Things have changed dramatically since May when front-runner Mike Huckabee announced that he would not be running for president.

Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry have all had their opportunities to make themselves a consistent front-runner.  Bachmann, perhaps the best alternative to Huckabee for many social conservatives, has failed to catch fire in the polls after she won the Ames Iowa Straw Poll.  It may be unfair that her supposed gaffes have been misconstrued.  It may also be unfair that a woman is held to a higher standard and is more likely to be called flaky or ditzy.   But it is what it is.

Former Senator Rick Santorum certainly carries all the conservative credentials needed to satisfy the Christian right.  But his poll numbers just don’t seem to budge, in spite of great debate performances.

On the other hand, Rick Perry has disappointed some with his debate performances and could possibly end up being the “FredThompson” of 2011. He comes up short for most pro-lifers, and for others his views of immigration are non-starters.  In the summer of 2007, Thompson was the darling of some hopefuls, but shortly after his lackluster entrance in September his own poll numbers dropped, and he never fully recovered from the perception that his heart was not in the race.[1]

Herman Cain, a tea party favorite is obviously still a factor, having won a major Florida straw poll.  His lack of experience in governing may be seen as a plus to some, and a negative to others.  He is very likely solid enough for social conservatives.

Mitt Romney, despite good debate performances hasn’t caught on either.  Perhaps his early decision to ignore the Iowa caucuses was a mistake, or his failure to be asked serious questions about Romneycare is leaving some voters with questions.  He also downplays social issues, which many in the center think is his only hope, because he failed to convince his nay-sayers in the 2008 cycle.

Ron Paul may be reaching his ceiling as well, especially until he can reconcile his 10th Amendment views with his right-to-life claims, and convince us that Iran ought to have nuclear weapons if it wants to.  Paul is generally very principled, but that comes at a great cost, politically speaking, if his principles are counter to his party’s.

Governor Huckabee was leading in most of the polls in Iowa, the Midwest and South back in the spring.  True, he may not play well in New York and California, and perhaps even in a few Rocky Mountain states, but these states will have little impact during the Republican primary season.

Unlike Bachmann, Governor Huckabee has weathered a few gaffes and troubled spots in his record, coming out rather unscathed.  Just like bringing out supposed Romney flip-flops was a dud for Rick Perry, bringing up old arguments against Huckabee won’t likely play well, either.

Unlike Sarah Palin, Huckabee is well-liked in virtually all segments of the GOP and the general public, even among those who have differences with him on religion or policy.  He has the most-watched weekend television news show on all of cable, and his willingness to interact with the public and the press would be of great benefit in the general election.  Also, when Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race after the Iowa Straw Poll, Sarah Sanders (Huckabee’s daughter) was freed up to possibly work again with Huckabee, as well.

Overall, the Republican electorate appears unable to make up its collective mind.

Of course, a change of Huckabee’s own mind would be required before this speculation could be changed into reality.  No one knows that better than the Governor himself.  If Huckabee is counting on a social conservative to win, he must put most of his eggs right now in the Herman Cain basket.  Even if Huckabee would be willing to endorse Cain, he might be asking himself whether the Cain Train can continue on up to the nomination.  Filing deadlines for candidates to viably enter the race might be in the next couple of weeks.

Although the people begging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to get in the race will ignore the fact that he earlier said he was not running and give him room to change his mind, the same folks might not give Huckabee the same leeway.  He should ignore that worry.  He ultimately only answers to God[2].

________________________________________________________________________________________________________



[1]  Only shortly before the South Carolina primary did Thompson show any fire in his belly.  He turned that fire against Huckabee and perhaps cost Huckabee a win the Southern state that seems to pick the GOP nominee.



[2]  Huckabee never said, “God told me” not to run, nor do I think God will tell him to run.   He has shown the wisdom God gives His servants in his Word and he has the freedom to do what his conscience allows (his heart, as it were) in order to make that decision.  Only godless sorts will fault him for praying about this decision.  He should ignore those folks as well.

 

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