Mike Huckabee is a political natural. I first became aware of this when my daughter, no social conservative, told me that of all the candidates who visited Dartmouth during the 2008 New Hampshire primary season, she was most impressed by Huckabee (no, she didn’t vote for him).
Tonight, Huckabee got off to a weak start when he explained his support for his 2008 rival, Mitt Romney, by referring to their joint opposition to President Obama. But then he got on track with a nice endorsement of Romney, one of the most effective I have heard so far.
Huckabee masterfully pitched Romney to evangelicals without sounding themes that would turn off social moderates like my daughters. As I said, the guy is a natural.
Listening to Huckabee tonight, I couldn’t help thinking about what might have been if he had run for president this year. Given his political skills and the difficulty Romney had in overcoming a relatively weak field, I suspect that this could well have been Huckabee’s convention. Fortunately, for whatever reason, Huckabee stayed out of the race.
I hope he and the Party establishment will get past the animosity stemming from the Todd Akin fiasco, so that Huckabee will campaign actively on behalf of Romney. But there exists a possible conundrum here. The extent to which Huckabee campaigns for Romney may depend on the extent of his future presidential ambition.
If so, a Huckabee in campaign mode should be viewed as a mixed blessing.