How things have changed over people's reactions in the South to the Confederate Flag

John Fund at the WSJ as an interesting contrast between Thompson and Huckabee over the Confederate flag:

Mike Huckabee tried his best to expand beyond his evangelical base in South Carolina and appeal to what his campaign called "Joe Six Pack" voters. Mr. Huckabee was the only candidate to pander to devotees of the Confederate flag, telling crowds that outsiders should leave the banner flag, now displayed in a corner of the grounds of the state capitol, alone: "If somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell 'em what to do with the pole, that's what we'd do." Contrast that with the comments of Mr. Huckabee's fellow Southerner Fred Thompson: "For a great many Americans, [the flag] is a symbol of racism. I'm glad people have made a decision not to display it . . . in a state capitol." . . .

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Is Romney the Weakest of the Possibly Republican Nominees?

If you believe the averages at Real Clear Politics, Romney is the weakest possible nominee. Giuliani, Huckabee, and Thompson are virtually the same. One thing that I will say for Thompson is that given he has gotten much less favorable publicity than Giuliani or Huckabee (particularly Huckabee), he might do relatively better than them farther down the road.

Average difference in races between Clinton or Obama and Republican

McCain . . . . +3 Percent

Giuliani . . . . -8.8 percent

Huckabee . . -9.3 percent

Thompson . . -9.75 percent

Romney . . . . -13.9 percent

Between Clinton and Obama it isn't even close. Obama is a much stronger candidate than Hillary. I haven't figured out the average difference but it looks like about 7 percent on average. Plus every Republican would apparently lose to Obama. One warning with all these numbers is that the general election is a long ways away, but these are big differences.

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Huckabee Versus Thompson

Look at the difference between the campaigning by Huckabee and Thompson. Thompson raises issues. Huckabee makes bizarre charges about Thompson being "a registered foreign agent, lobbied for foreign countries, was in a law firm that did lobbying work for Libya." Huckabee knows that large law firms handle a lot of clients, but that is a long way from any particular lawyer supporting a client. One of the nice things about the South Carolina and New Hampshire debates on Fox News was that they got into the issues, and Fred Thompson came out well in both debates. Huckabee apparently doesn't think that he can compete on the issues. Here is Fred Thompson again on the issues.

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When to joke and when to give serious answers?

I guess that I frequently take things too seriously, but while Huckabee is strong on protecting people's right to own guns, he rarely seems to explain the reasons well. I am not sure what to make of the answer below. Is it funny? Yes, I guess so. But in the discussion below will listeners come away thinking that there is a real problem by not having a one-gun-a-month rule? I fear that is the case. Can't there be some kernel of education in the discussion? This is from Huckabee's appearance on the Colbert Report:

COLBERT: South Carolina gun laws are so loose that you can go into any gun shop and buy as many handguns as you want. I mean 200 of them and then just ship them up here to New York and sell them illegally on the street and raise some serious scratch.

HUCKABEE: How do you think I've financed my campaign for the past 11 months?

COLBERT: Smart man!

COLBERT: Pick me up a couple?

HUCKABEE: On their way. What kind would you like?

COLBERT: Something with the serial numbers scratched off.

HUCKABEE: Consider it done.

COLBERT: I know you're a man of your word. You would never rescind your offer of making me vice president no matter how well you do in the campaign. But I'm going to give you one more chance to get out of it. Just ask me, I'll say no ...

HUCKABEE: Steven, be my running mate?

COLBERT: Yes!!!!!!!!!

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An explanation too far

In a new television ad debuting Tuesday in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee does the unthinkable - he wishes early voters “Merry Christmas.”

Wearing a red sweater and standing before a glowing Christmas tree as “Silent Night” plays in the background, the former Arkansas governor asks viewers if they’re “about worn out of all the television commercials you’ve been seeing, mostly about politics.”

Behind Huckabee appears to be a white cross, which may be intersecting shelf lines or a window pane and slowly moves to the right on the screen until it’s behind his head.

But the ordained Baptist minister, who has been riding a wave of evangelical support with his open religious appeals, said Tuesday that it’s just a bookshelf and defended the ad.

