CPAC Strikes Back At Huckabee

I don’t know if Mike Huckabee intends to make another run for president in 2012, but if he does, I have to say that I find his strategy of attacking and alienating conservative groups rather confusing. 

As we noted earlier, for this first time in the last several years Huckabee skipped CPAC and explained that he did so because the event was becoming too pointless, corrupt, and libertarian.

Not surprisingly, CPAC organizers did not take too kindly to Huckabee’s slam:

The organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference are hitting back at former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who argued over the weekend that the annual convention’s influence among conservatives is waning.

CPAC is becoming “increasingly libertarian and less Republican,” Huckabee told Fox News on Saturday, one reason he said he decided not to attend this year.

But that claim is not true, said David Keene, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, which has organized CPAC for 37 years.

“We were frankly a perplexed by Governor Huckabee’s comments about CPAC given our long and cordial relationship with him and his family,” Keene said in a statement provided to CNN.

Keene said Huckabee could not appear at the conference due to a scheduling conflict with his television show. At no point, he said, did Huckabee express concerns about the legitimacy of the event.

“We offered him several time slots, but on December 18th received an email from his scheduler saying essentially what the Governor’s daughter told reporters over the weekend,” Keene said. “The email from Kristin Dulin, the Governor’s Director of Scheduling, said that he wouldn’t be able to join us because he would have to be in New York to do his show, but assured us that he ‘appreciates the invitation and hopes that you have a wonderful event.'”

Huckabee, who finished a disappointing tie for sixth place in the CPAC presidential straw poll, also accused the conference of being a “pay for play” event, not “truly grassroots.”

Keene said the governor “has been misinformed.”

“Many of those invited are from groups that are neither co-sponsors nor financial supporters of the conference itself,” he said in the statement.

Since he lost the GOP primary to John McCain, Huckabee has attacked several high-profile Religious Right leaders and organizations by name, accusing them of being sell-outs and fundamentally irrelevant.

Of course, Huckabee lost to McCain due in large part to the fact that he couldn’t get the support of these influential groups and individuals.  As such, it is rather hard to understand how he expects to be able to get their support next time around, should he decide to run again, when he’s intent on spending more time attacking them than trying to win them over.