It’s one of those days where you wake up and check the papers just to make sure you remembered everything right from the day before. I’m not sure the scale of Mike Huckabee’s victory over Mitt Romney properly sank in yesterday. He didn’t just sneak by the establishment’s boy; he really thumped him. His path to the nomination still looks bleak, since it’s hard to imagine anyone prevailing against the sort of headwinds and lack of institutional support he’s facing. But then again, what happened yesterday once looked very unlikely. More realistically, even if Huckabee does ultimately do the plausible thing and lose, the fact that he did so well in Iowa has to make you believe that he can turn in a strong performance in primaries held in his native South.
That’s not enough to put him over the top, but it would still leave him as a force in the race. Thus far, I don’t think we’ve really seen any of Huckabee’s rivals react to his candidacy by trying on any real level to coopt his message. But given the power of that message to reach the Republican base despite a lack of funding and despite the opposition of most of the Republican media machine, it seems like the smart thing to do is to try to steal something from the guy.