Iowa is in the books for this Primary season. All the hype produced a somewhat ho-hum result, with few surprises. No real shockers here folks, just a lot of expected number crunching and over analysis by pundits.
On the Democratic side, Obama put up a very good showing. Slightly better than I expected, but I did believe he would come out on top. What did surprise me somewhat was Clinton’s third place finish. She got beat out by the ambulence chaser Edwards. Admitedly it was close, but still, this can not be a good sign for the Ice Queen’s campaign. Anything but a win in New Hampshire will put her into panic mode, which it should. She can not be banking on a nig showing on “Super Tuesday” as many of her “supporters” will have bailed by then if she does poorly in NH. Edwards too needs a very strong showing in NH to maintain any sort of momentum, though he should still do well in South Carolina. Dodd and Biden bowed to the inevitable and have dropped out. And will somebody please put a nail in Kucinich’s campaign coffin please?
Over on the Republican side, it pretty much went as the polls indidcated. Mike Huckabee took best in show, with Mitt Romney finishing second, and a tight run for third between Fred Thompson and John McCain. Ron Paul’s 5th place finish, with 10,000 votes was a bit surprising, but only a blip on the radar. He won’t do anywhere near as well across most of the country.
I sense that this will be Huckabee’s moment in the sun. While his brand of politics plays well in Iowa, it won’t elsewhere, especially in the big states. Still, he has some momentum behind him at the moment, and will get a bump in NH and probably South Carolina. Mitt is looking to be the #2 guy everywhere. He’s currently running second in the polls in New Hampshire, “his own backyard” to McCain, with Huckabee moving up slightly. If Mitt loses New Hampshire, in anything other than a close place second, he too will be in trouble, just like Clinton.
Might as well go canidate by candidate:
Barack Obama- He’s got the momentum, the look, and Oprah. He just needs to keep it up. He will run into trouble in the South and Midwest, but should do well in the West and Northeast. His greatest danger is being this years Howard “The Scream” Dean. As long as he keeps himself in check, and doesn’t have a melt down, he should be the front runner through Super Tuesday.
John Edwards- He got a bit of an upset in Iowa over Clinton. But not enough of one to push him to the next level. But outside of the Democratic party, he doesn’t translate well. Plus there’s that whole “would you buy a used car from this guy” factor, and his ambulence chasing background, and the $200 hair cuts, and the 14 bed room mansion while crying about poverty…
Hillary Clinton- Ooops. Like many a political creature, she’s living off her husband, and finding that it will only carry you so far. She’s made too many mistakes, like the illegal immigrant liscense fiasco and her incomprehensible response to it, to come across as a legitimate contender. She has name power, the backing of the Democratic party establishment, and all kinds of money from Communist China (Norman Hsu), but it didn’t translate into enough support in Iowa. Like many a star, she began to believe her own press (inevitable candidate, etc), and fell victim when it turns out not to be true. Clinton needs to do several things to get back on track: 1. Get consistent on message, and not pander to a pollsters data; 2. Be genuinely warm. Be something other than patrician Ivy League. Probably not going to happen; 3. Talk to people not at people. Obama gets this, which is why he generates such crowds and enthusiasm; 4. Forget about big money. Can’t she learn from the Hsu fiasco? Have to wait and see if her handlers will allow any of this to happen.
Bill Richardson- The only donkey I like, barely made the cut in Iowa. Depending on how long he stays in the race will determine what impact he has. But I don’t see good things for the Governor. He will play decently in NH, and maybe in South Carolina, but will get crushed by the big three in the larger states (though Texas may be in play for him). Even so, I doubt he will finish higher than 3rd anywhere except in the Southwest.
Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden have dropped out. Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich might as well. They won’t be a factor even in thier home states.
Mike Huckabee- This is probanly his moment to shine as I said previously. While he plays well in Iowa, he won’t be quite so attractive outside the Heartland. While he’s certainly likable, his strengths in Iowa will be weaknesses elsewhere. Call him 2008’s Paul Tsongas.
Mitt Romney- He’s got John Edwards disease. He just can’t pass the “used car test.” He’s a bit too slick, and doesn’t have all that great a record in Massachusettes. He also seems to have John Kerry disease, flip flopping on issues (but not the association with organized crime). He needs a win badly in New Hampshire. If he gets beat by McCain by anything over than a razor thin margin, he’ll be in trouble. As sad as it is, his Mormanism will be a detrimental factor in the South, and will probably cost him South Carolina.
Fred Thompson- Sorry folks, I just can’t get behind Fred. He just hasn’t run a good enough campaign, and he just doesn’t play well off script. He may be a Veep candidate, and may be able to play kingmaker if it comes to a brokered convention. He should get at least one outright win, probably in South Carolina, but will probably be a consistent finsher at #3.
John McCain- His showing in Iowa was a bit of a surprise to me, and I back John. Given that he barely campaigned in Iowa, and his positions on Ethanol and Grain subsidies are not popular in Iowa, his tight finish with Fred Thompson was a boost going into New Hampshire, where he leads in the polls. McCain needs to stay on message, and make an effort to court the talk radio types. He needs to avoid the Bob Dole pitfall, and be sure to show his “human side,” his humor and his candor with people. Being too stiff, to much an officer will turn off just enough people to cost him.
Rudy Guiliani- Rudy needs a new campaign manager. Heck, he needs a new campaign period. I really question this whole ignore Iowa and New Hampshire strategy. He’s banking everything on Super Tuesday, and the big states. I think this is a mistake, and a potentially fatal one for his campaign. Even NY GOP big wigs are hedging on Rudy, which is not a good sign. I think that Rudy has shot himself in the foot, and will not be able to recover. I mean he got outshowed by Ron Paul in Iowa! Rudy, drop out now and run against Schumer for the Senate in NY. Please!
Ron Paul- Guess all that Aryan Nation money did some good eh? This guy is too kooky. More like a soft spoken Lyndon Larouche (a fellow Northeastern U guy). Maybe he and Kucinich can form a third party bid under the Extremely Silly Party line. He’s never going to finish higher than 5th anywhere, probably even in Texas, and he is never going to get the nomination.
Duncan Hunter was done before he started, as was Alan Keys. Though Alan could take his show on the road as stand up comedy.
If I forgot anyone, well, they obviously deserved it.