How Huck Got Foxed

But as Lee Corso would say, “Not so Fast.”

Governor Mike Huckabee’s campaign has already startled the wearisome herd of pundits who visit the same watering holes in the Boston, New York, Washington corridor.  Last September he was considered “peaking” as the national favorite of 9% of GOP voters which put him behind the anointed media winner Rudolph Giuliani, followed by Fred Thompson, John McCain, Mitt Romney and even New Gingrich, who had already signaled he wasn’t going to run.  In January, the same ABC polls showed him second only to McCain nationwide and leading in Iowa.

While the same mindless herd now gives it all to John McCain, with the same certainty that they had once consistently held for two years for Rudolph Giuliani, and while this time the herd is probably right, there are still some looming stories on the horizon for the February 5 Super Tuesday Primary.  As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast.”

As of today, McCain will carry New York and California, which is, gulp, gulp, saying a lot, and neighboring states like New Jersey, Connecticut and his home state of Arizona.  Romney will try to make his stand in Illinois and carry Colorado, Utah and Idaho.  And Giuliani states, New Mexico, Delaware and Minnesota will probably abandon the mayor after his expected trouncing in Florida.  With Huck and Romney splitting the conservative vote in those states (oh, yes, there are conservatives in moderate-liberal states, and they are usually more conservative than many in the south,) McCain will probably pick up those too.

But while Huckabee is being written off, perhaps a good thing leading into Super Tuesday, Huckabee is still leading in Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alabama and his home state of Arkansas, all southern states with higher delegate counts to the GOP convention than proportionate population.  At this writing he is still ahead of McCain in the big Texas event set for March 4.  The three, McCain, Romney and Huckabee, are virtually tied for Missouri.

So why then is this being portrayed as a McCain-Romney contest?  Who decided that Governor Mike Huckabee is out?  Obviously not the voters.

Huckabee may have been partly done in by an unlikely source. “The fair and balanced” FOX television network.  Remember, you were warned, it is fair and balanced, (wink, wink) but evangelical Christians failed to believe it, became lazy, relying on FOX, who does indeed show some cultural diversity in its programming, to sort all of this out for them.

There is good evidence to suggest that Huckabee has been “Miered.”

Now, to explain what it means to become “Miered” you will have to venture back into my archives at  You know what it means to be “Borked”?  That’s when you’re denied something that you should probably get.  As in Robert Bork, America’s premier judicial mind being denied his Supreme Court spot because liberals in the Senate decided he was too conservative.

Well, being “Miered” is different.  It is when you are accused by conservatives of being liberal even when you aren’t.  As when Judicial Committee Chairman, Sam Brownback, Ann Coulter, Bill Bennet, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Paul Weyrich all openly questioned the conservative bona fides of George W. Bush’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers.

Now, Harriet Miers, everyone now knows is very conservative and always was.  Her problem was that she was an evangelical Christian and her antagonists on television, those who questioned her conservatism, from Brownback to Weyrich, were all so called  Movement Conservatives.  They were all Catholic, wanting another appointment of their own.  Can’t fault that. Someone who they knew and saw at the G. K. Chesterton night dinners.

Of course, the evangelicals need the Catholic spokesmen and thinkers and activists.  In the past, they enthusiastically supported the nominations of Catholic Supreme Court appointments, Richard Bork, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and John Roberts.  And although Bork didn’t make it, they tried hard for him too.  Today, along with Anthony Kennedy, there are now five Catholic justices on the Supreme Court.  Two Jewish Justices.  A woman justice.  Two Blacks.  All commendable.  Even the gay community proudly claims one, Justice John Souter, who although not gay, was embraced by many in the community and has consistently supported them on almost every issue.  (Souter was a puzzling appointment by George H. W. Bush.  I was on staff in the White House at the time and was curious to learn of the immediate support of Ted Kennedy.)

So why not a born again justice?  Someone to represent the 42 % of Americans who according to Gallup claim to be born again Christians?  I had had that discussion with George W. Bush a dozen times since 1987, how evangelicals chaffed under an IRS and INS devoid of anyone of their faith and how it led to abuse and how the absence of evangelical federal judges led to nuisance lawsuits that crippled evangelical congregations.

