So, Mike Huckabee's not in the 2012 GOP presidential race,.
Now, the mainstream media will quickly say that this is a clear indication that the Big Guns -- the candidates who can really win -- are shying away from the race. And, as always, this will be spun as good news for Obama & Co. Expect death notices for the 2012 GOP to come fast and furious. Many will pronounce the race "over" before it even begins. And the pundits will say that the GOP lineup is composed of a bunch of crackpots and radicals -- second tier candidates.
But, we've still got a long way to go.
And some prospective candidates will actually beneifit from Huckabee not being in the race.
Here's who should be cheered by (and may even be boosted by) the news:
1) Mitch Daniels. The Governor of Indiana is now more likely to enter the contest and rapidly gather mainstream support. He must be considered a formidable contender.
2) Mitt Romney. Huckabee was the main impediment to a Romney nomination last time. With Huckabee out of the race, Romney should have an easier time of it.
3) Paul Ryan. No telling whether or not he's even interested, but Nice Guy Huckabee's departure makes room for other, more moderate, more common-sense conservatives like Ryan.
4) Sarah Palin. Huckabee boasted genuine conservative credentials. There is now no real, national conservative figure for the right to rally round -- not a serious one, anyway. Palin could decide that this opens the door for her.
5) Chris Christie. I know. I know. I know he says there's no way he will run. I believe him. Still, Chris Christie really doesn't have to run - or declare just yet. Because now Huckabee's departure sort of scrambles the race and allows Christie & Co. to keep their options open if they so desire.