(CNN) – There's a likely GOP 2012 presidential candidate who is a former governor, darling of the party's conservative base, and the leader of nearly every early presidential poll.
And his name is not Sarah Palin.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, whose upstart presidential campaign toppled Mitt Romney in Iowa and nearly brought down John McCain in South Carolina last year, wants people to know he's every bit as serious as other potential presidential aspirants, and suggested there's a double standard when it comes to how some in his party treat him and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
"Some of the people who had excoriated me and really been very dismissive of me for views that I had taken, and labeled me anything from a populist to an ignoramus - the same people have been very defensive [of] and laudatory to Sarah Palin," Huckabee told Politico in an article published Monday.
I'm a very serious person," he also said. "I may not be dour, but I'm serious."
The former two-term Arkansas governor has expressed criticism of Palin before, suggesting her abrupt resignation of the Alaska governorship may suggest she's not ready to handle the pressures of a hardscrabble presidential primary campaign.
"If she's looking to be a national political figure, it's not going to get easier," he said in July. "In a primary this is going to be an issue she'll have to face. Will she be able to withstand the pressure?"
In many respects, Huckabee should be considered the early favorite in what already appears to be a crowded field of 2012 Republican contenders. He consistently leads Palin and his old rival Romney in presidential polls and has maintained a legion of faithful followers. He's also out with a new book this month and a concurrent book tour through some of the country's most conservative townships - including some in politically important Iowa.
Huckabee was also the winner of a recent Values Voter Summit straw poll, grabbing nearly 29 percent of the vote in a crowded field that, in addition to Palin and Romney, included Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
But Huckabee's fundraising pales in comparison to Romney's and Palin's, and it's the former Republican vice presidential candidate who has been dubbed the party's rock star, and whose upcoming book tour will make national headlines - a fact Huckabee brushed off with his trademark humor.
"I'm glad she's getting the props - I know I'm not nearly as attractive," he said.
I'd vote for Mike today.
I do not think we need a Fox entertainer in the white house. But, he is a lot smarter than Romney and Palin.
Huckabee is so honest and pleasant, unlike that gang of thugs currently occupying the White House. I will be so great to replace that lying thug that ACORN stole the election for in 2008, I will vote most anyone. Obama, one and done.
Huckabee's last remark is right on: If Palin weren't pretty to look at, she'd be nowhere.
That notwithstanding, Huckabee is totally unqualified to be President. He doesn't understand the First Amendment and it's explicit separation of Church and State.
He's also ignorant of science. Scientific discovery and advances are one of the reason our country has done so well – and without proper support of the sciences, we will not succeed in the future.
The GOP really needs to get away from all these "Christian" types – the U.S. isn't, never was and never should be a theocracy.
Mike Huckabee will win in 2012. It is time for common sense and fiscal responsibility. Enough of the Bush/Obama policies and bailouts that have bankrupt this nation.
While I agree that Mr. Huckabee is a much more serious thinker than is ms. Palin, it's far to early to start campaigning with a slogan of "Vote for me; I'm not Sarah Palin", since it invites a smarter person like Mitt Romney to use the slogan, "Vote for me; I'm not Mike Huckabee".
I'll just ignore all of these people and vote for the smartest candidate in the 2012 Presidential Election. His name is Barack Obama.
I wouldn't dare vote for this guy, he clearly is the biggest hypocrite of all. I don't trust hucksbee, palin , romney or none of the gop for that matter. If it came down to it and it was only gop in the running for potus it would be Crist Crhristy i would vote for.
I think the wingnuts are going to be very disappointed with the 2012 election if they think Huckabee could lead a GOP landslide.
In terms of content of character Mr. Huckabee is light years ahead of the Alaskan Air Head. Huckabee is light years ahead in terms of content of the cranium as well.
Rush is going to have a wussy fit with Huckabee. By the way, what is Rush's obsession with bending over and grabbing his ankles in the presence of male democrats? That may excite Foley though.
