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Huckabee: Eating His Soup Quietly

For the last several months, the conventional wisdom surrounding former Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R-Ark.) presidential bid is that while the candidate is among the best, the campaign organization is among the worst.

Huckabee has stood out in each of the first three Republican debates, as equal parts pastor and stand-up comedian. But the prevailing wisdom is that he has no organizational heft -- especially in early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina -- to take advantage of his star turns in the debates.

Conventional wisdom is often, but not always, right. In an attempt to get real answers about the strength (or lack thereof) of the Huckabee organization, we talked to the governor himself as well as a handful of in-state operatives -- both those committed to Huckabee and those who are neutral observers.

Ask Huckabee about his organization in early states and he is his usual quoteable self. "Some people eat their soup a little louder than others but that doesn't mean the soup tastes any better," he said, referencing his belief that some of his opponents have made a lot of noise about their early state organizations but actually have very little to show for it.

He admitted that he got a far later start than people like former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain(R-Ariz.) in constructing a grassroots infrastructure because he decided to make no presidential plans until he finished out his term this January. Again, Huckabee sought to draw a contrast between himself and the frontrunners, noting that his organization and fundraising started from zero, unlike Romney, who is personally wealthy, and McCain, who transferred a million dollars from his Senate account. "I started with my home telephone number on a Saturday afternoon," said Huckabee.

Regardless, the simple reality is that if he wants to make a serious run for the nomination, Huckabee has to find a way to build sone sort of ground operation in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Let's look at each of the three states individually to see where Huckabee stands:

Iowa: Huckabee opened his Des Moines office last week and a recent independent survey showed him at seven percent and in fourth place. He said that he will soon have eight staffers on the ground in the state and more people are coming up regularly from the campaign's headquarters in Little Rock.

Huckabee's two leading backers in the state are Bob Vander Plaats, a candidate for governor in 2002 and the lieutenant governor nominee in 2006, and former state Rep. Danny Carroll. Peverill Squire, a political science professor at the University of Iowa, praised the quality Huckabee's backers but said there just weren't enough of them. "Almost all of his competitors have organizations with much greater reach, both geographically and across the breadth of Republican interests," said Squire.

New Hampshire: "We are going to surprise some people" in New Hampshire, predicted Huckabee. His lead person in the Granite State is Debra Vanderbeek, chief of staff to former Rep. Jeb Bradley (R) who lost his re-election bid last fall. Huckabee's co-chairs in the state are two time gubernatorial candidate Fred Bramante, who Huckabee is quick to note endorsed McCain in 2000, and Cliff Hurst, the former chairman of the Manchester Republican committee.

Bob Clegg, a state Senator who is also behind Huckabee, said that while other campaigns may have names the Arkansas governor's effort has a bunch of "workers."

South Carolina: Huckabee has devoted considerable time to the Palmetto State, believing -- rightly -- that it represents his best chance of making a strong showing given the conservative bent of the state's voters. In fact, when The Fix spoke with Huckabee late last week he was in South Carolina in a car with his state chairman Mike Campbell, the son of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell (R-S.C.) and an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor himself in 2006. Iris Campbell, wife of the late governor, is also with Huckabee, as is former Gov. David Beasley, state Rep. Liston Barfield and state Sen. Danny Verdin.

Huckabee also dispatched his daughter, Sarah Huckabee, to the Palmetto State for eight days recently -- a sign of his commitment to the primary. But, a South Carolina Republican source who attended an event with Sarah in Columbia last week said less than ten people attended total.

Huckabee currently has no paid staff in the state though Campbell predicted that would change by the end of the summer. Instead, Huckabee is depending on volunteers to do the vast majority of the county by county organizing and hoping the political operations of the Campbells and Beasley can make up for the lack of political professionals on staff. "We have tapped into a lot of pre-established networks," said Mike Campbell.

