Mr. Arkansas appears to have kicked off his 2010 Presidential election campaign this week in a column in Esquire magazine.  The article is quite a flattering profile from a clearly liberal author (remind you of any recent Republican Presidential candidates?).  The author goes so far as to describe Huckabee as “the nicest guy in a political party of not-very-nice guys”.  You can read the whole articlehere.

So, besides courting the liberal wing of the mainstream media (if Esquire can really be said to count as “mainstream”), what else is Huckabee doing?  Apparently, touting his centrist credentials and attacking his potential opposition.  The article takes a brief look at his new book “Do The Right Thing,” and mentions that Huckabee “caused a mini firestorm by taking a couple of uncharacteristically harsh swipes at Romney, whom he considered phony and high-handed.”  Yeah, that’s real rich coming from Huckabee.

Meanwhile, his economic populism is out full force:

“I mean, I just want to scream,” he says, “especially at these guys at the National Review, The Wall Street Journal, who are supposed to be these bastions of conservatism. And how can they call Barack Obama a socialist when everything they’re doing in economic and monetary policy is classic socialism? I find it so hypocritical. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a terrible mistake to revert back to welfare, because what Democrats are doing is pushing welfare for all people who are working individually, while you’ve got people on the Republican side pushing welfare for the highest CEOs in the wealthiest corporations in America. It’s insane.”

It’s like deja vu all over again.  And, what Huckabee campaign-prep would be complete without a couple of knocks at one of his principle rivals:

“Now I must say I did not think that either the Charlie Gibson interview or the Katie Couric interviews were unfair. In fact, if anything, Katie Couric was extraordinarily gentle, even helpful. [Palin] just…I don’t know what happened. I can’t explain it. It was not a good interview. I’m being charitable.”

So there you have it.  Populism, centrism, courting the media, and a couple of shots at Romney and Palin who, while probably the two weakest of his potential competitors in 2012, are nevertheless people he will need to beat if he wants to run for the top job.  Is Mike Huckabee getting ready to run?