What Is Huckabee’s Game?
The Huck swept to an easy victory today in the Kansas caucuses, clobbering presumptive GOP nominee John McCain and winning all 36 delegates. One has to ask, To what end? He has no chance to win the nomination; he has to win 93% of the remaining delegates. Vice-president remains an option, but, as I pointed out in an earlier post, embarrassing McCain is no way to win your way onto the Republican ticket. If he wins Texas, a real possibility, that is not going to amuse McCain. I have to conclude at this point that Huckabee realizes that McCain is not going to choose him. On the night of Super Tuesday, Karl Rove was asked on Fox if putting Huckabee on the ticket would solve McCain’s problems with conservatives. Rove’s answer was, “It doubles them.” Huckabee’s conservative credentials are mixed, on both social and economic issues. He’s an evangelical minister; he’s been endorsed by James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family; and he’s pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. On the economic side, he favors the so-called fair tax that would replace the income tax with a national sales tax. But as governor of Arkansas he approved legislation that allowed the children of illegal aliens to qualify for in-state tuition at Arkansas universities and he also supported tax increases.
To state the obvious, Huckabee is running for president. Not this year, but in 2012. He’s trying to move from being a gadfly and a regional candidate, as he was at the start of the current race, to a candidate with a national following. He and Romney are engaged in a primary to become the conservative standardbeared four years from now. They have to assume that McCain will lose the election and they will be the frontrunners in 2012. If Huckabee can win a big state outside his southern base — say, Ohio — he can claim to be more than a regional candidate. I don’t think that either Huckabee or Romney has what it takes to be president, but you can’t blame them for trying.
So, who should McCain pick as a running mate? Romney has the economic credentials that would help McCain, but he failed to demonstrate that he has any following. He carried only three counties in the California primary, Fresno and two smaller ones. I shudder to suggest this, but how about Phil Gramm?