But, much of the religious community -- represented most visibly by the leadership at Bob Jones University -- has stayed neutral in the race, a major blow for both Huckabee and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.). Several unaffiliated Republican strategists said that although Huckabee's message should appeal to socially conservative activists, he has had trouble landing them because of the fear that he simply cannot win. The almost-certain entrance of former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) is likely to exacerbate that trend.

Taken as a whole, Huckabee's early state organizations are primarily built top down. He's got folks like Beasley, Bramante and Vander Plaats on board but seems to lack the professional operatives that other leading campaigns boast. Conversations with unaffiliated Republican observers almost always end in a discussion of how Huckabee just hasn't taken advantage of the window of opportunity given him by the lack of a true conservative in the field. And now, with Thompson seeking to fill that role, Huckabee's task of convincing activists and operatives to join his cause becomes all the more difficult.

Huckabee himself compares the presidential primaries to a NASCAR race. "There are cars in the first few miles that look unbeatable," he said. "They are out front and alone. But they can't sustain the fuel burn rate. They are going to blow up their engines before it's over."

The reality is that it is unreasonable to think Huckabee will ever put together an organization that will match that of Romney, McCain or even former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Why? Because he is not now nor will ever be in the same financial strata as the Big 3.

Huckabee's route to the nomination is by exceeding expectations in Iowa -- starting with the Aug. 11 straw poll in Ames. If he can build momentum in Iowa, he may be able to overcome the organizational deficiencies he has in other early states. But, that's a big if.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 26, 2007; 11:06 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Edwards Looks Beyond Iowa

Comments

Jerry, I didn't realize these things about Huckabee. Thanks for the info. It doesn't really matter as far as my assessment goes, though. My thoughts are that he can't raise the money to even be really competitive, much less win. His only shot of extending his political career is another run for governor down the road or run for the US senate in 08.

Posted by: reason | June 28, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Go hogs :)

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 27, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

huckabee is not a fine man. he spent his career in arkansas grabbing for gifts. ask the parents of the woman wayne dumond murdered in missouri about him? he let a rapist out of prison early against the recommendations of the parole board and he went to missouri and raped and murdered a young girl. in 1 year he took $63,000 worth of clothing from 1 supporter alone. do you think he did not owe that man something? he tried to bar newspapers as non official press from the press room because he didn't like the way they wrote about him. are we to start having official and non offical papers? he has said there shouldn't be any separation of church and state in a speech before a religious group in florida. do you want this type of preacher running the country?

Posted by: jerry in arkansas | June 27, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

SEGOLENE ROYAL to HILLARY: Jette comme moi le salaud!

Posted by: philip_riggio | June 27, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee has issues. #1 being that he can't raise, and doesn't have, the money to take him to the Presidential nomination. He has experience of governing and he's a fine man. But, you must have money to tout your attributes. Huckabee does well in the debates because, well, they are based on actual skill instead of cash. But, that won't be enough. Romney has the most money, so he's in until the end. He has a good shot of winning. Guiliani, no doubt, will be able to raise enough money to stay in the race and give himself a great shot. F. Thompson will be able to raise the money to spend and capitalize on the "true conservative" missing in the race. Romney also has the organizational structure in place to win this race. McCain has an organization to rival Romney. But, McCain hasn't been able to raise the cash unless he exceeded expectations this quarter. F. Thompson will have an immediate organization in the Christian right and will be able to hire great high profiled operatives. Guiliani already has some good endorsements and has gained ground on his organizational structure. But, F. Thompson and Guiliani are a ways behind McCain and Romney in that department. Based on this, Romney has to be considered the front runner right now. But, we have a long way to go.

This being said, Huckabee should do 1 of 2 things:

1. Drop out of the Presidential race right now and head back to Arkansas to go back to preaching.

2. Drop out of the Presidential race right now, go back to Arkansas and run for the US senate seat against jr. senator Mark Pryor. He has a shot at that race, and he's guaranteed the Republican nomination. Although, Pryor has a fundraising advantage against Huckabee, Huckabee has a huge organization in Arkansas and is a former 2 time popular governor. He and Pryor would be a real dog fight, and could turn into a GOP pick-up opportunity if, and only if, Huckabee runs.

