Mike Huckabee (maybe) for President — it means all of the attention and none of the expense.
The Huckster's plan to hang back on a presidential campaign commitment is paying rich dividends — he continues to make plenty of money on Fox, radio and speaking to right-wing groups, but the press continues to be enamored by the will-he-or-won't-he theme. Free media is a whole lot more effective than expensive organizing.
"I'm not one who thinks the future of the world is depending on whether I run for president," the former Arkansas governor said in an interview.
The Washington Post interview goes on to say Huckabee didn't much like the presidential debates in 2008 (repetitious of stuff he didn't want to talk about, apparently), and that his diet appeared to be on "hiatus" over an eggs and pancakes breakfast; that he wouldn't disclose the cost of his house under construction in Florida (for which public records show he's taken out a mortgage near $3 million). Huck also denied that a photo of a house under construction posted by a blogger (and linked here) is his new house on the sugar sands near Destin. (For what it's worth, the picture did indicate similar ownership and contractor to those listed in public records for the Huckabee home, but that sign might have been for the lot immediately next door to the house under construction).
Interestingly, Huckabee mentioned to the Washington Post the size of closets in his new home:
When Huckabee and his wife, Janet, picked out the lot for the house they are building on a Florida beach, "We just looked at each other and started laughing. We thought, can you believe we can do this?" he said. "Our first apartment was $40 a month. Our closet in this house will probably be as large as that tiny little apartment."
It was a chance remark by Janet Huckabee in a Little Rock shop, about the size of her husband's closet — bigger than hers — that led us to discover the home construction in Florida records. He's apparently talked far and wide about the size of his closet, based on this chat board in Florida about the new construction. A photo on that board identifies the home on the left as 756 Blue Mountain, the address in public records for his house.
Huckabee also said that President Obama will be tougher to beat than many think and that Tea Party forces might make it hard to elect someone who could govern. This is a reference to the good parts of Huckabee's record — tax increases where necessary as governor, including for some big government spending programs, such as health coverage for children. This doesn't square much with the shut-government-down leanings of the Tea Party.
Meanwhile, Huckabee said he has to consider whether he is in fighting shape - "mentally, emotionally, spiritually and every other way prepared to do this again." Then there's this: The man who turned the other cheek at deep-fried Twinkies at the Iowa state fair in 2008 is noticeably heavier than he was a couple of years ago.
"I've really struggled this past year," he said. His eating habits have slipped back into old patterns; a bad knee keeps him from exercising as much as he should; his travel schedule is punishing.
"But that's an excuse," Huckabee said. "I'm not going to make it. We do what we want to do."
If he does run, this article in Politico said, it will be motivated in part by his intense dislike of Mitt Romney and a desire to smack him down. Yes, that sounds like the Huckster we know. The genial Huckster of some journalists' script is reserved for those who do not criticize him. Others? He gets even.