Mike Huckabee bowed out graciously.
He needed no teleprompter and had no visible notes. The media keep
referring to another candidate as eloquent. This was eloquence.

“We kept the faith,” he told his end-of-the-road rally
Tuesday after John McCain clinched the nomination. “I’d rather lose an
election than lose the principles that got me into politics in the
first place.”

Huckabee said the two most civil campaigns are the two Republican
campaigns that were carried out with honor. Referring to the battle of
the Alamo, he said the legendary account was not about those who
fought. “It’s about our country, and what we do to maintain liberty and
freedom.”

He focused on the party’s nominee now, and putting his resources into helping him.

Huckabee said he extended “my commitment to him and to
the party to do everything possible to unite our party, but more
importantly to unite our country.”

He said he would continue to be a voice for values that represents so many Americans.

“We aren’t going away completely. We want to be a part of helping to keep the issues alive that have kept us in this race.” 

An ordained Baptist minister, Huckabee spoke the language of the
pastors and preached in their megachurches. He compared abortion to
slavery and played up his opposition to gay marriage.

Abortion is a valid comparion to slavery. For everyone else, it’s too politically incorrect.

Quoting a line from the famed first Kansas City Royals’ first
baseman George Brett, Huckabee said he didn’t want to go out in the
glory of a game winning homerun. He wanted people to know “he gave it
his best.”

Somewhere in the back of the crowd, a man shouted “You’re a
great American, Mike”, and it caught him off guard. “So are you” he
called back. “You’re all great Americans.” It was an elevating moment
for Huckabee, and his followers.

Huckabee rarely raised a negative word during the
campaign about McCain, a man he clearly likes, and he called him
Tuesday night to congratulate him.

Huckabee said he extended “my commitment to him and to the party to
do everything possible to unite our party, but more importantly to
unite our country.”

After that, the rest of the evening’s speeches seemed less inspired, though they were full of emotion and vision and hope.

Here’s what John McCain had to say after he clinched the nomination.

Hillary Clinton was energized after winning the first race after 11 losses.

Sen. Hillary Clinton dedicated her victory speech here
tonight to “anyone in Ohio and across the nation who has ever been
counted out but refused to be knocked out.”

And Obama’s speech came last, and felt like it.

All that talk about honoring people’s rights are logically
predicated on their right to be citizens in the first place. Which
isn’t about immigration as much as abortion. The media has let that one
slip in these campaigns lately. But it’s not going away.  

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....