Like it or not, the 2012 presidential campaign season is already underway. Right now, we're in the nascent stage of the cycle where folks are asking: Will he/she run?
A new 8,300-word New Yorker profile asks that question of Mike Huckabee. Among the nuggets in the piece (some of which we had already heard):
-- Huckabee is now registered to vote in Florida, not his native Arkansas
-- He has gained weight since his '08 campaign days, though he doesn't weigh the 300-odd pounds he once weighed
-- Former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt says some VERY nice things about Huckabee.
In some ways, Huckabee seems like a promising candidate for 2012: a squeaky-clean family man and bona-fide Christian who loves to talk. His communication is folksy but fluid; he never seems flummoxed, like George W. Bush, or befuddled, like John McCain, or unprepared, like Sarah Palin. “If we’re running a race against their most articulate guy,” Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s former campaign manager, told me, referring to President Obama, “we should put our most articulate guy. Huckabee’s that guy.” Schmidt, who has traded barbs with Palin since the election, said, “There’s no one who really provides a better contrast to Sarah Palin, showing her as an entertainer instead of a serious thinker—and there’s not enough oxygen for both of them.”
But the piece also quotes Huck's old gubernatorial chief of staff, Brenda Turner, who doesn't think he'll run in 2012.
Turner suspects that Huckabee will not run for President in 2012. “He’s actually living the dream that he’s always had, starting on radio at fourteen and loving TV like he does,” she said. “If he runs, it would have to be a calling, and it couldn’t just come from supporters; he’d have to feel the Lord was calling him. I don’t feel like he has that urgency.”
From this reporter's impression after covering Huckabee in '08: He was a tremendous performer, and the best and most natural speaker/debater among the '08 GOP hopefuls. But Huckabee also didn't do the little things that help you win the White House: raise money and build a strong campaign team. If he still is disinclined to do those little things, you've got to wonder if he really wants to make a second bid for the White House in 2012.