It might seem odd that an immigration hawk like Tom Tancredo never made a dent among GOP voters in a fever pitch about the borders. But to me, Tancredo's problem was his personal presentation. Great immigrant-bashing requires a degree of theatrical demagoguery that Tancredo couldn't pull off. His demeanor is academic, even a bit aristocratic. And he was an inept presence in the Republican debates, a stammerer unable to deliver a sharp soundbite. His niche called for the pitch-perfect populist outrage of Pat Buchanan, who I believe could win Iowa and New Hampshire had he decided to run this time around. (Pat's sister Bay managed Tancredo's campaign, actually, but wasn't able to imbue him with her brother's brilliant theatricality.)

That Tancredo has endorsed Romney, meanwhile, I think is a sign of where things are headed. GOP establishment forces are marshalling against Huckabee, which means stopping him in Iowa, which means rebuilding Romney. I'm starting to buy the argument that, given current expectations, a close second for Romney now looks like a "comeback" that approximates a win.

--Michael Crowley