It seems the starter’s gun has sounded and the 2012 presidential race is on in full. With the announcements in the last week by Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, I suspect we will be hearing from most of the major candidates for the Republican nomination in the coming days and weeks. Later today Mike Huckabee will announce his plans for 2012. The front runner in many of the polls, Huckabee is the first of the truly viable candidates to make an announcement in season and his decision will have a dramatic effect on the race. When Haley Barbour backed out three weeks ago in a surprise to most, his impact was mostly inside the game. Two decades in mostly political jobs before he became Governor of Mississippi including a term as RNC Chairman gave him the best rolodex in the race with key fundraisers and consultants on his team. However Barbour was in single figures in the polls so his decision not to enter the race (he was in my mind the odds on winner of the nomination) was not felt immediately on the standings. Mike Huckabee is the frontrunner in most polls and given his tenure as Governor of Arkansas and as a commentator since his 2008 run makes Huckabee a force to be reckoned with this year.
The decision to run for president is intensely personal and one which changes the lives of not only the candidates but their families. If you go on the win the nomination your life story and those of your immediate family are laid bare by the media. Should you go on to win the presidency the transformation is permanent and your life is forever changed. Form most of my adult life I have studied the presidency and would never second guess the choice one makes not to run, indeed it may be the sane and rational choice for a family centered person to make. Yet I am a true believer and we live in a time of great challenge and we republicans need a core group of candidates to ensure the vitality of the nomination process. Mike Huckabee is one of the most dynamic and vital potential candidates today and the one who has best represented the populist interests of the average American. Should Huck decide to enter the race today he becomes the instant front runner. I’m far from endorsing him, indeed I have some serious questions about his tax policy as Governor (he raised them far too willingly), but he has connected with both the party and average voters in a way few have in recent years. So I say Run Huck Run, and cross my fingers he chooses to join the race later today.