Mike Huckabee, who knows a thing or two about insurgent campaigns, sees the power of the Palin candidacy. Taegan Goddard links this morning to the Des Moines Register:
Mike Huckabee told the Des Moines Register that Sarah Palin would be a strong contender for president should she decide to run.
Said Huckabee: “No question, she will be a very, very strong presence and force, if she gets in. You know, she may run away with it. And that’s one of those things everyone needs to be prepared for.
Huckabee’s words are more than an observation. They are a warning. And they are a warning especially to be heeded because they come from the one politician who can probably do most to stop Palin, the candidate best positioned to win Iowa.
Huckabee himself is also persona non grata with party leaders, because of his repeated criticism of Wall Street and Wall Street minded GOP insiders.
But Huckabee is a very different cat from Sarah Palin. He’s smart and policy-minded. And while he expresses a strong social conservative message, he does not play the politics of division, disparagement, and resentment in which Palin specializes. In the days of party conventions, the answer to the Palin problem would have been obvious: party leaders would assemble and force the mutually mistrustful Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee onto the same ticket. In modern times, the game is played differently, but the structure of the situation remains the same: an early Huckabee pact with a candidate acceptable to Republican donors (if not Romney, then Tim Pawlenty or even Jeb Bush) would command enough clout to push Palin off the stage. If not, all bets are off. As I think about it, that’s one of the big problems with the candidacies of a Thune, a Daniels or a Barbour: They will need Huckabee as much or more than Romney does. Yet Huckabee is also a re-elected governor, plus he won the second largest haul of delegates last time. Why should he defer to any of the lower-polling governors? And who will make him?