Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2012 Update – Mike Huckabee Book Tour Begins, Has Not Ruled Out Presidential Run, Shades of 2007

Huckabee, The Book that Will Decide the 2012 Run - image Amazon

CNNblogs article on Mike Huckabee’s recent book release, “Huckabee Ready To Test His Message”, offers a glimpse at 2012 with the following:

"It kind of gives me an opportunity to take that message to the people rather than to wait to be one of 12 people on a debate stage getting four minutes worth of questions," Huckabee said.

Another look at the 2012 future of Mike Huckabee comes from the DesMoine Register:

"Part of the process is to be able to gauge reaction to the message," Huckabee said of the book, titled "A Simple Government." "And the message in this book is very much a part of helping me determine if there's interest in what I stand for.”

That is a direct statement regarding his serious consideration of a presidential run in 2012, and how he is framing the basis for a decision to run. No need for tea leaves here, as there are striking similarities between Huckabee's response to this release of ”A Simple Government, Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington, and a Trillion We Don’t and his 2007 release of the book: “From Hope to Higher Ground, My Vision for Restoring America’s Greatness in 12 steps, which drew this response from reporters who queried Govenor Huckabee on the 2008 Presidential race: “Former Arkansas Gov Mike Huckabee said for weeks he d decide on a White House run if he got a positive reaction to his new book From Hope to Higher Ground “

Mike Huckabee, who is currently polling very well nationwide is hypothetical matchups, is one of the best candidates in a field of “hypothetical’s”, having run a state government for two and a half terms, and having been able to improve the state of Arkansas on many levels, including streamlining the DMV, balancing budgets, improving schools, and treating the office of the Govenor, not as his personal territory, rather as belong to the people of the State. A bigger plus for music fans: He pardoned Keith Richards. The man has a track record, and although there are detractors who will point out two or three instances in a 12 year term as Govenor, that are somewhat dubious to begin with as “slurs” on Huckabee, the fact remains that few can match his record on governing.

His move to Fox News, as a commentator, as well as his weekly radio ala Steve Harvey addresses, and now, his book tour, with subsequent pre-tour national television interviews, puts Mike Huckabee in practically every living room in the country – people get to know Mike Huckabee, they recognize him, and in polls conducted in those “hypothetical 2012 match-ups”, his favorability ratings are consistently high.

He has name recognition, and he also has the underdog factor: Enter Mitt Romney, former one term Massachusetts Govenor, and 2008 Presidential candidate. It is no secret that some enmity was present during the 2008 campaign. Romney and Huckabee are two very different personas, Huckabee more down to earth and Romney with an appearance of being “carefully packaged” (either fairly or unfairly). When it came to the Iowa Causes, Romney spent millions to Huckabee’s thousands, and Huckabee pulled out a stunning win – the fact that he was able to be that likeable, credible, and on a shoestring candidate, made Huckabee the perfect candidate for a campaign that was doomed from the beginning (2012) as the Republican Brand was so badly damaged, from Congressional races to the race for President, it was doubtful from 2007 that success would be a word used in any Republican race.

Times change and 2012 puts all Republicans in better brand shape. In the terms of branding, Huckabee is perhaps, in better shape as of this moment than any other candidate. Those who shop in advance for someone to support, regardless of party, and in the case of 2012, because of the perceived weakness of the Obama presidency by Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike, Huckabee is one who is repeatedly chosen as a President those shoppers could live with. It is the understanding that in each Presidential election there will be winners and losers, and Huckabee makes no bones about how hard campaigns can be, and that, just perhaps, President Obama may not be quite so easy to best (based perhaps on money, but.. money can’t buy a nations love), however, he’s sitting in the cat bird seat right now.

How long before Huckabee announced the formation of an exploratory committee and will it be “too late” according to those Beltway pundits who rarely get “it” right? One would hazard to estimate that following the book tour, which apparently ends on March 3rd, of 2011 Huckabee’s announcement could come as early as May, 2011, although he’s mentioned June as a “deadline” on more than one occasion (merely a month later). What Huckabee gains by waiting: an opportunity to get out and meet and greet in key states (see the tour list), valuable face time on the nations cable and news networks, talk shows, et al., and the ability to weigh the candidates who will have announced. Additionally, there were only two GOP debates in 2007 before June, the balance of the 18 televised debates held after August 2007. (Source, complete with video of each debate, worth revisiting –

Will Huckabee run in 2012? He hasn’t said no, and he hasn’t said yes, but his book, “Simple Government”, and subsequent tour schedule, certainly indicates his clear intentions to “seriously” weigh a run, and should his new book, not unlike the 2007 model, prove to be popular with those in Florida, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma et al, then Huckabee will indeed be the peoples candidate in 2012.

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