Dick Morris has a new column about Huckabee in the New York Post:
On the right court, low-seeded Huckabee beat Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback in the quarter-finals for the designation of "Christian Coalition" challenger - and now will face off against ex-Sen. Fred Thompson and Massachusetts ex-Gov. Mitt Romney in the right-court semi-final. The winner will meet Rudy in the finals.National Review Online has analysis on how Huckabee could win the nomination:
Huckabee's national poll numbers are rising. Scott Rasmussen has him at 10 percent nationally and in third place at 18 percent in Iowa, where he trails Thompson by 1 percent and Romney by 7 percent.
Huckabee, who has risen rapidly without either money or organization, is the most interesting phenomenon in either party's race (and the only surprise). He finished second to Romney in the Ames, Iowa straw poll with 18 percent. That's significant because you had to pay $35 to vote. Romney wrote out checks for anyone and everyone, but Huckabee said, "I can't afford to buy you. I can't even afford to rent you" - and came in strong anyway.
More recently, he swept last weekend's Values Voters convention among those who appeared in person. (He lost by less than one point overall to Romney, whose tally included a mass of Internet votes.)
Why the Huckabee boomlet? A gripping, humorous, passionate orator, he brings a spiritual dimension to public-policy problems. His ideas are interesting. Want lower health-care costs? Tackle obesity and smoking. Education reform? Music and art education are just as important to our national creativity as science and math.
He has a good chance to be the front-ranking challenger to Giuliani in the national primary on Feb. 5. He might beat Rudy - or at least earn a VP designation, because Giuliani will be anxious to appeal to Christian-right voters.
How Each of the Big Five Can Win The NominationMSNBC has coverage of last night's Sioux City Forum:
Talking with campaign folks, looking at polls, and examining the calendar, we can get a sense of the five different paths each candidate is mapping out to the nomination:
Huckabee: First, he has to do very well in Iowa. Huck’s got to make a heck of a splash, win outright, or place a close second or third. From there, he's got to do something to maintain that momentum in New Hampshire, even though it’s not the most fertile ground for his type of appeal. By “something,” I’m thinking a respectable double digit finish. Then move on to South Carolina and win. Along the way, he’s got to catch fire in a state like Michigan or Florida, or maybe even Maine, someplace he isn’t expected to do well, to demonstrate that he can appeal outside the deep south or beyond religious conservatives. Along the way, Huckabee needs a little help – he needs Romney to come out of Iowa and New Hampshire weakened, for Giuliani to look like the man who could tear apart the GOP, for Thompson to look narcoleptic, and for McCain to start reminding Republican voters of all the times he’s ticked them off. I think much of the GOP electorate is open to his message; if the “gut-level connection” is what clinched the nomination for Bush in 2000, Huckabee might be the candidate who could best mimic that appeal.
Last night's AARP forum in Iowa -- which featured McCain and Huckabee -- was downright chummy, notes NBC/NJ’s Carrie Dann. Despite a sharp difference on one issue (fair tax), and some joshing jabs about the merits of senatorial vs. gubernatorial experience, it was clear that the two candidates like each other. After the forum, Dann talked to a number of attendees who raved about both candidates for their candor and civility. "They weren't at each others' throats," said Wade Sembach, an auto dealer from Sioux City. A friend echoed that the small venue was "intimate" and that the two candidates -- especially Huckabee -- are rightfully gaining momentum.Slate Magazine has an interview with Huckabee:
Slate: You have a bit of the buzz of the moment. Is it paying off?
Huckabee: We've raised more money the last six days online than in the entire first three months of the campaign. We've had to upgrade the server twice just to handle the traffic and get more people in to handle the phones, because we couldn't get to them all. It's just exploded on us.
Slate: Now what do you do?
Huckabee: We have to turn the momentum into funding. We have people who have been sitting on the sidelines, but now they're willing to host fund-raising events. We now have a whole new energy. The amazing thing is that we've gotten this far by being patient and figuring if we stayed here long enough, the message would get through, and people would realize that many of the other candidates just don't scratch the itch for them.
Slate: Does this mean that social conservatives are deciding to vote their principles rather than voting for the person who appears the most electable?
Huckabee: The rank and file are no longer waiting to be given the nod by people who are perceived to be their leaders. Many are frustrated they're not getting more of a sense of leadership from the organizations they've supported. But also now even [those concerned with electability] are seeing that we have an opportunity to win. That I'm not out of this thing.