Fred fades, Mitt musters, McCain's magnanimous, Paul's prime time, Huckabee's here to stay, and Rudy's Rudy. My early theory for Fred's long term success has been destroyed by Huck; my later theory that Mitt, contrary to popular conviction, would not be ruined by Fred is still going strong.
I see a five-man race now. Until this gets settled for once and for all, Mitt and Rudy and McCain are top-tier competitive in states around the country and Huck and Paul are rising representatives of key new constituencies. Fred is stuck for the foreseeable future as the John Edwards of the Republican primary. Mitt and Rudy are most at risk; judge, jury, and executioner are waiting for just one failure from either. It's all about expectations now.