Why Huckabee Won't Run

It would be nice if we could stop paying attention to Mike Huckabee, but the other big news about him is that he is polling well across the South. The former Arkansas governor is popular, and as Paul points out, Huckabee comes across as the likable, down-to-earth sort of Israel-loving, crypto-birther conservative. (Back in 2008, he even made an appearance, pegged to music education, at the staunchly liberal Center for American Progress, because, you know, inviting the occasional Republican over helps convince the IRS to maintain your tax-exempt designation.)

But in New York magazine, John Heilemann makes an convincing case for why Huckabee won't run. In short, it's about money troubles. Huckabee himself tells Heilemann that if he does run, he's not planning another low-budget, grassroots-driven campaign. And Heilemann writes that in "political circles" the argument goes:

"First, that Huckabee could never raise enough to be a plausible contender. And second, that Huckabee—who is building a multi-million-dollar, 8,224-square-foot mansion in Florida—won’t be willing (or can’t afford) to part with the fat paychecks he is pulling in from Fox, the lecture circuit, and various travel-related ventures."

Even being a little more specific about his 2012 intentions could put a crimp on Huckabee's newly luxe lifestyle: To avoid getting tangled in campaign finance regulations, Fox News has taken Newt Gingrich off of its payroll for the next 60 days while he gets his political house in order. It follows that the news organization will be obliged to suspend any of its many contributors who are toying with presidential runs, should they formally declare. Which means that even if Huckabee does run, he has an incentive to put off the decision as long as possible.