How Governor Huckabee Can Be Nominated
Aside from the fact that just from examining the man's record, personality, and general attractiveness as a candidate, I want to explain a few scenarios as I see it that would help Governor Huckabee stick out from the rest of the pack and actually be able to win nomination.
First of all, we have the widely speculated candidates: Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich...and now: Sam Brownback, Chuck Hagel, and Tommy Thompson. Without trying to be too simplistic, let me do some elimination of those who I honestly, cannot see even making it to Iowa by January 2008. Tommy Thompson, don't see his candidacy going anywhere. Ever since his name has been floated, I haven't heard any interest in him. He doesn't seem to be very charismatic (a must in modern politics), doesn't even really play well on television, and plus has the baggage of being in Bush's cabinet at one point. Plus, even though he comes from a potential swing state, I doubt he'd bring Wisconsin into the fold. We don't need a candidate who can't even carry his own state.
Chuck Hagel...nope. He is considered John McCain's protege, and John McCain eclipses him. Newt Gingrich...nope. Although he is considered to be "the brains" of the conservative movement, he has too much baggage from the past. Plus, his experience is limited to the House of Representatives. Anybody remember the last time we had a president elected directly from the House? His name was James Garfield.
Rudy Giuliani, not a chance. Although I like him, I and probably 80% of all Republicans do not like his politics. Star power is not enough for him to be nominated. He has way too many loose ends to tie up with the different wings of the party. He should have been working on that long ago.
Now, this leaves the field to McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and Brownback. Brownback is probably not going to be able to stir enough people with his message to be able to get attention needed for a successful candidacy. He has spent time in the Senate, which in and of itself is a negative for his candidacy, but on top of that, what has he done in the way of accomplishments to stick out from the other 99? Answer: not much.
Now we have it narrowed down to the big 3, which I have actually been saying all along that these three would be the stars in 2008: McCain, Romney, and Huckabee. McCain has irked most of the wings in the party, but people will be willing to nominate him in order to keep the White House. Don't kid yourself if you believe otherwise. So he is the man to beat, obviously. That leaves Governors Romney and Huckabee duking it out on who is the better man. A lot of the social conservatives are oooing and awing over Romney, but when it gets right down to the bottom line, his Mormonism will probably be an insurmountable obstacle where he needs the most support...the Bible Belt. You have the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson hinting that they would support a guy like Romney, but at the end of the day: 1.) If a candidate like Huckabee comes along, they probably view him as the evangelical favorite, and 2.) even if they don't, those types of figures don't really have much sway with rank and file church goers, who will probably cling to prejudiced views against Mormons and really like the fact that Huckabee is a former evangelical minister. So, in a two man race: Huckabee vs. McCain, it is a battle to see who will win and where. Huckabee, coming from the South has the obvious edge here; plus he is playing well in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire. If he scored upsets in either of those two states, and then headed into the first string of Super Tuesday primaries (many of which are in the south) with momentum and scored on his home turf, McCain would be forced to work against his momentum and win in pretty much all of the midwest states in order to get the edge back. Which considering the way most primary battles go, once one candidate has big momentum, they usually ride it to nomination.
I will say this...without a doubt: a Huckabee/McCain ticket or even a McCain/Huckabee ticket is the absolute best possible scenario for the Republicans to win in November of 2008.