Huckabee speaks to large “congregation” in WDM

It’s about 7:10 p.m. on a Thursday and I’m seated in the back of a ballroom at a West Des Moines hotel (in the same room where Mitt Romney held a party for over 1000 supporters last week).  Republican presidential candidate/former Arkansas Governor/Baptist minister Mike Huckabee soon will be speaking here to a large group, already seated on chairs, in a "We the People" seminar that’s being explained right now by someone who has the microphone in the front of the room.

"We should not be passive in terms of our government and in terms of the political process…we should take an active role in who we select," seminar leader Joe Markiezwicz is telling the crowd.  I went just outsdie the room, looking for a pamphlet about the seminar and found Huckabee campaign materials and a few Huckabee for president signs, but nothing about the "We the People" seminars. 

People keep strolling in, but right now at 7:35 p.m. it appears there are over 1300 people in the room.  By 7:40 p.m., Pastor Dan is on stage talking about the institution of marriage.  "Marriages should be and should remain between one man and one woman," he tells the crowd.   "…Marriage has been redefined here in Iowa.  Whether that definition holds up is now in the hands of seven unelected judges….Iowa could become a mecca for homosexual couples….As an Iowan I’m asking you to help me call for a marriage amendment to the constitution."

Huckabee got on stage at 8:39 p.m.  The crowd stood to applaud his entrance.  "You’d better be seated.  You’d be tempted to leave," Huckabee said, then he made reference to his introduction from a former southern state governor (not him).  "Let’s pass the plates, man.  This is like church," Huckabee joked.  .

Huckabee then suggested a new Beattitude:  "blessed are the brief, for they shall be invited again."  The crowd laughed. 

Huckabee reviewed the American Revolution, then moved on to talk about his Depression era parents.  "My father never graduated high school," Huckabee said.  "…There was no male upstream from me…who had ever even graduated from high school….I am one generation away from dirt floors and outdoor toilets."

Huckabee then lauded his parents for their "patriotism." 

"He laid on the stripes.  I saw the stars," Huckabee joked about the spankings administered by his father.  The crowd laughed. "….It kept me straight."

Huckabee then talked briefly about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, suggesting she represented a "threat" to radical Islamists.  "Anyone who would put a bomb to the belly of his own child…would be more than willing to kill your child for his cause and so we live in a very dangerous world and the threats are many," Huckabee said.

"…Freedom is a gift, but like any gift it has to be protected, preserved….We can’t expect tha tthe politicians are always going to have our best interests in mind," he said.

Next, Huckabee talked to those disillusioned about politics.  "There are many people who have given up….and I think a lot of people just get completely bummed out about the whole process."

(I think Huckabee is the only candidate I’ve heard today use the phrase "bummed out.") 

Huckabee now moves into a discussion of the Iowa Caucuses, suggesting whomever wins will be "momentum" for "whatever happens" in other contests on the way to the GOP presidential nomination.  "Quite frankly, the conventional wisdow is if you’ve got the most money, you’ll have teh most votes," Huckabee said.  If that is the case, Huckabee argued, then he had a suggestion for deciding who is the next president:  "Instead of having voters, we ought to just put it up on EBay."

Huckabee, by the way, is roving the stage with the microphone, often casually leaning against the lectern.

Standing in front of a huge placard with the phrase "We The People" written on it, Huckabee starts quoting from the Declaration of Independence. 

"It matters what we stand for.  It matters what we believe," Huckabee said.

He’s now in the closing.  "This is a great nation, but it’s only as great as those who live in it today are willing to make it for the next generation," Huckabee said.  "….Tonight we say we’ll be the somebodys.  We’ll do something.  We can change the world and the world starts right here, with me."

Speech over.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Quite Honestly…
    Whatever happens with this race here in Iowa…irregardless of what you think of Huckabee or his policies…
    This man can deliver speeches.
    I’ve nearly been brought to tears time and time again by the guy.

  2. When I learned Huckabee was endorsed by the NEA in New Hampshire, that prompted me to do some Internet searches on him, and I found a lot of stuff I’ve never heard mentioned on TV news. The most remarkable are the Feb 2007 news article at and the July 2007 article at about Huckabee’s destruction of 87 state computer hard drives when he left office. The implications of this would make him a very vulnerable Republican nominee. Also search: Huckabee ethics investigations & huckabee gifts.