Huckabee '12?

Larison sees Huckabee as a potential 2012 frontrunner:

It seems to me that Huckabee now starts to look much better to the conservative elites who were ridiculing him as Huckleberry just half a year ago; he becomes the relatively safe governing choice who can also generate tremendous grassroots enthusiasm.  Many of his former critics may come to recognize the missed opportunity of running with Huckabee’s pseudo-populism on economics this year, and going forward he may be able to develop a policy agenda that is not limited to praising the wonders of the Fair Tax.

Not having been a critic of Palin, Huckabee will not have alienated her supporters, and he will probably carefully avoid doing so over the next few years in the same way that he stayed on good terms with McCain voters.  Provided that he never, ever again tells the ridiculous story about how foreign wars make it possible for children to have schooldesks, and provided that he could get someone to give him some money, he could become the presumptive frontrunner.  Having spoken out against the bailout early on, he will be well-positioned to satisfy libertarians and populists alike.  Given the deterioration of the McCain campaign since it went to war with journalists, the value of favorable free media coverage, which Huckabee was able to attract so effectively during the primaries, cannot be underestimated.