I believe Mike Huckabee has the best chance to win in 2012 for three main reasons: His base is engaged, Romney supporters are switching, and he’s kept his visibility strong.
1. He already has a huge base of support. He has founded Huck PAC and the Vertical Politics Institute. Hucks Army is still going strong, active and engaged, and the F3 Coalition formed out of the 2008 campaign and is active and growing. Huck PAC has kept us bloggers engaged (see, here I am writing about Huckabee) with their “Bloggers for Huck PAC,” Vertical Day, and bloggers-only conference calls.
2. Romney supporters are admitting that they were wrong. Mitt Romney was the reason we did not win in 2008. Paul Weyrich, the founder of the Heritage Foundation and the Council on National Policy, renounced his endorsement of Romney and said “Friends, before you, and before Almighty God…I was wrong.” He then told the assembly that he should have backed Huckabee. Many Romney supporters I’ve spoken to admit that Huckabee was unfairly lampooned by El Rushbo, Sean Hannity, and other conservative hosts. Others now agree that he is the more conservative of the two. (One exception is Michael Medved, who backed McCain but liked Huckabee as well.) Dr. James Dobson endorsed Mike Huckabee in late February. Perhaps his endorsement will come earlier next time.
3. His visibility is strong. While I haven’t heard of Mitt Romney for quite sometime, Mike Huckabee’s name constantly is popping up in the news. He is now a FOX News contributor and a ‘friend’ of Sean Hannity (not sure how long this relationship will last), appearing on Hannity’s radio and television shows nearly every week. He hosts “Huckabee” on weekends and “The Huckabee Report” will begin airing daily in January on ABC Radio stations.
Who will be his opponents? I believe that Sarah Palin will be running, as well as Bobby Jindal and Mitt Romney. I think Palin and Jindal offer the same pro-family, no-nonsense conservatism that Huckabee offers, however Huckabee is more experienced and is probably more popular. I’m not sure how they’ll compete.
Mitt Romney will likely run, but he’s yesterday’s news. He is now known as the guy who spent $105 million and dropped out right after Super Tuesday. I don’t think he’ll go far, and, again, I don’t think he’ll have the kind of support he had this time. Many of his supporters have now realized what a political oppurtunist he is. I think evangelicals will go strong for Huckabee next time.
I received a comment last month that said, in part, “I don’t think it’s smart to get right back into it until at least after the midterm elections in 2010… let alone a week-and-a-half after the election.”
But I still like Mike.