02/21/2011 05:14 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Late Returns: A Holiday For Hesitancy

Presidents Day is here again and with it comes a fitting time to reflect upon the storied history of our executive branch, perhaps to answer the question: "Do I maybe want to be elected president someday? Perhaps someday soon? Maybe even in 2012?" Apparently, many of the people we've presumed might mount such a campaign have been thinking it over, and are suddenly having second thoughts.

Take Mike Huckabee, for example. He's been up in the top echelon of would-be Republican contenders. And we have reason to believe today that he has thus far been spurred on in his quest by the coppery taste that pools in the back of his mouth when he thinks about Mitt Romney, reminding him of his unquenchable bloodlust for the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 GOP runner-up. But then you read Karen Tumulty's piece in today's Washington Post, and it paints the picture of a man who might be canceling his date with destiny. Our own Howard Fineman, fresh from a conference call intended as a curtain-raiser on a 41-city book tour for Huck's new tome, "A Simple Government," is also feeling the hesitancy:

Conference calls do not a candidacy make -- or unmake. Nevertheless, I just hung up on one featuring Mike Huckabee that did nothing to contradict the rapidly-gathering conventional wisdom that he is not running again in 2012. If he's playing possum down there in Little Rock (or up in New York, where he was calling from), he's doing it almost too convincingly.

Elsewhere, Haley Barbour doesn't sound too sure that he's going to get into the race either:

"There's a lot that enters into it. I have been political director of the White House under Ronald Reagan and I understand what I'm getting into. I'm 63 years old and this is a 10 year commitment if you run and get elected, you're committing yourself for reelection and so you've got to be prepared for a 10 year commitment and that's the majority of the rest of my productive life and you have to decide am I willing to take on the most consuming job in the world, which the presidency is, and I have to see if I have the fire in the belly and the willingness, to the exclusion of all other things, to take that on."

Meanwhile, Mitch Daniels' wife isn't sure she wants to subject her family to the rigors of a national campaign, Sarah Palin's got some new "tell-all" book to fend off, and John Thune ... well, you never know from one minute to the next with that guy. Will the dream of a huge slate of GOP candidates be deferred?


Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.): not running for president. Dear CBS, thanks for clearing that up, signed: the zero people who were wondering. [CBS News]

Indiana Republican Sen. Dick Lugar's 2012 prospects just got murkier, as his primary challenger, Richard Mourdock, will launch his campaign with the "support of a majority of both the state's 92 Republican county chairmen and its state party executive committee." [The Fix]

ALARUMS AND EXCURSIONS! Michele Bachmann is in South Carolina! [Politico]

Would Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell be open to being some GOP nominee's vice president? Probably! Is anyone asking? Send him a direct message on Twitter, or something. [NBC 12]

Presidents Day is a good holiday for some Rilo Kiley:

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