My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Trying To Make Sense of Iowa 

"Ohhhh . . .There's nothing half-way about the Iowa way to treat you,
if we treat you,
which we may not do at all.

There's an Iowa kind of special chip-on-the-shoulder attitude
We've never been without that we recall."

I am looking at the results from Iowa, and several things stand out to me.

First: in a big shocker, I am TERRIBLE at making predictions.

Second: as it did four years ago, Iowa has surprised the world. As I seem to recall, Howard the Duck was very well positioned heading into the caucus, and we all saw how that worked out. Again, the presumed front-runners from a month ago are both scratching their heads tonight. There's a reason I posted those lines from "The Music Man"--there is, there must be, something about Iowans that is pathologically hostile to front-runners.

Third: the caucus structure is very difficult to poll, so predictions are very difficult to come by accurately (though, apparently, the Iowa Poll was basically right on.)

Fourth: Iowans have shown a ridiculous--almost stupid--unwillingness to use their brains on this night. Consider: with all that has happened in the last few weeks (the Bhutto assassination, the mystery NIE, Putin, chaos in Africa which slammed the stock market) Iowans have chosen two people for Commander-In-Chief whose foreign policy experience is ZERO, and whose foreign policy statements have been almost childishly naive.

I mean, c'mon . . . Ron Paul pulls 10%??

I guess that is what is most disturbing to me: the fundamental UN-seriousness of this disproportionately important chunk of the electorate. I could have swallowed a Clinton Presidency because I think that she would take an attack on the U.S. very seriously and would have responded with swift force--I have no such faith in either Obama or Huckabee. And with the complexity of issues facing us, I also have no faith that either Obama or Huckabee has the werewithal to grasp it all and steer a good course through it.

So, where does that leave things? Well, it looks for all intents and purposes that McCain could win in NH and battle for Michigan, which could set up South Carolina for either Thompson (if he's still alive) or Huckabee (who looks like he will still be alive), though McCain's buddy Lindsey Graham may be able to pull that state together for him. Romney will string together a series of second and third places so that he arrives on super Tuesday with the most delegates, but no real strength or momentum. Which sets everything up very nicely for Rudy Giuliani, who should take home enough delegates on super Tuesday to put him right up in the mix.

McCain, Giuliani, Romney, Huckabee, maybe Thompson--all alive by mid-March.

On the other side, Obama will get a great bump out of this, but the polls in the next few states look pretty bad for him. Hillary should recover and get back on top in a big hurry. The one thing that may change that is if Edwards starts getting beaten so badly that he drops out of the race: his people may just roll over to Obama as the "anti-Hillary" and make the race a very interesting dogfight. But I'm not counting on it.

In other words, Iowa could easily end up being nothing more than a footnote in this election cycle, as it will prove to have almost no predictive power over what happens in the summer.

Which is exactly where Iowa belongs: in the footnotes.

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