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What is Huckabee after?

The former Arkansas Governor vows to stay in the race.

And while it may be mathematically impossible to see how it could play out right now, I know this: Right now, nobody has the 1,191 delegates. And, therefore, it would be a little premature to quit until the game has actually come to a conclusion.

And I'll also remind everybody that it was the Republican National Committee who created the rules and the process and said, "Here's what it takes to be the nominee." Nobody's made it to that point yet.

And so, you know, I've not been one who believes that you leave the field because it's gotten difficult. You stay, and you keep playing until the last second of the clock has sounded.

I could make a wisecrack but someone may accuse me of anti-Huckabee bias. The numbers say Huckabee is all but mathamatically eliminated at this point.

Dr. Taylor at Poliblog writes-

Further, at this point, barring an actual miracle, Huckabee isn't going to win the nomination, so all he can accomplish by staying in is the draining of McCain's resources (that could be used to start the general election campaign) and the painting of McCain as a weak candidate.

Assuming that what Huckabee wants in November is a GOP victory, I am vexed by his behavior at this stage of the game.

Any theories?

Besides being politically thick headed? I'll leave it to Wizbang readers to comment.

Update- CNN reports-

Mike Huckabee vowed to stay in the race despite losing three more primaries Tuesday night, pledging to give voters in the coming primaries "a solid, conservative, absolute pro-life candidate" as an alternative to frontrunner John McCain.

The absolute pro-life candidate would appear to be McCain. He gets a ZERO rating from NARAL. So answer me this- Why is Huckabee running again?

Hat tip- Professor Bainbridge

2nd Update- Ed at Captain's Quarters writes in regards to Huckabee-

In fact, even if he had a chance to win the rest of the states, it still couldn't keep McCain from winning the nomination. Huckabee said last night that his strategy is to get to the convention with the nomination still open, and hope to win an open convention. Since the rest of the states allocate delegates proportionally, the mathematics are all but impossible.

We now have 1,049 delegates left to win, and McCain needs only 380 more to clinch the nomination. Huckabee would have to win 670 of the delegates left in the primaries in order to block McCain. That means Huckabee would have to win more than 65% of the vote in every single state left to contest, while McCain would have to take less than 35% of the vote in every single state.

And that's just to force an open convention, not to win the nomination. Huckabee hasn't won more than 45% in any state, and he didn't get to 45% in Virginia last night, either.

Again, why is Huckabee staying in the race? He may have the ultimate case of MES.

3rd update- James Joyner at OTB writes-

The only good news, really, is that having an opponent at least keeps McCain semi-relevant the next few months. As it is, the exciting race between Obama and Clinton is sucking most of the oxygen from the room.
Does one really think if the Republican race were to stop right now, voters would forget who the nominee is?

A couple of other random thoughts-

*- If Obama is elected President this year, I expect Hillary Clinton not to run for re-election to the Senate in 2012. The Senate was a prop for her White House bid. Once that is foiled, I think she will have little interest in the Senate.

*- Is McCain getting the GOP nomination comparable to Bob Dole in 1996? A Poliblog commenter made note of it. I been thinking the same thing for at least a few weeks.


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Comments (28)

On the surface it would app... (Below threshold)
Matt:

On the surface it would appear that Huckabee is continueing to run to clinch a spot as the VP select after a McCain nomination. He might be a decent counter balance for McCain and a succesful McCain Presidency would set up Huckabee for a bid as the successor.

I believe it might not be that simple. Huckabee could be trying to leverage enough support in order to have a heavy "evangelical" plank on the platform at the convention. He could also be positioning himself to be the McCain alternative in case something negative health-wise happens to McCain before the convention.

Personally, and there might be bias involved, I believe Huckabee is trying to set himself up to be a major "evangelical" power-broker similar to the late Jerry Falwell, Dobson, Robertson etc. Winning the nomination is secondary to his desire to be the "voice" of the supposed evangelical movement.

considering the cooperative... (Below threshold)

considering the cooperative relationship they've had while Romney was in the race, I wouldn't be surprised if he remains in with McCain's blessing.

Remaining in does these:

1. It keeps some focus on the Repub side and continues to provide McCain with free national and regional media coverage.

2. It makes the unenrolled voters in the remaining primary states look at both parties and become familiar with McCain, moreso than if they had the luxury of focussing solely on Obama and Clinton.

3. It keeps the "urgency" mode in the McCain fundraising apparatus and donor base.

4. It provides Huck with an increasing amount of leverage at the convention when it comes to selection of Veep. Whether he wants it or not, he carries the Evangelical base into the convention and drives their voice for a social conservative VP.

5. Huck's stronger presence at the convention also makes the VP race more complex -- renders Romney's role less powerful, potentially provides McCain with a wider array of options.

