Huckabee Working To Bring Down Romney – Update: Maybe Not?

At this point, it’s clear that Huckabee doesn’t think all too highly of Romney and the tension between them is getting more heated. It appears, from studying all the national polls, that Mike Huckabee is killing Romney’s chances at taking down McCain. Just look at the national Real Clear Politics average on every page of this site on left side. Romney is 20 points down from McCain. Those 20 points are currently being eaten by Huckabee. Without Huckabee, Romney might stand a real good chance of being the big winner on Super Tuesday.

In that context, Romney has called on Huckabee to drop out, story from Action 3 News:

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is calling on Mike Huckabee to drop out of the race.

Romney has recently expressed concern that Huckabee will peel off enough conservatives to deprive him of victory over McCain in Super Tuesday’s Republican nomination contests in 21 states.

Huckabee, appearing on CNN, says the suggestion was “ludicrous,” noting that only a fraction of the delegates needed to win the Republican presidential nomination had been apportioned thus far.

To that, Huckabee basically responded calling Romney everything short of a jackass. He really is a bit spiteful that Romney asserts he should drop out. The story comes from Political Punch:

But in Macon, Ga., Huckabee — clearly itchin’ for a fight — said Romney had suggested “that maybe I should pull out of the race.”

Per ABC News’ Kevin “Chupkabee” Chupka, Huckabee said, “I thought it was pretty arrogant and presumptuous the other night for him to suggest that, if Ronald Reagan were voting, that he’d be voting for Mitt Romney, and even more arrogant and presumptuous for him to assume that, if people were not voting for me, that they’d be voting for him, and the idea that my voters would go to him is nonsense.

“My voters are voting for me because I have a consistent pro-life record, he doesn’t. They are voting for me because I’m strong on the 2nd amendment, and he isn’t. … My voters aren’t people who would necessarily gravitate to him, so he needs me to stay in this race, because quite frankly, I’m not sure he’s going to get many of the voters who vote for me.”

I truly believe that candidates like Huckabee, and perhaps McCain to some extent, are deeply angry toward Romney because they see him as trying to “buy” the nomination. To that, it seems Huckabee is willing to stay in the race just to give McCain the victory and keep Romney from advancing.

I think it goes deeper as well in that neither McCain nor Huckabee are the favorite of the true conservative base in the Republican Party. Romney has been handed the conservative mantle and I think that’s another reason Huckabee is trying to spite him.

What will result is McCain being the nominee based on independent voters and Huckabee sharing conservatives with Romney. Of registered Republican voters, Romney has won more votes such as in New Hampshire and Florida where McCain was carried by independents.

Update

After a whirlwind of comment activity and some interesting discussion, I decided to revisit this.

One commenter mentioned this article from Michael Medved on TownHall.com. Below I pasted an excerpt of his strongest argument knocking down the notion that Huckabee is taking votes from Romney:

Here’s the SLAM DUNK regarding the stupid argument that if only Huck dropped out, Mitt would surge to victory:

All of the three major national polls taken in the last three days (Fox News, ABC/Washington Post and Gallup) show that even if every single voter who backs Huckabee, switched to Romney (an impossibility, of course), McCain still wins across the country. The numbers, if you’re interested, of McCain supporters vs. the combined total of Romney and Huckabee supporters — 48 to 39% (Fox News), 48 to 40% (ABC News/Washington Post) and 43 to 42% (Gallup). Meanwhile, all indications are that for many of the Huck-a-nuts—perhaps even a majority – their second choice would be McCain, not Romney.

As to Mitt Romney, he is certainly a good man and a good candidate and a strong standard bearer for conservatives. Those who back Mitt deserve respect, and should proudly work hard for their guy on Tuesday.

But don’t pretend that McCain is only winning because divisions among conservatives have allowed some squishy moderate to sneak to victory.

It’s true that conservatives are divided in the upcoming primaries.

Some (perhaps a plurality) back Mitt Romney, a strong conservative.

Some back Mike Huckabee, a strong (though much maligned) conservative.

And some of us back John McCain, as the strongest and most consistent conservative in the race.

May the best man win.

That’s a very intriguing article and Medved makes interesting points. Could it be true that Huckabee is actually taking votes from McCain, not Romney? Is it possible that if Huckabee drops out, McCain would beat Romney even worse? Perhaps Romney is just suffering from the fact that his record is all over the map more so than a split among conservatives.

