Last December, before Mike Huckabee had completed his meteoric (if short-lived) rise to the top of the GOP primary polls, I interviewed some Republicans in Little Rock who thought the real point of his presidential campaign was to get himself a deal with Fox News.
If that was the case, it's time for Huckabee to put a "Mission Accomplished" banner up. Howard Kurtz reports that Huckabee has signed a one-year deal with the network, to "sound off on a variety of programs." The former Arkansas governor, Iowa caucus winner, bass player and Chuck Norris acolyte had already auditioned for the job over the last month of the primary season, pontificating on the Democratic contest on MSNBC's coverage of primary night in West Virginia even as he still drew 10 percent of the vote on the GOP side. On Fox, he'll join Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich as featured talking heads.
The Huck-a-buzz never really survived past Iowa, but Huckabee stayed in the race until John McCain mathematically clinched the nomination in March (even after Huckabee had been mathematically eliminated from winning it -- "there's the mathematics of these things, and there's the metaphysics," an advisor told me at the time). If you could get past some of his more radical ideas -- like, oh, not believing in evolution, wanting to eliminate the IRS and a harsh immigration platform that completely contradicted his policies as governor -- Huckabee was easy to like during the campaign. He's quick with a joke (though sometimes too quick) and smiles constantly -- perfect for TV. And don't worry: Just in case the pundit gig doesn't work out, he's still got a political action committee in place -- called, naturally, Huck PAC -- to launch his 2012 campaign.