It must bug Mike Huckabee to be announcing what everyone already kind of figured was going to happen -- namely, that he wouldn't be running for the GOP nomination for president in 2012 -- but he went ahead tonight and did it anyway by sounding for awhile as though he were going to do it, and then pulling the ol' switcheroo ... that we all figured was coming:
Mike Huckabee said Saturday there would be no sequel to his surprisingly strong 2008 White House bid, in which he won the Iowa Republican caucus and finished second in the primaries to Sen. John McCain.
"All the factors say go, but my heart says no," Huckabee, who was considered the GOP frontrunner in several national polls, said on his Fox News Channel show.
Before his announcement Saturday night, Huckabee hadn't shared his decision with his closest advisers.
The weirdest part of the whole affair came after the announcement: For some strange reason -- as if to underscore just how television-driven this whole Republican nomination has become, and indeed to drive home the reality that it's becoming the Fox News primary -- Donald Trump, Fox's new Monday-morning hire, came on immediately afterward and said how glad "some people" were that Huckabee wasn't running. Can someone explain what that was all about?
Full transcript is below.
HUCKABEE: The pundits and members of the political class who have spoken with certainty about my decision to run or not for President in 2012 are amusing if not amazing to think that they knew what even I didn’t know until late this week.
The past few months have been times of deep personal reflection. Even though I wasn’t actively establishing a campaign organization or seeking financial support to run again, polls have consistently put me at or near the top to be the Republican nominee. When possible candidates were discussed in the media and despite polls that showed me in the lead, my name would often go unmentioned while a candidate barely registering single digits was touted as a “front-runner.”
I found comfort that the nomination would not be made by commentators, columnists, or consultants, but by the rank and file voters in the Republican primary, and their support is strong and has been growing.
Concerns that I had about raising the necessary funds to be competitive or being able to win in states outside the South were answered when signs of strong financial support materialized and when polls showed me winning in states like Pennsylvania, Maine, and even New Jersey. That kind of shattered the notion that I was only a regional candidate or only supported by social conservatives.
I had not done much toward a race because my life was filled with work that I truly love here at Fox News, doing radio commentaries on my daily Huckabee Report on 600 radio stations, traveling the country for speaking engagements, and helping good conservative, pro-life candidates who were running for office. Other people probably thought about it more than I did.
I don’t have an issue with my family being supportive. My wife actually encouraged me to do it, despite knowing full well it would subject her and the rest of the family to brutal and savage personal attacks. My adult children have also made it clear they would be with me no matter what.
When people asked me what it would take for me to run, I would tell them the same thing—pray for me to have clarity in the decision. I don’t expect everyone to understand this, but I’m a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. That relationship is far more important to me than any political office. For me, the decision is ultimately not a political one, a financial one, or even a practical one —it’s a spiritual one.
The past few weeks, the external signs and signals and answers to many of the obstacles point strongly toward running. When I am with people encouraging me to run, it’s easy to feel the strength of their partnership and commitment to help me to the finish line. Only when I was alone, in quiet and reflective moments did I have not only clarity, but an inexplicable inner peace—a peace that exceeds human understanding. All the factors say GO, but my heart says NO. And that is the decision I have made and in it have finally found resolution.
I don’t fully understand it myself—but I’m sure the pundits will. But I know that under the best of circumstances, being President is a job that takes one to the limit of his or her human capacity. For me, to do it apart from an inner confidence that I was undertaking it with God’s full blessing is unthinkable. I can’t know or predict the future, but I know for now my answer is clear and firm. I will not seek the Republican nomination for President this year.
I will gladly continue doing what I do and helping others in their campaigns for Congress, governorships, and other positions. I’ll certainly give more detail about this decision in due time and especially to those who have faithfully and so sacrificially been part of the process. I know I will deeply disappoint many people I love. So many good and dear people have put forth extraordinary effort without any assurance I would mount a campaign.
It pains me to let them down. I also know my decision will delight just as many who aren’t that fond of me. I am eternally grateful for the faithful support of my wife, children and real friends who promised to stand with me no matter what. I had come to believe I would be in the race for President. I won’t be. But I will for sure be re-dedicating myself to standing for and communicating the principles of common sense, Constitutional government, and civil discourse that I believe are critical to the survival of our great Republic. From New York, This is MH, goodnight God bless, and I’ll be back next week.