Is a Media Empire the Prerequisite to Run for President in 2012?

A Rasmussen survey of likely 2012 GOP primary voters asks: "Who would you vote for if the Republican primary were today?"

The results: Romney 20%, Huckabee 19%, Palin 19%, Gingrich 13%.

Who is the only one without a sprawling media empire? Mitt Romney -- the one who has built a financial empire.

Former Governor Romney, the 2012 front-runner in numerous polls and surveys, has said, I'm not on TV that much, and that’s just fine with me and my family.”

However, he did make a rare appearance on The Tonight Show recently, and the headlines were about his Sarah Palin comments.

Perhaps Romney fears media overexposure with the long drawn-out campaign ahead.

But obviously this is not the fear of Palin, Huckabee, and Gingrich. Their extensive media empires are fueling their presidential ambitions and filling their future campaign coffers.

Which begs the question: Is a media empire a prerequisite for running for president in the age of information overload?

After all, a media empire not only helps a presidential candidate generate cash and increase name awareness. More importantly, it increases the comfort level among the voters.

It’s the political equivalent of living with someone before marrying them.

For if you watch a potential presidential candidate frequently on television, hear them on the radio, buy their books and DVDs, or connect with them through social media, you have already voted for them with your time and your money. So pulling the lever for them on Election Day is a logical extension of your established relationship.

With Huckabee, Palin, and Gingrich sucking up all the oxygen in the conservative media universe, front-runner Mitt Romney has some serious catching up to do.

Here is what he is up against:

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee has an extensive multi-platform empire showcased on his website.

It is a virtual Wal-Mart of all that is Huckabee Inc., even including merchandise.

(Hey Mike, are those hats, mugs, and shirts made in the USA or China?)

For starters there is his highly rated television show that airs Saturday and Sunday nights on the Fox News Channel. Then this past summer, Huckabee hosted a six week daily talk show pilot, a test run for future syndication that aired in seven markets.

Huckabee, a 2008 presidential candidate, winner of the Iowa caucus, and former governor of Arkansas, also has a daily radio show broadcasting three times a day, five days a week -- which if you happen to miss, you can subscribe to on i-Tunes.

In print, author Huckabee has penned seven books, including his new Christmas book with an accompanying tour to AZ, CA, FL, and NJ.

And if you call now, Mike the musician will include a CD of him jamming with other artists. (Just kidding on the free CD; you have to pay for it, but the proceeds go to charity.)

On his website don’t forget to visit HuckPac, which helps Mike elect conservative candidates.

(Especially noteworthy is Huckabee’s early support of now Florida Senator-elect Marco Rubio, when the Republican establishment’s candidate of choice was Governor Charlie Crist.)

And if that wasn’t all enough, former pastor Mike Huckabee will be your Holy Land tour guide. He is leading a trip to Israel in early 2011. (Space is still available.)

Since multi-talented Mike Huckabee is already president of a vast media empire, why would he want to give it up and run for president?  Especially when running would be a deal killer for his  daily syndicated talk show. Well, maybe he won’t.