That could all be totally FOS, due to post-surgery medications gripping the brain.

I wondered the same thing a... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:

I wondered the same thing about Hillary and the Senate.

I think it will depend on who wins the general. If it is Obama, I don't think that she will run for reelection. If it is a Republican, she may hang in there.

I think it's the "Give that... (Below threshold)
Alan Orfi:

I think it's the "Give that 71-year-old heart a good scare" strategy.

Huckabee will further humil... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Huckabee will further humiliate John McCain in an effort to force him to step down then hijack what's left of the Republican Party (assorted Deadenders and fringe elements).

Huckabee is allowing conser... (Below threshold)

Huckabee is allowing conservatives to stand up and be counted (literally) so that McCain cannot forget this portion of the people he represents. Huckabee's run allows us to say, "If we sit out, you won't get in, Mr. McCain. Do not be a liberal."

1. He is trying to force a... (Below threshold)
Brett:

1. He is trying to force a brokered convention so that a more conservative candidate can be put forward by the bulk of GOP delegates and voters who really would prefer one.

2. He is building a national network or supporters who can help in 2012 after McCain gets destroyed by Obama in the general election (See Reagan in 1976 for a template)

3. He wants to demonstrate that he has a strong following in every state that might actually vote for a GOP nominee in a general election.

4. He wants to remind the moderate wing of the party that the bulk of the GOP voters who would prefer someone more conservative and if McCain gets wiped up by Obama, like moderate GOP nominees almost always do, then he and the more conservative wing of the party can kindly say, "I told you so."

5. He wants to encourage the fiscal conservatives who supported Fred Thompson in S.C., cost Huckabee the election there, and lost there last chance to stop McCain, to take a more serious look at his fiscal record and policies. He just WAS NOT a tax and spend liberal in Arkansas and those who have painted him as such aren't being honest.

Huckabee is a much better candidate than the elites have been willing to recognize. Sometimes, sadly, it takes a show of brute force to get their attention. Forty one percent of the GOP in Virginia supported a guy who doesn't have a chance at the nomination. If I really cared about the future of the conservative movement, I think I would sit up and listen to what that guy has to say and his potential to be a standard carrier for the Grand Ol' Party.

6.

The comparison between Dole... (Below threshold)
Mike:

The comparison between Dole and McCain is apt -- two long time Washington insiders who, in their own minds, believe they are "conservative" but are not. Both lost touch with their home state constituents long before their Presidential bids. I believe the election results for the two will be similar.

I voted for Dole because he was somewhat "moderate" on the many issues where he was not conservative. I doubt I will be voting for McCain who is liberal on many important domestic issues and who actively seems to dislike conservatives.

If Obama is electe... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:
If Obama is elected President this year, I expect Hillary Clinton not to run for re-election to the Senate in 2012. The Senate was a prop for her White House bid. Once that is foiled, I think she will have little interest in the Senate.

Disagree. The Clinton machine is all about power. They will not let go of whatever power remains after the failed presidential bid.

SOG,How much power... (Below threshold)

SOG,

How much power does 1 senator among 100 have unless they're chairman or chairperson of a major committee?

I predicted John Kerry to retire too. My track record isn't always good.

Bill

If Ed at Captain's Quarters... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

If Ed at Captain's Quarters is going to use a number argument, I wish he get calculation right. Assuming his 1,049, 670 and 380 is right. McCain needs slightly more then 36% of the delegates. Huckabee doesn't need to win but does need to keep McCain from winning. Romney picked up some votes yesterday as well.
Stating he needs a % of the votes and not delegates is also wrong. Beside what some have said, according to link below some of the State still remaining are winner take all. Some of McCain lead is do to winning winner take all states. Also some of past States require 50% plus for winner take all. Most of the time they end up going to winner anyway but the key phrase is most of the time. I suspect McCain will get the needed delegates but as the Giants would say. It is not over until it is over.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_%28United_States%29_presidential_primaries%2C_2008

Personally, I'm suffering f... (Below threshold)

Personally, I'm suffering from campaign lag. The choices we've been given for a conservative leader I'm looking for are pathetic and it's very disheartening. But press on I will, and whoever gets the nomination (to me) will still be a better choice than the alternative. Unfortunately it's all I have to go on and that makes me sad. Sad for the country and sad for the state of affairs we find ourselves in when a truly decent contender won't step up to the plate because rolling in the mud with pigs is just too distasteful.

Huckabee hung on to knock o... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Huckabee hung on to knock out Romney. I don't think he needed a back deal with McCain to be motivated to do that.

If he drops out less than a week after Romney did, its makes it look pretty obvious.

He needs at least a couple of weeks and a loss to justify quiting to make it look good.

