Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mike Huckabee just won the Christmas War.

Mike Huckabee’s campaign has just pulled the most brilliant coup of the presidential campaign so far with his Christmas ad.

Let’s take a quick look at the issues his campaign faced going into the ad:

1. Suddenly, he’s a frontrunner now, if not the frontrunner. He is already becoming a target. How do you respond? “Puff piece” ads that build up what a wonderful guy he is are boring and get lost in the clutter. Ads debunking attacks on him can look defensive and even give credence to attacks. It’s not easy to be the frontrunner in a crowded race. Just ask Hillary about that.

2. He wants to motivate and bring in his evangelical base. Therefore, he wants to make a contrast with his opponents in the area of religion (an area in which they are rather weak), but without alienating potential supporters.

3. It’s Christmastime when the usual political ads would likely be ineffective at best or backfire at worse. Yet the Iowa caucus is January 3rd, so he can hardly take a break now.

The solution is the Christmas ad, and it is a brilliant (or at least very lucky) one. The ad elevates him above the political fray. It reminds his base of his faith and takes a nice stand for it in a way that only the easily offended -- who won’t be voting for him anyway – would object to.

And, perhaps most importantly, he takes a nice but firm stand in the annual Christmas War. That cheer you’ve been hearing is from all those who like “Merry Christmas” and pour scorn on “Happy Holidays.” Don’t underestimate the importance of that. Mike Huckabee just won the Christmas War.

In addition, the easily offended are helping Huckabee out by being . . . easily offended. This just draws more attention to the ad and provides him with wonderful foils. In politics, it can really help to have the right adversaries.

I got a prediction for you. Huckabee will now win big in Iowa and will pull well out in front of the presidential race. This ad is that important.

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