t isn’t hard to find fault with Thompson’s campaign effort and goodness knows I found my share of faults. It is easy
to roll out the “what a disappointment” stories, but in some ways the race is conforming to the premise of Thompson’s run. The other fellows one by one are proving either not very conservative (bashing Bush on Iraq, defending healthcare mandates, etc.) or not very likable. He is both, he contends. Yes, Huckaboom is in full swing and barring a significant event in the next couple of weeks, he will win Iowa. But beyond that, Huckabee’s views may just not fit the base’s desire to escape compassionate conservatism. If Romney (who never had a Mittboom) indeed loses Iowa and can’t win decisively in his own backyard the field narrows further. Then the consensus, all- purpose conservative who has grown slowly as the sober, non-annoying choice becomes quite viable.( Not being annoying is a vastly underrated quality in politics.) Yes, others must fail for him to succeed but that was in some sense the “plan” all along. It would certainly help to stay out of malls and on the trail but his campaign is becoming more focused (the email research delivery service is in high gear) and he has the opportunity to exceed expectations with a strong third place in Iowa. I wouldn’t be writing him off quite yet.
UPDATE: Psst, guys –I’m not sure you want to be raising expectations for a second place
finish. (Unless they have polling we don’t, there is no reason to be setting up third as a disappointing result.)