A lot has happened in the last few days. A quick perusal of the right side of the blogosphere indicates a consensus opinion that Mike Huckabee's stock is rising.
Take a look at this, this and this.
Now lets have a look at the list of "front runners" who have been talked about over the last several months:
Giuliani: A celebrity and a name, but he's pro-choice. That makes him a non-starter.
McCain: Just committed presidential suicide with the filibuster deal.
Frist: Now being labeled by conservative groups as a weak leader. He's through.
Jeb Bush: Has sworn he will not run this time around.
Santorum: Probably one of the most polarizing figures in the field.
Hagel: Too soft on the filibuster issue and also has the senator problem.
Schwarzenegger: Another celebrity name who never had a chance.
Powell: He has never wanted to be president and he still doesn't.
Pataki: About as liberal as Giuliani. Another non-starter.
That leaves Condoleeza Rice, Haley Barbour, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and few other lesser known names. Let's take a look at them:
Rice: Will likely have Bush's support if she runs. She was born in Alabama, but it's not clear that she has enough of a connection to the south to hold it's critical block of electoral votes together. She also has no campaign experience.
Barbour: A well-known politico and governor of Mississippi, he could play well in the vital south. But he has to get re-elected in 2006 and its not a given that he will.
Hutchison: Has the senator problem.
George Allen: Has the senator problem.
Sam Brownback: Has the senator problem.
Mit Romney: A governor, but of Massachusetts. He would not play well in the vital south, especially if the Dems put a real southerner on their ticket. Not only that, but he's suddenly changing his position on abortion just in time for a 2008 run. Nothing like a little hypocrisy and pandering to endear oneself to the voters. He's toast.
Mark Sanford: Governor of South Carolina, he would be a player in the vital south.
Tim Pawlenty: A governor, but of Minnesota. He would not be able to keep the south together, especially with a real southerner on the Dem's ticket.
Bill Owens: Governor of Colorado. Another candidate who probably cannot keep the south together.
We believe the GOP cannot keep the White House in 2008 if they do not keep the southern block together. Democrats are going to do all they can to break it up.
Therefore, we believe the race for the GOP nomination will come down to the candidates who are: 1) not senators; and 2) capable of keeping the south together.
Assuming Jeb Bush sticks to his vow not to run, today those candidates are: Barbour, Sanford and Huckabee.
We like those odds.