While they are obviously on different sides of the fence politically, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee does put you in the mind of current U.S. Senator and satirist Al Franken’s old Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley. He’s “good enough, smart enough and doggone it, people like him,” leading political insiders to suggest that Huckabee should throw his name in the hat as the 2012 presidential election season nears. But he has one huge problem. He seems just a little too respectful to Commander in Chief Barack Obama. And in today’s GOP that’s political kryptonite.
First Huckabee stood up to the Queen Bee of the GOP, Sarah Palin, after she took a swipe at First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign designed to fight childhood obesity. When Palin quipped that she was serving her kids s’mores as a rejection of the FLOTUS’ suggestion to bypass sweets for dessert, Huck swooped in faster than you can say “Supersize Me” to back the first lady.
“Michelle Obama’s not trying to tell people what to eat or not trying to force the government’s desires on people,” Huckabee said in a radio interview. “She’s stating the obvious, that we do have an obesity problem in this country.”
If that wasn’t enough, he had the nerve to praise President Obama for his words after the Gabrielle Giffords tragedy calling it “his best speech ever.” Again – in contrast to Palin and other Republican criticism.
Adding insult to injury, he skips the ever-so important Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) convention and appears on Good Morning America to call the GOP’s not-so-distant cousins, the “Birthers,” movement ‘nonsense’ and point out the obvious. If Obama wasn’t a citizen Hillary Clinton would’ve figured it out and used it against him in the 2008 primary. Such logic will not go over well with the backbone of the party that still believes Obama is a Muslim, a terrorist, a communist and a Fascist.
In that same GMA interview Huckabee stated that Obama would be “tough to beat” in 2012 based on the reality that Obama will be the sitting president, will be able to raise an obscene amount of money, won’t have a primary to worry about, and he’ll have all of the resources from legislation to Air Force One to make his case while GOP contenders will be fighting amongst themselves.
Does this sound like Republican candidate running for president to you? Apparently, Obama-bashing is the order of the day to get into the 2012 runners club, so what are Huckabee’s intentions? There are two likely motivates behind his behavior.
Maybe Huckabee has realized that the only way you can beat a sitting president is by having people vote FOR him, instead of AGAINST Obama.
Unless America is in the absolute gutter in the summer of 2012, it will be an actual contest. American voters like optimism and enthusiasm more than bile and anger. So Huckabee could be toning down the venom to make himself appear more of a reasonable and electable candidate to independents and moderates. The scorched earth campaign that many Republicans have been gearing up for may not have legs as the campaign draws on, but Huckabee’s style might.
However, the more likely reason is that he simply doesn’t want to run.
In a recent interview Huckabee commented on how he and his wife were building a beautiful home in Florida the likes of which they never could have afforded prior to his run for president. His campaign hasn’t raised nearly as much money as some of the other potential GOP contenders and he’s already gone on record as saying that his gig at Fox might make him less inclined to run.
He doesn’t sound like a man who wants to go on a two-year grind of kissing babies, endless debates and fundraising junkets. It doesn’t matter that the White House or even voters see him as a front runner, Huckabee has probably already realized that the quest, and possibly the job of president doesn’t appeal to him.
And why should it? If the economy is picking up by 2012 then Obama is going to be almost impossible to beat in a head-to-head race, let alone if some nut like Donald Trump decides to throw their hat in. If the economy is poor and Obama is vulnerable, then the primaries will be expensive, brutal and the reward will be getting elected president to a country in its 10th year of recession. Not much of a prize.
Mike Huckabee might just be sitting this campaign out. He doesn’t have the fire for the job of president, or enough hatred of Obama for the GOP.
This article originally appeared in TheLoop21.com under the title “Is the Oval Office too hot for Huckabee?“