Open thread: “The Decision”; Update: Huckabee not running; Update: Video added

posted at 7:20 pm on May 14, 2011 by Allahpundit

The magic begins at 8 p.m. ET on Fox, although the announcement probably won’t come until the last 10 minutes of the show. Before the flood of “I DON’T CARE” comments begins below, let me assure you: You do care. You care if you’re a Palin fan because having Huck in the race will deny her some of the social conservative votes she needs to win. And you care if you’re a Pawlenty fan — or merely a Romney-hater who finds T-Paw an acceptable alternative — because his candidacy probably can’t survive a field that includes both Huckabee and Mitch Daniels. If Daniels jumps in, Pawlenty will have to tack right and reframe himself as the true social conservative option among the top tier. With Huckabee in too, he can’t do that; he’d have to reframe himself yet again from being the “Not Romney” in the race to the “Not Any Of Those Other Guys.” Is there enough of a demand for someone like that among primary voters to beat the competition in either Iowa or New Hampshire? I’m skeptical. All of which is to say, in the words of Joe Biden, Huckabee’s decision is a big effing deal, even if you’d never vote for him. (Especially if you’d never vote for him.)

If you’re one of the three people who hasn’t yet seen the e-mail he sent to his inner circle last night, here’s the money bit:

Tomorrow night (Saturday) I will announce the next step in my plans for 2012 during my show on the Fox News Channel. I would like to be able to call you or email you personally and in advance of the announcement, but due to the fact that the decision was not finalized until today and that I committed to Fox that I will absolutely not release it prior to doing so on the channel, that became impractical…

I will look forward to speaking with you soon and once I fulfill my sworn obligation to Fox, I will be free to discuss things that I can’t now due to promises to them and to some possible legal considerations of the announcement.

Many friends have said, “how can we help you in the decision?” My answer has consistently been, “Pray that I have clarity.” I have it and will share it Saturday night during the show. Please be patient if I don’t respond immediately to an email because I expect that once I pull the trigger Saturday night, things will get even crazier, as if that’s possible.

So there’s the possible/likely explanation of why he suddenly went quiet on his advisors over the past week. He decided a few days ago to run and knew that if it leaked out before he announced, Fox would have to yank him off the air before he did his final show. So he kept his own counsel, even vis-a-vis people like Ed Rollins, in order to give himself a proper TV send-off. Another possibility is that he’s not running but leaked the e-mail with the head-fake teaser about “pulling the trigger” because he’s a ratings whore who wanted to sucker people into watching tonight. Which, admittedly, would be funny. Imagine if, as the clock struck 8:59, he turned to the camera and said, “Nope.” And then announced that he’ll be back with a brand new show next week featuring Jon Voight and Toby Keith or whoever. Hilarious — but mean.

Some of you may be thinking, “If Palin had turned her presidential decision into some hour-long LeBron-ish TV melodrama, wouldn’t the press be destroying her over it?” Answer: Indeed. Huck’s gotten off verrrry easy — so far. But even some of his advisors are getting nervous about the fallout:

One source said the email appeared to have gone to roughly 10 people. Yet while it sparked widespread intrigue among political watchers, several sources close to Huckabee still remained unconvinced he will run again for the presidency, citing his approach to making a decision.

Others privately expressed concern that, if Huckabee does run, his approach so far has had an overly theatrical quality that hasn’t screamed “presidential” and has been comparable to the way developer Donald Trump has gone about his potential candidacy…

[Former South Carolina Gov. David] Beasley added that if Huckabee does run, “I’ve got some questions – (like) why did you take this route??”

So … I don’t know. Maybe he’ll announce that he’s not running after all, with the “craziness” in the e-mail a reference to the surge of reaction to his decision that he’ll have to deal with in the coming days. Friends and advisors will want to talk him out of it, media outlets will want to ask him questions, and of course the rest of the field (minus Romney) will be reaching out to him for an endorsement. The one thing I can’t figure out is why, if he’s running, he didn’t wait for Daniels to make up his mind first. Mitch the Knife getting in arguably makes things easier for Huck because Daniels will draw votes from centrist candidates like Mitt and Pawlenty. The more moderates in the field there are to divvy up the pool of RINO support, the better Huck’s chances of winning primaries with 35 percent of the vote via the social conservative base. Instead, he’s — apparently — jumping in before we know for sure what the Hoosier Hamlet is doing. Why not wait two more weeks, by which time Daniels will have decided, and then make a fully informed choice?

Or maybe, per NRO’s Katrina Trinko, he’s simply planning to announce that he’s taking his talents to the 5 p.m. weekday time slot once Beck departs. Suspense. While we wait, here’s a sneak preview of reaction in Iowa social-con households tonight if Huck decides to pass. The thread is open.

