Will Mike Huckabee run for President in 2012?

Monday, January 24, 2011
By Frank Lockwood

Conventional wisdom says Mike Huckabee won’t run for president in 2012. And if he does run, he won’t win the Republican nomination. Here’s why:

1. He’s not setting up the kind of organization he’d need to win the Republican nomination.
2. He’s not raising the kind of money he’d need to win the Republican nomination.
3. He’s skipping the spring 2011 Republican presidential debates.
4. He’s too busy making a lot of money and building a new estate in the Florida panhandle.
5. He’s put on a few pounds.
6. Those gubernatorial pardons and commutations.
7. He lost the Values Voters straw poll.

I wouldn’t be shocked if Gov. Huckabee sits this one out. But I also wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see him get in the race. Here’s why:

1. He didn’t have the kind of money he needed to win the 2008 Republican nomination — and look what he accomplished. This time, he has higher name ID, higher approval ratings and better fundraising capabilities. And this time, there’s no John McCain.

2. He didn’t have the kind of organization he needed to win the 2008 Republican nomination — but he won in Iowa and across much of the South. This time, he might actually win in South Carolina. And as a brand-new Floridian, he might be able to pull an upset in the Sunshine State. (Sen. Rubio was a Huckabee supporter in 2008, you may recall….) Huckabee’s favorable ratings are really high.

3. Mitt Romney is still Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee is still Mike Huckabee. Evangelicals, on average, like Mike. A large segment of that demographic still hasn’t taken a liking to Romney. As a candidate, Huckabee not only has a shot at the GOP nomination, he can also derail Romney 2012.

4. A 2012 candidacy could, temporarily, make it harder for Huckabee to make money. But he’s more marketable, long term, if he runs in 2012. If the FOX News gig — or something like it — is available post 2012, it will be really tempting to run in 2012 because:

5. Huckabee’s doing really, really well in the polls. National polls show him neck and neck (or ahead of) Romney. All those tens of millions of dollars that Gov. Romney spent and he’s still unable to leave Mike Huckabee in the dust.

6. The campaign doesn’t get really expensive and the media attention doesn’t get really ratcheted up until you throw your hat in the ring. Mike Huckabee’s name ID isn’t going to drop between now and the summer. His positive ratings are unlikely to plummet. But potential GOP rivals are going to be loathe to run attack ads against a man who may not even be running for president. After all, it’s money down the drain — and they’ll all be lining up to get Huckabee’s endorsement if he opts out of the 2012 race.

7. Pounds, schmounds. If Huckabee could capture the “struggling with their weight” demographic, he’d win the election in a landslide. As long as he looks more like his “AFTER” picture than his “BEFORE” picture, he’ll do just fine. And anyone who makes cracks about his weight will see it backfire. Most Americans “feel his pain” and know his battle.

8. Pardons. It’s definitely a potential Achille’s heel. But Mitt Romney has an Achille’s heel of his own — it’s socialized medicine, universal health care, Romney care. A candidate with money and name ID who can attack Huckabee’s pardons and Romney’s health care plan would be well-situated. But who could that be?

9. Sarah Palin? Conventional wisdom says she’ll collapse if she gets in the GOP primary. Polls suggest Huckabee is the second choice of many Palin backers. If Huckabee can position himself as the anti-Romney, he’ll have a fighting chance. What he can’t afford is to be splitting the social conservative vote with a third candidate.

10. Mike Huckabee enjoys campaigning. I covered his campaign in Iowa, Michigan, Florida and Texas and I got the feeling he really loves being on the campaign trail. And chances are, he’ll never be better situated than he is right now to win the Republican nomination.

No Responses to “Will Mike Huckabee run for President in 2012?”

  1. He should, and I hope he does.

  2. José

    Huckabee seems to be the kind of candidate that would talk honestly about issues of substance. The party and the country would benefit from his participation.

  3. gerald keith

    he would make best as VP–less heat and a good platform. Would be able to “deliver” Florida to Texas for a Pres candidate from the midwest or new england

  4. There is a reason the Bible states that man cannot serve two masters … in this case the divine (preacher?) and the profane (secular).

    “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” … which is Jesus’ way of stating the same as keep the divine (GOD) out of the profane (politics)!

    A politician who is Cristian is divine … a ‘preacher’ who is a politician is profane.

  5. perplexed

    I don’t think he’ll run. He has experienced great personal financial success and has become a commodity himself. His political ambition has been replaced with media aspirations.

  6. Mike Huckabee will not be fighting Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney; he will be fighting against President Obama’s goals. This can be posted at whitehouse.gov/contact on Homeland Security or other subject to show government we know God has real freedom and security for us. If Mike Huckabee can grasp God’s plan for America, he will not have to worry about other candidates:

    We cannot Win The Future until we go back to the past. Neither Sarah Palin nor any other candidate of any party can solve our problems until we realize WE cause the problems and only WE can solve them. We rejected God’s wisdom and guidance and we are seeing the results. NOW we can CHANGE.

