Friday, January 4, 2008

Iowa, Ron Paul and Continuing On to NH

Whadja think of last night in Iowa?

As you know, Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton by 8-9 percentage points. She came in third, behind John Edwards.

And Ron Paul took fifth, among Republicans, beating no-show Rudy Giuliani.

Mike Huckabee had a similar win over Mitt Romney. That said, in conservative, largely faith-based Iowa, Huckabee had easy pickings there . This showed two things, though: Repubs are still undecided, and, Add Romney and Huckabee and you've got a lot of morally conservative voters willing to vote Republican.

The Democrats never reached out to evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, despite having some values many hold important.

I think Huckabee will take a hit in NH. Everyone does. Expect him to tweak his message to diminish his faith-focus, and talk about caring for others. Consistent with what he believes, but will help limit the religious phobia that swirls around those afraid of his personal life.

I think Edwards' support is temporary. He is too liberal compared to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and the majority of Democratic voter want someone to build bridges with conservatives. The jury is out whether Hillary/Obama can do this, but few think Edwards can, or intends to.

Still a Hillary/Obama fight. The Clinton campaign is not unorganized, and not hanging their heads low. They know Hillary’s husband lost in Iowa, and then went on to win two White House elections. Expect the Hillary machine to do what it does better than the rest: swing hard, look smart, and handle the PR masterfully.

Rudy never showed up, realizing he had no chance in Iowa. He saved his money, emotions and reality. That reality is that he will not president. He's running for speaking jobs in 2009.

Which Republican is wining their side? I’m unsure. Huckabee’s victory may not withstand then upcoming East Coast liberal onslaught. However, he could thrive. Just like during Super Bowl Sunday, alternatives are still needed. He might be seen as the one credible conservative option, and, as we see, other than Romney, candidates among Republicans are more mid-road moralists or have no reasonable chance (no one, from what I hear, ever took Alan Keyes seriously).

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