Huckabee Leading VP Contender?

While Democrats debate the likelihood of a Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton “Dream Ticket,” the latest word is that Mike Huckabee is currently at the top of the list to be John McCain’s running mate. James Pethokoukis attributes this information to “a top McCain fundraiser and longtime Republican moneyman who has spoken to McCain’s inner circle.”

The rationale?

1) He is a great campaigner and communicator who could both shore up support in the South among social conservatives (Huckabee is a former Baptist minister) and appeal to working-class voters in the critical “Big 10” states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

2) As any pollster knows, voters search for candidates who “care about people like me,” and Huckabee would probably score a lot higher on that quality than millionaire investor Mitt Romney. Plus, given all the turmoil on Wall Street, 2008 would seem to be a bad year to pick a former investment banker for veep.

3) Economic conservatives and supply-siders may balk, but the threat of four years of Obamanomics and higher investment, income, and corporate taxes might be enough to keep them on board.

Reason three is simply idiotic, as it could be said of any plausible choice.

It’s true that Huckabee is an amiable, empathetic fellow who would shore up key parts of the Republican base. But he’ll also alienate other parts of the base and virtually kill the party’s chances of winning over moderate “swing” voters.

Dan Drezner hopes this is merely “a late April Fools’ joke.” My guess is that it’s more like a trial balloon. And that neither Huckabee nor Romney will be on the ticket.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. just me says:

    I hope not.

    Huckabee really should have run for the senate, and I hope he isn’t chosen as a VP candidate. There are better choices out there that can actually shore up the base and have broad appeal that aren’t Huckabee.

  2. Dodd says:

    guess is that it’s more like a trial balloon.

    < insert Led Zeppelin reference here >

    The advantanges Huck (allegedly) brings can be easily acheived with any number of other options, few of whom could conceivably be worse personages to all-but-coronate as McCain’s successor and presumptive front-runner next cycle.

  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    Whats wrong with Mike sept his waffling on creation?

  4. floyd says:

    Although my vote is already stolen for Obama, [I live in Illinois] I think Huckabee would be an excellent choice in spite of those “swing” voters referred to above.
    The real “swing” votes are Reagan democrats who would support Huckabee by the millions.

  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    I feel for you Floyd, I live Wisconsin, were my vote is useless because for my 1 vote some liberal in Milwaukee or Madison votes 10 times.

  6. jim says:

    Is this possible selection designed to make Barr seem like a good alternative?

  7. bains says:

    If Huckabee is on the ticket, I will be voting for Bob Barr… and I was a Reagen Democrat.

  8. Bithead says:

    James, I think you under-estimate the damage such a pick would do to McCain among the base.He’ll kill his chances, sure. Of course, given he’s swallowed the ‘Global Warming” kool-aid, I doubt there’s a whole bunch more, short of actually switching parties, that he could do to alienate the Republican base. It’s almost like he’s TRYING to lose.

  9. John says:

    Huckabee is not a good choice for VP. He will not appeal to conservative voters except for some Evangelical Christians. Otherwise, he doesn’t have broad base appeal.

    He couldn’t beat Romney for delegates even when he stayed in the race.

    His record as Governor of Arkansas might come back and hurt McCain.

  10. David says:

    Actually, Governor Romney offers a great deal more than Huckabee in that he is not just a great campaigner, he also knows how to raise money which is by far a stronger competitive advantage over Governor Huckabee. Besides, Governor Romney is getting more exposure than Governor Huckabee from the media, Bush Administration, and the largest segment of the conservative movement. I can’t see Governor Huckabee getting the job because of his unwillingness to leave the campaign until there was no chance for him of winning.