DAVE WEAVER/FR67562 AP
Mike Huckabee in Omaha, Neb., Dec. 2009.
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who had a good run during the 2008 Republican presidential primaries before Sen. John McCain went on to win the nomination, is thought by some in the White House to be the likely GOP nominee.
But he hasn't been getting the kind of excited frequent media attention of Sarah Palin and this has apparently begun to bother him.
According to Politico.com which interviewed Huckabee, he expressed some consternation:
“The polls are consistently favorable, putting me either at the top of every poll or right near it. It’s hard to ignore that, having swum in that water before when I barely registered in those very kinds of polls,” he said...
... “She’s brought an enormous amount of energy to the party. As to why she seemingly draws ten times the attention, I don’t know,” he said, touting recent book signings of his that had drawn up to 1,400 people, with no note in the media.
“You’re never going to read that. I’m never going to be breaking news because I made a comment on Twitter and Facebook. Why is that? I don’t know,” he said.
Even so, Huckabee could be Obama's worst nightmare which might explain why some in the White House are thinking he will be the nominee.
As the New York Times' Peter Baker reported in a New York Times magazine piece right after the election:
They doubt Sarah Palin will run and figure Mitt Romney cannot get the Republican nomination because he enacted his own health care program in Massachusetts. If they had to guess today, some in the White House say that Obama will find himself running against Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor.
In contrast with the president's urbane coolness, Huckabee emanates folksiness from his pores. While Obama can seem distant, Huckabee has an everyman quality.
As a white southern male and the former governor of Arkansas, he would have wide appeal not just in the South.
He could make it harder for Obama to win the independent men who helped put Obama over the top in 2008.
Huckabee could make it even more difficult than the economy is likely to make it, for Obama to put together the electoral map of 2008.
North Carolina, for instance, would be a heavier lift for the president. So, too, would battleground states with large rural and suburban swaths like like Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Obama could try to marginalize Huckabee as a former governor without experience on the world stage.
But if the unemployment situation hasn't changed substantially, and there aren't many economists who think that it will have, the economy is likely to be the top issue, negating Obama's foreign-affairs advantage.
Also, it's worth remembering that approach didn't work for the last sitting president, George H.W. Bush who found himself running against a folksy Arkansas governor in 1992.
Meanwhile, as a former practicing preacher, Huckabee talks the talk of evangelical Christians. If many Americans have doubts about Obama's Christianity, they'll have very little doubt about Huckabee's.
Politico suggests Huckabee's building of a $3 million home on the Florida Gulf Coast could be an impediment to a presidential run since he'll need to make a lot of money to pay his $2.8 million mortgage. He may want to keep his Fox News Channel contract as well as his lucrative speaking gigs, the thinking goes.
But the Florida house could actually work for Huckabee. It could enhance his stature in Florida, helping him in his effort to win not just the Republican primary there but, if he were to become the nominee, the state's electoral votes.
Again, on paper, it appears Huckabee would be a formidable challenger to Obama.