In 2008, a charismatic right-wing populist Republican governor won the heart of the party's base despite being forced to take a backseat to a more respectable "moderate" Republican. He was Mike Huckabee, and he is sad, and mad.

Ben Smith followed Mike Huckabee around for a while as he sold his new Christmas book.

Huckabee was the governor of Arkansas. He used to be fat, and then he got skinny, and now he is getting fat again. He's also basically as crazy Christian as they come, but he masks this with a genuinely likable sense of humor, which is why he has a TV program on Fox now.

He won Iowa in 2008. He is raising a lot of money. He just won a Gallup poll of potential 2012 Republican candidates. But he has two problems: Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney.

Palin is the more marketable and exciting version of him, both because she says much dumber and insane things and also she is an attractive lady. Romney is the guy who will almost certainly actually win the nomination, because the sensible money guys in the party like him, despite the fact that he is Mormon Robot.

Here is Huckabee being totally not bitter about Sarah Palin stealing his gimmick:

"Some of the people who had excoriated me and really been very dismissive of me for views that I had taken, and labeled me anything from a populist to an ignoramus - the same people have been very defensive [of] and laudatory to Sarah Palin," Huckabee noted, adding that he'd invited her to appear on his weekly Fox show but "could never get any contact."

"I'm glad she's getting the props - I know I'm not nearly as attractive," he said with a guileless grin.

Now Huckabee is just eating his way across America, trying to get people excited about his book, insulting all the other Republicans who were and are mean to him. Pat Toomey and the Club for Growth—the Wall Street wing of the activist conservative movement—still hate him, which will make fundraising hard. And he still openly hates and ridicules Romney, which will probably prevent him from getting the VP slot.

You don't really need to worry about the Republicans in 2012. Unlike solar flares and earthquakes and volcanoes and stuff.