The Friday Political Thread: Religion of Secularism Edition


There's a lot more to chew over (and I do some of that in an America's Future Foundation podcast with Eli Lake and Amanda Carpenter) but some of the basics…

– Mike Huckabee continued his poll surge, culminating in a Newsweek poll that gave him a 39-17 point lead over Mitt Romney in Iowa. The poll was taken Dec. 5 and Dec. 6. Quick: What happened on Dec. 6?

– The Ron Paul Blimp got set to launch.

Unconvincing quote of the week…

"Americans do not respect believers of convenience. Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world."
– Mitt Romney, Dec. 6

Stop the Bandwagon, I Wanna Get Off! Iowans are notoriously wimpy about negative campaigning, and Hillary Clinton's shockingly abrupt blitz against Obama has inspired one of her state co-chairs to switch to Obama.

"I think the Clinton campaign went negative," [Gary] Thomas said in a telephone interview on Thursday. He attributed his defection to the new tone Clinton took last weekend, describing it as divisive. Obama officials said Thomas committed to them this week… The switch by one man—even someone in elected office, as Thomas, a Burlington city council member is—may mean little in the end. But Baxter's eagerness to speak out—against Clinton and now, on behalf of Obama—comes as the campaigns are trying to assess the impact of a sharper tone by Clinton that began last weekend.

This comes via Ben Smith, who wonders if the Clinton campaign will move its focus from Iowa to other contests and build a "broader case" against him. But the Clinton lead is shrinking in New Hampshire and South Carolina, too, and they're not notorious for their daintiness.

Fred Thompzzzzzz. Here's one measure of the rapid fade underway at Fred Thompson HQ. In July you had to shell out $35 for a Fred future at InTrade. Now it's $5—about the same value as John Edwards. Here's another measure: This video of Fred at a town hall-style rally in Orange City, Iowa. Just try and stay awake, and understand why when Huckabee was told that Thompon had criticized him for not reading the National Intelligence Estimate, Huckabee joked: "I guess it's easy to read it if you're not busy campaigning."

Below the fold…

– Jeremy Lott urges Mitt to make a real Mormon speech.

– Shawn Macomber writes one of the last (and best) Tom Tancredo stories you'll ever read.

– Jacob Heillbrunn recaps the TNR-NR dirty war.

This week's Politics 'n' Prog should be self-explanatory. If Geddy Lee's tight pants don't rattle your faith in the Creator, nothing will.