Mike Huckabee got aggressive with his fellow potential Republican 2012 presidential candidates today on Fox News Sunday. Huckabee anointed himself the man who can beat Obama in 2012, “I end up leading a lot of the polls. I ‘m the Republican that clearly at this point does better against Obama than any other Republican.”
Huckabee self-servingly used to the June 10 PPP poll as cover for his presidential ambitions in 2012. According to The Hill, he said, “I haven’t closed the door. I think that would be foolish on my part, especially when poll after poll shows that there is strong sentiment out there.” (He hasn’t “closed the door” because he is running).
The former Arkansas governor had some faint praise for both of his rivals Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. Speaking of Romney, he said, “There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s running, and I think he’s a formidable candidate. I don’t think anybody can dismiss him because he has the organization. He’s got the money. He’s got sort of the inside track with a lot of the Republican establishment. Huckabee also made reference to Romney to and health care reform in Massachusetts.
Huckabee was dismissive of Palin, “She’s got the fire, the energy, and I think there are a lot of Republicans who love her, would support her, and she would be a very strong presence in a presidential primary.” (Notice that Huckabee did not say that she was formidable, but mentioned her personality, which is the political version of when you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all).
I don’t know of anything more worthless than a potential 2012 poll over two years before the election. They are fun to talk about, but Huckabee is giving the poll a little too much weight if that is his justification for labeling himself the top Republican for 2012. Mike Huckabee is trying to stake out his political 2012 turf early, but Huck has some problems. His biggest problem will be money. Romney is independently wealthy, and Palin is the GOP’s best fundraiser, which is a lot like being best looking leper in the colony, but it still means something.
The real GOP primary battle in 2012 won’t be between Romney and Huckabee. Before the race for the nomination gets to that stage, Palin and Huckabee will be battling for the white evangelical block of Republican primary voters. They both are also fighting to be the anti-Republican establishment candidate. Huckabee recently took a shot at Palin as being soft on drugs while he was on FNC’s Red Eye, and the Palin/Huckabee fight could be nasty and at the heart of the early 2012 GOP primary season.
According to a June 14, PPP poll of Republicans, Romney, Palin, Huckabee, and Gingrich are grouped pretty close together. Romney has 25% support followed by Huckabee (22%), Palin (19%), Gingrich (15%), and Ron Paul (6%) trails the pack. Huckabee is clearly exaggerating if he thinks he is the number one contender for the GOP nomination, but what is overlooked by all of these Republicans is that none of them look popular enough to beat an incumbent president in 2012. Whoever wins the GOP nomination, will have their work cut out for them against Obama.