Friday, April 22, 2011

Mike Huckabee DID collaborate with John McCain in 2008

An all out feud between Mike Huckabee and Glenn Beck has broken out in which they have been lobbying verbal bullets at each other. One of the claims that Glenn Beck makes is that Mike Huckabee collaborated with John McCain to push Mitt Romney out during the 2008 campaign. Here's what Mike Huckabee said in response to that allegation
"His ridiculous claim that John McCain and I collaborated and conspired in the 2008 campaign is especially laughable. Is he not aware that McCain and I were competitors—not cohorts? Beck needs to stick to conspiracies that can’t be so easily de-bunked by facts. Why Beck has decided to aim his overloaded guns on me is beyond me."
Mike Huckabee is disengenious with his defense here. McCain and Huck were out to keep Romney from winning it together, not against each other as Huckbee claims.
Unfortunately for Mike Huckabee, this is a conspiracy that can be debunked by facts. Lets look at them shall we?
We know for a fact that Mitt Romney had the most support prior to when the votes were taken during the first round of the the 2008 West Virginia primaries: 
"When Romney arrived this morning in Charleston to address the Republican convention, it was largely assumed that he had Mountain State in the bag. That confidence was partly the product of pure investment; his campaign went to work in the state in 2006, long before his rivals arrived, and Romney had visited repeatedly over the past several weeks. And part was establishment support; Mitt began the day with 280 committed state delegates (more than Huck or McCain) and all three West Virginia superdelegates in his column."
It clear that Mitt Romney was in the lead and that the people of West Virginia were ready to nominate Mitt Romney in the 2008 primaries. 
Now that we know what Mitt Romney's position looked like before the voting took place during the West Virginia primaries, lets look at the results of the first round of voting
"Romney won 41 percent during the first round to 33 percent for Huckabee. McCain won 16 percent, and Paul brought up the rear with 10 percent. Since no one had a majority, delegates voted a second time, with Paul eliminated."
Now that Ron Paul was eliminated from the first round of voting in the 2008 West Virginia, Mike Huckabee made a cut a deal with Ron Paul to get his delegates to vote for Mike Huckabee in the second round of voting:
"In an agreement first reported by West Virginia television station WSAZ, the three Ron Paul delegates were secured through an agreement with the Mike Huckabee campaign.
Ron Paul delegates to the state convention swung their support to Huckabee – putting Huckabee over the top – after Congressman Paul was eliminated in the first round of voting. With three national delegates, Ron Paul secured 17 percent of the 18 delegates that were decided at the State Convention."
Now here's where the conspiracy between Mike Huckabee and John McCain begins. 
While there is no proof that Mike Huckabee and John McCain or their staffers met in some smoked filled room to hash out a deal, there are snippets of facts that indicate that some kind of agreement did go down between these two men.
There  are independent reports that John McCain instructed his delegates to vote for Huckabee in order to prevent Mitt Romney from winning the second round of voting. We have a report from James Joyner who reported that John McCain instructed his delegates to vote for Huckabee:
“McCain told them to vote for Huckabee to keep Romney from winning. If the second round came down to McCain and Romney, the Huckabee delegates could very likely have broken for Romney.”
There's also this report from Marc Ambinder that independently verifies that fact:
"But sources say that representatives for John McCain called many of his reps in WV and asked them to vote for order to thwart Romney on the second ballot."
We then get this report from Fox News:
"But before Huckabee’s surprising turnaround at the convention, McCain delegates told FOX News they had been instructed by the campaign to throw their support to Huckabee.
McCain delegate John Vuolo said former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer approached him and other McCain supporters at the convention and told them he had spoken to McCain, and that the best thing to do was to support Huckabee in the hope that Huckabee could beat Romney in this winner-take-all state."
John Vuolo's claim that former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer was instructing delegates to vote for Mike Huckabee can be verified from the Charleston Gazette:
"On the first ballot Tuesday morning, Romney was the leading vote getter, with 40.9 percent of the vote. Huckabee was second, with 33.1 percent. McCain had 15.5 percent, and longtime Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 10.4 percent.
Under the convention rules, the candidate with the fewest votes was knocked off the ballot, so that eliminated Paul.
Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, McCain’s representative at the event, then conceded defeat and asked McCain boosters to support Huckabee on the second ballot in order to block Romney…"
We then get a reports of John McCain supporters holding up signs encouraging other McCain delegates to vote for Mike Huckabee: 
"McCain staffers, meanwhile, began parading around the hall carrying signs telling their delegates to vote for Huckabee."
Lets sum up what we know now: 
Mitt Romney wins the first round of the West Virginia primaries which knocked Ron Paul out of the primaries. Mike Huckabee approaches Ron Paul convinces him to tell his delegates to vote for Mike Huckabee in exchange that Mike Huckabee will give Ron Paul three delegates at the GOP convention. The fact that Mike Huckabee gives gives three national delegates to Ron Paul doesn't make since since Mike Huckabee, at that time, didn't have that many delegates to give away. 
At the same time Mike Huckabee secured Ron Paul's delegates, we have John McCain calling many of his representatives and instructed them to vote for Mike Huckabee.

Former Louisiana Govenor Buddy Roemer begins approaching delegates like John Vuolo and instructing them to vote for Mike Huckabee. John McCain delegates start holding signs in an effort to get other John McCain delegates on board to vote for Mike Huckabee in the second round of voting.

