Wow! The Huckster scored big tonight. I am surprised that he did so well. The question is was a vote for Huckabee really a vote for him or a protest vote against the elites in the Party telling us to pick Rudy or Mitt?

Huckabee has repeatedly demonstrated his ignorance of foreign affairs and economics. Evangelicals seem to be ignoring policy for values. As Rush Limbaugh calls it “identity politics.” This was the same irrational logic that gave Jimmy Carter the evangelical vote in 1976. Both 1976 and the current campaign were preceded by Republican failure inside the “beltway”—especially domestically.

Voters in both parties seem to be favoring Washington outsiders. (Yeah, Obama is a Senator but two years in DC is more of an outsider than Hillary Clinton. Ditto for Edwards.) I think the voters are sick of the gridlock in Congress. Can you say “where’s the Federal budget?”

Romney seems to have buried folks in Iowa with media and mail and a few folks that Fox News aired tonight said they we tired of the blitz by such a well funded campaign. I think Mitt is still stuck with a believability gap. His record does not match his rhetoric however well-crafted or targeted his message may be. Until Mitt can have a convincing story of why he had a change of heart on virtually every social issue and many fiscal ones as well, he will not win many evangelicals.

This leaves Fred Thompson and Huckabee to fight over most of the evangelicals and Rudy, Mitt and McCain to fight over the rest.

Rudy did worse than I thought he would. I thought he would at least score in low double digits. Rudy needs to show better in the next few contests or he may not survive until February.

McCain will start fading after New Hampshire. His support is not from the Republican base but independents. The real question is will anti-Hillary voting move people to boost Obama and end Hillary’s presidential aspirations. Such a move would hurt McCain. If McCain can’t deliver up to his expectations via many independent voters going for him, he will find his last ride on the “straight talk express” to be a short one.

The concept of a brokered convention has inched closer to reality; however remote.