All the factors say go, but my heart says no, and that is the decision I have made, and in it, I have finally found resolution.-Mike Huckabee
From Jennifer Rubin at POSTOPINIONS at The Washington Post:
I am not surprised in the least that Mike Huckabee is passing on the 2012 primary. He’s got a great lifestyle, wealth beyond his and his wife’s imagination, and no reason to lessen his speaking value by losing a presidential primary.It was cheesy to hype an announcement and then say, “Never mind.” But no one ever accused Huckabee of going light on the show biz presentation. (Former senator Chuck Hagel, who called reporters together to say he had no news about a 2008 presidential run, has now been bypassed in the “You hauled us out here for this?” category.)
I’m not surprised either. Chuckleberry was always in this just to make money. You get a lot more attention and get paid more for speeches when you make believe that you’re running for president. Chuckleberry was a grifter, and he’s still a grifter.
Original DVD cover
The immediate beneficiary of this is former Pawlenty, whose prospects in Iowa just increased ten-fold. There is no other solid social conservative in the race, he’s from a neighboring state and he’s got a ground game up and running. (Expect Romney to now “not try so hard” and prepare to discount a loss there.) Moreover, unless a credible alternative such as [Mitch] Daniels, [Chris] Christie or [Paul] Ryan [huh? really? Even Newt Gingrich threw him under the bus on Meet the Press for his ridiculous health care plan] enter the race, Pawlenty is the not-Romney. If you think Romney can’t get past Romneycare, start putting money on Pawlenty.
Conversely, this is dreadful news for Romney. His prospects largely depended on either being the not-Palin or competing against a large field that would divide up the not-Romney votes. [Another grifter, Sarah] Palin doesn’t seem to be running, and the field is shrinking every day.
Lastly, the new dark horse may be Jon Huntsman. He’s thrown cap-and-trade under the bus, he doesn’t have Romneycare around his neck, he is fresh to the field (and hence not yet a bore), and he has some style and verve.