Marc Ambinder gives Mike Huckabee a plausible shot at winning the Republican nomination in 2012, should Obama win this year. No chance. Although Huckabee defied expectations this year, at the end of the day, he was not able to expand his appeal beyond the evangelical base, and I don't see that changing much. His fiscal record is still atrocious and his national security views are erratic. He benefitted this year from coming out of nowhere and thus avoiding a lot of negative press until the very end, but this time around his record in Arkansas will get a lot more scrutiny. Also, it's hard to know who else would decide to run in four years and how that might shake up the race. This year, Huckabee was able to dominate among evangelicals because he was running in a heterodox field and none of his competitors were particularly appealing to that key constituency. But that would change if, say, Sarah Palin ran. She'd go back to Alaska after this election and get four more years of experience, and have time to study up on national and international issues and rack up more accomplishments. Whether or not she'd win the nomination is questionable, but one thing is for sure -- if she ran, her core appeal would be to the same working class and evangelical voters that Huckabee drew from.
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