So far, the ad is drawing rave reviews. Like this one, from Newsweek:
Andrew Romano: This might be the smartest ad of the cycle. For all the observers wondering how the candidates would manage the awkward holiday/caucus overlap, Huckabee delivers a master class.And from the National Review Online:
The first step: beating his rivals to the "This Is No Time for Politics" punch; now every on-air attempt they make to topple the frontrunner from his above-the-fray pedestal looks tawdry.
Jim Geraghty: I don't think it's any big secret that I've got my gripes with Mike Huckabee, but his latest ad, going up tomorrow in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Everybody's been wondering how the campaigns can work and spread their message through the holidays without seeming Grinchy. This is one way that I think will work.
Rich Lowry: I agree with Jim here. I think it's simply brilliant, if for no other reason than that—like his Chuck Norris ad—it's different and it's going to cut through the clutter.
The more I think about it, that Huckabee ad may be the most subtly brilliant wedge ad ever. Per my e-mailer, it's bound to kick up a fuss, but in the ensuing fuss, Republican caucus-goers are going to side with Huckabee at least 80-20.
Mark Steyn: Rich, I think you're right: This "Merry Christmas" thing is ingenious. In essence, it's playing the secular media off against his GOP rivals in order to solidify his base. I'm no Huckabee fan but, like Peter, I think he's been amazingly nimble and very sophisticated... right now he's making these big-money consultant-led rivals look very arthritic.