McFee (mightycodking) wrote,

Obama, Huckabee take Iowa

On the Democratic side, I'm not really sure how to react because I honestly had no idea going in who might win. I thought Edwards might but it was a gut feeling not really based on anything. The big losers are everyone other than those three; not that Biden or Richardson were given much of a chance to win, but I'm sure they didn't do all that work to finish with 1-2% of the vote. It is hard to argue that any of the second tier candidates belong in the race past tonight. Richardson had hoped for a last stand in Nevada but Biden for New Hampshire, but it seems neither one has much to hope for now but humiliation and maybe to latch on to someone else's ticket as the veep.

On the Republican side it is interesting that Huckabee won. He seemed better than most of the second tier candidates early on despite his non-belief in evolution (?!), and the lack of a non-problematic front-runner in the putative top three of Giuliani, McCain, and Romney opened up possibilities for a dark horse to emerge, but it's still amazing to see. I share David Sirota's view that it is too simplistic to chalk this up to the Christian fundamentalists getting their man. Huckabee is quite different from many of the other candidates on economic issues and his record as Arkansas governor might play better in a general election than it does in primary season. The main surprise is how handily Huckabee won, beating Romney by nine points. McCain and Thompson are still slugging it out for third. McCain now needs and has a good chance for New Hampshire, although he is hurt by independents leaning Democratic and possibly by Paul siphoning "maverick" votes. He is helped less by his own qualities than by the groundswell of antipathy that seems to exist for Romney in that state. Giuliani seems to be in big trouble but hope might be colouring that prediction. I'm also not sure what Thompson's strategy is at this point. Presumably he has one. This race is still pretty open, especially if McCain takes New Hampshire, because the Huckster strikes me as weak in blue states, McCain is hated by much of the base, Romney still has lots of money even if he won't have anything to show for it at that point, and Giuliani is ever lurking in his coffin ready to rise at night and feed on fear if the terrorists attack again.

Lastly Ron Paul's 10% gives him plenty of reason to stick around. It's not the REVOLUTION his supporters were hoping for but it's also stronger than pretty well any poll has been giving him so far. The decision to exclude him from the Fox/ABC debates seems pretty arbitrary after tonight.
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