Irritated McCain to Huckabee: No, I didn’t ask Fred Thompson to stay in the race and help defeat you

posted at 6:35 pm on January 12, 2012 by Allahpundit

A fun clip, and not just because it (a) captures Maverick trying to control that famous temper of his and (b) reminds us that Huckabee never lets go of old grievances. There’s no way to know what McCain said to his buddy Fred at the time but I do remember lots of grassroots chatter before South Carolina in 2008 about Thompson serving as a stalking horse for McCain. And, what’s more, I remember a lot of readers being perfectly okay with that because even McCain was preferable for them to the dreaded big-government populist social con Huck. Here’s my question: Do you guys still believe that? Maverick beat Huckabee in South Carolina four years ago by less than four points in a race where Fred finished third with more than 15 percent of the vote. Without Thompson running, those voters probably break for the social conservative Huck over the centrist McCain and suddenly Huckabee’s the big winner in the early states and poised to sweep to the nomination. Normally I wouldn’t bother to ask whether we’d have been better off with a given Republican as president than Obama, but there’s an abiding hostility to Huckabee among our readers even though he polls well (really well) with Republicans generally. And for those of you who answer “of course we’d have been better off nominating Huckabee over McCain, dummy!”, does that mean you’re bummed that he decided not to run this time? Arguably he’s a better fit for the current political climate than Mr. BainCapital is. If we’re going to nominate someone whose small-government bona fides we don’t really trust, why not Huck instead of Mitt?

Exit question: How come Fred always takes the heat for propelling McCain to victory in South Carolina instead of Romney? He nearly matched Thompson’s vote total in the state in 2008 and he was running at the time as a “conservative” before abandoning that identity to become the centrist technocrat we know and grudgingly tolerate today. If he had dropped out after McCain swept past him in New Hampshire, his votes probably would have split between Fred and Huck and we might have ended up with President Huckabee after all. Click the image to watch.


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Lets not forget that Huckabee and McCain collaborated to keep Romney from winning the 2008 West Virginia primary.

Conservative Samizdat on January 13, 2012 at 1:56 AM

President Huckabee? You can’t be serious.

scotash on January 13, 2012 at 4:02 AM

Conservative Samizdat on January 13, 2012 at 1:56 AM

I’ll never forgive Huck for that.

BacaDog on January 13, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Mike Schmuckabee is a whiner, has always been a whiner, and will always BE a whiner.

PJ Emeritus on January 13, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Ummm….who cares – both of you are insignificant, and that is all in the past!

easyt65 on January 13, 2012 at 8:39 AM

…Romney? He nearly matched Thompson’s vote total in the state in 2008 and he was running at the time as a “conservative” before abandoning that identity to become the centrist technocrat we know and grudgingly tolerate today.

Romney… a conservative… ROFL!!!

It was a lie then, and its still a lie now. And yet still the RINOs expect conservatives to swallow that bunch of bull.

Thanks again for pointing out how easily Mitt switches OUT of the conservative role!

dominigan on January 13, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Huckabee and McCain did not team up in West Virginia. You could maybe make a case for Huckabee and Ron Paul making a deal except for the fact that neither of them were involved in the deal. It was the supporters/surrogates supporting those two who made the deal. Not sure why anyone would view this negatively, Romney had the same chance to make a deal with someone. Kinda sounds like Capitalism to me. Survival of the fittest, you know. Or do we only support that theory when it benefits our guy?

jparks1972 on January 13, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Lets not forget that Huckabee and McCain collaborated to keep Romney from winning the 2008 West Virginia primary.

Conservative Samizdat on January 13, 2012 at 1:56 AM

You assert as fact here that “Huckabee and McCain collaborated”, but then your blog post admits, “there is no proof that Mike Huckabee and John McCain or their staffers met in some smoked filled room to hash out a deal”.

ITguy on January 13, 2012 at 11:22 AM

There is evidence that after Ron Paul was eliminated after the first round, Mike Huckabee’s campaign courted Ron Paul’s supporters, and there was an agreement made that Ron Paul would get a percentage of the delegates in return for supporting Huckabee.

There is NO evidence that Mike Huckabee’s campaign courted John McCain’s supporters or offered anything in return for their support.

It was in McCain’s own self-interest to have Huckabee win instead of Romney.

Go back and read my comment on January 12, 2012 at 7:42 PM

ITguy on January 13, 2012 at 11:31 AM

jparks1972 on January 13, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Good comment.

ITguy on January 13, 2012 at 11:33 AM

ITguy on January 12, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Great post Romney actively worked to make McCain the Nominee.

Steveangell on January 12, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Thank you.

But I have to disagree with you on the following:

If Romney is anointed the GOP candidate I will vote for Obama. I will not make that stupid McCain mistake twice. McCain = Romney. Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me. Never again.

I could never, ever vote for Obama. The man is a Red Diaper Baby and a usurper.

ITguy on January 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM

I’ll first say that he was a war prisoner and for that I thank him for his service. I also served but was not a prisoner. However, McBraindead should shut the f up and go home. I am sick and tired of “my friend” Mcbraindead and his lack of spine in the senate. It’s too late for him to grow a pair, so just leave.

rjulio on January 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM

I do remember lots of grassroots chatter before South Carolina in 2008 about Thompson serving as a stalking horse for McCain.

Here’s my question: Do you guys still believe that?

It makes some sense. It became very obvious that Fred had no desire to be President. If Fred had no ambition to be President, why was he still in the race except to help his good friend McCain?

RJL on January 13, 2012 at 1:29 PM

If Romney is anointed the GOP candidate I will vote for Obama.

Steveangell on January 12, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Instead of a vote for Obama, please consider a write in vote for Sarah Palin or even John Galt. That vote would send a message that Republicans need to move right while a vote for Obama would signal that a move to the left is needed.

RJL on January 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

As a once strong supporter of Fred Thompson, I can guarantee you my second choice would have been McCain or Romney (the two that at the time appeared to be at least somewhat conservative on each social, economic, and foreign policy matters), and absolutely not Huckabee who was only a social conservative. (For the record, I’ve gotten a much better read on Romney since, and will not vote for him in 2012, even in the general).

I’m not quite sure where everyone got the idea that Fred’s votes would have gone to Huckabee, I’d want to see some hard numbers on that. Those supporting Fred were doing so because he had all three legs of the stool, and they would not have broken in large numbers for a candidate who had only one.

Individual on January 14, 2012 at 10:47 AM

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