    Money, Jobs and Economics lead to War, Immigration and Climate Change legislations. Competition with other nations cannot bring unity, security, peace and rest. Competition means the other side is trying too.

    We have no clean energy now, so our push to modernize will pollute us faster. We will not be free from dependence on some kind of fuel source. We Americans like our profits. Future prices will not be lower for anything. We will never catch up to our greed.

    Our riches are deceitful. We must leave them and our family to go to work.

    Health insurance is not a blessing; the blessing is not getting sick from your own stressful, enslaving, polluted lifestyle.

    President Obama told the colleges to open their doors to military recruiters. We have made the military an occupation. How can we end wars and leave the military and producers of weapons and supplies unemployed? We produce an expectation and desire for war when we make the military industry. We cause our own problems.

    Health insurance cannot solve the pollution to our air, land, water and food that is destroying us physically, mentally and spiritually making young and old diseased.

    We can turn from ways that embrace what God hates, employment slavery, debt, interest, insurance (surety), seeking riches and honors, pride, vanity and covetousness and create a garden paradise lifestyle with trees, plants and pets that provide fresh food around us.

    A garden paradise lifestyle will solve the personal, national and world problems we created with our employment lifestyle: energy crisis, climate change fears, reoccurring financial crises, war, immigration, inequality, and expensive and unfair government and social welfare programs.
    This is a life of freedom, not enslavement to employment, pollution and disease for the rest of our lives.

    President Obama, THIS is the CHANGE we need. GOP and DEM etc, THIS is the focus we seek in a candidate to replace President Obama if he does not give us CHANGE WE CAN REALLY COUNT ON.

    God has solutions to personal, national and world problems we created by ignoring His wisdom

  7. Caleb Powers

    Well, compared to Sarah Palin, at least, he’s an intellectual. Of course, compared to her, so was George W. The problem is that neither is an intellectual compared to Mitt Romney, who doesn’t seem to have much support anywhere, between his dallying with liberal ideas like health care reform, and the religion thing. Of course, personally, I could do about as well without any of this bunch.

  8. José

    John, if you are going to pick a fellow Mormon why not make it former governor and ambassador Huntsman? He has a strong enough record of intelligence and competence that some moderates would appreciate, and yet that record is slim enough that the Tea Partiers might not notice.

  9. I agree that Huckabee is the GOP frontrunner: http://www.progressiveinvolvement.com/progressive_involvement/2011/01/president-obama-is-enjoying-a-modest-uptick-in-his-polls-contrary-to-the-impression-one-might-have-gained-from-the-national.html

    Disagree, however, that Romney, RomneyCare, or ObamaCare is “socialized medicine.” Guaranteeing 40 million new customers to private insurers is not what most people consider socialism.

  10. Ya know what would be ideal? Mitt as President with Huntsman as VP or vise-versa. It don’t matter, ’cause once there’s a Mormon in the White House it’s payback time! Yeah! We’ll make the Muslim Brotherhood look like kindergarten bullies. Gonna launch a holy Crusade to take back Missouri, man! Jihad, Shmihad, it’s mass conversions of all you apostate religions. All party pretenses will be dropped in favor of the triumvirate of Romney-Huntsman-Reid.

    Don’t I sound like an Evangelical?

  11. Seriously though, Huntsman would probably be okay. He is more fiscally responsible than Romney and hasn’t been corrupted by the lime light as much as Mitt. He was certainly popular here in Utah when he was governor.

    Both of them practice what the preach and do good things in their personal lives. Huntsman has adopted children from Asia and such. Whether you agree with Mormon theology or not, we are moral (except for that little polygamy thing, but that’s behind us now… oh, and the blacks in the priesthood thing, but that’s taken care of) and that’s more than I can say about some past Presidents.

    Could we do better? Maybe. I like Alan Keys, myself. But we could certainly do a lot worse. Huckabee might make a fine President in some ways, but his record as governor is not as consistent as I would like. Neither is Romney’s or Huntsman’s, but Huntsman may have the best. Any one of the three would be better than we got now.

  12. What disturbs me about Huckabee is that he pandered to the anti-Mormon crowd. Showed a weakness in his character to use someone’s benign religious beliefs against them—to foster unwarranted fear. But then, we do that to the Muslims sometimes. But then, we Mormons never blow up innocent people on buses and street corners.

  13. What gets me about Romney is how he pandered to the anti-Evangelical crowd, you know, people like John H. above…

    The election is over, folks. Huckabee has been annointed as the Chosen One by the Zionist media cabal. Didn’t everyone else catch the headlines this week?


    Romney is done. If Huckabee could take him down in 08 with a shoestring budget and ZERO name recognition, while Romney outspent him a zillion to one… facing “Huckabee the frontrunner” with the Zionist media behind him in ’12… well, if Romney wants to wasted another 40 million of his own money, I guess he can.

