Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum Try to Challenge Ted Cruz

Remember that scene in Iowa? Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum headed off to an event with Donald Trump after failing to get traction. Both thought Iowa was theirs having seized on Christian conservative sentiment in 2008 and 2012? Now, with Ted Cruz taking all the oxygen away from them they were bitter and, plotting with the establishment, out to get Cruz. They showed up at a Donald Trump rally where they did the “kneel before Zod” routine while attacking Cruz.

They are still at it, having never forgiven Ted Cruz for beating them in Iowa. Their latest ploy is to get an establishment challenger against Cruz who will pretend to be to Cruz’s right.

Bruce Jacobson, the executive producer of a Christian cable television show called called Life Today TV, has been quietly weighing a run against Cruz, according to a spokeswoman for the group Texans for Texas.

Jacobson has not returned phone calls from The Dallas Morning News, but a decision to launch his campaign could come within days. The filing period for the March primaries starts in November.

Texans for Texas, a super PAC that’s been around for about a year, is having a fundraiser Monday in North Richland Hills, where Jacobson lives. He’s listed as the event’s special guest.

According to Federal Election Commission reports, the group has raised $25,000 for the 2018 elections.…

Jacobson, who is well-known among Christian conservatives, could court support from former presidential contenders such as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Apparently, Jacobson isn’t even a principled conservative like Cruz. He’s just a Huckabee sort of clone who talks Jesus while being okay with growing the secular state. And notice that last paragraph. There are some people wondering what the actual relationship is there. I’m told pretty reliably that Huckabee is pushing this and Santorum is probably connected. That paragraph about getting their support was not a random, throw away paragraph.

Cruz already has one establishment hack coming after him from the left within the GOP primary. The guy is a lawyer who claims Cruz isn’t playing well with Mitch McConnell. Now we’re going to get this guy pretending to come at Cruz from the right. The media will love both so they can attack Cruz from all sides. But if I were Cruz, I’d be looking around thinking I’ve got attacks from left and from pretend right, so I must be doing something actually right.

By the way, don’t think the timing here is coincidental. Steve Bannon came out yesterday and said Cruz would be the one GOP Senator who does not get challenged in 2018 in the primaries. Huckabee probably wants to assert his supposed power and influence, not that he really has much.

Shame On Huckabee, WH Cowards; Praise For Ivanka

We can already see the fracture lines forming, and how President Trump thinks he’ll sail through his non-condemnation of white supremacists in Charlottesville.

Trump’s daughter Ivanka wasted no time and minced no words in her tweets against the evil Citronella dork gangsters in Charlotteville.

If her father had tweeted her first message, things might not be where they are. But Trump must do more than he’s done, and in fact, his non-condemnation and failure to repudiate these diseased rats will only encourage them and lead to more violence.

Everyone knows that white nationalists felt empowered by Trump’s rise. Everyone knows that he used his Twitter account to dog whistle them and retweet their garbage. Everyone knows that Steve Bannon destroyed Andrew Breitbart’s life’s work by turning it into an “alt-right” apologist rag and shameless propaganda outlet for Trump.

These are unquestionable facts.

And now the shameful parade of moral equivalence preachers has begun, starting with Mike Huckabee. He should be ashamed before man and God–a preacher of the Gospel defending murder.

“If Donald Trump has suddenly jumped on Marine One … down to Charlottesville, walked into the jail where the young man was being held, shot him between the eyes, I guarantee you people said he didn’t use the right caliber bullet,” Huckabee said.

Okay, so what? Some people are against everything Trump says or does, even if they agree with it. Huckabee’s implication is despicable.

Trump was “explicitly clear in condemning what happened and the fact was he will never satisfy those who hate his every word,” Huckabee said.

No, in fact Trump was not explicit, nor was he clear. Nothing highlights this fact more than the White House–where Huckabee’s own daughter serves as press secretary–refused to go on record with Trump’s explicit condemnation.

“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred,” the White House spokesperson stated. “Of course that includes white supremacists, [Ku Klux Klan], neo-nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”

Whoever said this refused to go on record, would not give his or her name, and would not give reporters in New Jersey a reason why the statement was unattributed, according to the Washington Examiner.

Why? It’s such a simple thing.

