Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Huckabee and Palin

Here’s CNN discussing a poll it conducted on the 2012 presidential race under a title (“Obama and Palin Going in Different Directions?") calculated to reassure anxious Democrats and demoralize Tea Partiers:
"‘Among liberal Democrats, 85 percent say they want to see the party re-nominate Obama in 2012,’ says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. ‘Among moderate Democrats, his support is almost that high.’

"In the battle for the GOP presidential nomination, the survey suggests Palin may have some work to do if she throws her hat in the ring. Only 49 percent of Republicans say that they are likely to support Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008 for the Republican nomination in 2012.

"‘That's a huge 18-point drop since December of 2008, when two-thirds of GOPers said they were likely to support Palin. It also puts her well behind potential rivals Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, and a bit behind Newt Gingrich as well,’ adds Holland.”
This is just the latest sign that Palin can’t, and probably won’t try to, win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.  The breeze you’re feeling is the sigh of relief coming from the army of Palin’s detractors, including the battalion inside the Republican establishment. 

But if you keep reading the CNN post you’ll discover that anti-Palinites shouldn’t be breathing too easily: 
"Two-thirds of Republicans questioned say they would likely support Huckabee as their nominee in 2012. The former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate is considering another bid for the White House.  So is another candidate from the last election, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans say they would likely support Romney. That number drops to 54 percent for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, who is also contemplating a run for the White House.”
Three short years ago, Mike Huckabee was the socially conservative ex-governor of a small state you'd never heard of, until he put his folksy good humor, social conservatism and stage presence on display in a series of televised debates among Republican candidates. When people first got to know Huckabee, they warmed to his many charms and soon came to appreciate his formidable political talent. But that didn’t mean that they could imagine him in the White House.  I don't know about you, but I still have a hard time bringing the image of Huckabee as the Republican presidential nominee into focus.  The words "President Huckabee" make me giggle.

That didn't keep the populist wing of the Republican base from falling in behind Huckabee’s presidential candidacy in 2008, propelling him to victory in the Iowa Caucuses. That’s when Democrats started calling him a crackpot and Republican grandees started breaking into a cold sweat at the thought of Huckabee as the Republican presidential nominee.  Despite the opposition of the Republican establishment, he ended up getting more Republican primary votes than anybody but John McCain. Thereafter, Huckabee managed to keep himself in the public eye by appearing regularly on the Fox News Channel.

Does that career-path sound familiar? It’s not much of a stretch to say that Mike Huckabee was the Sarah Palin of the 2008 presidential primaries. Now, if you believe the CNN poll, he’s the front-runner for the next Republican presidential nomination.


Anonymous said...

Romney ought to get out in front and deal with RomneyCare vs. ObamaCare and claim his stake at the top of this heap. Otherwise, the others are going to step in and muck it up for him.

Lone Wolf said...

I think Huckabee's standing in polls is mostly a function of name recognition. When you put the social conservatism aside, he's more a "compassionate conservative" than a "Don't Tread on Me" Tea Partier, and thus out of step with the new populism in the Republican Party.