So long as Huckabee is gett... (Below threshold)
SShiell:

So long as Huckabee is getting money, he will stay in the race for the following reasons:

1) Try and keep McCain honest. Kepp the hard core conservative pressure on McCain to keep him honest with the base.
2) To keep the Republicans in the news cycle. If the race were over, would there be any reporting of the Republicans at all?
3) To keep the far right's agenda on the table
4) Because he said he would, regardless of what you may say of the man, my impression is his word is his bond (I could be wrong - it is only my impression)
5) For the money - a guy has to have some kind of job.

Huckabee is really doing Mc... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

Huckabee is really doing McCain a favor. Huckabee is not making McCain move his position on any issue. Do you really think there is anything Huckabee can do that would force McCain to "expend resources" that he doesn't want to. McCain can use the remaining primary states to bring his message to more people. He doesn't have to "try", he will walk across the finish line.

But if Huckabee drops out, then you have no story for the MSM and consequently the GOP drops of what little of the front page they can get. Papers that would report both primaries on page one will report only the democratic primary on page one and give a single paragraph at the end to "McCain as the sole candidate also won".

He stays for one to immuniz... (Below threshold)
jbw:

He stays for one to immunize himself against charges he was McCain's stalking horse against Romney.

Two, more delegates gives him more power at the convention and perhaps believes he can force a VP slot from McCain.

three, regardless of a VP slot, if McCain looses, Huck hopes to go into 2012 as the runner up from 08' and the natural front runner. Again he hopes to screw Romney.

four, he's got nothing better to do and he gets to travel on other people's money.

Agree with you comments about Hillary and the Senate. Also don't think Hillary would accept a VP slot. Not sure that Obama would offer if he keeps racking up wins; he won't need hillary.

Now that Romney quit, his d... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Now that Romney quit, his delegates are up for grabs. That means McCain needs 1,191 delegates to avoid an open convention. The delegates are only committed for the first vote, otherwise a stalemate could not be broken on subsequent votes. It's then possible that Huckabee could pick up the anybody besides McCain delegates and win on a second or third vote.

Also, McCain is an old man and if Huckabee keeps the pressure up, McCain might no be viable by the time of the convention. In that case Huckabee wants' to be sure and have more delegates than Romney.

I'm not supporting Huckabee, but neither am I supporting McCain. Maybe I'll change my mind before election day.

McCain could "miracu... (Below threshold)
jaymaster:


McCain could "miraculously" die before the convention.
depp=true


R's have a history of nomin... (Below threshold)
ras:

R's have a history of nominating the last cycle's runner-up when they can; e.g. McCain. Huckabee's just running to catch the next bus when it comes.

As for Hillary, I wouldn't rule out her looking for an exec position in order to burnish her credentials since clearly the Senate seat alone was not enough. Any chance of a relevant governorship being available?

Hey, come to think of it, with Spitzer's malignant character coming into the open lately ... don't laugh, it makes Machiavellian sense, doesn't it?

Folks - CNN GOP Debate in O... (Below threshold)
scott ingrassia:

Folks - CNN GOP Debate in Ohio, February 28th. This will be a defining moment for Mike Huckabee. McCain will lose that debate. Since there's only 2 men in this race, Huckabee will finally get fair and equal time, something he hasn't received to this point.

The McCain camp has been pressuring hard to get Mike Huckabee to leave the race for sometime now. Why? Because Mike Huckabee has garnered more support from the conservative base than any other candidate, and he's done it on a shoestring budget. This is not over by a long shot --- "mathematically", it looks overwhelming, but if Romney (who should never back McCaiN if he has any value for his political future) releases his delegates or endorses Huckabee and throws his delegates behind him, that would change the trajectory of the race completely. The other thing, is that if it goes to convention, it's every man for himself. The only reason, why you have all of these "endorsements", backing McCain, is because the pundants have blown McCain's name up all over the place, and these Governors and Senators all think their "endorsement" will get them on the fast track to get on the McCain Administration. I say who cares about endorsements, it's the voters who decide in this country.

Mike Huckabee is pro-life, pro 2nd amendment, against embryonic stem cell research, against the international criminal tribunal (who by the way could try our own troops if that passed). He's for the FAIRTAX, the best way to reinvent the tax code, he's for the sanctity of marriage, he's for border control, and he's the only candidate left with Chief Executive experience in running a government. Do you also know, that for months now, Mike Huckabee has been saying that a true economic stimulus to this country would be for America to re-invest in itself. To put money back into our own workers by rebuilding our infrastructure. This is a Mike Huckabee plan, and just last week, Gov. Schwarzenegger (backing McCain), Gov. Rendell & Mayor Bllomberg announced the "Building Amerca's Future Coalition", a program, in which they want all of the candidates to pledge to, saying America should reinvest back into it's own infrastructure....SOUND FAMILIAR. Mike Huckabee is ahead of his time.

