Q&A Friday #83: Why Didn’t The Conservative Candidates Get More Traction?

by John Hawkins | January 25, 2008 6:24 am

Question: I believe the biggest reason the most conservative Republicans did not get much traction (there’s two actually)

1)The drive-bys and mainstream media are ignoring them.

2)They are also not the best speakers of the group—-also Tancredo has been portrayed as a kook since day one. What do you think?

Michael Bush

PS-Mitt has been portrayed as a Mormon kook too.

Answer: I’m planning to do more detailed post-mortems on all the campaigns once we have a nominee, but long story short…

* Tancredo was campaigning primarily to put the illegal immigration issue in the spotlight, not because he actually wanted to be President. So, he really wasn’t “in it to win it.”

* Duncan, whom I used to work for, started off with low name recognition and was running a campaign on a shoestring, hoping to catch fire. Mike Huckabee made that strategy work because he has such an incredible personality. However, Duncan doesn’t have as much charisma as Huckabee, so he needed to run a much more aggressive campaign than he actually did to have a chance to break through.

* Fred’s biggest problem by far was that he got in the race too late. That caused a number of different problems for him. Then, once he was finally in, the “fire in the belly issue” just killed him because there was definitely a little something to that. There were times that you got the sense that Fred would be just as happy to be back on Law & Order as be President of the United States. Then, right when you’d start to get disgusted with him, he’d show a burst of energy and you’d forget about it for a while — until he said or did something else that made you think he didn’t care all that much about being President.

* In Mitt’s case, I don’t think he has the same credibility on conservative issues as the 3 other candidates I’ve discussed, although he could fairly be called the most conservative candidate left in the race. He’s also still right in the thick of it because Romney and McCain are the two candidates with the best chance to take the nomination.

Romney is currently being helped by the fact that a large chunk of the Fredheads seem to be gravitating over to him and by the relentless assault that the conservative media is aiming at McCain. On the other hand, ominously, if Rudy loses Florida, he’s done and you have to think that the lion’s share of his supporters will start to move over to McCain.

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