins to cut into his opponents’ support among evangelical Christians, who account for about half of GOP primary voters in South Carolina according to a recent AP poll, the arrows are beginning to come out.
The Romney and Thompson campaigns, both vying for support among social conservatives, have issued a salvo of press releases in recent weeks attacking Huckabee’s record on taxes and immigration.
On the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, while Huckabee was giving a sermon at a Baptist church near Greenville on a Sunday morning, the Thompson camp blasted out three straight e-mail attacks on Huckabee in the course of about 20 minutes.
He has also faced some anonymous dirty tricks: On Sunday, mysterious fliers accusing Huckabee of “lying” about his role in the Wayne Dumond parole controversy were left on car windshields outside of his Greenville campaign stop.
The flier says it is sponsored by a group called “Lynchburg Christian Students for the Truth,” but a CNN investigation has been unable to confirm the existence of any group that goes by that name.
Huckabee also lacks the deep pockets of nearly all his GOP rivals, particularly Romney. His grassroots support in South Carolina, while loyal and enthusiastic, lacks the organization and funding of Romney’s ground game here.
However, with the holiday season in full swing, Huckabee could also be peaking at the right time.
“Christmas is coming up, there’s going to be some bowl games, and politics will be on the backburner except for in the mail,” said South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson. “As soon as Santa Claus comes down the chimney and leaves, here come the candidates.”
If Huckabee heads into late December unscathed, with the kind of support he has right now, he could become the man to beat come early January.
The Iowa GOP has decided to exclude Ron Paul from their debate on December 4th because Ron Paul’s polling numbers are simply too low. Using a 5% polling threshold for participation in the next debate, the Iowa GOP has determined that Paul does not qualify…and his supporters are swarming as usual…
From the USA Today…
The Iowa Republican Party put out an advisory Tuesday setting standards for participation in a Dec. 4 debate it is sponsoring with Fox News. The phone has been ringing off the hook ever since.That’s because the sponsors said participants need to average 5% support among Republicans in recent national or Iowa polls—and so far, Texas Rep. Ron Paul is one of the candidates not making the cut.
News of the party’s decision and how to protest it was spread quickly over the Internet by supporters of the anti-war, anti-tax, anti-abortion libertarian. “We are getting bombarded” with calls and e-mails from Paul’s supporters, said GOP spokeswoman Mary Tiffany. She said there were 25 voice mails from angry Paul supporters before the start of business Thursday.
“I’m all about the First Amendment, but at the same time, how is this productive?” she asked. “They need to start calling voters and start door-knocking instead of calling the Republican Party of Iowa.”
Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo and California Rep. Duncan Hunter also fall below the 5% threshold at this point. Tiffany said Thursday there had been a few e-mails from Hunter fans and no word from anyone about Tancredo. No campaigns have objected so far, including Paul’s, she said.
In Pollster.com’s latest averaging of national poll results of Republicans, Paul’s support comes in at 2.7%. The website calculates Paul’s support among Republicans in Iowa, based on polls there, to be 3.8%.
For all those on the fringe, including white supremacists I hear, who are getting really excited about anti-war, libertarian Republican Ron Paul, it’s worth noting that he’s is nothing more than a racist and anti-Semite hiding behind Constitutional rhetoric. Of course this makes sense as well seeing our founding fathers were racists as well. You remember that whole 3/5 of a person thing…right?
Mr. Paul once wrote that “By far the most powerful lobby in Washington of the bad sort is the Israeli government” and that the goal of the Zionist movement is to stifle criticism. (ref. Wonkette)
These and many other racist comments, some veiled, some not, have been out there since the mid-1990s, but Ron Paul has been below the radar until now. The problem for him now is that his fringe supporters cannot un-ring the bell, and they get downright snooty when the issue comes up. If Ron Paul is going to stay in this fight then debate moderators should press him on a few of these ramblings…
A 1992 newsletter by Republican congressional candidate Ron Paul highlighted portrayals of blacks as inclined to criminal behavior and lacking sense.
For instance, on gang crime in Los Angeles, Paul commented:
“If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be.”
Paul is also quoted as saying…
“Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
In that same 1996 AP story, Ron Paul said his 1992 comments were taken out of context.