John McCain, while a great war hero and American, is questionable on many issues, and liberal on many as well. HE IS WINNING ALL OF THE TRADITIONAL BLUE STATES, WHILE MIKE HUCKABEE IS WINNING TRADITIONAL RED STATES. WHEN HUCKABEE LOSES TO MCCAIN, HE STILL GARNERS AN OVERWHELMING AMOUNT OF THE CONSERVATIVE VOTE. A REPUBLICAN NOMINEE NEEDS ALL THE RED STATES TO WIN AN ELECTION....MCCAIN ISN'T DONG THAT.

MCCAIN IS WINNING AMONG INDEPENDENTS & MODERATES ----- THEY ARE TAKING OVER THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

Stop listening to the media & the pundants -----CATCH UP AMERICA & VOTE MIKE HUCKABEE....AND IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME, WATCH HIM ON THE CNN DEBATE FEB. 28TH!

If Huckabee gets enough del... (Below threshold)
Mccainequalsdraft:

If Huckabee gets enough delegates he could also make it mathematically impossible for McCain to receive the 1191 needed. He could then potentially pick up the nearly 300 Romney delegates at the convention and win. Also, there's always the possibility of McCain having a health issue or some unexpected campaign ender. Contrary to what the media is pushing for, it Ain't over yet folks!

SOG,How much ... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:
SOG,

How much power does 1 senator among 100 have unless they're chairman or chairperson of a major committee?

Bill,
It's not so much the actual power a senator may or may not have, it's the position and the perks garnered via the abuse of that power... As her "senatorship" was a stepping stone to the presidency, it can be used as a platform for other things as well.

I'm thinking of a movie quote... Maybe it was Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction... It seems to fit with how I feel Hillary will take the loss of her hopes and aspirations: "I WILL NOT BE IGNORED!"

Huckabee is a Media Hog he ... (Below threshold)
delburd:

Huckabee is a Media Hog he is Paris Hilton in Drag what an idiot !! Get out so we can send Hillary and Obama back to the depths of Hell! Romney dropped out 2 weeks ago and still has more delegates then Huckabee. Again Huckabee shows no Class with his lame ass Jokes and EGO ! Time to shut up and back McCain enough whining lets win in November!!

McCain/Thompson 08 lets Kill all the Terrorists and Punch all the Hippies!!

Who cares if the Huckster s... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

Who cares if the Huckster stays in? I find it kind of funny. I want to see John McCain get a hard time just like the liberals are. I could care less who wins between McCain, Obama or Hillary. Obama and Hillary are the real thing as far as socialist liberalists are concerned, and McCain is going to give them the farm anyways. Sure McCain might be pro-life, but he is trying to push this global warming crap. To me pro-life is irrelevant if you are going to utterly destroy this countries economy over a hoax.

Mike Huckabee's reason for ... (Below threshold)
Terrence:

Mike Huckabee's reason for staying in is obvious to his supporters. He believes he is the best person for the job. When you believe you are the best person for the job, you do not just give up and hand it over to your opponent.

Will John McCain debate Mike Huckabee one on one? If John McCain debates Mike Huckabee one on one, he will lose every primary from here to the convention. If he does not, he will look weaker and weaker against the Democrat nominee.

www.mikehuckabee.com

I guess I missed it in the ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

I guess I missed it in the write-up but aren't there still three candidates in the race? September is a long way away (201 days).

ronpaul2008.com

I think I figured it out. H... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

I think I figured it out. Huck's plugging the release of his book in paperback form using his candidacy, I heard the ad a few times on Hannity's show the last week or so. Think about it: Huck gets to let other people pay him to keep himself all over the news just when free publicity would get him the most money.

Cynical? You bet.

Possible? Hey, it's Washington.

I have the highest respect ... (Below threshold)
John Robertson:

I have the highest respect for Senator John McCain and I am proud to support him to be our next president! He serverd our country with bravery and honor during the Vietnam War. He refused freedom from a hell hole in North Vietnam because he would not leave without honor. I could not and will not support Reverand Huckabee for president. I do no believe he believes in speration of church and state. He would lead us down the path to become a theocracy. I do not trust him or his zelot supporters in the evangelical movement. They want to dominate our country like the Taliband did in Afganastan or like the Ayatollah's run Iran to this day. This country was founded on freedom not religon. Freedom of religon and freedom from religon! I would be deply hurt and loose respect for Senator McCain if put Huckabee on the ticket. I do not think he would betray us his supporters and do such a thing. He knows what we know and that is that we need to move beyond being bullied by Reverand Huckabee and his henchman. We need a real leader, we need Senator John McCain!!!!




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