And I get to use The Huckster tag for another two years at least. Former GOP Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has quit his FOX News show to mull over a run for the Clown Car 2016 ticket.
"I won't make a decision about running until late in the spring of 2015, but the continued chatter has put Fox News into a position that is not fair to them," Huckabee wrote in a letter to supporters Saturday evening released before his show started airing.
"The honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here at Fox so I can openly talk with potential donors and supporters and gauge support," he added....
As Steve M puts it, that places The Huckster in the Jesus Bracket.
I think the GOP would benefit from brackets or division play for 2016. Jesus Division: Huckabee, Carson, Santorum. Establishment Division: Bush, Christie, maybe Romney. Midwest/South Governor Division: Walker, Jindal, maybe Kasich and Pence. Ambitious Fortysomethings Going Through the Motions of Being First-Term Senators So They Can Run for President Division: Cruz, Paul, Rubio. Pick the division champions and then start the playoffs.
That's not going to happen, so the likely survivor of the scrum is going to be whichever top-tier candidate has the fewest similar candidates running in his implicit bracket. It might be Rand Paul -- the Republican financiers seem terrified of his foreign policy ideas, but their response has been to offer money to anyone and everyone who's conventionally neoconservative. (That includes Huckabee, who's a Christian Zionist and has won Sheldon Adelson's Defender of Israel award.) But that means the pro-neocon vote will be split so many different ways that Paul might actually benefit from being out of step.
On the other hand, Jeb Bush might be the guy without competition -- maybe he'll get just enough votes by being out of step on immigration and education (there are still some moderate Republicans, after all) that he'll take the nomination.
Until now, it was looking as if Ben Carson might clear the Jesus field -- the religious right loves him, and he's a fresher face than Santorum -- which could have made him the last guy standing in addition to the front-runner. But Huckabee is so well liked that he and Carson will compete for votes.
Personally, I think this is going to be the nastiest bracket to watch too...or at least the most entertaining.
[UPDATE] On the other hand, Anne Laurie at Balloon Juice reminds us that the second Huckabee does actually run, his campaign instantly runs into a massive problem from 2009:
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on Tuesday defended his decision to commute the prison sentence years ago of the man who allegedly killed four police officers Sunday near Tacoma, Wash., saying the defendant had received an unfairly harsh sentence because he was young and black.
That "cop killer pardon" is what kept him out of 2012, but in 2016 that represents the end of his political career among the GOP primary ghouls.