04 January 2008


Iowa Republican Caucus goers turned out in record number (but dwarved by the record numbers who turned out on the Dem side), and picked a populist-rhetoric spewer with a heavy dose of conservative Christianity as their favorite candidate. Not the first time they've done such, Pat Robertson got 25% of their vote in '88 (but didn't win), and Pat Buchanan got 23% of their vote (but didn't win).

If Huckabee were to attempt to govern as he is running, he'd be dangerous for this country. But it was only about 40,000 folks who showed up to vote for him, which was a plurality of Republican caucus goers, but rather than Huckabee "winning" 34.29% of the vote I'd rather think of this as 65.71% of Iowa Republican caucus goers who rejected his brand of populism.

As far as the Democrats go, I don't hate Obama nearly as much as I hate Huckabee, he'd be less awful for the country as President. All the Dems run on populism, too, on the populist rhetoric front, he's far less crazy than Edwards, and on par with Clinton. I doubt he'd govern like he's run, but there's a long time till November, and he managed a pretty good victory in a state that wouldn't seem to be a natural fit for his campaign. Iowa Democrats don't believe in releasing the number of folks who vote for each candidate, instead releasing delegate numbers, by that measure Sen. Obama garnered 37.58% of state delegates selected. The total turn out was 227,000 people, smashing last year's record attendance, largely attributable to Independents showing up to vote for Obama, and folks under the age of 29 showing up in unprecedented numbers. But again at most Obama energized 80,000 people to vote for him, which means there were 140,000 Iowa Democratic caucus goers who weren't impressed with Sen. Obama.

Also, his "I AM THE DREAM" speech rankled (at least me). To paraphrase his victory speech, Obama basically claimed that what Martin Luther King, Jr. saw up on that hill when he peered into the future and saw racial equanimity and inclusiveness, that it was Sen. Obama's smiling visage beaming back at him. Talk about audaciousness. I don't know that this sort of audacity will sell well as the campaign goes on. It sold well with its target audience. Today, many liberals (just watch any random 3 hour stretch of CNN or MSNBC) are suffering from dislocated shoulders from patting themselves on the back so hard for their willingness to overcome racial prejudice and vote for Sen. Obama in Iowa. For some reason, they are not punishing themselves equally for their disgusting show of rank prejudice in their rejection of Sen. Clinton and how that clearly shows the continued unlevel playing field faced by women in our horribly gender-biased culture.

In summary, there were two winners in Iowa, Obama and Huckabee, and four losers.

Sen. Clinton's defeat in Iowa was a huge chink in her armor, and destroyed her, 'I'm the inevitable candidate' strategy. The next biggest loser was Gov. Romney, he spent $7million and received around 30,000 votes. That's $233 per vote cast. That's a lousy return on his investment. The third biggest losers were the race-hustling "black leadership" establishment. The Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world just saw their hold over white liberals smashed forever. White liberals can now point to Obama as proof that they are no longer prejudice, so they don't need to kowtow to these race pimps. Sharpton was on Kimmel last night (and crossing a picket line to do it), and he didn't seem at all happy, and was claiming he may jump into the campaign. The fourth biggest losers were unions. They split their support between Edwards and Clinton, and saw both those candidates do poorly.

Sen. Obama has the potential to win the Democratic nomination without having to pander to two of the groups that Democrats have traditionally pandered to, the unions and the race-hustlers. That gives him a great opportunity to change the kind of issues that a viable Democratic candidate can tackle. He could attack school unions, support vouchers. He could praise welfare reform, and push even stronger entitlement reforms. He could begin tacking towards the middle if he does very well in South Carolina. If he doesn't, then he'll have to stick to his mix of lefty rhetoric leavened with talk of hope, inclusiveness, and working across the aisle (but no specifics).

Nothing's been decided yet, there's a lot of campaigning left, but Obama and Huckabee have strengthened, Romney and Clinton have been wounded, Thompson may have helped himself quite a bit by coming in a narrow third, and Giuliani may still end up looking very smart by ignoring Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

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