In show of solidarity and support. Gov. Huckabee defends Sen. McCain against Romney’s false, unfair, and highly personal attacks—also: how the concerted efforts of the McCain-Huckabee axis gets more for a more minimal investement

“Huckabee said that Romney is getting desperate, because he finds himself behind in Iowa despite outspending Huckabee 20 to 1,” writes Philip Klein in an AmSpec Blog post titled Huckabee Rips Romney Back

“When people get that far behind after spending that much money, they get desperate,” he said. “Desperate is one thing, dishonest is something else. When you get desperate and dishonest, it’s not a pretty site.”

In another example of the emerging everybody vs. Romney dynamic of the race, Huckabee came to the defense of John McCain, who has been trading barbs with Romney in New Hampshire over an attack ad. “John McCain is a true, honest to god, American hero,” Huckabee said … etc.

We have harped on the string of the Huckabee-McCain axis for weeks. And: we predicted that Romney’s absurd behavior would provoke his rivals to concert their efforts against him.

Romney bravely—or unwittingly—faces the gathering storm, er, we mean swarm

Here is the problem for Romney. Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee can hone their message contra Romney to a razor’s edge while each depicts himself as defending the honor of a friend, and each concentrates on their respective state.

Romney, OTOH, alone, alienated, and estranged, is reduced to dispersing his energies and giving the impression of frantic and random attacks in all directions and across 2 states. Hence: Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee’s strategy returns more for a minimal investment, and this is why people often cooperate, collaborate, or otherwise combine their labor, because it is efficient and cost effective.

Also: the high drama of 2 under-organized, under-funded, and rogue-candidate underdogs protecting each other’s backs against the superbly well funded slime machine of Team Romney, the establishment favorite, has captured the imaginations of the press corps, which will generate lots of earned media. Note how the NYT carefully reprises Gov. Huckabee’s rationale for his remarks on Romney:

“But it was the new rhetoric on the Republican side of the ticket that drew the fiercest spark, as former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas hurled a barrage of attacks at the credibility of his chief rival here, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts,” writes JEFF ZELENY and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK for the NYT in an article titled Courting Iowa’s Undecided Voters With a Late Push

“If a person is dishonest in his approach to get the job, do you believe he will be honest in telling you the truth when he does get the job?” Mr. Huckabee asked voters in Osceola, Iowa.

Mr. Huckabee said he was escalating his criticism in part because of Mr. Romney’s recent disparagements of a third Republican rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona, whom Mr. Huckabee called “an American hero.”

“It is enough to attack me,” Mr. Huckabee said. “But now to attack John McCain, it is like Mitt doesn’t have anything to stand on except to stand against. And I am saying enough is enough” …

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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