But conservative voters are right about their central arguments against Romney - he is a flip-flopper, he is a slimy politician and he will say anything to get elected. These Republicans are thirsting for a real conservative to vote for. Meanwhile, there has been an absolute implosion of the other conservative candidates. Bachmann lasted about five seconds. Herman Cain is in a tailspin now, but was obviously never qualified to begin with. And Rick Perry might as well have screamed "Allahu Akbar!" as he blew himself up in last night's debate.
Huckabee is an unquestioned social conservative, so I think he would win Iowa and South Carolina with relative ease. But more importantly, he is an excellent fake populist. I'm confident that in the end, like all Republicans, he would do whatever the big banks want him to do. But he talks a good game about feeling your pain and being against the powerful that are screwing you. He is the definition of folksy. And the country is in desperate search of folksy as opposed to slimy.
In fact, I think he is far more electable than Romney is when it comes to taking on Obama. President Obama struggles mightily at faking populism. And in reality, he has an enormous track record of helping the big banks in getting almost everything they ever wanted (he made the fatal mistake of once hurting their feelings though by calling them "fat cats"). Romney is the most obviously pro-Wall Street candidate in history, when the country is in a massively anti-Wall Street mood. I think Huckabee stands an excellent chance of cleaning both of their clocks.
But apparently, he would prefer not to. Who stands this good a chance of being the next president - and doesn't take it? Jesus, how good is that Fox News salary? I know that people think he has grown too fat and comfortable, but now that there isn't even that much time before the first caucus he wouldn't even have to discomfort himself that much. If he doesn't get in, he will go down in history as Huckabee the Scrivener - the man who could have been president and preferred not to.