Trump announced his withdrawal from the race on Monday. His explanations sounded evasive. He wants to focus on his business interests and on the television program. But Trump is a strategic thinker of the first order. Obama’s big victory in the Bin Laden operation, suggested to him that the smart move would be to wait until 2016. By then he would be a Reaganesque 70 years old and a lot of ancient history might be forgotten.
Huckabee announced his withdrawal Saturday, saying that after consultation he realized he didn’t have God’s blessing. In 2008 Huckabee, who is an ordained Baptist minister and former governor of Arkansas, did well in Republican primary states heavy with fundamentalist Christians. He didn’t get a lot of momentum this time around. When he quit, most of the talk in political circles was about which other potential candidates might benefit: Sarah Palin? Rick Santorum? Mitt Romney? Pat Buchanan? The pundits began asking who would God endorse?
But stepping aside now with the hope of a future vice-presidential nomination in mind sounds like a great move by Huckabee. He has a “sidekick” quality that would endear him to voters, especially if matched with a “good-at-heart” tough guy like Trump. Huckabee would also be easy to fire should someone like Palin become available in 2020.
Trump, of course, is all the things Huckabee is not, and vice versa. Trump has been married three times, has a reputation for sharp business practices and for coming up with flashy ideas like invading middle eastern countries to capture their oil for the benefit of U.S. drivers. Huckabee, sometimes known as “the Huckster,” quietly writes books like his recent series for school children on the history of the United States. The first volume uses cartoons to tell the story of Ronald Reagan, America’s greatest president. Huckabee also delivers understated commentaries on Fox where he recently chastised Natalie Portman for having a child out of wedlock.
Though Trump and Huckabee have good reasons for not making a run for president and vice president this time around, the Republicans may still come calling in 2012. Obama-Biden may slip up between now and then. Obama could also make a knuckleheaded move like replacing Biden on the ticket with an even more irritating politician like Chuck Schumer or Harry Reid. And, really, what better ticket do the Republicans have? Huntsman-Romney, Daniels-Gingrich, Bachmann-Bolton, Pawlenty-Paul?