Pat Buchanan: If Fred tanks in Iowa, he'll drop out and endorse ... McCain

Yup, probably. They’re old friends from their McCain-Feingold days in the Senate, they’re in sync on the war, and the only alternative is Romney, whom Fred was knocking just today for flip-flopping. There’ll be some discomfort in boosting a guy whose views on immigration are so different from his own, but Mitt’s were the same as McCain’s as recently as last year so that’s easily explained away.

Will Fred’s endorsement do McCain any good, though? The Fredheads here hate him, and if it comes to the point where Thompson’s polling so poorly that it’s not even worth hanging around for South Carolina, how many votes will he reasonably be able to deliver? Not enough to steal SC from Huck and Mitt, probably, but maybe enough to make McCain’s showing respectable enough (second place?) to give him a little momentum going into Florida, where he’ll try to siphon off Rudy’s moderates.

Exit question: If Fred finishes fourth in Iowa, does he pull a Tancredo and throw his weight to the best man left or soldier on, essentially hopeless, to Carolina?

Update: For what it’s worth, Politico says Team Thompson is near broke. Another case study in the limits of blogospheric influence: He’s the runaway favorite of righty bloggers and blog readers and he’s flagging everywhere.