Unlike Noam, I think it's relatively easy "to overstate the significance of Huckabee's performance" at Ames, for reasons suggested by Noam's very next sentence: "Combined, Huckabee and Brownback - the field's two leading social conservatives - outpolled Mitt Romney today 33 to 31.5." Combined. Yes, maybe Brownback will drop out soon, but there aren't all that many opportunities for a socially-conservative dark horse to raise his profile dramatically, and while "Huckabee comes in second to Romney at Iowa Straw Poll (and might have beaten him without Brownback in the race)" sounds nice and all, it just doesn't have the same ring as "In stunning upset, Huckabee wins Iowa Straw Poll." And it probably won't have the same candidacy-boosting consequences, particularly for a guy who isn't exactly swimming in the resources you need to capitalize on political opportunities.
Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.