Draft Mike Huckabee

In the new Gallup poll, virtually all of the support for Herman Cain has translated into support for Newt Gingrich. He stands at 37 percent now and Romney is at 22 percent, where he has been all year. Everyone else is in single digits. Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney? Really? How about Mike Huckabee? I can’t think of anyone better prepared to be president. I can’t think of a better man. It is not too late.

Huck gave it long consideration early on. He might have seen Texas Gov. Rick Perry riding over the horizon pretty tall in the saddle. As Gingrich said, if Perry could adapt to the national scene there would be no stopping him. Then something happened with Perry, and I still can’t figure out exactly what. For whatever reason, Huck decided in that environment to stay out. It might be wise in this environment to get back in. Gingrich and Romney are not satisfying options.

He won Iowa last time around. He would likely win this year again if he were in. And against Gingrich and Romney in South Carolina he would likely do well. Florida too. There is a pall over this race now. GOP leadership is not pleased with the contest between the current front-runners. No one is, except Team Obama.

And Huck has very good Tea Party kung fu. Not the shouting and hollering kind like Gingrich, Dick Armey and Glenn Beck bring forth. Huck is no iconoclast or renegade. The mature format of his forum over the weekend brought high marks from the Tenth Amendment Center, on the front lines of Tea Party relevance.

“The emphasis you saw placed on limiting the powers of the federal government during the forum reflects an awakening we’re seeing across America,” Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey said. “People are concerned about the growing power and intrusiveness of the federal government — from the whole healthcare issue to concerns that the government is disregarding our civil liberties in the name of security. People are recognizing we need to return to the proper balance of power between the state and federal government intended by the Founders.”

“Huck’s forum brought us back to the philosophical underpinnings of conservatism,” said Janis Cherry, director of policy during his presidential run. “Too much of this campaign so far has been about nonsense like the HPV vaccine causing retardation or children working as janitors or ‘corporations are people’ that has made the GOP look stupid and silly. Huck showcased the candidates in a setting that was serious and substantive, something Bill Buckley would have approved.”

Exactly. Probably why his popularity today seems broader and deeper than it was four years ago. A Catholic journal likewise gave his forum highest kudos.

Huck should rethink. In hindsight, he was a man ahead of his time and ours, and maybe his time is now.