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What About Huck?

Really, the only time we've heard about Huck is when he or his supporters are arguing against Romney as McCain's VP. You could say they were angling for Huck, but perhaps more realistically what they wanted was to keep Romney from capturing the party's loyalty for 2012 or 2016.

NR's Rich Lowry speculates over at the Corner:

But wouldn't Huckabee make a lot of sense given the things we've learned the last two weeks? 1) McCain might have a "wealth problem," and certainly Democrats are going to try to hit his wealth for all its worth in their play for working-class voters; Huckabee doesn't have a problem on this front, and has lots of working-class cred. 2) The pro-choice trial balloon hasn't been well received, and it's clear that a pro-choice nominee would create a major disruption; Huckabee is pro-life. 3) Obama picked Biden who is going to a vivid presence (for better or worse) on the stump and could be formidable in debate; Huckabee is a great campaigner and might be just the guy to puncture Biden in a debate.

As Lowry also notes, Huckabee would allow McCain to continue highlighting all the things Biden said about Obama in the primaries, since he and Huck were almost ridiculously nice to one another. I would also add to the list Huckabee's natural political skills. Even voters who don't like Huckabee's politics generally like him as a person. His was probably the most surprising campaign of the primaries (aside from Obama's), as millions of voters found that they kind of liked this unknown Arkansas governor with a quick wit and good humor. He handled the debates very well, even winning a few, and McCain could do a lot worse going up against a seasoned debater like Biden. At least it would be a very humorous debate to watch.

Now for the bad news. Once Huckabee's initial charm wore off among conservatives in the primaries, many discovered him to be a big-goverment conservative, in that Huckabee favored government intervention on a host of social issues. Call it nanny statism. While the social/evangelical conservative sect found a comrade-in-arms, the rest of the conservative movement wearied quickly of Huckabee's big-govermnet ways. Many blamed the Bush administration for losing sight of one of conservatism's core tenets, and weren't about to let it continue under a Huckabee administration. (The Club for Growth was particularly critical on this point.) Given that McCain has angered the conservative movement more than a few times, tapping Huckabee might be a slap in the face.

(ht Chris Suellentrop)