So I was delighted that he remembered and made the Harriet Mier’s nomination.  It was a wrong he was trying to make right.  The problem was that the evangelicals were asleep at the switch.  They didn’t even see it happening.  And the Movement Conservatives where appalled.  What?  We don’t know her?  Why not Sam Alito?  Or someone we know?  And so they rushed to their stations at FOX to declare she was not one of them, not a true conservative and her nomination collapsed.

Now, we evangelicals are good sports.  And we rallied to good old Catholic, Samuel Alito, and we put him on the Court too, with our phone calls and letters.  And most conservative evangelicals would say he sure beats anyone who Obama or Clinton will pick but couldn’t we have had just one?  Just one?

This is what happened when Mike Huckabee appeared on the scene.  FOX had been talking about Catholic Giuliani for two years.  Can’t blame em.  They all live in New York City.  It isn’t often that a politician actually does something you can see and they could all see the end of crime at the hands of the mayor.  Impressive.  So when Southern Baptist, Governor Mike Huckabee appeared out of nowhere, well, who was he?  He didn’t quote G. K. Chesterton, he quoted Francis Schaeffer.

FOX may have actually learned something since the Miers episode, at least behind the scenes.  It knows that it needs evangelical viewers too, that Catholic conservatives are the intelligentsia, the spokesmen of conservatives, the leaders, but the money and numbers are almost all evangelical.  So this time the attacks were less impulsive than they were for Miers.  Nonetheless, Phyllis Schaffly and others challenged Huckabee’s conservative credentials and enough damage was done.  Of course, it was pure nonsense.

The problem was that many evangelicals fell asleep at the wheel, trusting FOX to look out for them, failing to do their due diligence, failing to believe that FOX really is fair and balanced and not their conservative watch dog.  Many are only now waking up to the fact that Huck was their man all the time and they just didn’t see it.

This past week I received a call from the pastor of large Florida church who had just met Huck and was blown away and quite surprised.  “I had been watching FOX,” he said, “I didn’t realize Huckabee was a true conservative.  In the Bush, senior campaign of 1988, we met this same pastor, had our photo with him, and had him promoting us for two years before the Florida primary.  This time he was just coming around, too late to do much.

Evangelicals and Movement Conservatives need each other.  Without evangelicals Ann Coulter’s books would have never made the best seller lists, Ed Feulner’s buildings would not have been purchased and Phyllis Schlafly would have run out of hair spray long ago.  But sorting all of this out in advance was critical to a Mike Huckabee’s shot at the White House.  And now?  The GOP will likely get John McCain but even so, as Lee Corso would say, squinting into the camera lens and pinching a little bit of air with his thumb and finger, “Yes, yes, it will be McCain but this one will be closer than they think! Closer than they think!”


Published by Doug Wead

Doug Wead is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest book, Game of Thorns, is about the Trump-Clinton 2016 election. He served as an adviser to two American presidents and was a special assistant to the president in the George H.W. Bush White House.

7 thoughts on “How Huck Got Foxed

  1. Brilliant again,

    Doug I feel like you’re the only person who is hearing me and saying what I’m saying. It reminds me of one of your tapes in which you talk about times when you thought everyone was laughing at your particular beliefs/faith. Then you realized there were a lot of people out there in American who agreed with you.

    I have emailed and written to Ann Coulter, Laura Ingram, Rush, O’Reilley, Fox News and Town Hall to explain my dissappointment with this “borking” as you say of Huckabee. Since October I’ve been bringing this up, and people are now finally starting to see it. If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes truth in the minds of the listener. Huckabee’s record speaks for itself.
    Closing many schools and restructuring school districts- pro education department?
    Balancing the budget every 10 years as Governor- big spender?
    Inheriting a deficit and leaving a surplus- big government guy?
    Fixing roads and prisons with use taxes like gasoline and cigarettes (voted upon by citizens)- tax hike Mike?
    Cutting capital gains tax for corporations and individuals, eliminating the marriage penalty, doubling the child tax credit, eliminating capital gains on sale of personal home, doubling standard deduction, and last but not least passing first broad based income tax cut in Arkansas history- he is a liberal tax and spend guy?
    Pro life, pro marriage, pro family, pro 2nd ammendment, pro strong defense, I see where Fox and Town Hall get the liberal tag?