If he continues his Presidential nominating race, it will never get better but only worse for him.

Posted by: reason | June 27, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Nobody can. He's DICK CHEANEY. The fourth branch of Governemnt

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Why would Cheney ever resign? He was the one tasked to find a running mate and ended-up recommending himself to Candidate Bush for the job.

So, it's very unlikely that he would even consider leaving on his own; especially as proud pointed out, the surgery is minor.

Who else has the political capital to tell him he has to go? Nobody that I can think of.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't get what all the buzz is about Huckabee's debate performances. He's warm and had some decent one-liners, but at times appeared pretty far out of his depth.

He'll have to fight Romney and Thompson for the "true conservative" label that is likely the ticket to the GOP nomination.

Posted by: Nissl | June 26, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"telling people what to do with THEIR money."

dID YOU PRINT THAT MONEY. Rebpublicans. You can never get past that "me me me", can you. Always thinking about yourself. If I had a billion dollars in my account would I NEED a Bentley? If I bought it would it be mine or Bentley's. Does said Bentley change to a Fernandez once YOU buy it. Money is nothing but paper. I am as much interested as WHAT YOU do with your toilet PAPER as your money PAPER. I'm saying money is nothing. Those that live their life for money have sold their soul to the devil. The mark of the beast. What is money really? Are their anything more important than money? WHOSE money is it really?


Just some things for the selfish greddy slobs to think about and research.

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 26, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I've heard the theory before that Cheney would resign and Bush's chosen successor would become VP. Then the new VP would sweep the primary, because VPs always win their parties' primaries.

And I don't buy it. The first primaries are in 6 months. What is the VP going to do in 6 months? He might be able to give a few speeches, but nobody would believe that 6 months of being VP half time and campaigning the other half is significant presidential experience. And Bush is so unpopular right now that I don't see why any Republican would want to associate with him. Even in the primary, the candidates are running against Bush. I just don't see what benefit this would have to any of the candidates.

Posted by: Blarg | June 26, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

"My sister and I exchanged the Sally Quinn piece and decided that she is w-w-rong."

I concur, Mark. The surgery for VP Cheney is a minor procedure to replace the batteries on his pacemaker; the replacement surgery is quite simple and involves only opening a flap or skin pocket to assess the device. No need for the vultures to be circling just for that.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | June 26, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

And, I should add, that our Constitution provides that both houses of Congress must affirm the appointment of a VP. Again, no candidate for Prez would be affirmed.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 26, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Truth - In typical Quinn fashion she's more interested in name dropping than prvoiding anything of substance. She left out the significant aspect of how a new Vice President is approved.

Amendment XXV.

Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.


See a possible fly in the GOP's ointment here?

Whoever put together today's Op-Ed page mush have "owed" Ben Bradlee.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

TH - I appreciate the gravitas of Biden and dislike the cabals of GWB and HRC and Mike B; and I am not a social conservative. When social conservatives get reacquainted with FThompson and find that he is another oh-so-recent convert to fundamentalism, I predict that they will not march on to God's greater glory with him.

My sister and I exchanged the Sally Quinn piece and decided that she is w-w-rong. Were the Prez to successfully press the Veep to resign [a gross unlikelihood in itself] he would have to name a none- candidate as lame duck so as not to be overshadowed [some would proffer "again"].
Dick Lugar comes to mind as short term Veep, John Warner if he is not running again; Rice, if he wants to make history.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 26, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"the dems do a wonderful of job of securing farm subsidies (check out Reader's Digest from May)"

chele, how many Democrat votes do you think farm subsidies generate? Subsidies don't buy votes for Democrats even in Western Massachusetts.

