Iowa has spoken, and what Iowa has said has left the political scene in disarray in both parties.
First of all the Iowa caucus credentialed two candidates who are not electable unless they somehow manage to run against one another in November. America is not ready to elect a Black man with the middle name of Hussein who used to be a drug dealer to the Presidency nor will it elect someone who wants to take the nation back for Jesus, even if the Jesus that he wants to take the nation back to is a tax hiking, immigration loving, felon pardoning, big Statist, deity who has nothing to do with the fellow by the same name who walks through the Scriptures.
On the Republican side Huckabee won Iowa by means of identity politics combined with scorched earth populism. Huckabee at one and the same time managed to come off as the champion of the marginalized Christians who voted for him in spades and the guy who is willing to take on greedy Wall Street as the champion for the little guy. He has constantly clothed himself as the ‘Jesus candidate’ from the go while on ‘the Tonight show’ where he said, “People are looking for a presidential candidate who reminds them more of the guy they work with rather than the guy that laid them off,” in response to a Leno question revealed again his not so cloaked populist appeal. Huckabee won in Iowa by being one part Elmer Gantry and one part William Jennings Bryan. Republicans voted for Huckabee in Iowa not because of who he is but rather because he is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as being the champion of the Christian middle class. If Huckabee can continue to tap into that wave he will be able to ride it a very long way.
Elsewhere on the Republican side news remains good for everyone but Romney. Huckabee’s victory adds life to the McCain and Giuliani campaigns if only because Romney’s loss in Iowa keeps him from wearing the mantle of inevitability which would have come with wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. As it stands Romney must now win in New Hampshire without an Iowa bounce or it will be very difficult for him to recover. Because of Romney’s defeat in Iowa McCain looks like the Romney alternate in New Hampshire. Similarly Giuliani’s strategy of surviving until the larger and more left leaning states vote now seems more doable without a clear front runner being in a dominant position. Fred Thompson’s third place finish allows him to move on to South Carolina where he hopes to get a win to breathe life into his campaign and finally Ron Paul’s double digit vote combined with his deep pockets probably insures that he will be a considerable factor in the primaries until the very end.
Iowa has made hash out of the Republican campaign and it is difficult to see how New Hampshire could un-hash it.
On the other liberal side Iowa likewise created uncertainty. The anointed Mrs. Clinton was un-anointed being relegated to third place behind the neophyte guy named Barak Hussein and the populist John Edwards. Hillary isn’t going to go away with this loss but neither is she going to be coronated any time soon as Queen of the Dems. Hillary’s problem in Iowa, despite her money and party connections is her inability to connect with Middle America. Most politicians come across as phony but Mrs. Clinton excels at coming across as phony. Edwards’ second place finish allows him to move on but after spending two years in Iowa campaigning it is an open question whether or not he can reproduce his strength in other states where he hasn’t established virtual residency. Senator Clinton will have to find a way to chop Barak Hussein off at the knees. Being a Clinton she has the ability to do that. The question is whether or not she can do so without coming across like Tonya Harding trying to snuff out Nancy Kerrigan. Mrs. Clinton remains a polarizing figure with high negatives but as I said earlier she still has the party machinery and lots of money in her pocket and so shouldn’t be counted out just yet. If she gets trounced in New Hampshire though, Katy bar the door.
Iowa thus has made hash out of the other liberal party campaign as well, though New Hampshire could un-hash it with a convincing Barak Hussein win.
On the Republican side I am beginning to think that this could be a process where no candidate gets enough delegates before the convention to put him over the top thus leading to a brokered convention with smoke filled rooms and back room deals and where all kinds of antics, hijinks and skullduggery will be on display. As a Ron Paul guy that delights me. On the side of the other Liberal party I don’t think Democrats are going to nominate Barak Hussein unless they have a death wish for November, which is why I still think that when the smoke clears Hillary will be the last man standing.
New Hampshire here we come.