The KKK, neo-Nazis, and purveyors of evil, hateful ideologies, who would kill others because of the color of their skin, or ram their car into a crowd because of a political disagreement, must be specifically, unequivocally, condemned.

But here we are, with the Daily Stormer and KKK claiming victory.

Knowing Trump, we can expect some kind of bombshell to get the media to change the subject. But we must not change the subject here. Homegrown evil is a show stopper.

All the moral equivalence in the world, all the “but Obama…” whataboutisms, all the “Trump could never say enough” defense of the indefensible can’t and won’t get us beyond this open festering wound.

I don’t care if Antifa and BLM killed 10,000 times more people than white supremacists (they haven’t, but I used an extreme example on purpose). That would be like saying that Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro is okay because Pol Pot killed a million of his own countrymen.

Evil ideologies and those who espouse them, even if they voted to put someone into office, must be condemned. The fact that Trump has not done so indicates that he values their support more than he opposes their benighted ideals.

The fact that the White House staff is unwilling to attach a name to a statement of condemnation gives us the answer here. Shame on Mike Huckabee, and his daughter with him. Praise to Ivanka Trump for showing a modicum of courage. But I guess the president can’t fire his own daughter like he can fire Mike Huckabee’s.

Mike Huckabee Has to be a Democrat Plant

Everyone has their own tastes in humor: the clownish physical comedy of the Three Stooges or Jim Carrey, observational comedy like Jerry Seinfeld and Tim Hawkins, explicitly crude comedy like Chris Rock or George Carlin, or dry sarcasm like Norm McDonald or David Spade. And while I can bust a gut laughing at Hawkins or Spade, I also appreciate that there are those who don’t. Similarly, while some might never get enough of Curly smacking Larry in the head, I’d expect them to respect the fact that it gets a little old to the rest of us.

In short, a man’s choice in comedy is something to be respected and not judged. Except Mike Huckabee. We can all judge Mike Huckabee’s humor.

The former Arkansas Governor, turned presidential candidate, turned Fox News host, turned presidential candidate, turned embittered anti-Cruzer, turned Donald Trump apologist, has now apparently settled on a new career: Twitter comedy.

And it’s not going well.

When Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer fake cried over Donald Trump’s temporary “travel ban,” the embarrassing spectacle set up nicely to be harpooned by witty conservatives. Instead, Mike Huckabee went in for the kill:

Breaking news from Hollywood! Sen. Chuck Schumer cast in lead role for remake of “Boys Don’t Cry.”

What? First of all, he was crying (or pretending to) so it wouldn’t be boys don’t cry. Secondly, this isn’t even close to being a burn. If anything it let Schumer off the hook by being more humiliating than the Senator’s pandering tears.

Then came the Justice Gorsuch hearings which saw Huckabee try to float a few zingers, including one that referenced the old cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn. I’ll give you one guess how well that went over seeing that Twitter is populated largely by people who weren’t alive when Foghorn was in his prime. But after swinging and missing with a cartoon reference, Huckabee went right back in with this gem:

Breaking News! Jimmy Dean Sausage Co will be renamed GORSUCH SAUSAGE because he’s grinding up some Democrat Senators into PURE PORK SAUSAGE.

I just don’t understand how anyone who seems to function normally in civilized society could come to the conclusion that this was witty, funny, or even a remotely effective jab. It doesn’t even make sense. Was pork a reference to legislative excess? These are judicial confirmation hearings, not budget debates.

And it continues. Just days ago, Huckabee announced to his 615,000 followers that:

For Cinco de Mayo I will drink an entire jar of hot salsa and watch old Speedy Gonzales cartoons and speak Spanish all day. Happy CdMayo!

The most astounding thing about that tweet was that it was posted at 4:52 am, making it appear as though Huckabee was so confident it was comedy gold that he could hardly sleep in anticipation of posting it. Maybe it sounded better in his head than it came across, but I think knowing that these could be well thought-out, premeditated, practiced, rehearsed zingers actually makes it worse.

And finally the coup de grace:

CNN now stands for Cardiac Care Network because their ppl are having heart attacks over Trump doing what Dems once demanded-fire Comey.

