Saturday, May 14, 2011

Huck Out -- Who Remains?

So Mike Huckabee isn't running for president in 2012.

Not, to be sure, a huge surprise; unlike, say, Haley Barbour or even Sarah Palin, Huck never really acted much like a candidate this time around. But it's a big deal, regardless, since he certainly would have been a serious contender if he got in.

Quick update on the field. Since I first said that I counted only eight plausible GOP nominees (about six weeks ago), two of those have been scratched off the list: Barbour, and Huck.

That leaves two plausible nominees who are actively running (Romney and Pawlenty); two who have sort of run, but haven't committed (Daniels and Palin); and two who have stayed completely out and say they're out, but who I believe would still be plausible if they jumped in very late (Perry and Jeb Bush). I think the big question at this point is how long the window remains open for those last four. June 1? August 1? Surely not later than that? Or has it already passed? Note that it's the kind of deadline that depends on the (potential) candidate -- it has to do with how long it would take candidates to raise the resources (money, staff, endorsements, name recognition, the inclination of the press to take them seriously) necessary for winning.

At this point, I'm not going to scratch anyone else off my list, but I'm certainly open to arguments that I'm overrating the chances of Daniels, Palin, Perry, and Bush if they decided now to get in all the way. And, just to be clear: I'm not predicting anything about those four one way or another. As far as I know, Jeb and Perry are out, end of story. All I'm saying is that if they wake up tomorrow and suddenly want to run that they would be alive, while in my view no one else could make that claim.

Oh, and for what it's worth...the six people I consider plausible nominees now have a combined 60% of the Intrade market, down from the 72% (for eight candidates) when I first looked at it back in March. Since I believe those six have at least a 90% chance at the nomination, and perhaps as high as 98%...well, either Intrade junkies are nuts or I am.


  1. How do you run a campaign with no Tea Party support in this political climate? All I see is a bunch of boring mainstream Republicans with no grassroots appeal, with the exception of Palin (who has been flailing lately). Surely this presents opportunities for the likes of Gingrich, Bachmann, and even Trump. I can't believe Republicans are going to act like Democrats in 2004 and pick the boring sensible establishment figure--not without a fight first.

  2. Christie has left little doubt that he's not running, but I think he'd be a formidable candidate if he got in. Tea party/fiscal conservatives love him and he's moderate enough to draw strong support from independents.

  3. Couves,

    Perhaps; and perhaps he winds up a lot more appealing in the abstract than in fact. We don't know how good he'd be at fundraising, or at winning elite support; we don't know how he'd do on national issues, and on the national stage. Given that he was going to be a late starter at any point (Pawlenty and Romney have both been running since before Christie was elected), I think it's a lot easier to overestimate his chances.

  4. Alex Pareene interprets Christie's recent refusal to say whether or not he believes in evolution as a possible sign he might be preparing to enter the race. The reason? Because that's not the sort of thing a well-educated New Jersey politician from either party would say, but it is the type of thing a Republican presidential candidate would say. Or so Pareene thinks. I dunno. Any thoughts?

  5. Interesting that both Huckabee and Palin seem to be deciding that they would rather be conservative celebrities than actual presidential candidates. A failed run might hurt their earning potential -- I wonder what Rudy Giuliani's speaking fees are like these days.

    Republicans seem to be able to earn more in the lecture-circuit / book-publishing / talk-radio / cable-news sphere. Can anyone think of a prominent Democrat who has followed a similar course? I wouldn't put Al Gore in the same category, since he seems to act more like an ex-president than a prospective one. Maybe Howard Dean?

    This also bring our attention to a longstanding issues facing career politicians without personal wealth. Public office doesn't pay well, at least by the standards of those with whom officeholders often associate.

  6. Everything that has happened since Obama's election points to the GOP nominating a Goldwater or Reagan as their 2012 candidate. I have a hard time seeing how any bland blue state governor (especially the one who is a Mormon who passed universal health care with an individual mandate) can win. I guess that means Gingrich or Palin (if she decides to run) would be the ones I see as most likely to win the nomination.

  7. I saw Christy give an AEI speech on cspan recently. I was impressed -- he spoke to our fiscal problems in a way that came across as intelligent, conversational and post-partisan. He’d be a good conduit for voter anger and he’s far more personable than either Romney or Obama -- good qualities for a candidate in our economic times.

    The name of the game is beating Obama and I think a strong Christy entry into the race would cause a lot of people to quickly drop Romney. Yes, Bush and Perry look good on paper. But the idea of running another Bush or Texan so soon after the last one would have an “Are you kidding me?” quality that even party elites can’t miss.

  8. I think Christie's cratering approval rating (38% in the latest SurveyUSA poll) means his not taking a longshot run for the nomination. It seems to me this is gonna come down to Pawlenty, Romney and maybe Daniels. Palin doesn't look to be running and couldn't win it if she was. Bush would have a lock on the nomination if his last name was Smith. Perry makes some sense but there is not indication that he is running.

    If it's Pawlenty & Romney, everything I know about the GOP's nomination history leads me to Romney but he seems so damaged at this point. The brutal Wall Street Journal editorial the other day was startling. If Romney has lost the Journal, who does he have anymore? I guess that leaves me with Pawlenty who seems to d**n boring to win but then again, the Democrats did nominate Dukakis once upon a time. Pawlenty has to win Iowa though. Only way he can do this and his odds went up after Huckabee dropped out.

  9. I'd guess Tim Pawlenty's happy about Huckabee's decision. It increases the likelihood that the "social conservative" bloc in Iowa will split several ways (including some to Pawlenty), as opposed to uniting around Huckabee.

    I'd say Pawlenty and Romney currently have the clearest path forward through the first four states, though there's lots of time for things to change.

  10. FWIW,

    I don't really understand the idea that being a Texan after Bush would be a negative for Perry. I don't think people work that way; if Perry had run (or still winds up running), he would be Rick Perry, not some Texan -- and I don't think people really associate Bush with Texas all that strongly. I'm not sure that political science has much to say about it one way or another, but I just don't see it.

  11. Being a Californian after Nixon didn't hurt Ronald Reagan.

  12. Pareene seems poorly informed on the subject. Biblical literalism is not the only basis for religious objections to Darwinism. That human intelligence is the result of a material process requiring neither guiding intelligence nor supernatural power is problematic for Thomist theology. Catholic intellectuals and scientists have been significant contributors to the 'intelligent design' movement.

  13. Jonathan,

    Watching Perry’s CPAC speech, he reminded me of GW so much that it was almost distracting. Maybe I’m making too much of this and maybe it wouldn’t matter to primary voters anyway, but I’m sure the comparisons would be made.

    CTH -- If popularity in one’s home state directly translated into the GOP Presidential primary, then Gary Johnson would be leading with Mitt Romney bringing up the rear.

  14. I think being from Texas will have significance in a way that CA wouldn't. Remember their old travel ads; "it's like a whole 'nother country." Texas and Texans are associated together in a way that other states/residents aren't. I think Perry would definitely suffer as a Texan so soon after Bush, especially because of how similar they seem as Couves said.

  15. I won't say home state connections are meaningless. Bush probably got a couple of votes from that "Dukakis, Lt. Governor" line. ButI doubt it's much, especially if the target is a capable pol. I'm pretty sure everyone DOES I.D. Bush as a Texan, but that probably doesn't tell us much about Perry. People know how to tell state mates apart. If Oerry is very similar to Bush and connected to him, that doesn't help, nut that's more about Perry than Texas.


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