by Rod D. Martin
February 2, 2016

Mike Huckabee dropped out of the 2016 Presidential race last night, which probably makes good sense from a political perspective. But it’s a sad moment nevertheless.

America needs good men. Mike Huckabee is one of the best. In an age of scoundrels, he is a genuinely faithful husband to the wife of his youth, whom — when in college she was ill for a quite extended period — he drove daily over an hour each way for treatment while also completing his degree in just two and a half years. Hard working, smart as a whip, a speed reader, the devoted father of three fine (and accomplished) children, he is truly a man of character, decency and honor.

He was also the best governor Arkansas ever had. Admittedly, that is not the highest bar in the world, but he was.

Mike Huckabee was and is the same man in person and in private, a rare enough quality even among regular folks, much less politicians. He isn’t perfect, but he’s the first to say so. He can seem obstinate, but he digs in his heels over principles he holds fast, even if that makes him seem unprincipled to people who see things differently. This is praiseworthy, just as it was praiseworthy in Reagan. No one could always agree with Reagan, but you could trust that he was doing the right thing as he saw it, and that he meant what he said; and knowing that made you question whether he might not be right after all.

That is Mike Huckabee.

I have taken many opportunities to praise him on this blog. In 2000, I suggested him as a savvy option for Vice President under George W. Bush (not that Karl Rove would have ever allowed that). I have repeatedly lauded his almost-unique stand (Newt said it back in 2011) that the unborn are already Constitutionally protected by terms of the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments: few have ever had the courage to take such a position, and indeed, hardly anyone even in the professional pro-life movement has had the creativity to think of it.

And of course, his tireless advocacy of what Jim Pinkerton first called “the Cure Strategy” — that curing diseases is cheaper and infinitely better in the long run than triage and the ever-increasing cost of care — greatly set him apart from the traditional politicians running in this or any other year.

A good man. A creative man. A gifted communicator. A good friend.

Particularly if Donald Trump should become the nominee, that Vice Presidency idea is still very valid: the former governor would add a lot to Trump’s chances in the South and Midwest, and a lot of accumulated wisdom and balance in office.

But if not, Mike Huckabee is too capable, too gifted, and far too winning a personality to depart from the stage. We need him, whether he returns to Fox News or runs for the Senate (his entry point into politics, all the way back in 1992).

It’s easy to throw rocks at the guys who lose. With typical self-deprecation, the governor said it best himself: “I’m suspending my campaign due to illness: the voters are sick of me.”

No Mike, they’re not. It just wasn’t your year, for this particular office. You still have a long, bright future ahead. May God grant that you make the very most of it.