Cardiac Care Network would be CCN. Not CNN. Call me a conspiracy theorist but I think it’s becoming clear that Mike Huckabee is a Democrat plant. He has to be; nothing else explains this kind of behavior. Sure, it’s been an elaborate scheme including years of social and political commentary aimed at building up trust on the right, but given the level of humiliation he now brings on the entire political movement he is associated with, I’d say they’re getting their money’s worth.

Mike Huckabee Calls for Infrastructure Jobs ‘You Cannot Outsource’

It seems that Gov. Mike Huckabee is the latest conservative on Team Trump to fall victim to the Keynesian delusion that infrastructure spending is the way to revitalize the economy. A tweet by Fox News yesterday quoted Huckabee as saying, “The most effective way to put people on a job is to do infrastructure jobs b/c it’s the one thing you cannot outsource.”

The tweet does not offer a link to a clip of the segment, so Huckabee’s comment cannot be viewed in full context, but the statement comes after other members of the Trump transition team, including the president-elect himself, have signaled that infrastructure spending, most likely financed by debt, will be a top priority in the new administration.

While Huckabee is technically correct that construction jobs cannot be exported to foreign countries, the construction industry is a major employer of illegal immigrants. In 2012, four years into the unemployment crisis brought on by the Great Recession, Pew Research found that about 15 percent of construction and extraction jobs were held by illegal aliens.

During the campaign, it was pointed that Donald Trump had even used illegal aliens in the construction of the Trump Tower in the 1980s.  The Washington Post reported that Trump was also using illegal workers in the construction of his new hotel in Washington, DC, a charge that he denied.

Even without possibility of government infrastructure money going to illegal workers, Huckabee’s infrastructure comment shows a lack of deep thinking on the issue of jobs. Government spending on infrastructure can create jobs in the short term, but what happens when those projects are finished? Government projects often run behind schedule and over budget, but eventually they come to an end. If the underlying problems with the economy are not fixed the result will be a country with a lot of nice, new roads and bridges, a lot more debt and a chronic high unemployment rate.

The key to revitalizing the economy is to create a climate in which American companies can create things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. Tax and regulatory reform would allow American businesses to build things at prices that are competitive with the rest of the world.

When the federal government takes on more debt, it needs more tax money to pay back what is borrowed. Higher taxes and more government spending make the US less competitive. Neither families nor countries can borrow their way to prosperity.

The infrastructure stimulus has been tried and has failed numerous times. Most famously, President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” created the Works Progress Administration, an entire government agency whose purpose was to create infrastructure jobs for unskilled laborers. The WPA was responsible for many roads, bridges, parks, and post offices, but what it did not do was end the unemployment crisis.

More recently, President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 spent $787 billion on “shovel-ready” infrastructure jobs. The success of Obama’s program can be judged by the fact that unemployment is still a problem eight years later.

One conservative critic of Obama’s stimulus said at the time, Republicans in Congress “were elected to represent their constituents, but they can’t hardly do that and vote to pile on unimaginable debt on their grandchildren.” He continued, “If you think future generations of Americans can afford a congressional version of ‘shop-til-you-drop,’ then just remain silent, but I don’t plan to.”

Who was that outspoken critic of Obama’s stimulus boondoggle? It was Mike Huckabee.

When did borrowing money to create jobs paid for by the government become a conservative policy, governor?

Mike Huckabee Does Have Values, They’re Just For Sale…and Cheap

Mike Huckabee is really a shameful waste of talent. I’ve met him on several occasions and found him to be a humble, self-effacing man in person. He actually does have values, but doesn’t believe in them enough to stand on them publicly.

This is why the man knelt before Zod and handed his campaign over to Donald Trump before the first actual voter cast a caucus ballot in Iowa.

So now the former governor, whose main claim is that he took on the Clinton Machine (so what?), is reduced to attacking Senate candidates who are being dragged down by the S.S. Trumptanic.

At least one conservative remembers how the S.S. Hucktanic sunk, on radio (and on TV, and in presidential politics–twice!).

Joe Cunningham related the sad tale of Huck’s attempt to overcome Rush Limbaugh on talk radio. It was about as successful as his attempt to take on Donald Trump.

