Merry Christmas! Here are a couple of items to tide you all over until tomorrow, when the polling and campaign ads and desperate attacks return in full swing.
Politico has an article which maps out Huckabee's path to the nomination:
Here's what's remarkable about the Republican presidential race: With days to go before the voting actually begins, it is quite possible for any of four candidates — and even a fifth — to win the nomination.Read the whole thing...
This is unprecedented in modern American politics. It reflects the hugely unsettled nature of the campaign, a characteristic historically more the case for the Democrats at this point in the election cycle.
Of course, the five candidates — Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee and John McCain — do not have equal chances to win. Thompson, especially, is the long shot.
But the fact that there is a plausible scenario for each makes this campaign unique, and therefore uncharted.
The short-term goal for each of them is to make it through the early round of primaries and caucuses so that on Feb. 5 — which has been crowned “Super Duper Tuesday” — when 22 states pick Republican delegates, they are one of two or three candidates still standing.
Here is what needs to happen for each of the five to get to that point:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, most of all, needs to win the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. Anything but a win there is a huge impediment to his nomination, given his strategy of building on the early contests to provide momentum to the later, big-delegate states and the nomination.
But if Romney doesn't win Iowa, where he has spent a disproportionate share of his time and money, then his lead in New Hampshire on Jan. 8 becomes vulnerable, and his game plan becomes questionable. If he does, however, he'll have to be stopped or else.
Former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee is the hot candidate, having passed Romney in Iowa polls and with his numbers rising nationally.
An Iowa win will earn him a pass through New Hampshire, where the former Baptist minister is not expected to be competitive, and into South Carolina (Jan. 22) and Florida (Jan. 29), where his regional roots are a plus.
Huckabee's rising poll numbers have increased his donations, but he has a smaller war chest than most of the other contenders. And if he doesn't take Iowa, it's hard to see where he goes then for a win.
Governor Huckabee was interviewed on CNBC yesterday. This is one of the best, most substantive interviews we've seen for several weeks. There was no mention of floating crosses, commutations, or the Club for Growth! Instead of going over the same old attacks for the umpteenth time, Kudlow & Company asked Mike about the real issues: the economy, immigration, taxes, etc. Check it out and please pass it along to all your friends and relatives whose former enthusiasm has been dampened by the Romney/Thompson/liberal MSM attacks.