Will Mike Huckabee Even Bother Running?

Congratulations to Mike Huckabee! He is, for at least the next few days, the frontrunner to take the 2012 Republican nomination for president. But does he even want to run? He has a mortgage to pay off, after all.

Polls are showing Huckabee with a slight to substantial lead over Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, both nationally and in Iowa, site of the first nominating caucuses. Which is surely flattering for Huckabee. But does he care? Here are some "signals" from recent days that he doesn't care:

  • Chip Saltsman, Huckabee's 2008 campaign manager and one of his "closest confidantes," has accepted a chief of staff job for one of the new Tea Party congressmen. Usually around this time in a nominating cycle, leading presidential candidates kidnap their closest confidantes and keep them in cages to prevent them from taking other full-time jobs.

  • Huckabee sent an e-mail to supporters a few days ago saying he'd headline a "Christian-themed cruise" to Alaska in June. Presidential candidates usually would not take such vacations in the middle of a campaign.

  • Huckabee is building a $3 million mansion in Florida. Why not settle down? And who would pay the mortgage if he has to quit his television and speaking gigs to run around Iowa, earning no income, for a year? Maybe he's been saving.

Huckabee said on Fox News today that he'd wait until summer to make a decision, because (1) candidates burn out, as do donors, during long campaigns and (2) voters get sick of the candidates. Those both sound about right. So why don't other leading contenders make the same arguments? Huckabee sounds like he just doesn't want to go through with this horrible, soul-destroying process again:

[Image via AP]