Item: Mike Huckabee gets the most votes of those Value Voter voters who heard the presidential candidates speak in person. Huckabee did so well, I am told, that several impending endorsements of Mitt Romney were forestalled.
Item: Mike Huckabee has won many such straw polls.
Item: Mike Huckabee is exceedingly pro-life, exceptionally evangelical, a former pastor in the Southern Baptist Church; a proponent of covenant marriages.
Item: Mike Huckabee is that rare species of conservative Christians: the media sees him as a three-dimensional political figure.
Item: Mike Huckabee remains popular in Arkansas, a state that a Hillary Clinton nomination will put in play for Democrats.
Item: By rights, Mike Huckabee has more of a claim to an endorsement by socially conservative political leaders than any other candidate; more of a claim, certainly, that the man who, until three years ago, was functionally pro-choice and who bragged about out-gay-righting Ted Kennedy; etc...
Huckabee is not going to get it. Sources say that a rough consensus has not gelled among the 40 or so evangelical leaders who met in private this weekend to figure out what to do next. Some are resigned -- not enthusiastic about, but resigned -- to the candidacy of Mitt Romney. The hope is that he feel indebted to social conservatives if they rally around him and will be thus inspired to reward them somehow in office.
Erick Erickson of RedState has a theory:
The social conservatives do not want to rally around Huckabee because he is as distasteful to fiscalcons as Rudy is to socons. Even Tony Perkins, the head of FRC, said he hoped the social conservative candidate would be palatable to the fiscal conservatives out there. Huckabee is not.
What he means is: the Club for Growth, principally, viscerally dislikes Huckabee because Huckabee raised taxes (he cut many more, but he also raised them) and refuses to apologize for it. And many conservative intellectuals think the Fair Tax, schema, which Huckabee supports, is loony. I think Erickson is about three-quarters right. I'm not sure how many fiscal conservatives vote on spending or deficits or subsidies. I'm pretty sure that members of the GOP donor class are happy with their tax cuts and the variety of promises from everybody that their corporate taxes will be cut, that the capital gains tax will be axed, that the estate death will die forever.
Here is a variation on the theory: the SoCon establishment in Washington fears Huckabee because Huckabee can empower social conservatives DIRECTLY, without the mediating influence, or dollars, of the SoCon establishment.
Putting these theories together:
Huckabee has an independent streak. The establishment is threatened. Their interests are at stake and they want candidates who are beholden to them. Huckabee doesn't fit the bill.
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