Huckabee Is Out. The Down and Dirty on Who It Helps and Hurts.
UPDATED: Title changed to reflect that Mike Huckabee is not running.The down and dirty analysis of who it helps:Tim Pawlenty. He becomes the evangelical governor in the race.Herman Cain. He remains the Huckabee of 2012.Sarah Palin. She and Huckabee would largely be fighting for the same crowd.Who it hurts:All of us. Some of you won’t agree, but I think Huckabee would force the other candidates to bring their A game on message and rhetoric. Just for that alone, I wanted him in the race. What it means:Mitt Romney is the front runner and the field is wide open to be the anti-Mitt. If Daniels gets in,and it is increasingly likely, he will be the odds on favorite to be the anti-Mitt. Otherwise it will probably be Pawlenty. And even with Daniels in, Pawlenty’s access to the evangelical community will make him a force to be reckoned with. Those two will fight it out to be the anti-Mitt.Original post below the fold.It looks like I and many others who have been following this are very wrong and that Mike Huckabee is getting into the race.Maybe not, but he sent out an email to his inner circle that reads like he is getting in. This will come as a surprise to many people. Frankly, at this point, I think it is awesome that Huck has been able to leave us all guessing. The Wall Street Journal noted yesterday that Ed Rollins had been laying the ground work for 2012 on Huckabee’s behalf, but then hadn’t heard anything. Rollins speculated that Huckabee was out.Ed Stelzer, a Republican from Georgia who spearheaded Huck’s Army in Georgia, also said yesterday Huckabee wasn’t running and added that Huck’s Iowa team had all gone elsewhere.Wesley Donahue reported a few weeks ago in South Carolina that several of Huck’s guys there had been told they were free to go. Wes was widely attacked for being a Romney guy, but I and several others had heard this independent of Huck.If he does get in, this is really a masterful job at throwing everyone off.Yesterday, I posted my views on the horse race for 2012. If Mike Huckabee does decide to tell the world tonight that he is running, here’s how I think it impacts the race.Herman Cain gets impacted in buzz. A lot of buzz has been going to Herman because, as I and others have said repeated, he stands out as the Huckabee of 2012. With Huckabee in the race, evangelicals in Iowa who want an outsider gravitate back to Huck.Pawlenty is hurt by Huckabee entering. He’d be the “experience” candidate who also connects to evangelicals. Huckabee fills that void and it will leave Pawlenty scrambling.Sarah Palin will be able to hold her on, but the establishment GOP that fears her will make peace with Huckabee quickly — very quickly. I think if Huckabee gets in there is no way Palin, should she get in, gets the nomination. In fact, I think Palin and Huckabee both in the race neutralizes them both.Should Mike Huckabee get in, he will be the front runner. And to be honest, I hope he gets in. I have said for a few months now that while I disagree with Huckabee on much of his economic/fiscal record, he speaks in a way that resonates with the hearts of Americans. He would force every other candidate to rise to the occasion and bring their A game.For that, we can all be grateful. But I’m not sure i want him as the nominee.In any event, we’ll find out tonight.