I’ve been reading various conservative blog posts on whether Huckabee cost Romney the nomination. Why isn’t the question posed the other way around? Why aren’t conservative anti-McCainiacs complaining that Romney cost Huckabee the nomination?
Based on market performance, Huckabee is clearly the better candidate. Having spent a fraction of the money, he’s won almost as many states as Romney. While Romney became conservative in the last year, Huckabee has been conservative his whole life. He has more experience in government, is more articulate, and a better campaigner.

So why is there this complete assumption that if any one of them had an obligation to leave it was Huckabee? First, a lot of conservative religious leaders simply didn’t like Huckabee. Some of this is based in ancient history. During the battle to take over the Southern Baptist Convention in Arkansas, Huckabee was viewed as being on the “moderate” side (though he was plenty conservative). Many religious right leaders never forgave him.
Second, the Conservative Media Establishment really is far more concerned with economic issues than values issues. When push comes to shove, Rush Limbaugh cares more about taxes and immigration than abortion. Huckabee is viewed as soft on taxes, which apparently is more important than being strong on oppositing abortion. So much for the holocaust of the unborn.
The more cynical interpretation is that values voters have gotten a peek at the true priorities of the conservative establishment, which wanted evangelical votes but, when forced to choose, simply didn’t view the values issues as paramount. Every time I hear one of the anti-Huckabee conservative say Huckabee isn’t a serious candidate, I wonder what really is making them say that. Do they think he’s unserious because deep down, they really don’t think banning abortion is all that important? Is this one of those rip-off-the-mask moments when values voters get to look into the eyes of their conservative allies and see what’s in their souls?
If this theory is true – that they unfairly dissed Huckabee because of cultural arrogance – then in the way of karma, they’re getting their just reward: the nomination of their number one nemesis, John McCain.
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