by Max Brantley
If the latter assumption proves accurate, then President Obama remains constitutionally obligated to depart from the White House in 2016, when Mike Huckabee will be just turning 61 — considerably younger than Romney or Gingrich at the moment, not to mention enjoying an even greater edge of youthfulness over Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden or other Democratic contenders four years from now.
But back to the reasons why Huckabee decided not to enter the race. Medved said he's talked with the Florida resident and former Arkansas governor about it.
Boil it down to dollars (desire for); Dumond (the killer Huck helped free), and diet (despite writing a preachy weight-loss book, Huck put the pounds back on).
Of course, rumors abound concerning the various factors that kept him out of the race. Most obviously, he and his wife have been building a lavish “dream house” on the beach in Florida while enjoying a life of relative luxury (thanks to generous TV contracts and bestselling books) unavailable on the meager salaries of a pastor or an Arkansas elected official—and unthinkable during an active presidential campaign. There’s also a problem with his weight: he acknowledges putting on substantial poundage after a foot problem curtailed his running and exercise regimen. Of course, a portly presence represented no serious obstacle to Chris Christie’s gubernatorial (or fleeting presidential) dreams, but Huckabee made a special point of his past weight loss and even wrote a book called Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork (2008). Finally, a clemency controversy erupted in 2009 when a violent felon whose sentence had been commuted by Huckabee murdered four police officers near Seattle. Critics charged that his Christian compassion as governor led to twice as many commutations and pardons as his three predecessors combined. Huckabee eagerly defends his record in the face of such attacks, but in the frenzy of a contested presidential campaign the criticism would have become predictably nasty.
SPEAKING OF THE HUCKSTER: Least I can do is give him a free plug for his 16th guided tour to Israel, coming up in February. The nine-day trip will cost you about $4,600 double occupancy from New York; business class upgrades for $2,300 are sold out.