Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Does Iowa Really Matter?

Why do we place so much importance on the Iowa Caucuses? I've been reading up on it, and it seems overly complicated to me. I couldn't find any hard and fast rules, except for the date. Everything else can change in mid-caucus, and frequently does.

Nevertheless, I watched all the media types bloviate all evening about what a win in Iowa would mean. The only real surprise, to me, was that Hillary! ended up in third place. I thought that slot would belong to John Edwards. I was pretty well satisfied with that outcome, strangely enough.

I was not surprised that Mike Huckabee came out ahead of the rest of the field. Over time, the more pious Mike Huckabee seemed, the most insincere Mitt Romney looked. And, perception is everything. Just remember, there's a reason why most of the people in Arkansas called Mike Huckabee "the Huckster". And, it's the same reason they called Bill Clinton "slick Willie". And, it had nothing to do with bimbo eruptions, and everything to do with the dictionary description of "Flim-Flam man".

But, I digress.

Just what does the Iowa outcome mean for the coming primary in New Hampshire? Not a whole lot, I'd bet. Even the talking heads can't seem to agree. The main thing it means is that it is going to be a long, long campaign. But, New Hampshire is very different from Iowa. The state motto, "Live Free or Die" says a lot about it. It will be interesting to watch Huckabee morph into "more of a governor than a pastor", which he is already saying in interviews. He'll be whatever you want him to be, as will most politicians.

I fully expect John McCain to come into his own in New Hampshire. And, strangely enough, I expect Obama to stay on top. If Hillary ends up in second place, I hope Bill doesn't put on that goofy grin of his and crow about her being "another comeback kid". Shiver.

But, by the time the New Hampshire primary is over, Iowa will be forgotten. So, to answer my own question, Iowa doesn't matter a whole lot, except for being first. Which is about all you can expect from a loosey-goosey musical chairs kind of meeting.


Kell said...

I really hope the rest of America wises up about Huckabee. Bush ran on a morally holier than though ticket and look where that got us. I guess we'll see how it all shakes out. I don't think the GOP like Huckabee too much either.

Jay said...

What I love most about Hucks win is the way the Republican establishment is melting down over it.

Personally I think they deserve a Huckabee nomination. They opened these people's cages now they have to live with them.

Peggy said...

Iowa is NEVER forgotten! Iowa matters a whole lot, especially to Iowans!

It's great sport in the months coming up to an election. If you're mildly interested in who is running, you'll get to meet the candidates. If you are annoyed by the whole political process, you still get to meet all the candidates. You can't move for the press and the heavily groomed candidates. I actually miss being in Iowa for this stuff.

Other than the caucuses, not much happens of great note in our fair state. We like it that way.

If you're sick of hearing about Iowa, don't worry. The caucus is over and you won't hear about the quiet state again.

Dogwalkmusings said...

Huckabee scares me but Iowa did show the power of the Evangelical vote. It also showed that a predominantly white state, and especially their young, no longer see "color".

Usually I think Iowa indicates nothing as far as the entire population is concerned but this go 'round it has been both a warning and, hopefully, an indicator!

DocMtCat said...

I think that you are pretty well on the mark with your insight. I think the Iowans just want to brag about being first. Heck they moved the damn things to January 3rd just so that no one could be before them. They caucus the way that the old west settlers elected the town sheriff for goodness sake... "Ummm stand in that corner if you like this guy and in that corner if you like the other" (and thats only my democrats mind you - at least the Republicans in Iowa actually vote normally) - I watched a ton of the coverage on MSNBC last night. (Mostly becuase I like Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman) and couldn't help wishing deep down inside that Hillary would give an "I have a scream" type speech a la Howard Dean when she found out that she was going to finish third... Go Obama !

-Shane (doc)

Betty said...

kell: I don't think Huckabee's fellow Republicans like him very much, either. But, I think he'll fade pretty fast after he gets out of the south - if he even gets that far.

jay: Don't get me started.

peggy: I had a feeling I'd hear from you. lol. Actually, while the caucuses are confusing, I can see where they'd be a lot of fun.

dogwalkmusings: I was pleased to hear about the turnout among young people, too.

Shane: Hillary may have a tougher time than she once thought. Thanks for commenting.

Rhea said...

You're right. Iowa is just the beginning and the leaders in the Iowa results don't often come out on top in the election.

DirkStar said...

Iowa is the belt buckle of the bible belt and it did not surprise me at all how things went down.

No winner of Iowa has ever come close to winning the presidency. This is comforting to me.

The two revival style speakers, Obama and the Huckster played the evangelicals perfectly, however, now they are moving into the states of intellectual voters.

Obama has gotten about all he can out of his one line campaign rhetoric, "I didn't vote for the war and I'm the candidate of change." Quite frankly he's like a ghetto Christmas present, all pretty wrapping and no package underneath.

Show your plan, Obama...

Huckabee is worrisome.

He talks about things he truly wants to do. We'll see how he fares in New Hampshire...

Annie said...

Betty, did you watch the New Hampshire debate last evening? Hillary showed a warm and flirty side I hadn't seen before and I'm wondering how that played.

About Skitty Cat, I've been feeding him since June and he's gotten big and sleek and beautiful. But you should have seen him in April when he was skin and bones.

Sister--Three said...

I was surprised at how the democrats stats went. I laughed when Huck beat all the big boys. What will be next. Certainly the scores will not run the same in New Hampshire.

Betty said...

Dirk: Huckabee will be history before long (I hope). And, Hillary is struggling more than I thought she would.

annie: Yes, I did watch the debate, and enjoyed it. It's such a pleasure to watch a debate when all the candidates are people you wouldn't mind voting for. Unlike past years.

sister-three: You're right, but I think the Huckster will be history before long. I always thought he was actually runningfor Vice-President all along.

Nancy said...

Hi Betty, 11:52 A.M. 1/8

I just had the Weather Channel on and they warned of a tornado in Arkansas. Head's up.

I hope you are not in the line of it.

Take care,