Charles Mahtesian writing for the Washington Post:
Huckabee is for real — a man poised to go further on the national stage than any other candidate produced by the Christian conservative movement. Sure, some pundits still write him off, and back home, detractors insist that he’s just angling for a plum Cabinet post. But you can spot an awfully convincing blueprint for how the candidate once tagged as “the hillbilly Ronald Reagan” could win the Republican nomination — or end up as the inevitable vice presidential pick on a GOP ticket led by Rudy Giuliani. That’s more than you can say for some of Huckabee’s rivals.
I don’t agree with Mahtesian that a Giuliani-Huckabee ticket makes sense; Huckabee would be wise to reject any such offer, since Giuliani cannot possibly beat Clinton. Nevertheless, Mahtesian makes some good points:
In South Carolina, the nerve center of the Christian right, Huckabee will have broad appeal, and all without the off-putting Bible-thumping baggage that could hurt him in the state’s coastal Low Country. This will be where Huckabee sticks the dagger into Fred Thompson (assuming the slow-moving former senator is still around) and establishes himself as the conservative’s conservative. Huckabee will move on to another good opportunity with Florida’s contest 10 days later, then brace for the major primary payday on Feb. 5, when Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and several other heavily Southern Baptist states cast their votes. When the dust settles on Feb. 6, carrying the South would let Huckabee have a one-on-one duel, possibly with Giuliani, that enables him to showcase his greatest asset: his personality. Could that take him all the way? The abrasive Giuliani, or any other finalist, would rule that out at his peril.
Read the whole thing.