The excitement this morning on Twitter seems all about Mike Huckabee. There has been no doubt in my mind that he never stopped running for President after conceding the nomination to John McCain last year. He just changed which Presidential election he was running in.
Which is why it was such a huge (but very silly, given the timing) argument late last year over who "came in second" in the primary race, and by proxy who the early 2012 "frontrunner" was going to be. Mitt Romney had a dedicated core of supporters fighting for him, and so did Huckabee. Some of them on each side just wouldn't give up, while the rest of us just got back to work.
It appears that Mike Huckabee himself got back to work as well. Gone is the religious demagoguery from the campaign, as are the left-wing economic ideas he was pushing. Instead we have a man who's fighting the embattled Barack Obama on his reckless spending and disastrous foreign policy, and the Democrats apparently are scared by it. In 2008 the Democrats loved him, but in 2009 they hate him. That in itself is a change that speaks well of Huckabee's future hopes.
Republicans are creatures of habit. We tend to like seeing the same batches of people in one primary after another, and eventually the stable, persistent men get their shot. Even John McCain got his. But if Mike Huckabee wants to try for his, there is one more thing he needs to do: Help us take back the House.
As of a month ago, his PAC raised over $300,000. That money needs to get out to Repubican challengers nationwide, with less of a Southern bias than he now shows. Democrats took the House by challenging everywhere, and so will we. Reports are that Huckabee plans to back 50 candidates with his PAC. I hope he does, and I hope he funnels substantial amounts of money to each both through the PAC, and through direct (and free) fundraising stops.
If Mike Huckabee can be a rainmaker for Republicans who take back the House, then yes, Huckabee becomes a leading man in the Republican party and will be excellently positioned to run again in 2012. By proving he could raise money and be a genuine party leader, he will have earned it.
That is the missing piece for Mike Huckabee, and I truly hope he fits it into place.