Huckabee shouldn't have tried this explanation because it makes him look dishonest. True the cross in the ad is just a "bookshelf," but to imply that Huckabee and his people just saw it as a bookshelf and not as a cross isn't believable. If you haven't seen the ad, the cross image just dominates the picture. Does the image bother me? Hardly, but this explanation is just not credible. You can see the ad here.

For Jason Lewis' typically perceptive comments on this ad go here.

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I was wrong about Huckabee, he is even worse then I thought

And I already thought that he was really bad, a kind of social conservative with left-wing economic views. I have written a few things on Huckabee here and here.

I have mentioned previously his obsession with the hysteria about man-made global warming being a real threat, but now he wants to further expand conservation, make us energy independent within four years, and expand ethanol and other biofuels. This is a recipe for economic poverty. Subsidize the sale of fruit and vegetables. Force use of fluorescent lights. This guy is a disaster. Is there anything that this guy won't mandate or subsidize or tax?

Talk about micromanaging. People aren't eating enough fruit, subsidize it.

I'm one of the few people who's actually talked about the fact that as Republicans we have done a lousy job of presenting the case for conservation. We ought to be the leaders, but unfortunately we've been the last people speaking out on conservation. . . . .

You've vowed in your presidential platform to achieve energy independence by your second term. . . . .

The key is to create [energy independence is] the kind of unbridled marketplace that turns innovators loose to find the solutions. I don't think we're going to find one big answer. I think it's going to be a combination of many that will include hydrogen, solar, wind, nuclear, domestically produced fossil fuels -- at least for the short term. . . . .

You mentioned your support for ethanol and other biofuels. . . . . .

replace light bulbs with the fluorescent types. We need to shoot for less fossil fuel, go to more energy-efficient and certainly non-carbon-producing methods of energy. . . . .

we can start making a genuine transition to healthier, more whole-food products, doing more to subsidize fruits and vegetables, rather than just the processed food, and creating the appetites in children by exposing them more to fruits and vegetables at the marketplace, and the schools, and their homes and neighborhoods. . . .

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Huckabee concerns me a great deal, part II

I think that just the rhetoric that someone who opposes government intervention in health care "doesn't care about that kid" is enough to concern me. Doesn't he understand the long term harm caused by more and more government intervention in health care? My own belief is that those who want the government to provide for all these problems are the ones who really aren't effectively caring for others. The increased government intervention means that the health care system will not work as well and that a lot of people's health will be harmed as a result.

former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee accused the Club for Growth of advocating "an economic policy that doesn't care about that kid," a line that highlighted the fundamental problem with Mike Huckabee's "conservatism." Much like the Democratic candidates, Mike Huckabee believes the only way to help an asthmatic child is by increasing the size of government and raising taxes to pay for it. That is how he governed in Arkansas, and that is how he will govern if elected president, his anti-tax pledge notwithstanding.

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Some not so close fans of Huckabee

Apparently some people don't think to highly of Huckabee

Even editorialists and columnists at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state's dominant (and Republican-friendly) daily paper, use words like "petty" and "thin-skinned" to describe Huckabee. Then again, he's compared hard-hitting (and accurate) news reporters for the Democrat-Gazette to the press fabulists Jayson Blair and Janet Cooke. He called liberal columnist John Brummett of Stephens Media "constipated" when that early admirer commenced some gentle criticism. His administration paid $15,000 to settle a suit filed by Roby Brock, the host of a public TV news show whom Huckabee's people tried to force off the air for his critical commentary. . . . .

More important, Huckabee revealed an enduring weakness as glaring as that other Arkansas governor's fondness for women. Huckabee seems to love loot and has a dismissive attitude toward ethics, campaign finance rules and propriety in general. Since that first, failed campaign, the ethical questions have multiplied. . . . .

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Huckabee Not Exactly Tough on Keeping Taxes Low

There have been a lot of claims that Huckabee was not exactly very tough on keeping taxes low in Arkansas. Well, if you had any doubts about it you should see the video here.

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Huckabee worries me a great deal

Is Huckabee good on the gun issue? Sure, though I am not always happy with his ability to explain the issue. There is no doubt that he is as strong as anyone on that issue. That said, I would have a very difficult time voting for him in a general election. Among the reasons I would have a hard time is that he supports a nationwide smoking ban, "supports a mandatory cap on global-warming pollution," and "limiting the pay of corporate executives." Huckabee's discussion on health care also worries me.

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