by Max Brantley
Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post's political blogger, has written often and positively about Mike Huckabee. But his latest line on the race still makes the former Arkansas governor a long-shot.
5. Mike Huckabee: The former Arkansas governor was the only second-tier candidate to truly distinguish himself during the first two debates. He was affable, funny and down-to-earth. And yet, we don't see any way that Huckabee can vault himself into the top three anytime soon. Huckabee lacks serious organizations in any of the three early states -- Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. He also has yet to demonstrate the capacity to raise the sort of money that would allow him to be within shouting distance of the frontrunners. The biggest chance for Huckabee to change the conventional wisdom about his chances is the Ames (Iowa) Straw Poll in August. A top three showing would demonstrate a depth of organization we have yet to see from him and create significant momentum in the months between the straw poll and the caucuses.