What happened
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee this week launched his first TV ad—featuring action-movie star Chuck Norris—as he surged to second place in the Iowa polls behind Mitt Romney. Analysts said a win for Huckabee’s underfunded campaign in Iowa would weaken Romney, and give a boost to fellow Republican presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani. (USNews.com)

What the commentators said
Even a win in Iowa is unlikely “to yield a President Huckabee,” said Economist.com in an editorial. He’s a marginal candidate nationwide, with little money and organization. But he can do Romney serious damage in Iowa by finishing strong after stealing the headlines with a second-place finish in the state’s August straw poll.

Huckabee is a “charming, decent, friendly, pious man,” said Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times (free registration), but he’s “scary,” at least to conservatives. He’s “a devout social conservative on issues such as abortion, school prayer, homosexuality and evolution,” but he “believes that the biblical obligation to do ‘good works’ extends to using government—and your tax dollars—to bring us closer to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.”

Many people have asked Romney—a Mormon—to explain why “his religion is not a threat,” said Richard Cohen in The Washington Post (free registration). Huckabee should answer that question first. Romney is clearly “not enslaved by any dogma,” but Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, makes it plain that “he does not distinguish between his faith and his politics.”