Some, like Rubio and Christie, are national newbies who’ll argue that they need time to build experience. (The fact that Obama wasn’t as modest isn’t much of a counterargument.) Others, like Thune, can plausibly claim that they don’t have a realistic chance of winning the primary. But what’s the excuse for seasoned pols like Huckabee, Daniels, Pence, Jindal, or Paul Ryan? If you believe that (a) Obamanomics is a mortal threat to America’s long-term fiscal stability and (b) competition in the primaries is healthy insofar as it seasons the eventual nominee and gives Republican voters more choices, then why not dive in? What’s especially grating about the hesitancy is that if almost everyone sits out and Romney ends up being the nominee by default, there’ll be plenty of anonymously sourced backbiting during the campaign about how lackluster he is, how no one trusts him, etc. It’s one thing to use false modesty as a pretext for staying out when the field is strong (“I’m sure whoever we nominate will be terrific!”), but when it’s not and you’re passing on running anyway, those cries that Obama! Must! Be! Stopped! become hard to take seriously.
Exit question: Time for everyone to jump into the pool? At the very least, this is a fine argument for a “Draft Huckabee” movement!