Is Mike Huckabee the sleeper candidate for VP?

As I’m writing this, the betting market Intrade is showing a little more than a 1% chance for Mike Huckabee to be picked as Mitt Romney’s running mate.  100 to 1 odds?  I’d say that’s a bet you should take, because Huckabee could well make more sense than anyone else by the time Romney gets around to picking someone in a few months.

Why Huckabee?  A few reasons:

  • Appeal to the base:  Frankly, I think this is the least important of the considerations, since the base has nowhere else to go, realistically.  That being said, going with someone who the base clearly likes (and who was their choice in 2008) couldn’t hurt.
  • Appeal to swing voters:  Huckabee might be conservative, but he’s also an incredibly likable guy with a good sense of humor.  Will some moderates will be turned off by his positions? Sure.  But likability and humor go a long way.  Many Democrats and independents who disagreed with Ronald Reagan’s positions voted for him anyway, because they liked him.
  • Nice guys matter even more in a bitterly negative election:  With SuperPACs on both sides gearing up to go nuclear on the negativity front, America could be yearning for a does of positivity by the time the fall arrives.
  • Vetted:  After the last election, the last thing the GOP will want to do this time around is pick someone with just a few days worth of vetting.  Huckabee went through an entire presidential campaign in 2008, and has been about as vetted as a candidate can be.

Now, the big caveat here of course is that the VP selection rarely ends up making a big difference, beyond a slight bump at the time of announcement (see Palin) or a slight drag on the ticket if the selection starts to cause concern (see also Palin).

But in an election that will likely be close, even a small difference could be decisive.

Net net — keep an eye on Huckabee.  And if you’re a betting person, go plunk down some $$ at Intrade — because his chances of being picked are a hell of a lot higher than 1%.

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About John Hlinko

John Hlinko is a frequent political pundit on TV, and the founder of Left Action, a network of over 1 million activists. He is also the author of, "Share, Retweet, Repeat: Get Your Message Read and Spread," ranked by Amazon.com as the # 1 "hot new release" in web marketing in early 2012. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook
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