Reader's Digest is not my idea of unobjective in-depth analysis. Good jokes though!

Inherited wealth is not free enterprise. Enterprise by definition requires somebody undertaking something (entrepreneur). Inheritied wealth is not earned in the sense of producing a product or providing a service.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

OMG Mark in Austin.... I can't believe someone who appreciates the gravatis of a Biden could soberly think Huckabee should be taken seriously.

If social conservatives vote in droves, look for them to vote for Thompson. Have you read Quinn's opinion piece about the move to have Cheney leave office after his pacemaker surgery this summer and Fred replacing him as VP? Now that would be a leg up for Fred.

Sorry you took the play on Huckabee's name so hee-haw-hard.... as you see, I jsut can't help myself :>).... score one for you though on your Bama your comeback, it was a zinger.

Have a link to the Quinn article on today's post on my blog.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | June 26, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

From Dan Froomkin's column today - "For the Bush White House, the real definition of victory has become 'anything they can get away with without taking blame for defeat,' said the retired Army Gen. William Odom, a national security official in the Reagan and Carter administrations, when I spoke with him recently. The plan is to run out the Washington clock between now and Jan. 20, 2009, no matter the cost."

proud, they're putting their personal exit strategies into effect, which is to leave the loyal defenders out here taking the heat.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Brownback a funnier-sounding name than Huckabee?
Anyway Mark in Austin, I agree with the points you have made in your 1:55 post.

Posted by: Golgi | June 26, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

You must be oblivious to a) corporate welfare (targeted tax breaks), b) inheritred wealth (enormous amounts do get passed on from generation to generation in spite of what the taxophobes tell us)

Of course I'm not oblivious to corporate welfare...the dems do a wonderful of job of securing farm subsidies (check out Reader's Digest from May)or inherited wealth (might I remind you of Ms. Theresa Heinz?).It's called free enterprise and everybody has the right to it. Dems or 'pubs.
On point:
Mike Huckabee, as a pastor, has a passion for the welfare of people (dems)and the restraint of government ('pubs) telling people what to do with THEIR money.

Posted by: chele fernandez | June 26, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Pick fred thompson if you are scared. Pick fred thompson if you want to turn your back to the real world and live in a cave. If you are scared of 2007 and want to turn back the clock, to 1962, pcik thompson. Anybody that wants a new clean world, don't vote republcian

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

""Haven't Republicans made enough money..." Point in case, they MADE IT. It was not given to them. To "give to the rest of us" would make them liberal democrats that want to be spoon-fed as you demand in your post"

I have to. This is a republican fishbowl. This person represents the fascist movement to me.

Her attack of "liberals, and they want to have moeny given to them." I wanted to interject SOME for of reality. I don't want anybody to give anybody money, per se. There are much more valuable things in the world than little pieces of paper with pictures of dead presidents on it. What is a $20 really worth. What if there was no market for that "paper"? Then what is it worth?

No. I don't want paper. I DO want the income to be distrubted fairly. "The masters are slaves without THEIR slaves." Who makes that product for the corp. With the makers is that product made? Without that customer does that product have worth?

Liberals don't want things "given" to them .WE want a fair market. I personally think all "AMericans" could have a house. We all could be fed everyday. We could all has electricty. We could all have health care. Those are basic rights in a NON-thrid world country.

Now after that. YOu can have you Bentley's and yachts and Hummers. I don't care about that. I do care about republicans screwing all non-republicans every chance they get. I call that sabatoge. I call that treason. A fraction of OUR war budget could end hunger WORLDWIDE. We need to think about what is right. Then we need to do what's right.

The "right" in this country has turned away from what is right. They are partisan hacks. They have no real power without the American people. Too many now see what you are for. No amount of bribery will save them now. Not after the failures of the last 10 years

Posted by: One more post. Sorry | June 26, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Mark - I prefer not to go with next-best, but admittedly there may be little choice since McCain championed illegal immigration at perhaps the worst possible moment. That may be one strike too many given the nature of the primary politics.

