Before Sarah Palin, one of the biggest surprises of the 2008 election season was the success of the Mike Huckabee campaign. The former Arkansas governor and senior pastor ended up the last man standing next to John McCain in the effort to achieve the Republican Party nomination, outdoing more noted candidates like Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney... on a smaller budget.

Huckabee has never shied away from his faith, even when - as he admits in his newest book, Do the Right Thing - it has often caused him to receive naught but token morality or do-you-believe-in-evolution questions in debates. But Mike Huckabee, as this interviewer learned in reading Do the Right Thing, has so much more to say, so many more ideas for a better America where individuals would be better prepared to practice self-government, to be taxed at point of consumption rather than point of income or status, and where those in authority are more in touch with the common man than the country club crowd.

We caught up with Governor Huckabee - who has said repeatedly that it's too early to tell whether he will run again in 2012 - while he was somewhere between Florida and Kentucky on his book tour, which unfortunately for him is happening right in the middle of one of his favorite times of year in his home state...

Crosswalk: Governor, do I understand correctly that you are away on book tour during Arkansas duck season?

Mike Huckabee: Well, I'm telling you, this is very painful. I'm going to miss duck season until the week of December 21st, which is not easy for me to accept. But the book hit number five on the New York Times' best-seller list its first week and that was a little bit of a comfort, but otherwise, I'd just have to say, "Guys, forget it. I'm going duck hunting."

CW: I hope you do get some in at the end of the month, and congratulations on the success of the book. Most of my questions for you today, sir, are in regards to Do the Right Thing, but with the news of cabinet appointments this week - and how you've been noted as having been gracious to and optimistic about our president-elect - how do you feel about the appointments Barack Obama has made?

MH: I think he's made some very smart choices. He's shown his wisdom in bringing in experienced people who can help him from the very beginning. Sometimes a president brings so many new people they don't even know how to find the paper clips. He's bringing in people who truly understand how the White House works, how Congress works; I think that's smart on his part. I also think that picking people like Hillary Clinton to be in the cabinet's a brilliant move. It's like the Godfather said in the movie, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." So he's neutralized any opposition that Hillary might have provided for his administration in these early days. I think it was a stroke of genius.

CW: You recount so many valuable lessons from your months on the campaign trail in Do the Right Thing - ones that not only shaped you personally and your strategy, but ones that are valuable to individuals and society. Which lesson from the campaign sticks with you the most?

MH: I think the most important lesson was just how great a country this is, and how hard people around America are working, and how they really don't want a lot from their government other than to be left alone. They're not participating in politics because they want more involvement with government; they're not expecting an appointment to the ambassadorship of France, or a sleepover in the Lincoln bedroom. They don't expect to be seated next to the First Lady during the State of the Union address. They just want to be able to pick their kids' schools. They want to be able to get a paycheck and know that the government isn't going to take most of it away from them. They'd like to be able to live in a safe neighborhood and know that if they work really hard, that their work will pay off in increased prosperity for themselves and their families.