The Prairie Editor’s instincts were correct, after all, as expressed in his current post on barrycasselman.com, that is, that Mike Huckbee would NOT be a candidate in 2012 for president. Some classic hype in the past 24 hours, however, signaled that he might have changed his mind, and I sent each of you a notice that I might have to rewrite my current assessment of the candidates.
After attracting what I am sure was a huge audience to his TV show, and playing everyone along for most of the hour, Huckabee said he would not be a candidate. We have to remember that in his deepest being, Mike Huckabee is an entertainer. It’s his right, of course, and there was no harm done except to the nervous systems of certain announced GOP candidates for president who had much to lose if Huckabee suddenly changed course and got in the race. Most of all, Huckabee’s decision restores the suspense about the Iowa Caucus, and preserves the opportunity for several candidates, including Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitt Romney to perform there better than expected, and thus begin to propel themselves to the nomination.
Huckabee, who unexpectedly won Iowa in 2008, would have been the story coming out of Iowa, and his current strong numbers in many northern state polls might have provided him with more success outside the South than he had last cycle, thus upsetting plans of Mr. Pawlenty and Mr. Gingrich each of whom would be most likely competing for his base of voters. Mr. Romney, too, benefits because he might do better in Iowa than expected, and combined with his expected win in New Hampshire, could provide him with critical momentum early in the game. Some will disagree with this, but Mr. Huckabee for all his preacher’s charm and strength in the polls, if he ran, was most likely destined to be a spoiler, and not ultimately his party’s nominee.
Nontheless, credit is due to him, on reaching deep down into himself, to resist the many sirens of ego gratification and vanity that someone in his position is always tempted with. Since 2008, he has shown new political skills, and it is possible in 2016 or 2020 that he might be a better fit for his party at that time. Meanwhile, the contest goes on, without Mr. Huckabee and presumably without Sarah Palin, the two main figures from 2008 (along with Mr. Romney who now maintains himself as a quasi-frontrunner). Attention next shifts to Indiana where the incumbent governor Mitch Daniels has yet to announce if he is in he race or out. If he’s in, he may be a force to be reckoned with.