Sunday, January 6, 2008

Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.

Wow, it’s been more than a month since my last blog post. Sorry for the delay, but I was busy…with…er…feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. Really, take my word for it.

Well, Christmas is over, New Years has passed, and we are well into election season. That said, I think we, as friends, should spend a little time together analyzing the recent Iowa caucus and making a few predictions about New Hampshire and South Carolina. Let’s begin, shall we?

In the interest of full disclosure, let me first go on record as stating I am an avid Romney supporter. I like him a lot. I think he’s smart, successful, conservative, and utterly elect-able. I’m not unhappy with Romney’s finish in Iowa. Sure, he spent a lot of money and he came in second, but I don’t view this as a problem. It’s difficult (if not impossible) to say what would have happened if Romney hadn’t spent the money—perhaps he wouldn’t have even come in second—who knows?

I see his second place finish going into New Hampshire as a good thing because it lowers the media’s expectations a bit. He doesn’t even have to finish first in New Hampshire (though I believe he will) he just has to beat Huckabee. I’m wondering how he will fare against McCain and Giuliani, however. And, speaking of those guys…

Was it wise of Rudy to not campaign in Iowa? I don’t know—all the other guys got free press—absolutely invaluable. Rudy seems to have faded from the spotlight in recent weeks. In fact, has anyone seen him lately? Rudy? Oh, Rudy?

Of course, McCain ran as the renegade, the Dark Horse candidate—this in spite of the fact that he votes the party line about 90% of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the guy, but I’m not sure his message will resonate with primary voters. These are the party faithful—I think McCain should be running as more of a GOP loyalist—he should save the “wild, independent” card for the general election…if he makes it.

And then there’s the guy who won the Iowa GOP caucus—Mike Huckabee. I don’t dislike Huckabee…but I detest his name. It sounds too much like Huck Finn, Hick-abee, Shucks-abee, etc.—too many weird things you can do with it to make it sound as though he’s a hillbilly governor from a backwoods state. Oh…wait…

At any rate, I’m willing to bet his days as the front-runner are numbered. Sure, he was the flavor of the month on Iowa, but I seriously doubt his folksy humor will hold much appeal in New Hampshire—he’s all about quasi-Southern charm, they’re all about Northern efficiency.

I reckon the big story out of Iowa is Hillary’s third place finish among Democrats. Apparently NPR called this earlier in the day (according to a reliable source—I didn’t hear it myself) but CNN and the Big 3 all expected Clinton to jockey with Obama for first place.

In attempting to best Obama, she initially ran as the logical choice among women. Obama, on the other hand, ran as the candidate of hope and inspiration. According to entrance polls, Obama garnered a larger share of the female vote in Iowa. So where does this leave Hill? Clearly she has to evaluate and rework her message…but what that message should be is anyone’s guess—I mean, how do you do counter that? WOMEN+HOPE+INSPIRATION= the Democrat SuperTrifecta. Yikes! (I’m waiting her to offer kisses from her husband in exchange for votes. But hey, just another day at the office for ol’ Billy, huh?)

Edwards managed to edge out Hillary. (Could it have anything to do with the fact he has a better haircut? Who knows?) No doubt this represented a crushing blow to the Clinton campaign. However, I found it remarkably interesting that exit polls indicate Edwards was not victorious among his base—union members. Surprising, since he’s running as a champion of those that don the blue collar. Remember, according to him, he’s the one who’s been marching, picketing, etc. with his union brethren more than any other candidate. (Never mind that the closest this guy has come to union membership is the Trial Lawyers Association.) In spite of Edwards’ best “Norma Rae” impersonation, labor came out strong for Obama first, and Hillary second. Maybe Edwards should start looking for a new base…hair stylists, perhaps? (I’m sorry—that story is just TOO GOOD to let go!)

Finally, as a good, conservative Republican, I can’t decide whom I want to win the Democratic nomination. For me, it’s a question of who is most “defeatable.” Recent polls indicate Hillary is “the candidate most likely to be hated,” thus, in my GOP mind, that makes her somewhat appealing as a political adversary. However, I think when it comes down to it, a lot of fence-sitters will have a hard time with Obama for a host of reasons, not the least of which is his inexperience.

I know failed to mention Ron Paul, Fred Thompson, Duncan Hunter and a few other guys we know won’t win, but I figured I’d leave that up to y’all. I’m interested to hear from you, my loyal readers (yes, BOTH of you.) I’d like your comments, thoughts, impressions, predictions, etc. on Iowa, NH, SC, the GOP, the Dems, campaigns, candidates, and elections in general, etc. By all means, don’t hold back—in fact, LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!