What Makes Huckabee Run?


The Inevitability Express may not be hitting on all cylinders, but as the likelihood of halting it fades into oblivion, the question of why Mike Huckabee continues to stay in the race becomes ever more insistent. His decamping from the campaign trail to make a motivational speech on Grand Cayman suggests a certain lack of, ah, seriousness about his presidential aspirations. It does seem like he needs the dough, and the disabused view from Arkansas is that it’s all of a piece with Huck’s tendency to cut corners for the sake of financial gain. Maybe he’s running because his campaign has put some food on the Huckabee table. The Los Angeles Times‘s James Rainey offers a less jaundiced view today, something more along supernatural lines. But perhaps all the secular explanations haven’t been exhausted.
For a while it seemed to me, and I was not alone, that Huck was angling for a vice presidential nod from John McCain, but as time passes that seems less and less likely. He’s more objectionable to the economic conservatives of the party than McCain is to the evangelicals, and McCain is going to need all the dough he can muster for the general–which means as much good will as possible from the moneybags of the party. But if not VP, then what’s he angling for?
My candidate is to be the head of the next marquee national religious right organization. It was the Moral Majority in the 1980s, the Christian Coalition in the 1990s. With Focus on the Family running out of steam and a different kind of evangelical politics perhaps on the way, there’s an opening for a new organization. Who better than Huckabee to be its leader? As he travels around the country, building up his list of supporters, that may well be what he has in mind. The precedent, of course, is Pat Robertson, who parlayed his 1988 presidential run into the Christian Coalition. Of course, Robertson had a well-heeled broadcasting operation behind him, and Huck has, well, a motivation speech in Grand Cayman. Maybe that’s where the supernatural comes in.
Update: It seems that Robert Novak has been given a signal that Huckabee’s a no-go on McCain’s ticket.