In 2008, Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee emerged
from a crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls to win the
Iowa caucuses and become the preferred candidate of social
conservatives. Could Huckabee play the dark horse again in 2012? A
sampling of opinions as to how Huckabee presence (or lack thereof) will
shape the fight for the Republican nomination:
- Under The
Radar Politico's Jonathan
Martin and Ben Smith note Huckabee's position right now is similar
to where he was at this point in the 2008 cycle, operating in relative
obscurity while boldfaced names like Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Rudy
Giuliani gobbled up donors, staffers, and media attention. Huckabee
seems "bound once again to be the Rodney Dangerfield of the field," but
it's a role he knows how to play. If he decides not to run, Martin and
Smith believe the result would be "a vacuum on the right among both
religious conservatives and tea party activists that would significantly
reorder the race and potentially create a larger opening for Palin."
Late? The Daily Caller's Aaron
Guerrero can't shake the feeling Huckabee is skittish about waging
another bruising national campaign. His "recent critiques of the
presidential process are hardly reflective of someone interested in
grinding it out for the prize of party standard-bearer." Unlike Romney
and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Huckabee has not amassed the
"necessary infrastructure for making a serious run" or won over the
"skeptics within the Republican establishment [and] heavyweight voices
in talk radio" who had concerns about his first bid for the nomination.
Audience The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin believes Huckabee's
strength as a 2012 contender has been overstated. Yes, he put together a
nice run in 2008, but his appeal was limited to a "specific segment of
voters--evangelical Christians." As the Tea Party's influence increases,
the GOP platform is trending towards a "small government agenda [that]
doesn't match up all that well with Huckabee's record as governor."
Unless Huckabee demonstrates "greater range than in 2008," his 2012 chances are slim.
- Palin-Stopper Of all the potential 2012
candidate, Huckabee poses the greatest threat to former Alaska Governor
Sarah Palin's coalition, argues conservative blogger Allahpundit.
Huckabee is "poised to hurt Palin by peeling off social cons,
blue-collar voters, and women (yes, really), it's him." The one limiting
factor is money. Without "evangelical leaders ready to help him pass
the collection plate around," Huckabee's fundraising apparatus could be
even more limited than the one he had in 2008.
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