I think Guiliani is more of a hawk fiscally and militarily than FThompson; maybe that's just my perception. If RG gets the nomination and selects one of the social cons like Huckabee for VP...?? I could support that.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | June 26, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

proud - From an AP story within the hour, "WASHINGTON - Sen. George Voinovich said Tuesday the U.S. should begin pulling troops out of Iraq and bolster diplomatic efforts, becoming the second Republican lawmaker in as many days to declare President Bush's war strategy a failure.

"It's in their best interest to become part of the solution instead of sitting on the sidelines," the Ohio senator said of the Iraqi people. "I don't think they'll get it until they know we're leaving."

Amen, Senator!

Get the feeling that the train is leaving the station? And, that the White House no longer has the political muscle to intimidate GOP officials?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

" they MADE IT."

At the cost of what? My brother my sister? Is that what you consider free market chele fernandez. To me, the blood of OUR citizens does not equat any number of dollars. No amount of money is worth ONE soldier. We used to fight for ideals. We used to fight for thigns that matter. It's ok. The republican movement is done. It's done for my lifetime at least.

Posted by: rufus | June 26, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

chele - You must be oblivious to a) corporate welfare (targeted tax breaks), b) inheritred wealth (enormous amounts do get passed on from generation to generation in spite of what the taxophobes tell us) and c) coupon clipping (please advise what a market investor actually produces to earn their dividends).

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"To rufus1133:

Yeah, well at least us "cow folk" now a bunch of bull when we hear it.
"

The last ten years you must have been living in a cave. Are you on President Cheaney's staff? YOu people really saw Rush coming. YOu really were right about Fox News. They are a great source of "Real" journalism. I love my anna nicole/ Alec Balwin/paris hilton/Rosie O'Donnell stories. hey are SO RELEVANT TO MY DAILY LIFE. Unlike politcs. Unlike the doj and FCC being gutted. You people are lost

Posted by: JKrish | June 26, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"How to lose your inner Redneck
By: RYAN GRIM and HELENA ANDREWS | 06/26/2007 06:16 AM
Politico.com helps presidential hopefuls transition into new world of Northern elite dominance. "

From your people at politico.com (republican only site ). They are trying to help you cow-folk adjust to reality. So you can join the rest of humanity/reality.

Posted by: rufus | June 26, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

To rufus1133:

Yeah, well at least us "cow folk" now a bunch of bull when we hear it. To quote, "Haven't Republicans made enough money..." Point in case, they MADE IT. It was not given to them. To "give to the rest of us" would make them liberal democrats that want to be spoon-fed as you demand in your post.

On topic:
Mike Huckabee has a great message. Unfortunately, in our slick high-tech world, his grass-roots approach may not be enough to be taken seriously.

Posted by: chele fernandez | June 26, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Is it houston or Austin that is the fattest city in America mark. :) I get those texas cities confused, what with all the cow folk. HAven't republicans made enough money defrauding the country. YOu guys are getting a little to fat down there ie fat cats. Give to the rest of us. I'm hungry too. :)

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 26, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

1:55P post was mine.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 26, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

How can you KNOW that which you have never known? Because Fox tells you? Because Rush tells you? Do they have any stake in misleading you GOP. That is why I want the Rush's off the air so bad. It's not for me. It's for the elderly of this country. Fox/Rush/Hannity lie and misdirect a group of people that are from the old school. When they watch the news, THEY THINK IT'S REAL. Most of us know they are lying propogandist. The elderly and out of touch do not. This warps their reality to Rush's or hannity's.This has to stop. We are all individuals.

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 26, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Golgi, TH, Rufus, Proud -

If the Rs are going to turn their backs on McCain, no other R has foreign policy experience.