See, the “wimps and wusses” who fled Limbaugh’s show were given a home by Huckabee, the self-styled “reasonable” conservative. Fast foward to this general election cycle, and we see that someone who is far more outrageous than Limbaugh ever could be is running for president, and people don’t like him. Those people, to Huckabee, many of them the same moderate Republicans who found what Limbaugh said distasteful, are “wimps and wusses.”

Huckabee’s daughter works for Trump, and the former Arkansas governor has done nothing but disgrace his Christian witness by prostrating himself before the little orange god.

At the end of all this, nobody is going to take Mike seriously. Nobody. That’s a shame, because Huckabee’s values are worth more than the cheap sale price he sold them for.

Huckabee Adds To His Shame

In the Hall of Shame for Political Coulda-Beens, Mike Huckabee has his own personal wing. His latest shame:

I’ve met Gov. Huckabee on several occasions. I have always found him to be a genuine, humble, and self-effacing man. I’ve heard him speak in a heartfelt way about the unborn. I’ve heard him relate gut-wrenching stories about his daughter and his visit to Nazi death camps.

But then Huckabee met Donald Trump. He daughter went to work for Trump. And something just went “click” in the man’s brain, short-circuiting all the “shame” circuits. From kneeling before Zod in a shameful end to his campaign, to practically deifying Trump at the Great Evangelical Come to Donald meeting, Huckabee keeps descending further into his defense of the indefensible.

Now, in the cause of unity, when the GOP needs to line up behind a candidate so toxic only 2 percent of Romney donors have seen fit to give a nickel to him, Huckabee saw fit to threaten Sen. Jeff Flake for daring to insult the Orange Throne. Flake took particular offense at Trump’s references to Saddam Hussein as “good at killing terrorists.” This is a recurring theme for Trump, who has praised the communist Chinese, fascist Mussolini, and Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin for their “leadership” and “strength” dealing with opposition.

Flake has been particularly critical of Trump over his rhetoric about Hispanics, including his criticisms of Judge Gonzalo Curiel. According to the Washington Post, Flake identified himself to Trump during the meeting as “the other senator from Arizona — the one who didn’t get captured — and I want to talk to you about statements like that.” Trump reportedly told Flake he would lose re-election, before the senator reminded him he wasn’t up again until 2018. The Post also reported that Trump criticized Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, who was absent from the meeting and, facing one of the most difficult re-election battles in the country, rescinded his endorsement of the apparent nominee last month.

So Huckabee went full Goodfellas on Flake. “You made the Boss look stupid. Is that your state over there? Maybe something bad might happen to it.” For a state that Trump took by 23 points over Ted Cruz, you’d think he’d show it more respect. Especially since it’s a state Trump needs–and an electoral toss-up against Hillary Clinton.

So far, Trump has insulted just about every GOP official in Arizona and Nee Mexico: Gov. Martinez (N.M.), Sen. John McCain, and now Sen. Jeff Flake, in a state that’s voted Republican in every presidential election since 1952 with the exception of 1996. But now it’s a toss-up, and Hillary has a slight lead in the RCP average.

Great job, Gov. Huckabee. Keep it up and you’ll earn enough shame points for Trump to kick you to the curb later in a less humiliating way.

Mike Huckabee and the Dragon Quest Or Why Evangelical Leaders Are Not His Biggest Fans

Mike Huckabee has harshly lashed out at evangelical leaders in Iowa for backing Ted Cruz over him. Said Huckabee,

“A lot of these organizations wouldn’t have the ability to do urgent fundraising because if we slay the dragon, what dragon do they continue to fight? And so, for many of them, it could be a real detriment to their organization’s abilities to gin up their supporters and raise the contributions, and I know that sounds cynical but, Todd, it’s just, it is what it is.”

Mike Huckabee was actually the subject of a discussion in one of my seminary classes. To understand the problems Mike Huckabee has had with evangelicals, particularly the leadership, you need to know some very basic history.

In 1983, the national meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention was held in Pittsburgh. The convention began as it typically did with a pastors’ conference. As can be expected, the messages in that conference all circled around the authority, inspiration, and inerrancy of the Bible. One message in particular drove the point home. That previous fall, in the suburbs of Chicago, seven people had died from taking Tylenol pills, pills that had been tampered with and laced with potassium cyanide. That set off a national panic and was still quite fresh in the minds of Americans in the summer of 1983. One particular speaker at the pastors’ conference held up a bottle of Tylenol. “If I knew there was one capsule in that bottle that was laced with cyanide, I would throw the whole bottle out,” he thundered. Then he picked up his Bible. “If I knew of one error in this book” — everybody saw it coming — “I’d throw the whole thing out.”


