Rod writes:

But I think he [Huckabee]’s going to get the GOP nomination in 2012. What think ye?

I agree with Rod that Huckabee is not going anywhere this time, even if he should somehow win in Iowa, which I have already argued won’t happen.  But what about the next time around?  Assuming that the eventual GOP nominee this time will be defeated next November, and he very likely will be, it’s not unthinkable that Huckabee could win the nomination. 

However, for this to happen at least two things are essential. 1) He must not be the VP nominee this time (a failed Veep nominee never gets his own chance, unless he has actually been, as Mondale was, at least Vice President at some point before).  2) In the event of a Giuliani nomination, he must not endorse the nominee.  Any strong social conservative, pro-life politician who endorses a Giuliani ticket will suffer the curse of Santorum in the next cycle (being abandoned by many of the very pro-life voters whose cause the politician had made a central part of his career).  Any pro-life politician on a Giuliani ticket will be finished. 

Also, Huckabee would need to cultivate a position as an informal opposition leader during the next administration.  However, he would probably have some strong competition in another open GOP race in ‘12 against a number of other governors or former governors (perhaps Pawlenty, Riley, the ever-looming Jeb Bush or perhaps even a very strong Charlie Crist).  Either Pawlenty or Riley could undermine Huckabee’s claim to his mix of social conservatism, reformism and populism, and the possibility of having a big-state governor on the ticket would limit the appeal of an Arkansan (who will have been out of office for five years by the time the first votes are cast in ‘12).  Were it not for his name, Jeb Bush would easily overshadow all other probable entrants for ‘12.  Now a Bush-Huckabee ‘12 ticket would not be such a far-fetched idea, awful as it seems to me, but I just don’t see Huckabee’s name in the top position.