When once-popular television shows reach a point of ridiculousness in story line from which they will never recover, they are said to have “jumped the shark” (a reference to Fonzie’s waterski jump moment on Happy Days). Some observers, including ones Max links below, are suggesting that today’s fairly interesting press conference when he decried negative ads then showed a negative ad is that moment for Mike Huckabee. One such observer is one my fellow travellers on my Iowa trip, Tom Schaller, writing in the American Prospect. I tend to disagree. While it was a fairly risky strategy, it may pay off for a few reasons. First, Huckabee’s truest believers are likely to buy his critique and believe it to be sincere. This will give them energy to stay fired up for the caucuses and remind them of the nonconventionality and faith-based politics that has drawn them to Huckabee. In addition, we know from a lot of research that negative campaigning tends to reduce turnout. The Republican side in Iowa already has a turnout problem, only accentuated by the high energy and generally positive campaigns on the Democratic side. Huckabee knows that if the GOP caucus comes down to turnout created purely through organizational strength, Romney will win. Thus, turnout needs to be relatively high so Huckabee can take advantage of the generally positive views of him among Iowa voters. An all-out negative war probably only benefits Romney.