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As the Race Heats Up, the More I Wonder


Some more things I wonder: How much of an upside does Fred Thompson have in Iowa? He projects as a classic up-the-middle candidate. Is Romney walking a fine line, in that he needs to blunt Huckabee’s appeal, but if he somehow (not likely) sends Huckabee tanking he could be in danger of losing the race to Thompson? If Huckabee is at 34, and loses 10 points before January 3 and they go to Thompson–then it’s a three-way anyone can win. And do Rudy and McCain voters break away from their also-ran candidates the closer we get to the caucus? And where do they go? Presumably not to Huckabee, but to Thompson or Romney? In New Hampshire, is McCain now replicating his 2000 strategy in appealing to independents? And if he positions himself as the maverick/independent again, isn’t that a formula for heartbreak down the line again (South Carolina)? Or does it not matter this time because if he wins New Hampshire, Romney could be out and his main adversaries would be Huckabee and Giuliani, both of whom have big problems with conservatives? Finally, after people speculating about certain candidates serving as a spoiler for Rudy, is Rudy now a spolier? Is he Romney’s friend in New Hampshire insofar as he is competing enough there to steal independent/centrist/national security voters from McCain, but not enough actually to win?


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