Although his analysis is mixed, Terry Eastland doesn’t really think so. Republicans are depressed, turnout in Iowa will be down, and surely Huck’s supporters are less depressed than most. Christmas civility will probably mute attacks on his selectively big-government Arkansas record.
The main danger for Huckabee: His three-tickets-get-punched-in-Iowa theory no longer applies to him. His surge has been so successful than he won’t be able to spin placing or showing into winning. The main danger for Republicans: He may do so well that he’ll emerge as the only alternative to Rudy, and without being adequately vetted in a variety of ways. One mega-disadvantage of "frontloading" is that it makes buyer’s remorse more likely than ever. What if, a month from now, both Rudy and Huck seem like disastrous choices? Does the system allow for the emergence of another possibility?