Rich, your analysis sounds right to me. The upshot of the compressed primary season seems to be thatIowa and New Hampshire are more important than ever. A couple of extra points:
1) It’s hard to see what can stop Huck in Iowa. All the “damaging” leaks – gays should be quarantined, women should submit to their hubbies, etc – seem just as likely to shore up enough of a base to guarantee a top-two finish on caucus night.
2) But there’s no way he can win in New Hampshire, so Mitt has to do well enough in Iowa that NHers don’t go shopping for another guy to be the Anyone-But-Huck.
3) Rudy’s decision to be a 1-800-CANDIDATE, unrooted in any of the early voting states but looking to his national numbers to sweep him through to Florida, looks increasingly foolish.
4) Fred has made a serious error in throwing all his resources into Iowa. He should have written it off and thrown all his resources into NH, for which he would be a very good fit as the Anyone-But-Huck if only he showed up here.