Update: Next year, Huckabee will not be taking his talents to Des Moines. Stand by for video.

Update: That was fast. Just arrived in my inbox, from Jon Huntsman’s campaign:

“Our country has been very fortunate to have Mike Huckabee as a leader and public servant. His commitment to this country and its core values — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — is a model to which all elected officials should aspire. It is unfortunate that we will not have his voice — or his bass guitar — in the presidential debate, as our party would have benefited from his involvement. Yet I’m confident that he will continue to be a positive force in the national conversation no matter his future endeavors and I look forward to his continued friendship.”

Huntsman and Huckabee had dinner recently. Needless to say, an endorsement from one of the GOP’s most prominent social cons would help Huntsman win over base voters concerned about his religion.

Update: Via Mediaite, here’s the video. I think we all had an inkling that he was leaning “no” when he prefaced this by, um, jamming with Ted Nugent.


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That is not a scientific poll and therefore is worthless except to the delusional Palinista.

csdeven on May 15, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Scientific =/= accurate. Wasn’t the poll putting Obama at 60% “scientific?”

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 3:38 PM

I believe the poll showing Charlie Sheen beating Sarah Palin in a head-to-head confrontation for the presidency was also “scientific,” but the reason for commissioning a poll like that, outside of having a thinly veiled agenda, escapes me.

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Results from past polling.

csdeven on May 15, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Oh, okay. You mean the polling that put Mitt into “front runner” status by this time in 2007. Great. Like the “scientific polling” that suggested our only prayer of beating Obama in 2008 was John S. McCain. Thanks for clearing that up. Anyone interested in even an iota of honesty must admit that the de facto accuracy of past “scientific polling” has been checkered, at best.

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 3:42 PM

I went back over to the site running the poll, and clicked on a few things. It looks like a small group of political-class nerds trying to move up in the GOP bureauracy (sp), people who worked on a campaign, took journalism in college, etc. I suspect ALL of them could be found by IP search to be posting here, among other places.

bigmike on May 15, 2011 at 3:45 PM

I suspect ALL of them could be found by IP search to be posting here, among other places.

bigmike on May 15, 2011 at 3:45 PM

It wouldn’t surprise me. There are a few individuals here that don’t seem terribly interested in actual debate.

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 3:48 PM

That is typical of you immature delusional Palinista’s. Projecting your desires on others is the height of idiocy. csdeven on May 15, 2011 at 2:43 PM

csdeven, in all seriousness, I have 2 questions for you:

1) In your mind is it possible for someone to support Palin, and believe she can win both the primary and the general without being an “immature delusional rabid Palinista”?

2) Who do you want to be president in 2012? I know you and I both supported Mitt in 2008 because he was the least offensive choice then. Who do you want now?

Kataklysmic on May 15, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Kataklysmic on May 15, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Personally, I don’t think CS has any interest at all in being reasonable. But that’s just me. Your mileage may vary.

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 3:53 PM

csdeven on May 15, 2011 at 2:48 PM

It is sad that you have channeled your energy from Mike Huckabee making as A$$ out of you into attacking others.

Go find a quiet spot and do some self reflection.

Go.

GO NOW.

portlandon on May 15, 2011 at 3:57 PM

I actually KNOW some Huckabee supporters, they’re quite religous, good people, computer literate, FOX watchers, but don’t look for news on line. They are SURPRISINGLY supportive of Palin, and I’m now thinking They’re pretty much representative of Huckabee supporters. I’m not saying Huckabee’s supporters are going to move to Palin enmasse but I think they’ll see Palin as one-of-their-own.

bigmike on May 15, 2011 at 4:01 PM

I’m not saying Huckabee’s supporters are going to move to Palin enmasse but I think they’ll see Palin as one-of-their-own.

bigmike on May 15, 2011 at 4:01 PM

It won’t take a majority of Huck’s supporters to tip things in Palin’s favor. As I’ve said many times before, Palin hasn’t said a whole lot on social issues. Her youngest son is literally living proof of her feelings on one of the matters that is most important to me.

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Scientific =/= accurate.

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 3:38 PM

So you’re saying you also support the Ron Paul poll stuffing activities as a valid indicator of his chances at the Presidency?

MikeknaJ on May 15, 2011 at 4:26 PM

So you’re saying you also support the Ron Paul poll stuffing activities as a valid indicator of his chances at the Presidency?

MikeknaJ on May 15, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Oh good grief, no! I think Ron Paul has a few good things to say about domestic policy, but his age alone, not to mention his batsh!t crazy foreign policy ideas, makes him totally unpresidential. He’s got less than no chance, and his supporters know it.

