- ...Romney, on the stump in Iowa in late November, told a joke that literally began, "A man walks into a country club." There may be a social-class barrier that explains why, despite Iowa spending that will undoubtedly top $10 million, Romney risks being upended by Huckabee -- an underfunded candidate whose campaign seems modeled on Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney putting on a "backyard musical." Gail Stecker, who works for a food-safety institute at Iowa State University in Ames, captured the Romney-the-robot problem when I spoke to her before the Huckabee speech. "I went to a Romney rally in July and decided that he's not the man for me," Stecker, who was wearing a festive garland of Christmas lights around her neck, recalled. "When Romney looks at you, he looks right through you like he doesn't care."
If Romney falls short in Iowa, that sentence -- "He looks right through you" -- could serve as his epitaph.