Mike Huckabee said himself that the world isn’t revolving around whether he runs for President or not. Certainly a billion Chinese don’t care and I think it is a refreshing attitude there’s no will to destiny unlike the Republican’s resident Nietzschean Newt Gingrich. Knowing in all likelihood he would run another grassroots rich but cash-poor campaign which wasn’t a pleasant experience the last time for him and his family and leave him vulnerable to another pounding from his enemies he couldn’t respond to, Mike Huckabee probably did the wise thing and said no, he’s more happy doing what he’s doing right now maybe in four years, with presumably Obama re-elected and the White House open for a non-incumbent, he’d have a better shot of winning.
This announcement certainly leaves a lot of voids in the GOP nomination campaign. Without Huckabee there’s no “first tier” Southern candidate, which is strange when you think how important the region is for the party. And no I don’t consider the former Army brat who used a cosmo congressional district in Atlanta to launch his political career a “Southerner” (nor does he and wife No. 3 is from Whitehall, Wisconsin which is not too far from where I live). Does someone like Herman Cain move into this role? If this sampling of delegates at this year’s Georgia State Republican Convention in Macon is any indicator the answer is yes, which means now Cain has to be taken more seriously.
There’s also no first tier “Christian Conservative” in the race either with Huckabee’s absence. That means on cue Michele Bachmann will eagerly swoop into next door Iowa to fill that role, much to the consternation of fellow Minnesota Tim Pawlenty, who has to feel increasingly boxed in by the establishment on one side, as he’ll never raise the money to challenge Romney, and Bachmann on the other side, who will keep him from attracting a more conservative crowd. He too may want to serious think about ditching the campaign like Huckbee and preserve himself for another day given his youthful age.
Basically the field is structures like this: Romney, Huntsman and Pawlenty make up the establishment – Bachmann, Paul and Cain are the niche candidates looking for their opportunity to expand and Gingrich, Roemer, Moore, Kargas, Santorum, Johnson, Trump and anyone getting in at this late date without credentials are the jokers. And no I don’t expand Mitch Daniels to jump in either for largely the same reason Huckabee isn’t running: his family doesn’t want it and the money he needs to raise to beat Romney he won’t be able to get. He’s simply and press and politician favorite, no more, no less.
So is Romney the inevitable nominee as Larison asked in a recent Eunomia column? On paper perhaps, but his situation reminds me of one Nelson Rockefeller before he basically traded up his wife in 1963: Nobody liked him but everyone sort of expected him to be the GOP nominee, because that’s who the powers that be wanted. Romney is obvious front runner because he has unlimited funds, he has his campaign organization in tact, he has a base of loyal voters (Mormons of the West) he can count on but he excites no one and thus is vulnerable, especially if he loses in early states like New Hampshire and or Nevada to Ron Paul (he’s not even bothering with Iowa this time). Given this attitude, can he expect the South (outside of Florida) to bail him out if he stars losing early on? I doubt it. The inevitable happens only when it happens, in this case winning. If it doesn’t, then it’s commonly known as “feet of clay.”
Oh, I almost forget. I was going include Sara Palin on this list but then I Googled her name under news articles and saw stories which had nothing to do with politics but had everything to do with tabloid antics of her family. I’ve always thought she was going to run, that she had to run. But now I’m come to the conclusion her moment has come and gone. It’s too late to repair what’s been damaged.