The conservatives who believed in the inerrancy of the Bible won the day.

Fast forward to 1989 and the split between moderate and conservative Southern Baptists had only gotten worse. By then, Mike Huckabee was an up and coming pastor and the inerrancy fight was still going on. From Newsweek in 2007,

In 1989, Huckabee, then 34 years old, was elected the youngest-ever president of the Arkansas Southern Baptist Convention. Nothing prepared him for the elbows-out world of big-time Southern Baptist politics. When salvation is at stake, no one backs down without a fight. The convention was deadlocked over the issue of Biblical inerrancy. Conservatives insisted that Scripture was to be taken literally; others advocated a less-strict interpretation. Huckabee tried to have it both ways. He sided with the conservatives, but urged members to be tolerant of differing views. “I resent sometimes when we get on our high horses about what is right and wrong,” he says. “I’ve always believed in grace. Who am I to cast judgment on someone else?”

The moderates who rejected Biblical inerrancy, or the idea that the Bible is without error on anything about which it speaks, overwhelmingly backed Huckabee against Ronnie Floyd. Floyd, in 2015, became the President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Huckabee remembers he tried to find common ground. Conservatives remember it as Huckabee rejecting Biblical inerrancy. Tony Cartledge, in Baptists Today, pointed out that Huckabee’s definition of “inerrancy” was not the actual definition of inerrancy.

Over this fight, Huckabee has had a hard time making inroads with evangelical leaders. John Rutledge, writing in the Baptist Standard in January of 2008, chronicled all of this. “Huckabee’s nuanced role in denominational politics may have something to do with why the former Arkansas governor, despite earning a grassroots following among conservative evangelicals in early primaries, has failed to garner clear support from the Religious Right’s powerbrokers,” he wrote.

In 2008, conservatives were looking for someone who could beat John McCain. Huckabee rallied social conservatives in Iowa, with a Christian message, and gave McCain an upset. In fact, it becomes important to separate out social conservative leaders vs. evangelical leaders. The former were strong supporters of Mike Huckabee, while the latter were not.

Had Huckabee run in 2012, I suspect he could have been the nominee and many of the evangelical leaders would have preferred him to a Mormon. But he did not run. This time, Cruz and Rubio have both worked overtime on evangelical leaders and both are picking up solid support. Huckabee does not capture the anti-Washington zeal of the base as much as Cruz or Trump and he does not have evangelical leaders opening doors for him at their churches and offices.

When Huckabee gives an interview and attacks evangelical leaders in Iowa, you need to know there is a real and personal history there. Huckabee was not with them when they wanted his help in the fights over inerrancy and they are not going to be there for him now. They might not have been able to prevent Huckabee from tapping grassroots angst in 2008, but they can now and are. There is still distrust.

Thus Ends Rick Santorum’s Aspirations

By historic measures, Rick Santorum should be the Republican nominee this time. He was the last man to stand against Romney in 2012 and historically the GOP gives that man the nomination the next time out. But Santorum did nothing to capitalize on that.

Now, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz have taken the Kim Davis battle as their own. Huckabee, as I write this, is on a stage with Kim Davis offering to go to jail for her. Ted Cruz also is making a pilgrimage to Kentucky to be seen with and see Kim Davis.

On the opposite side, Donald Trump says the law is the law and so Kim Davis had to go to jail. Carly Fiorina says Kim Davis should have resigned.

Rick Santorum is no where to be seen. He is crowded off the stage. He is overshadowed by others. His campaign was always a long shot, but now it is a longer shot still. Mike Huckabee is owning this issue as is Ted Cruz. They, along with Bobby Jindal and Trump, are making inroads into a base of support that was once Rick Santorum’s.

Now he has no base, not that he ever had much of a shot. Still, he exists. Because there’s nothing better for him to do right now and no place to land. So he campaigns despite what the rest of us can see as the end game: an exit and the end to his aspirations.