“I’m keeping the door open,” [Former Arkansas Gov. Mike] Huckabee said in an interview here Thursday night about the possibility of seeking his party’s nomination again. “I think right now the focus needs to be on 2014, but I’m mindful of the fact that there’s a real opportunity for me.”That opportunity, says Huckabee, is demonstrated by what he said are good survey numbers in early GOP primary states:
“Let me show you some polling,” Mr. Huckabee said, brandishing a two-page memo about a survey his longtime pollster took earlier this month suggesting that he was leading the Republican field in both Iowa and South Carolina. He boasted that such good numbers came at a time when “nobody has even talked about me being named” as a candidate.Huckabee did lead a poll in South Carolina released this week, but his 18 points were nonetheless pretty close to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's 17 points and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's 14 points.
Please read below the fold for more on Huckabee's 2016 plans.
In his interview with Jonathan Martin of the New York Times, Huckabee said he didn't run in 2012 because he thought President Obama was unbeatable and because he enjoyed making money at his lucrative Fox News gig. Aside from the fact that Obama won't be running in 2016 and that he's now made his money at Fox, Huckabee also says he's considering a run because his campaign could be sustained by a single wealthy donor through a Super PAC.
Huckabee didn't name any names, but he has never been much of a fundraiser, and probably likes the idea of being able to rely on the deep pockets of someone like Sheldon Adelson, which could make it less important for him to spend his time raising money the old-fashioned way, from multiple donors.
Huckabee also took time to pat himself on the back for running a strong campaign in 2008, saying that in retrospect his message made him look "prophetic" and like a "genius."
“A lot of things I said that I was sneered at about turned out to be prophetic,” he said about the criticism he took from fellow Republicans over his focus on the working class during the 2008 campaign. “A year later I looked like a genius, but nobody ever said, ‘Huckabee was right,’ ” he said.Of course, Huckabee's big populist idea in 2008 was ... eliminating the IRS and replacing all Federal taxes with a single national sales tax of 30 percent. Families earning less than $30,000 would receive a rebate check from the government to make it less regressive, but it still would have been a massive windfall for the Mitt Romneys of the world and a huge hit on middle-income families—not to mention the whole question of whether it would even generate enough revenue to fund the government or implementation issues like how people would qualify for the tax rebate if the IRS no longer existed or how the tax would be enforced without an IRS.
Nobody took the idea seriously then, and nobody is taking it seriously now. So if Mike Huckabee thinks talking about it in 2008 makes him seem like a prophetic genius in 2013, well, here's to hoping he runs on it again in 2016 and convinces enough Republicans so that he can take the nomination. Because by the time the election rolls around, what he's really going to look like is a complete idiot, albeit an affable one—assuming you're a member of the Fox audience, at least.