I'm not saying I invented Mike Huckabee--or even that you heard it here first--but I was impressed with the smooth-talking former Arkansas governor before many in the MSM gave him much of a chance. I like him. I think he is interesting. I don't believe all the ugly things his fellow evangelicals or conservative gatekeepers keep saying about him.

However, we ought to be realistic about what Huckabee is likely to accomplish. Can he win Iowa? Maybe. Although I think he is more likely to score a respectable Pat Robertson-like second place finish. And that would be a major accomplishment for the little campaign that could.

But where does he go from there? He is likely to come in second in Iowa because Romney is going to buy first place. Rudy and McCain just don't play there, and Fred is just too disorganized to make a move for that fairly complicated Midwestern prize. With all the GOP confusion swirling around this contest, Huckabee is a good vehicle for Iowans to register their dissatisfaction and frustration.

However, New Hampshire is something completely different. Huckabee is unlikely to run in the money in NH, which means Florida and South Carolina become all important. Without a win in FL or SC, Huckabee gets swamped on Super Tuesday.

Could Huckabee do well in Florida and/or South Carolina? It is possible--but that depends on Fred. At some point--and I am starting to wonder if I am waiting on a broken-down bus--I expect the Thompson campaign to put things together enough to win the two Southern primaries. In fact, Huckabee taking the bloom off the Romney rose in Iowa helps Fred a lot. If Rudy can mount an effective challenge against Romney in New Hampshire, the Massachusetts governor will not head South with enough momentum to roll through Dixie. However, if Fred is completely dead in the water in FL and SC, and Romney does not have things wrapped up, and Rudy fails to win the hearts of the Palmetto and Sunshine States, and Huckabee is the remaining viable red-state candidate, then Pastor Mike has a shot at making a real run for the nomination.

But that is a lot of ifs.

Nobody Knows Anything--but my guess is that the Huckabee candidacy is nearing its peak. I would be very surprised if Huckabee won more than 25 percent of the vote in Iowa, and I would be even more surprised if any subsequent state total exceeds his tally in the Hawkeye State.