“These aren’t my figures,” Paul said this week. “That is the assumption you can gather from” the report.
He also wrote:
“Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty and the end of welfare and affirmative action.”
I guess meaning the other 95% don’t?
I have not been shy about the fact on this blog or my radio show that I believe many Republicans are racists by default anyway. Ron Paul is trying to cover his racism and anti-Semitism by back peddling during campaign stops and claiming that the Constitution dictates where he stands on race.
Paul is a good old fashioned country boy from Texas and if he had his way, we would have Christian theocracy, a white landscape, no Jews and a full scale retreat to Jacksonian ideals. His social conservative agenda is dangerous and outdated. Turning backward will not solve the complex problems that face our nation today, only level headed, progressive, common sense policies in the areas of international trade and domestic policy will help us out of this current funk. Three out of the last four presidents, all Republiacn handed us the hand we have now by the way…do we really need another one, moreover…this one?
One can only hope Ron Paul’s effort fizzles with white supremacists and fundamentalist Christians. I believe we need a long overdue break from that crowd.
I do not support Ron Paul. In my eyes he is akin to so many other, few-sandwiches-short-of-a-picnic social conservatives that seem to travel through life wearing horse blinders while they’re busy thimping a bible. All the symptoms are there. He talks of crazy conspiracy theories, thinks theocracy can work in America, and prides himself on being a Constitutional expert. So, I checked some of his writings, only because his name has popped up a bit more than usual this past week due to his increase in fundraising.
How well does he know the Constitution you ask? He wrote this:
The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion.
“Replete with references to God?” That seemed odd to me, so I checked it out. By the way, replete means abundantly supplied or filled. So…how many times is God mentioned in the Constitution? Roughly about zero. I confirmed that fact by visiting Ron Paul’s own congressional website where he has posted a copy of the text. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, just do a page search for “God” and you will be bombarded with all zero results that are returned.
Jefferson himself was lukewarm on the teachings of Christians and had little compassion for priests. Jefferson believed he was a Christian only in one sense, that he thought the moral teaching of Jesus made sense. I tend to agree with him. He did not believe in prayer, divine revelation, the trinity or the resurrection..and all this is documented in case Mr. Paul wants to check it out. However, right wing lunatic Christian fundamentalists are busy pushing their their view of American history in order to fit their theocratic brainwashing agenda. To this end, as his writings suggest, Ron Paul is willing to contribute.
I must assume Ron Paul has read the constitution. Why lie? He brags about his in depth study of the Constitution. He has the Constitution on his website. So why claim that it is filled with references to God when there is not a single mention of God anywhere in the document? The answer, concentration of political power around the Chritian right with an eye on imposing their theocratic agenda on this country…no matter what it takes – lying included.
The problem with Ron and all the other Christian fundamentalists who yearn to control government is that their views are rigid and their agenda reactionary. They simply do not critically analyze things and think through the consequences of their actions to the logical conclusions. A few examples…
If Roe v. Wade was overturned, as Ron Paul and other Christians would like to see, what would happen to all those seeking abortions? Answer – they would still get them…1920’s style – in some store front backdoor clinic or by some quack in their own bedrooms. Of course death rates among these women would skyrocket, but hey, all is good in the name of Christ. How about a return to strict constitutionalism? Well, I guess that means we bring back slavery. Ron Paul is so in tune with the founding fathers, then he must know most owned slaves. You can also kiss the U.S. Federal Reserve System goodbye, all social safety nets enacted during the New Deal, the U.S. Tax Code and everything it funds, the U.S. Highway System…I could go on but why waste any more time. The mere thought of all this is shear lunacy.
It is well know by the liberal bloggers that Ron Paul’s cult (and that is exactly what they are) spreads vicious rumors around the Internet with the goal of boosting him and his Christian revisionist lies, while ambushing anyone who disagrees with him, labeling those people socialists and liberal conspiratists. He is also up in the fundraising race because other like minded Christian-Jesus-Freaks are fueling his hateful and deceptive message, much the way they fueled another liar…George Bush. If America has an ounce of brainpower, they will avoid Paul and the like during this and every other election cycle. I’ll stick with candidates that actually think before they speak…thanks.
Too bad we couldn’t reincarnate Jefferson.