The R's next best choice is FThompson, who also has some experience working across the aisle, then RG, if he survives one mini-scandal after another. But if social conservatives vote in droves, eventually they will have to consider Huckabee and/or Brownback, and Huckabee is more tv friendly and sounds more "moderate". He can no more be laughed off because of his funny sounding NAME than Barack Hussein Obama.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Re: Sen Lugar's advice- he urged the president to change course in Iraq "very soon."

I have no doubt that the CIC will re-assess operations in the fall, as Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker deliver their report to Washington which will also include what Crocker called "an assessment of what the consequences might be if we pursue other directions".


Posted by: proudtobeGOP | June 26, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"FYI, Pelosi goes for Italian sausage in keeping with her Baltimore Little Italy heritage."

heritage or progeny?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I can't waiting to see Boehner crying again


:)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Proud - since there were no throwns - she remained standing. I can guarantee you she had no desire to risk spilling any beer or mustard on those royal robes. She probabably ate at a fundraiser earlier in the evening. She didn't arrive until the third or fourth inning.

Even in DC, which is typically long on suits at ball games, I didn't see another single instance of formal black-tie wear. considering she represents the party of the people and the district of the farthest of left, why is she so showy? Does she really need 10-15 people with her everywhere she goes? Now I see why she NEEDS that big plane. why is her district the lowest percentage of homeowners in the country? assess.

Posted by: kingofzouk | June 26, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

sorry, that should be Huckleberry Huckabee.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | June 26, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

From haircut pieces to hot dog pieces. No wonder the right is done in this country. What a glorious day it will be when they lose again, then again. I can't waiting to see Boehner crying again

Posted by: rufus | June 26, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

proud - Senator Lugar had some advice yesterday for the Administration which you would do well to heed.

FYI, Pelosi goes for Italian sausage in keeping with her Baltimore Little Italy heritage.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey Zouk, did you see how your idol Tom Davis' underhanded attempt to sabotage the Fairfax Primary two weeks ago failed miserably.

No more Tom/Jeanne Marie pony rides or ice cream for you soon.

Waaahhh!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

any ink spilled on the candidacy of Chuckles Huckabee is wasted ink.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | June 26, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

That Speaker Pelosi to you guys! Deal with it.

And Zouk, only political toadies, and the local news stations who need filler, go to those frat games. The real game last night was in Atlanta.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"Nancy Pelosi arriving in her sparkling white Armani suit, totally innappropriate for a ball game"

Batter beware! Herr speaker has a proclivity for grabbing wooden implements.. bats, gavels and the like.

Any intel on her choice of snacks? Did she dare nosh on a kosher dog, or perhaps some liquid refreshment? How very American of her.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | June 26, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

President Huckabee? Anybody? So why the heck is anybody even wasting a minute of their lives on this guy. Might as well be talking aobu tmike gravel. What a waste of time

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 26, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post, a longtime cheerleader for campaign-finance regulation, conceded that the specific advertisements involved in the case were "anodyne" but argued that it was nonetheless better to ban them than to take the risk that sham issue ads would also run: "Yesterday's ruling reopens a dangerous loophole."

That dangerous loophole is otherwise known as the First Amendment. If that amendment means anything, it has to mean that government should err on the side of tolerating more speech rather than less. If the power of judicial review means anything, it has to mean that the federal judiciary will not enforce laws that violate that principle. If the pursuit of campaign-finance "reform" ineluctably leads its advocates to regard free speech as a loophole, maybe they should reconsider whether it is such a good idea.

Posted by: NR | June 26, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Do you remember that wonderful scene in "My Cousin Vinny" in which Joe Pesci destroys a witness on cross-examination for his false statements about the "two youts"? At the end, one kid turns to his inept lawyer and says: "You're fired!" Then rises, points to Pesci, and shouts to the court room: "Him! I want him!"

Why did I keep thinking of that scene as I imagined how Democrats probably reacted to that tape of Bill & Hillary Clinton playing Sopranos? "Not her! Him! I want him!"

