We can expect almost a year’s worth of speculation about whether Mike Huckabee is running for president; he says he won’t decide until late 2011.
He’s on a book tour right now for his Christmas book . . . and he has another book coming out, one more policy-oriented, in March 2011.
Upsides: As he has noted, Huckabee polls pretty competitively against Obama, and has done so pretty consistently. He clearly has a base that loves him; check out that line standing in cold weather outside that Sarasota bookstore. He obviously would be the favorite to win Iowa again. His charisma on the stump and on camera appear to be as strong as ever.
Downsides: How many GOP primary voters does Huckabee win over who weren’t in his corner last time around? Has he really done anything to address what GOP primary voters didn’t like about him last time? Doesn’t the current preeminence of economic and fiscal issues hurt a governor widely perceived as a big-government conservative? At what point do other candidates start complaining about his Fox News Channel weekend show constituting free advertising?
And if Sarah Palin runs, how many Mike Huckabee supporters jump over to her bandwagon?