Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Description Of The Huckabee Campaign To An Inquirer

A longtime political contact referred someone to me about Mike Huckabee, who sent me an email that I missed. It gave me an opportunity to summarize the situation:

I’m sorry, David: I was going back through my inbox and found your email, which I had evidently missed. I don’t know of someone organizing for Huckabee in Houston. I scream online and to friends. I am disabled and don’t drive.

But, I would say this: I watch events and polls in Texas and elsewhere. And if Mike Huckabee is in the thick of things when the Texas primary comes around, I think he will do fine in Texas. I’m sure he’ll begin organizing a general election strategy, once the Republican nomination is in sight.

In the meantime, go to for campaign information and updates, look at/in the blog and the blogroll on the right side (You will see my blog there, by the way). Anyway, I printed a copyable doorhanger that I downloaded from the blog (I will hang one on my walker, BTW J ) , and I also downloaded a sign. Some of the blogs on the blogroll like “Mike Huckabee For President” have other items that can be ordered/downloaded. There’s plenty of video information on YouTube as well: perhaps too much to sort through, but some of it is very good.

If you are in Houston, perhaps we could convene a lunch, perhaps with some others, before too long. In the meantime, stay plugged in to the campaign web site and the Huckabee bloggers, be informed and keep your contacts informed.

When Chris and I first made contact, 12 years ago, the Internet was in its infancy with email the vast majority of communications. A few percent of the population was online and we could not access hi-res graphic images, much less transmit them and get full video and audio. Much has expectedly changed, since then. This campaign obviously started very early, and in an environment like ’95, all but a few would already have been washed/smothered out. The Internet can keep a campaign breathing, even when the media has neglected it.

However still, a majority still get the vast majority of their news from television and radio: at least what they consider politically relevant news. If you aren’t spoken of in these media for a, your campaign has been unable to “break through.” You may “like” a candidate, but you probably consider him no serious threat if he isn’t mentioned in the conventional media.

My family, for instance, is both well-read and very computer-active. Nevertheless, they would know little about Mike Huckabee were in not for the presence in their home of a freak like me. Having access to all the information in the world on any candidate out there, the computer is for them mainly a tool to aid their primary interest in friends and other topics of personal interest, and unlike me, they are NORMAL. I wish people paid more attention and I think they should. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the world would be a better place if all were even near as distractd by a bird’s eye rather than a personal engagement of life.

I’m pretty confident that another dozen years will substantially shrink the importance of conventional media in elections. But, to give you an example of the residual power of conventional media (I think for those of us over forty, it is very much the force of a lifetime of habit: media decides who and what is celebrated and of imprtance, including political candidates.

But, we just had an example in the past few days: Huckabee sweepingly won (with almost 5 times the support of the nearest competitot), a vote of delegates from 40 socially conservative organizations (THE LARGEST SINGLE VOTING BLOCK IN THE COUNTRY), after a Values Voter debate they held Monday night in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The media-celebrated “frontrunners,” Giuliani, Romney, Thompson, and McCain, chose not to come to the event. We are confident that they knew they could not gain, but only lose, just like Giuliani, McCain and Thompson chose not to compete in the Ames, Iowas Straw Poll. Romney spent his money to buy a victory, else he wouldn’t be counted among “the frontrunners,” now.

Because these “frontrunners” didn’t appear, the results were picked up and reported by almost no one in the conventional media. So, we see that their “frontrunner” status justified by “the polls” which only reflect name ID allows them to dictate what will be covered by the media, and no-show action allows them to at once avoid a contest they have no confidence of competing in and suppress the celebration of non-frontrunnetrs. Pretty good deal, huh?

We do know that there is a high-level of dissatisfaction among conservatives with the celebrated few. Which is why Thompson is in the race to see if he can fill the void, and why Thompson, and why Romney has hewn his rhetoric and confessions to appeal to this group. Neither are heartfelt systematic conservatives. As he swept the Values Voter debate delegates (incidentally, votes before and after showed very dramatic positive shift while the support of most fell), Huckabee took second at the Ames Straw Poll spending a fraction per vote of what the others did. He did it the old-fashioned way: person to person, meeting to meeting. Again, using my quite capable family as an example, If I weren’t saddled up to the campaign, they would know next to or nothing about these events or about Mike Huckabee at all.

Any objective observer can see that Huckabee is the most charismatic and engaging candidate in the contest for The Republican Party in the general election. If that were the primary interest, the rest could withdraw and endorse him, now. But that isn’t the primary interest. Ego is an importan interest for many. Job or other interest for others. For others, just promised favors seal;ed by contributions. For most of the media itself, a strong Republican candidate is the last thing they want, let alone an assertive Christian one.

So, we still have a considerable challenge. But Mike Huckabee has done better than could be expected. He has not become an overnight celebrity, but his acceptance has not fluctiated or fallen like all of the others, but tantalizingly slowly and steadily risen since the announcement of his candidacy. My motivation was all conviction at the beginning of the campaign, but my hopes and expectations have grown at a rate corresponding to his success with voters. At this point, I’m not prepared to predict victory, but it wouldn’t surprise me. And, I DO precict that a strong and importants statement will be made by Mike Huckasbee’s campaign whether he wins the nomination or not.

It’s been exciting to watch: more even for America than for Mike Huckabee himself. Contact me anytime.


Stephen R. Maloney said...

I understand Mike's primary stategy, with the emphasis on winning a majority of the evangelical vote. But I can't yet determine a strategy for the general election. I've been reading up on the female governors of Hawaii and Connecticut, and they were both big winners. The very popular governor of Hawaii (Lingle) is a twice-divorced, pro-choice Jewish lady who campaigned vigorously for George Bush. Where does someone like Mike fit into such a mix? True, it's not as if past Republican candidates have fared well in Hawaii (or in Connecticut). He needs the 'values' voters,' but that by itself isn't enough to win.

Larry Perrault said...

You are correct, and I'm sure you'll think I'm wrong, but I'm confident that Huckabee is the strongest Republican candidate for the general election. Take a look at the liberal comments at articles and blog posts about him. I read every one of them. They usually say they like him for a Republican, or something like, "I don't agree with him on much (or anything), but I think he's honest and means well for the country."

Stephen R. Maloney said...

I have a hunch Ms. Lingle would campaign for Mike -- maybe with not as much enthusiasm as she would for one or two others. However, you raise a good point: the key to being a great President is to be a great person, one who has respect for other people, even those who disagree with him on this or that. I have a hunch Ms. Lingle understand that if we don't win the WOT other issues will be barely on the back burner, if that.

People in Vermont and Connecticut, and I've lived in both, aren't bad people. They tend to be Christians (or sometimes Jews) but without the religious fervor found in the South and Southwest. Also, they will vote for Republicans if the candidates give them a reason to. They both have big Democratic edges in registration, but there they are with two Republican (female) governors who won big over liberal Democrats. Same thing in Alaska, although Sarah is more conservative than her counterparts in HI and CT.