Its clear from the facts that McCain crowd switched to supporting Mike Huckabee prior to the second round because they were under instructions to do so in order to stop Mitt Romney from winning the 2008 West Virginia primaries. 
Now with all the facts in mind, here's the result of the second round of voting:
"On the second ballot, Huckabee had 567 votes (51 percent), Romney had 521 votes (47 percent) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had 12 votes."
The story of how Mike Huckabee won West Virginia strongly suggests that the Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, and John McCain campaigns all collaborated together to deny Mitt Romney a win in West Virginia.
Here's an interesting little fact. Mike Huckabee could not have won West Virginia had it not been for getting Ron Paul's delegates to vote for him in the second round because the combined McCain-Huck vote was only 49 percent: Paul supporters sealed the deal.

As a result, Ron Paul's people were clearly in the kingmaker position.

Ron Paul's delegates were just as important to John McCain's chances of winning West Virginia as it was to Mike Huckabee.

Which raises some interesting questions: Its odd to me that we get no reports of John McCain competing with Mike Huckabee to woo Ron Paul's delegates. Did John McCain make any efforts to win over any of Ron Paul's delegates? Did Ron Paul approach John McCain to see what kind of deal was on the table for him?
John McCain could have easily decided to fight for Ron Paul's delegates and chose to remain in the second round of voting. Armed with Ron Paul's delegates, John McCain had a strong possibility of winning the second round by pushing Mike Huckabee out and go up against Mitt Romney in a third round. Maybe John McCain would have beaten Mitt Romney in the third round of voting if he could convince enough Huckabee supporters to vote him in that third round.
Yet, from all the facts that we have, it appears that he didn't make any effort snatch some Ron Paul delegates away from Mike Huckabee. He doesn't even put up a fight prior to the second round which is highly unusual for someone like John McCain who is known for fighting it out to the bitter end. Instead, he tells his representatives to go out and instruct McCain voters to throw their vote towards Mike Huckabee.
As a result, the big question remains: why didn't John McCain fight to get support from Ron Paul's voters?
Something doesn't pass the smell test here.

That's why a lot of people suspect that some kind of back room deal occurred between Mike Huckabee and John McCain because Ron Paul was in the king maker position yet there was no drawn out battle between Huckabee, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Instead, we find that delegates for  Ron Paul and Jon McCain were instructed to vote for Mike Huckabee.
Rush Limbaugh explains why he thinks that there was collusion between Huckabee and John McCain at the 2008 West Virginia Primaries: 
"We know a little bit more here about what happened in West Virginia -- and, folks, it underscores what many of us have been saying about collusion between the Huck forces and McCain forces.  After the first round of balloting in the West Virginia caucus, nobody got 50%, but Romney led with 41%.  Paul was out of it.  So it was Romney, it was Huckabee, and then McCain, in that order.  What has happened is that McCain forces have joined Huck forces, and that's how Huckabee has won West Virginia.  Now, McCain and Huck forces are denying that there was collusion.  But who cares? It doesn't matter what they say.  The fact -- what this proves -- is that a vote for Huck is a vote for McCain.  Because the Huck forces, whether by request from McCain forces or whether on their own, McCain forces decided to throw in with Huck forces en masse. So the combination of McCain forces and Huck forces overwhelm Romney, who had 41%.  So a vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain." 
Even though these kinds of deals are a part of politics, these these ‘votes’ were came about from instructions from above and as a result, the voters of West Virginia got disenfranchised by shady delegates. The people of West Virginia, prior to the that primary vote, supported Mitt Romney by a wide margin and yet the majority  of West Virginians didn't get the candidate they wanted. 
What occured in West Virginia demonstrates why multiple rounds of voting destroys the "one person, one vote" rule because it promotes the mentality of "Shoot, I didn’t win the first time, so let’s all gang up on the guy who did.”
Ed Morrisey agrees that West Virginia's primary system doesn't promote the kind of fair voting that we expect in elections:
"In fact, it shows why indirect mechanisms like caucuses and conventions are much less desirable than direct primaries. It turns these elections into games, and it increases the cynicism of the voters at a time when we need to attract them and make them believe they can make a difference. The last-minute hardball by the McCain campaign couldn't have been pulled in a primary state."
People think that the purpose of primaries are to determine individual strength and preference of the candidates by the people of that state, not coalition building exercises or efforts at conspiracy. Yet, that's exactly what happened at the 2008 West Virginia Primaries. 
Lets hope that these kind of shenanigans don't happen in 2012.


  1. I remember that as if it was yesterday! Huge blow to Mitt fans everywhere, but especially to the good people of W. Va who obviously nominated Governor Romney and got stuck with Governor Huckabee instead.

    Great article!

  2. I wonder whether the Buddy Roemer candidacy this year is an attempt to play the same game again. I wasn't going to support him anyway, but his closeness to John McCain only strengthens that decision.

  3. At the time Roemer first announced, I had pegged his candidacy as going nowhere, but that he would try to fill the role of the southern populist where he could try to disrupt Romney. Roemer is getting no press now, but let's see what he tries to pull when it gets closer to crunch time.

  4. I'm soooo disappointed! I thought Mike Huckabee was a genuine, trustworthy gentleman. It's all for the best, because we need Romney NOW to break the stranglehold the Democrats & their lying leader have on America today.

  5. McCain and Huckabee (unlike Romney) are good folks..i dont believe all this silliness