It is very likely that Mitt Romney will become the GOP nominee; and while he’s done it without courting evangelicals, he’s going to need them in the fall to pull off a General Election victory.
A standard turnout by evangelicals will not do the trick, not with a veteran, well-oiled Obama campaign machine ready to go. He’s going to need a game changing vice presidential pick to energize evangelicals.
Who might that be? Mike Huckabee would most definitely be the guy to seal the deal. He's probably the one guy who could truly get evangelicals off the couch who are skeptical of Romney.
Think about it for a moment. While the two were rivals in 2008, time heals all wounds right? Huckabee would help Romney immensely with the evangelical vote, the Tea Party vote and those white middle class voters. It could be a perfect fit, not to mention that Huckabee has great interpersonal communication skills, something Romney lacks.
He also would fit the criteria of someone who could step in and be president. Plus, the national media has vetted him already so that takes away any surprises and new narratives about someone new to the national stage. And while the VP is traditionally put in the role of attack dog, Huckabee has a knack for attacking yet not looking vicious when he does it. It’s an artful skill that he clearly learned in the Deep South where you might criticize someone but it goes down gently (“That dress just doesn’t look good on you, bless your heart!”).
You can make the argument that Huckabee is making a lot of money and is enjoying his role as a media personality. All of that is true but if Romney came calling, it would be pretty hard to turn down a VP offer.
Political observers always talk about how elections are won in the middle with Independent voters. Huckabee can appeal to these voters but his true value will be to energize evangelicals. You can bet without a shadow of a doubt that a Huckabee VP pick would do wonders for Romney with the evangelical base.
The Romney campaign would be ignorant at best and politically suicidal at worst to think that evangelicals are just going to show up and vote for Romney in the fall because they have nowhere else to go. Many of them will do so but they might not bring a friend and certainly won’t organize with full abandon.
That’s a problem for Romney in an election that will probably be very close. Huckabee could seal the deal like no other politician in the country.