    When I wrote to Ingram, Fox News, Town Hall and the like, I mentioned the fact that I could see their ratings and their book sales taking a serious hit because of the offense to evangelical customers- due to the anti Huckabee mantra. Town Hall actually wrote me back and asked for permission to publish my last email. In opposition to their anti Huckabee message and their endorsement of Giulianni and Romney (under their breath of course), I stated that I would write in a vote for Huckabee or Alan Keyes in the general election. It’s sad because I don’t despise McCain or Romney- they have both grown on me a little lately, but sending messages to me is very important.

    My main point in my letter was the advantage I have in perspective. I was a Catholic for 25 years and a born again Christian the last 7 years. I simply stated “this accounts for the background of the overwhelming majority of your audience”. I guess it got their attention.

    Two other things:

    Catholics, generally, want to have their social cake and eat it too. They want to get involved with socially and culturally conservative issues, but they don’t want to get crazy about those same positions. They don’t want to be fanatical- like us evangelicals. Unfortunately, the social issues of today won’t be overcome with a lukewarm attitude. I believe it was John who wrote I wish you were either hot or cold. I am not discussing legislating morality but I don’t think I have to explain our culture slide.

    Secondly, the person who has perplexed me most in all of this is Ann Coulter. First of all she may not have too many more best sellers when she calls the candidate of many evangelicals stupid on Fox News primetime. I was someone who defended her dogmatism in years past. I have bought some of her books, but I’m not inclined to do either anymore. She was backing Duncan Hunter and liked Alan Keyes. I liked both, but Huckabee better for his charismatic personality and his governing experiences. After Hunter throws his endorsement to Huckabee last week this really makes Coulter look silly.

    Oh well, as your blog implies the evangelicals were asleep at the wheel. Mark Twain said ” I seldom was able to see an opportunity, until it ceased to be one” The evangelical right may have missed the boat due to their faith in FOX.

    Huckabee is very strong in those southern states and we his supporters can all make calls from the internet call banks- it’s very organized. Not so fast!

  2. P.S. Check out his third interview with Catholic online.

    They are taking the offense to this “borking’ more than evangelicals. This has been a very intesting primary season to say the least.

    What do you make of the interview?

  3. Very interesting look at the inner workings of politics. I wondered why evangelical leaders were not rallying around Mike Huckabee. I wonder if he would have another chance if he doesn’t get the nomination. I think a VP slot with McCain would be disasterous.

  4. If McCain DOESN’T select Huckabee it could really hurt him. Fred Thompson would equal two senators and two guys in or nearing there 70’s. That’s a scary thought with Speaker Pelosi as third in command.

    Giulianni doesn’t seem to have the energy, desire, or any momentum from the primary. It wouldn’t paint a pretty picture for social conservatives.

    Ingram today was playing McCain’s comments about the possibility in 2004 of running with Kerry. He better reach out to conservatives with his VP. He already has defense hawks, moderates and independants.

    I don’t think he’s considering Romney.

    It seems to me that all three of these candidates has an affection with certain parts of the Reagan coalition, so wouldn’t it be disastrous to select someone outside of the 3.

    Doug, who else out there is a possibility?

    Swing state guys.
    Big state guys.
    Could it be one of the thousand establishment guys who has endorsed him in the last weeks and months? There are too many to list. Lott, Graham, Kemp, Brownback.

  5. Regarding the VP slot for Huckabee being disasterous, I think McCain will likely lose in November. Especially if Obama is the nominee.

    I believe this will hurt Huck’s future prospects — like it has for Edwards this year.

  6. Fox has been a great disappointment for evangelicals. We went to sleep, letting them do our thinking for us, only to wake up and realize that they stand with us on the issues but don’t understand who we are and what we want. Their coverage of evangelicals is hopelessly ill informed.

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