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Saturday, February 02, 2008
Huckabee Voters Not Likely to Switch to Romney

Apparently the Romney forces are still laboring under the misapprehension that they can pull together a Romnabee coalition.

The Romney campaign’s February 5th math is simple: move all the voters from the Huckabee pile onto theirs and claim a majority of conservatives. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple.

What do you mean, not simple? Just move the pile! Now note what's not said at all; what the Huckabee pile is going to receive in return; one suspects that it's the chance to help Mitt Romney over the hump. Now of course, it should come as no news to anybody that Mike Huckabee isn't interested in this game. He has on many occasions expressed his admiration for Senator McCain, and his disdain for Mitt Romney. What was the phrase the other day; that Mitt had just reached political puberty as a conservative?

Patrick Ruffini, who's one of the brightest minds in politics, looks at the polling data and sees little evidence that Romney will be successful in wooing the Huckabee fans:

There is a message in these returns to conservatives busy soldering together the coalition below decks: do not assume that just because they’re all pro-life, that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham speak for the social conservatives Romney needs next Tuesday. They don’t. Being pro-life and pro-marriage is not enough. To understand what Huckabee voters want, you need to actually appreciate what Mike Huckabee brings to the table, which is an emphasis on faith, undiluted. Many conservatives, particularly those around here, do not. While many of us agree on the social issues, the conservative establishment resented how he injected his religion into the campaign. Never have I seen conservatives so readily repeat the Barry Lynn/ACLU line on the “wall” between church and state.

Yes, indeed it was certainly instructive to see how few of the yakkers and bloggers are quite as Christian as they claim when faced with a real Christian Conservative who looked like he could win the nomination. The response was almost as hysterical as the reaction to John McCain. And believe me, the Christian Conservatives noticed, especially when it became obvious that the commentariat were pushing a Mormon as the "acceptable" candidate.

And who reached out the olive branch and said Mike Huckabee's a fine guy and would make a good candidate? Why, it was Michael Medved, also notable as the only major radio talker who supports John McCain. What an idiot Medved was, right? LOL. I get the feeling Michael Medved has played some chess in his life, and knows how to think more than one move ahead. As Ruffini notes:

Specifically, it seems to me that the conservative establishment’s decision to go nuclear first on Huckabee (who never had a shot but speaks for voters we need in November) before McCain (who always had a shot but speaks mostly for himself) will rank as a pretty serious strategic blunder.

McCain has also gone out of his way to be gracious to Huckabee. Now to a certain extent that was because their interests coincided; McCain needed Huckabee to knock off Romney in Iowa, and Huckabee needed McCain to knock off Romney in New Hampshire, so that the two of them could slug it out in South Carolina. But of course they didn't slug it out; instead they became friends. I keep saying this, but you cannot imagine the personal charm that John McCain has. Everybody who interacts with him likes him.

Many conservatives underestimate this. They attribute McCain's obvious popularity with the media as some sort of dastardly trick intended to lure us into nominating him, just so they can wheel out the "too temperamental" charge. I myself have said (wrongly) they like him because he can often be counted on to criticize other Republicans. But I have come to realize that they like him because they like him. He gives them access like they've never had at this level and stage of a campaign before.

And it permeates his style and his campaign. All the reporters talk about how if they have a question for the Senator on the bus or the plane, they just walk up to his seat and ask him.

He gives bloggers access like reporters probably dream they'd have with Obama or Hillary. I have participated in over a dozen blogger conference calls with the senator and have been able to ask a question in over half of those, including last Monday, before the vote in Florida.

You know when Mitt Romney had his first blogger conference call? Yesterday. Fred Thompson had one as well, just as his campaign was going down. But McCain's had them when he was up in the polls, when he was down in the polls, when he'd won a terrific victory and when he'd suffered a setback.

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