Is the Huckster the next Pat Buchanan?

Ding, ding, ding! One thousand—one hundred—ninety-one!! John McCain didn’t just hit the mark…he surpassed it!

If the presidential campaign were Vegas—or, perhaps, Reno—or, perhaps, Laughlin—last night was the night when McCain, having hedged his bets and called some bluffs and, basically, gone all in—scored the winning hand in the months-long Celebrity Poker Showdown that was the GOP nominating contest. Ohio had a hand in the final round, sure, but the thing came down, finally, to a game of Texas Hold ’Em. And it was the Maverick, to nobody’s surprise, who finally won. The Huckster, then—the man who’d raised stakes at first, but seemed, in the end, not to know when to fold ’em—was forced, finally, to leave the table.

What’s a (not so lucky) Huck to do? As every political gambler knows, you never count your money when you’re sitting at the table (there’ll be time enough for counting when the dealin’s done, and all that). But Huckabee’s clearly been strategizing for some time about his Next Step. And now that his dealin’ really is done—now that he can drop the political pretense—he can reveal his hand. And, according to The New York Times’s TV Decoder, that hand may involve becoming a talking head. Yep, everyone’s favorite bass-playing, squirrel-frying minister may soon make the most logical transition in the world: Politician to Pundit.

Speaking on MSNBC yesterday morning, the Times reported, GOP strategist—and veteran pundit—Mike Murphy suggested Huckabee would “suspend his campaign, hire excellent agents, and begin negotiations for a cable TV talk show, all within the next 10 days.” Well, Murphy got the first part right; the rest remains to be seen. Stay tuned. In the meantime, it’s fun to think about where, if Huckabee does in fact pull a Buchanan, he might end up. MSNBC? Fox News? The Hallmark Channel? We welcome any thoughts.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.