Marc Ambinder notes that Mitt Romney’s Huckabee problem is bigger than a casual glance at the polls would suggest:
First, savvy consultants look at two numbers to project whether, if a particular election were held today, their candidate would win. One is the head to head — and Mitt Romney still leads, narrowly, in Iowa polls. The second is intensity — and here, Mike Huckabee’s surge breaks over the walls that the Romney Iowa organization has spent so many months carefully building. Every consultant would rather be behind by five points in the head to head match ups and ahead by double digits in terms of the level of intensity.
Meanwhile, Rich Lowry notes others noting the Huckabee-Rudy nexus: “These pieces in Time and the New York Sun point out something that’s been increasingly evident over the last few days: how nicely Rudy and Huck’s strategies mesh.”
In retrospect, it all sort of makes you wonder why social conservatives didn’t just get behind Huckabee in the first place, rather than blessing Romney’s preposterous conversion to religious right values and trying to drag Fred Thompson into the race. Sure, Huckabee’s not well-liked by the economic hard-right, but cultural conservatives’ objections to Giuliani didn’t stop his backers from pushing him on the party. If Huckabee had just a modicum of money and institutional support, I think he’d be a formidable contender, but he’s got neither.