That being said, I don’t put a lot of stock in polls at all. Scientific =/= accurate, and straw poll =/= inaccurate. Scientific polls are simply more likely to be accurate, provided the people doing the polling don’t have an agenda. Not only have I rejected the polls that show Sarah Palin as “unelectable,” but you’ll never find me citing a poll to prove that she is “electable.” Polls-as-news has done as much damage to the body-politick as anything else in the modern era.

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 4:40 PM

Scientific =/= accurate. Wasn’t the poll putting Obama at 60% “scientific?”

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 3:38 PM

If we are referring to the same poll, it was an outlier.

csdeven on May 15, 2011 at 4:53 PM

csdeven, in all seriousness, I have 2 questions for you:

1) In your mind is it possible for someone to support Palin, and believe she can win both the primary and the general without being an “immature delusional rabid Palinista”?

2) Who do you want to be president in 2012? I know you and I both supported Mitt in 2008 because he was the least offensive choice then. Who do you want now?

Kataklysmic on May 15, 2011 at 3:51 PM

1) Yes.
2) I’m not sure now. I’m waiting to find out who will be running.

csdeven on May 15, 2011 at 4:55 PM

If we are referring to the same poll, it was an outlier.

csdeven on May 15, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Like I said, pure-and-utter bullsh!t. But is that a reason to discount the idea that polls that don’t look like outliers may, in fact, be fuelled by an agenda? And before you accuse me of being a hypocrite, bear in mind that I have NEVER cited a poll as a reason for Sarah Palin’s “electability.” A polling industry that pits Sarah Palin Vs. Charlie Sheen, even assuming perfect scientific accuracy, has an agenda. Don’t kid yourself.

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 4:57 PM

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 3:42 PM

As we have discussed in the past, Polling is a snapshot in time. They were accurate at the time. The benchmark for a pollster is the polling they do just before an election. If they are accurate and they use the same method throughout, we can be sure with a high degree of confidence that the polling is accurate. As time moves forward, polls may change. IE…Sarah used to have better polling in some areas and worse in others. Those have changed over time.

The reason I have no confidence in Sarah changing those poll numbers enough to overcome Obama is the issues I have raised in the past. Her abdication, etc. We have to believe that Americans will abide her abdication. I just don’t see it. And as I have said, she may try to explain it, but those explanations simply raise more questions. that is a losing position to be in.

csdeven on May 15, 2011 at 5:02 PM

The reason I have no confidence in Sarah changing those poll numbers enough to overcome Obama is the issues I have raised in the past. Her abdication, etc. We have to believe that Americans will abide her abdication. I just don’t see it. And as I have said, she may try to explain it, but those explanations simply raise more questions. that is a losing position to be in.

csdeven on May 15, 2011 at 5:02 PM

And that is assuming that the polls are accurate. They may very well be, but even if they are, I’m not going to base my vote on that assumption. Now, if Palin at some indeterminate date in the future, decides not to run and says so herself, I will adjust accordingly and move on to Plan B. This is too important for me to leave in the hands of a polling organization that may have dubious motivations.

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 5:14 PM

One less clown in the mix. Doesn’t make any difference.

It’s sad that Pawlenty will more than likely be the last man standing, only by elimination of obvious clowns. He is almost as low as Palin on the “presidential” scale, probably perceived a nice guy, but very weak/mediocre.

The GOP will lose by a landslide unless someone comes out of seemingly nowhere, or something major/unforeseen happens to Obama.

nottakingsides on May 15, 2011 at 6:07 PM

They may very well be, but even if they are, I’m not going to base my vote on that assumption.

gryphon202 on May 15, 2011 at 5:14 PM

I don’t know anyone who bases their vote on the polls. The polls for me simply verify what I see already. And if the polls weren’t accurate, politicians, like Sarah, would never use them. Ever. But they do.

csdeven on May 15, 2011 at 11:14 PM

Nobody here is a Pawlenty fan; period. Get that through your super thick MN skulls. I know that you want to be his official campaign rag, but it isn’t working.

Levinite on May 16, 2011 at 7:37 AM

csdeven on May 15, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Palin’s main problem is not leaving office. Her main problem is the perception she’s an idiot. Stop obfuscating.

alwaysfiredup on May 16, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Palin’s main problem is not leaving office. Her main problem is the perception she’s an idiot. Stop obfuscating.

alwaysfiredup on May 16, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Uh huh….just wait until the media and the republican primary candidates get the opportunity to point it out. The perception she is stupid can be combated, the reality that she abdicated cannot except by explanations that are not easily communicated and raise more questions than they answer.

csdeven on May 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Huckabee was a no name before Iowa. Huckabee should have been a no name after Iowa. They have a knack for supporting strange candidates, and frankly the state should be removed as the first in the nation caucus.

scotash on May 16, 2011 at 6:29 PM

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