  14. john

    I don’t care who the republican is in 2012, Huckabee, Palin or even Romney. Anyone of them is far, far better than Obama and as for Romney, he has the money, business experience and I believe a plan to extract our country out of the curent fiscal mess. He won’t push his religion, JFK didn’t and there were those that thought a Catholic shouldn’t be in the White House. The main thing is to get Obama out in 2012 before he completely destroys the United States.

  15. I don’t recall, Justin, any incident of Romney being anti-Evangelical. Me, I can joke around about Evangelicals because I’m not running for office. What I said about some Evangelicals point of view about Mormons, though, is not far from the mark. A considerable number of them really hate us Mormons. I know whereof I speak. I ran into quite a few in the South while serving my mission for my Church. There were times when I feared for my safety. How many Evangelicals have felt any REAL fear in the same way from Mormons? If a Mormon went running after a Jehovah’s Witness or anybody else with a shotgun, he would in all likelihood be excommunicated on the spot.

    Huckabee is in bed with some of these radical Evangelicals, though I don’t think he necessarily shares all their views. At least he doesn’t feel the need to formally renounce them. Romney has never, to my knowledge, worked with any group that has any semi-systematic hatred for another’s religion.

  16. perplexed

    Justin, when running a national campaign, name recognition is the key to votes. Its not the issues, its not the quality of candidates. Name recognition is achieved with flooding the media with a barrage of ads. Its happened time and time again, when your behind in the polls, its time to pump more money in the media. The deepest pockets will win. The only exception has been Obama, his ability to unite the average worker changed the direction of the last election. Can Huck do this, does Huck want to do this? The next President after Obama will have to have appeal that hasn’t been out for a very long time, not to mention. boatloads of cash. I just don’t think Huck will wager his comfort zone for a chance at a party nomination.

  17. perplexed, name recognition is crucial, and we just saw Huckabee get the most valuable kind: free publicity, i.e., news coverage. That is a product of the media masters elevating you. When what you say and do suddenly becomes “newsworthy”. This past week, in response to his strong pro-Zionist statements in Israel, Huckabee got the first non-paid for news coverage of his life. I think it is a signal, and we can expect more of it.

    Plus, if money was everything, Romney would have won. But as the some philosophers once told us: “Money can’t buy me love.”

  18. Caleb Powers

    Money can buy elections, though, Justin; George W. proved that the first time he ran. It’s just that Romney didn’t have quite enough of it to beat his religious problems. Maybe next time he’ll spend more.

  19. After seeing him handle Bill Maher on Real Time, I’m convinced that he’s a contender. He’s the only Republican that Maher wouldn’t have made mincemeat of.

    He’s the only Republican contender that’s even remotely likable and that goes a long way with swing voters. Romney has a used car somewhere that he wants to sell me. Palin is, well Palin. And nothing about Newt has made him any more appealing to those voters on the fence who decide elections.

  20. perplexed

    Good point,Caleb! I would think that Huck is vying for some sort of appointment,if indeed his party is able to win. You have to realize Obama will be the man to beat if he can straighten out the economy in the next couple of years. Things are turning, maybe not fast enough yet, but they are turning. He could become a Clinton with morals!

  21. The media loves shock value. Huck’s statements were strong and therefore newsworthy. This too shall pass. A few months from now there will be a new flavor-of-the-week. Nothing against Huckabee, he’ll make a fine president, I think. It is sad, though, that one’s benign religious beliefs have to play such a big roll for some and not for others. If Huckabee’s church taught that the Moon was made of cheese, no one would bat an eye, but because Mormons believe in a Three Person Godhead and not the traditional Trinity, or that there could be, just maybe, more scriptures in addition to the Bible, you would think Armageddon was unleashed among Evangelicals.

    Maybe we should just elect a Buddhist president just to get this all behind us.

  22. The real issue here is that we Mormons hit the Evangelical ministers in the pocketbook. Our missionary efforts cut into their congregations. There is some appeal, if you can get over the theology differences, to knowing that none of your tithes are going to make the minister’s Mercedes payments. (No one is ever getting paid a dime to be at a Mormon church.)

  23. cheese

    Huckabee gets more than free publicity. He’s a paid contributor to Fox News. He earns a living by stating his opinions on television. The only ‘media master’ really keeping him in the spotlight is Roger Ailes. If he weren’t on Fox, who would know what he’s doing? I think Justin is overestimating the influence of these ‘masters.’ If it really mattered whom the media believed to be the frontrunners two years before the election, 2008 should have seen Hillary Clinton facing off with Rudy Guiliani. Money and media coverage will get you far, but it won’t make you president. Face it: nobody knows who will be running on the Republican ticket, but I predict that Obama will be re-elected. Nobody stirs up a crowd like Obama.

  24. José

    One of my favorite websites, fivethirtyeight.com, has a nifty piece today about the current slate of GOP presidential aspirants. It’s difficult to prognosticate this far in advance, of course. One of the best indicators is the candidate’s net favorability index, the percentage of folks who think highly of the person minus the percentage who think poorly. Gov. Huckabee topped the list, though with an underwhelming score of +8. Only three Republican candidates scored in positive numbers, meaning that more folks liked them than didn’t.


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