Posted by: Frum | June 26, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee has a couple of strikes against him.

First of all his name.... President (really steely and scary) Putin, meet President (hee haw) Huckabee.

Second, and more seriously, the religious hoola-hoop is yesterday's fad. The new fad is competence and experience.

While slurping soup, writing diet books and making witty asides may be... well, hee-hawish... it's not presidential.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | June 26, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I hate when people slurp soup. It is gross.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I have returned after a while back in the Kingdom of Zouk.

I had a very enjoyable break and hope that the tone of this blog has risen somewhat from all the insults and tripe.

Last night I enjoyed attending the congressional baseball game at RFK. the republicans won (again). the entire history is about 32-14 in favor of Rs (just like Pres elections). what amazed me was the capability of those old geezers. they could actually field and hit. the pitcher was regularly throwing 60 MPH.

We sat near first base in the GOP section. It was a lively crowd with many younger staffers in attendence, the right yelled GOP, GOP. the left had no such easy chanting to be done, having exhausted all their chanting on dumb political ideas instead.

Mike Oxley was instated into the hall of fame for his 19 years of playing and five of coaching, undefeated. He also raised the awareness and fundraising of this charity event. He deserves a lot for credit for his efforts and benevolence, as do all the players on both sides.

It was a good natured event overall.

the only remarkable occurance was when I saw Nancy Pelosi arriving in her sparkling white Armani suit, totally innappropriate for a ball game. she had her huge entourage and it looked like a princess with some sort of light eminating from her aura. she had that clueless look on her face, as if wondering how many touchdowns it would take to catch up. She was entering the Repub side of the stadium so she could be welcomed with aplomb.

It is good to see she is not only clueless in legislation but in all facets of life.

Posted by: kingofzouk | June 26, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I think Huckabee could surprise people because his thinking genuinely taps into the themes Americans care about this year. I can see him as a dark horse in the primaries.

However, I am not convinced that he really has the big picture. Huckabee's one-liners are great in terms of effective communication, but they are all about a fundamental interest in little individual things, not the big picture.

I skimmed his diet book and really liked it, but there's something about someone whose 2-page resume would include the words "Quit Digging Your Grave With A Knife and A Fork." Somehow, that resume just doesn't say "future leader of the free world" to me.

The diet book reads like something I could write myself. I want a president who has way more vision than I do, a president who can change history for the better. That's kind of the whole point of having a president.

Posted by: Golgi | June 26, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Umm, back to the story in question folks, Huckabee's problems is that too many candidates swimming in a small pond. If Huckabee didn't have to compete with Brownback and maybe even Gilmore for the Sunbelt, religious conservative vote, he would certainly be in the top tier candidates. But he does not have that luxury. Nor does he have a lot of boots on the ground either, just a few politicos and nothing more.

Now Ron Paul on the other hand, has his antiwar Republican and libertarian pool all to himself. It certainly not a majority of the party but a good piece of it, big enough to maybe win with in a crowded field wouldn't you say?

Then of course there are all Paul's supporters online but I'll leave it here considering the internet is a taboo subject with MSM supporters.

Posted by: Sean Scallon | June 26, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The story of a 6-year-old Afghan boy who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into being a suicide bomber provoked tears and anger at a meeting of tribal leaders.

Posted by: the monster we fight | June 26, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Murdoch and his china ties, from ny times. For those who care about the destruction of the media:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/26/world/asia/26murdoch.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 26, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Murdoch and his china ties, from ny times. For those who care about the destruction of the media:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/26/world/asia/26murdoch.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Posted by: rufus | June 26, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

RE:Supremes

"It opened a big new loophole in time to do mischief in the 2008 elections. The exact extent of the damage is unclear."

The damage to our monopoly over message that is. how will we hand the election to Dems again if we have all those dissenting opinions out there. no fair.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/26/opinion/26tue1.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin

Posted by: NYT | June 26, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

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