The Beltway types have had it in for Fred Thompson from the outset of his candidacy; as long ago as August I noted the panel on SPECIAL REPORT WITH BRIT HUME derisively referred to the accomplished Thompson merely as "an actor."
More recently the same pundits like to joke that Thompson peaked before actually entering the race.
But I wonder if perhaps Thompson has played it just right, letting the other candidates slug it out and also letting the public tire of the candidates who have been overexposed for the past year.
I believe Mike Huckabee's boomlet is going to peter out. Many conservatives have never warmed up to Mitt Romney, due to his flip-flopping and adopting positions for political expediency, and it's hard to imagine that these same voters will stay with Huckabee once they realize he's a socially conservative liberal (or a "right-wing progressive statist," as Jonah Goldberg termed him). Are the voters who flocked to Huckabee, hoping for a true conservative candidate, likely to turn back to Romney?
Or might Fred peak at just the right moment and scoop up the votes of dissatisfied conservatives?
Rich Lowry wonders the same thing.
David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register (subject link) says not to rule Thompson out. More from Time and California Conservative.
Thompson, incidentally, shocked the Romney camp by picking up the endorsement of influential Iowa conservative Rep. Steve King yesterday.
Wednesday Update: The Evans-Novak Report writes that Thompson "has far more upside potential than any other Republican...he could make a spectacular surge" in Iowa.