Despite what is being said by Mike Huckabee on the subject, I believe he will be the vice presidential choice for John McCain. In fact, at the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I believe the deal has already been done. In a non-smoke filled back room (Huckabee supported a national ban smoking) I believe on or before Super Duper Tuesday, probably before since they were working together as early as the West Virginia caucus’, McCain’s people and Huck’s people struck a deal. What evidence is there to suggest the pre-existence of an agreement you ask, its elementary dear Watson.
First, Mitt Romney’s surprise exit from the field on Friday. Romney had as good a chance as McCain to win a brokered convention. The Huckster had virtually no shot. In a brokered convention after the second vote, Huck’s delegates would be free to break for the candidate of their choosing. The only situation that is plausible to push Mitt from the field is if McCain and Huckabee had already brokered a deal for Huckabee’s delegates in exchange for some…….. shall we say, political favor.
Second, conservative talk show hosts have been peeling the skin off both of these guys. But, McCain has really taken the brunt end of their criticism. It is going to be extremely difficult for McCain in his current incarnation to garner conservative support. Without the support of some part of the conservative base he will not be able to defeat either of the democratic front runners in November.
Huckabee however, has part of that base practically sewn up already, the evangelical part that is. With the Huckster at his side he might just be able to convince the national security conservatives and the evangelical conservatives to turn out. Fiscal conservatives will then have one of three choices, hold your nose and punch the button, stay home, or go third party, either way you won’t be needed or heeded.
Third, McCain faired extremely poor in the conservative south, while Huckabee won several of those states decidedly. Regardless of what New York and California think of themselves, the road to Pennsylvania Avenue runs through Dixie. There has not been a president elected in who knows how long that did not carry the South as a block. Think about it. What did Bill Clinton do that Al Gore could not, besides carry his own state. He carried his state, Arkansas, and many of those around it.
Fourth, McCain has just been too friendly in the past with Hillary Clinton, saying “she would make a great president”, I can already imagine the campaign commercial that's going to make. Huckabee however has run against and beat the democratic machine in Arkansas, a machine built by the Clintons. And while Huckabee does have enemies in Arkansas, he has less than Bill and Hillary, and can probably deliver the state to McCain. McCain is also a pretty old guy and next to Obama he is going to look the part. Obama is also well spoken and at this point is well liked. Should he be the candidate on the other side of the aisle, Huckabee has the moxie and temperament to run interference for McCain in the media. He can match the smooth talking Obama, and he is younger, not as young as Obama, but enough to off set the negatives of an elderly right wing ticket.
The next few weeks will be telling and maybe I’m wrong, but just for the sake of future bragging rights here is what I think will occur before the convention. Huckabee will continue in the race winning here and there and relishing in the free press. Sometime just before the convention he will acknowledge that he cannot win the nomination and swing his support to McCain with a glowing endorsement. McCain will magnanimously accept Huckabee’s endorsement and will have nothing but excellent things to say about his character and disposition. Romney will grudgingly follow suit. It will now appear that McCain and Huckabee have unified most of the party. At the convention a love fest will ensue, culminating in Huckabee being selected as the VP. Just as a side note, if McCain wins the presidency, look for Romney to get a high level cabinet post. After all his silence had to be purchased with something.