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Tomorrow’s John Edwards

Rod looks to the future:

For us Huckaboosters, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for our man to drop out, and spend the next four years doing some hard thinking and networking, getting ready for 2012.

I don’t intend the title to be as insulting as it sounds.  What I mean is that a failed Huckabee run would put him in much the same position that Edwards’ failed ’04 campaign put him these last several years (and Edwards had the advantage, so to speak, of being the VP nominee, which I doubt Huckabee will receive given the intense hostility to him wthin the party leadership.)  Huckabee may spend the next several years doing hard thinking and networking if he drops out, but I doubt he will be preparing for another presidential run.  If the example of John Edwards tells us something, it is that repeat candidates for the nomination tend to perform less well in the second attempt (Reagan being a big exception that leaps to mind).  Despite his policy and philanthropy work in the last four years, and despite his intensive cultivation of supporters in the netroots and in Iowa, John Edwards has become a has-been and also-ran who does not yet realise that he is either one.  Given the incandescent loathing of Huckabee in elite conservative circles and among big-money donors, I don’t know exactly what kind of networking he could build that would make him more successful in four years.  Rod’s talk of Huckabee ’12 was premised on the speculation that the GOP loses this year and loses badly, which I think is quite likely at the rate they’re going, but then if that is what happens the incumbent Democratic President Huckabee would be running against would probably be, barring epic incompetence or disaster, able to resist any Republican challenger.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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