We believe the Gov has no skeletons in his closet - that's a step forward in today's political world. He seems like a knowledgeable person, but needs to expand his foreign relations resume.
This current crew will guarantee a second Obama term. None of them have much appeal outside the base, so while they might get the nomination, there is no way independants (and former Reagan Republicans like myself) will vote for them in the general election to any great extent.
They just don't get it....the reason Reagan appealed to so many people that far and away his top two priorities were smaller government and a strong national defense. Social issues took a distant back seat. Now that (along with his bi-partisanship) would get him thown out of the party as being a RINO.
I am not a Republican, I am an independent........I can tell you right now i will Vote for Huckabee over Obama......but if Palin gets the GOP nomination as their Presidental canidate.......I will vote for Obama or any other Democrat that is in the running.....Palin proved that she is not capable of handling the WH when she quit on the people of Alaska......and then there is the matter of her not having the knowledge or the insight or experience or wisdom that it takes to be President of America
Sarah Palin is doing exactly what she wants to do, make money, get rich and not having to work for it. You guys keep giving her the platform for it and crazy people are hiring her to give speaches, and the speaches are a lot about nothing. Fuel the fire....
HUCK in 2012!!!
Is Huckabee complaining that the darling of the Conservative Tea Party bunch is receiving better treatment from the clowns than he is?
What a wuss! Huckabee is an idiot and Palin had better be good in bed because she is not good at anything else. Can you say Refusenik clowns?
He is just as scarely as Palin is and not presidential material!
I hope Huckabee does well. As a moderate I definately don't have all of the same beliefs that he has, but I very much respect that he is consistant in what he believes. These are the same traits I respected in John McCain, before he changed during his presidential run. Now that McCain seems to be back to himself, I would love to see a Huckabee/McCain ticket. It would finally give us moderates someone to stand by.
I could see Huck pick Michelle Bachmann as a running mate
HEY .... WE ( the good ole U S of A ) MISSED the boatt ( HUCKABEE) the first time ! Will we do so again? I SURE HOPE NOT. Just look at the MESS we are currently in! .... WE CANNOT AFFORD to continue on this path. Our country's FUTURE is at steak here.
VOTE for MIKE HUCKABEE in 2012
Bumper Sticker: "PALIN/OctoMom 2012!"
if this is the best the gop has for 2012 the democratic party is going to be in office for a vary long time indeed. the gop truly the party of no an noway .the gop the party of corpret whores .they will sell you out to the corprets in a heartbeat . they have done exactly that with health care reform . in 2010 an 2012 the party of corpret socialisim the gop will be crushed again .all polls in red an blue states bye the way show the public option is the majority wish of the people . they will punish the party of no bigtime for trying to stop it , you wate an see . in new york 23 a seat the gop held since 1850 the democratic candidate told voters in the dustrict he untends to vote for the public option and
Right Wing billionaire David Koch funds the teabaggers. Research him and tell me how grassroots this organization is. It is all lies. Again, the under-informed allowing corporate giants to control policy and keep them broke, under-informed and unhealthy.
CNN, we get it. You folks hate Palin and love to push her critics to the front. I doubt that you would even publish this IF Mike had said something nice about her.
As for Mike H., he will lose big time to BHO.
Ex Governor Palin is rock star all right: the controversial family, looks good in the spol light, says one thing and then a month later says she meant something else, and my favorite she is a rouge. Webster defines rouge as an unprincipaled, decietful, and unreliable person. Now that i have read that and said it out loud it actually makes sense and really fits her. I think that the GOP is looking for any way to win, even if needs to rely on a beauty contest. Huckabee is right, she is the crowd favorite, but not a real champion. After listening to her speak at the RNC last year i actually enjoyed her passion and desire to do what seems right, the problem i have is that i dis agree completly with her values. Good luck Huckabee i hope you triumph over the rogue.