If what Medved says is the case, Romney is doomed no matter what happens and McCain will go on to take the nomination with ease.

  • Ryker

    How arrogant of Romney…I hope this will give Huckabee more air time since he’s been attacked and hopefully people will see the light. This is ridiculous and very classless of Romney.

  • Jay Em

    My Huckabee vote would never ever turn into a Romney vote, it may and only may turn into a McCain vote, maybe. Or I’m not voting at all.
    My only objective is to get the Fairtax through, and there is no way Romney or any democrats would ever support Fairtax. McCain is only slightly hinting Fairtax support. If there is a McCain/Huckabee ticket, I am all over it. Now that would put Romney in his place.

  • Davide

    Romney never told Huckabee to get out of the race. It was not Romney, but one of his supporters who said that. The news is propgating a big fat lie, and Romney is paying for it (again).

  • Avi

    was no one looking at southern pools over the weekend?
    Huckabee was winning in Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Arkansas, Montana and was doing well agains McCain in others. since Rush and others started proping up Romney, he is taking points away from Huckabee and McCain is winning
    ps I could never pull the leaver for Romney, a man who has only one principle in life: get elected

  • Jon

    The only reason that the “conservative mantle” has been passed to Romney is because he is a fiscal conservative. He is not a social conservative at all! While he may claim to be, that is simply the position he has chose for this particular election.

    I am a staunch conservative and I will never vote for Romney. If Huckabee were to drop out I would rather vote for McCain or Ron Paul before Romney and that’s saying something!

    The true conservative is Huckabee – the only reason why the talking heads are lifting him up is because he’s not a big business Republican…and the fact that Clear Channel is owned by Romney’s company places a huge part as well!

  • It IS ludicrous to suggest Huckabee step down (whether it was Romney or the media stating so). He has just as much of a right to run as any other candidate on the ballot right now. I can tell you Huckabee is not “stealing” my vote for Romney. I have absolutely no intention of voting for him whether Huckabee is in it or not. Mitt Romney is not the kind of president I want, and frankly he can’t beat Hillary/Obama. Neither can McCain for that matter. Huckabee is the only one to stand a chance in debating either one of them. Romney and/or McCain can’t compare to Huckabee in that arena. Did you watch the last CNN Debate?

  • NZPudding

    Romney has invested a truckload of cash out of his own pocket on negative ads towards his fellow candidates just so he can win the White House and it’s looking like his investment isn’t paying off. So I can understand how Romney might be a little pissed 🙂

  • Magni

    The article above is preposterous and presumptous! How could the author say that “Huckabee is killing Romney’s chances…” and “without Huckabee, Romney might have a good chance of being the big winner…” The truth is that Romney is the one eating up Huckabee’s votes from the conservatives. Despite his assertions that he is a conservative, Romney is not real. Look at his records, he flip-flopped from one position to another in many issues. That’s a classic example of a first-rate phony to me. In contrast, Huckabee’s position in many social conservative issues has never wavered. He is the true conservative! That’s why he is getting my vote.

  • Magni

    To debunk this fallacious idea that Huckabee is dividing the conservative votes, read this article by Michael Medved at http://michaelmedved.townhall.com/blog/g/2e932bab-9582-42bb-baf6-5e6f54aa62ad. Medved’s analysis looks plausible to me than the claims by Romney and the article above.

  • Magni, thanks for that, Medved makes some interesting points. I’ve updated my post to reflect that.

  • Jay Em

    Romney with tons of cash is actually taking votes from Huckabee. Romney should drop out and get out of the way. Playing political games with McCain only redirect the public attention away from the real issues that Huckabee and Paul are trying to get thru.

  • Jed

    Are you people all insane? Huckabee has pardoned over 1000 people as governor. And several of them were murderers. How exactly do you call that conservative? Oh and by the way, why don’t we concentrate on building roads to stimulate our economy? I think all the comments posted above are simply from Democrats posing to be Republicans supporting Huckabee. Uh wacka wacka.

  • Absolutely absurd to think anything else. After Florida there was a coalition formed between Huckabee and McCain to take down Romney – assuming that Huckabee could be the VP. What a laugh. Huckabee scamed the Iowa voters into thinking he is conservative with an undercover delegation formed by the ministers in the state and their followers. All the time then whined about the “negative” campaign Romney was running while jabbing at Romney’s religion. Of course he was smiling all the while he was doing it so the media gave him a pass. Just like the media has been giving him a pass since.