Saturday, May 14, 2011

Roberts: A Huckabee withdrawal could put Sarah Pailin in the race

"I think she is back in with a real chance to win."
Irish Central columnist Patrick Roberts seems pretty sure that Mike Huckabee will announce on his Fox Program (at 7PM Central Time) tonight that he will not run for president this election cycle. Such a decision, Roberts opines, opens the door wider for Sarah Palin to walk through right into the thick of the 2012 race:
Palin has gone quiet after the media sizzle around her died and transferred to Donald Trump.

But with Trump fading faster than a losing 'Apprentice' competitor and Huckabee now looking like he will drop out, Palin is suddenly back in this race if she wants.

Huckabee, with his strong evangelical roots, was a natural to win Iowa and Palin enjoys a comparable level of support among those voters.

Contrast that with Mitt Romney who is held in deep suspicion in the first caucus state, not only because of his moderate politics but also his Mormon religion.

That only leaves Palin as the evangelical choice as none of the other contenders have seriosu traction with those voters.

A win in Iowa could galvanize the Palin campaign heading into New Hampshire in January.

Roberts argues that Mitt Romney will not be the clear front runner if Huckabee opts out because Mitt's core of support is too soft. The columnist also doesn't put much stock in Mitch Daniels or any of the other "single digit" potential candidates. He's still intrigued with Gov. Palin and points to her clear differentiation from her potential rivals and a sizable "hard core" support base which none of the others, save Huckabee, can really boast of. Though Ron Paul's supporters are truly "hard core," there just aren't enough of them to make the Texas Congressman competitive. That's why Roberts believes that the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate "is back in with a real chance to win" in 2012, this time at the top of the ticket.

Unlike Roberts, many of his pundit colleagues, and some of our blogging counterparts, we're not so sure Huckabee will not run. Yes, there are many arguments for him not to give up the income he's currently enjoying from his radio and television work, and yes, he's building an expensive new house down in Florida. Although the former Arkansas governor's own 2008 national campaign chairman seems convinced that Huckabee's not going to run, predicting what a politician's next move will be is pure speculation. They will often defy even the seemingly clearest crystal ball vision. We're talking about enormous egos at play here, even among many pols who project an aura of humility. Some are convinced that the country just can't get by without their steady hand at the helm of the ship of state. Also, the Fox News weekend show host might just get a big kick out of leaving egg on the faces of all those "experts" who have declared him a non-candidate. Who wouldn't in his place?

Even if Huckabee does decline to run, he could do something totally unexpected tonight, such as endorse another candidate, declared or undeclared. Perhaps he will throw his support to Newt Gingrich or Michele Bachmann. No, it's not likely that he will do anything like that, but stranger things have happened in politics. The fact is, no one really knows what Huckabee is going to do except Huckabee and perhaps now his closest family members. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just guessing, no matter how solid the evidence they believe their speculation is built upon.

Roberts is correct about one thing, however. If Huckabee stays out of the race, it has to make getting into it seem a lot more attractive to Sarah Palin than before. Who knows, after tonight we might just start to hear from any number of county GOP organizations in Iowa that the keynote speaker for their next events will be Governor Palin. Then the game will definitely be on.

- JP

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