Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 3, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

HELLUVA WIN, BARACK....I'm not real good at the whole narrative thing, so I'm not sure what tonight's caucus results "mean." But based on the entrance polls, I have to say that Barack Obama's victory was mighty impressive. Not only did he win by a pretty solid margin, 38% vs. 30% for both Clinton and Edwards, but he won in virtually every subcategory. He won among both men and women; he won among Democrats, independents, and Republicans; he won among every income group; and he won among people most concerned with the economy, the war, and healthcare.

So was there any good news for Clinton or Edwards? Not much. Clinton won (barely) among married people; among rural voters; and among the elderly. Edwards won among conservatives (!) and the middle-aged. I think Edwards is doomed now, since he just doesn't have the money to overcome this loss. Clinton isn't, but I don't know if you can say much more than that. Obviously she has a tougher road now against a well-funded Obama campaign with lots of momentum, but I wouldn't be willing to say much more than that.

Among Republicans, the picture is obviously a lot muddier. Huckabee's victory was also impressive, winning among both men and women; among evangelicals; among Bush lovers; among every income group except the well off; among all issue groups; and among all age groups. Romney won only among moderates; the well off; and urban voters. The rest of the field was nowhere.

But I just don't believe that Huckabee is going to be able to sustain this. Iowa's Republican turnout was 60% evangelical, and I don't see him being able to broaden his appeal in less God-soaked states. But we'll see.

Kevin Drum 11:06 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (69)

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GO O!!!

A refreshing and dynamic candidate actually leads the pack in the opening round!!!

Posted by: pencarrow on January 3, 2008 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

The Iowa Post-Mortem - Five Things We Now Know:
1. Mitt Romney is Finished
2. John Edwards is Probably Finished
3. Huckabee's Rise is McCain's Resurrection
4. Hillary is Down But Not Out; Rudy is Out But Not Necessarily Down
5. Massive Democratic Turnout Bodes Well for November

Posted by: Furious on January 3, 2008 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

It's a cruel game where Edwards can spend 1/6 of what Hillary spent, narrowly beat her and still come away with little shot at things. He needs a miracle in New Hampshire, but unfortunately I think you're right-- he's probably done. Hopefully he can drag HRC down with him.

When is it the rest of the country's turn to pick our nominee? F^cking Iowa.

Posted by: shams on January 3, 2008 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going on record that Huckabee will be the GOP nominee. Will anyone give me 5-1 odds? He's an immensely talented politician, and an ideal communicator, particular on telivision. Huckabee is clearly popular among GOP evangelicals, but how do you also explain his rise in national polls, where he's tied or in the lead? The man owes his rise not just to pushing the God button, but also to his personal charisma and sincerity.

This was a pretty convincing victory, in a GOP primary where voters supposedly don't like any of the candidates.

Posted by: Matt D on January 3, 2008 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Soaking in any sort of deity sounds risky. Maybe Zhoul.

Posted by: mrsaturdaypants on January 3, 2008 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

What an exciting moment in history. Barack is giving America goosebumps...and hope. Hooray!

Posted by: MilwGonzo on January 3, 2008 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

If Mike Huckabee is elected President, I will leave. Like, I am totally straight-faced serious. I just couldn't...

Posted by: Caitlin on January 3, 2008 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno about Edwards -- prior to the last few weeks, the entire Democratic narrative was about Obama/Clinton. Edwards was treated, effectively, as if he were a vanity candidate like Dodd or Biden -- not a serious contender.

Coming in second (if effectively tied with Clinton) probably raises his stature some. He is screwed on money, but I think Clinton is the most damaged -- all that money, expertise, support, skill -- and she came in third.

Obama certainly should be the one celebrating, but I'd say Edwards has a silver lining he might be able to exploit -- and Hillary really has the worst possible narrative to deal with. If she'd beaten Edwards, even by a little, she'd have a lot stronger hand. When you're running on electability, and you come in third....

Edwards can at least try to use a second place finish to actually get some visibility.

Posted by: Morat20 on January 3, 2008 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

This was the first day in well over eight years that I've been proud to be an American.

Posted by: lampwick on January 3, 2008 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Whoever the Democrat is at this point, the Repubs will have to choose between an evangelical wild card the establishment won't support or a Mormon empty suit the grassroots will never turn out for.

Good luck with that. (Guess this means we have a shot this time.)

Posted by: Kenji on January 3, 2008 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Matt D,

Huck willnot be the GOP nominee. The larger portion of the GOP base is not evangelical...and Thompson put in a strong enough show to get the ball rolling. I am a conservative and get the feeling that folks were waiting to see if he was viable and 3rd place seems to have been the cut-off for viability. He is the conservative candidate and I suspect that will become apparent rather quickly when decision time comes...especially in the not-so-godly states like NY (where I reside).

Gulianni makes me want to puke and Romney is now done, while most conservatives hate McCain and Huck is just too religious for me.

Posted by: AMW on January 3, 2008 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

'prior to the last few weeks, the entire Democratic narrative was about Obama/Clinton.' - Morat20

Even tonight, the pre-caucus talking heads were leaving Edwards out of the equation. It was amazing. Polls showed Edwards in second place and he was really not mentioned at all in the coverage I watched anyway on MSNBC.

Posted by: nepeta on January 3, 2008 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

The Huckster won't be the nominee, but I'm making an offering of a whole burnt ox to Yahweh in supplication for his continued progress. Go Huck!

Obama suggests to me more message than support. I don't think he has any more of a chance of being the nominee than the Huckster, but that doesn't blunt the point he's making.

As to Edwards, I'd be really happy to see a Clinton-Edwards ticket.

The only question for me is, will it be Romney or McCain against Clinton? They both took a hit tonight, and while McCain has momentum, Romney has a money and organization.

Big fun!

Posted by: bleh on January 3, 2008 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Lampwick, I felt it in my bones that we would be proud of our country tonight. I couldn't have asked for a better outcome...Let me do a little victory dance: for months I said Hillary's inevitablity would collapse like Ted Kennedy's in 1980, once the voters saw the empress had no clothes. I said Romney was the Steve Forbes vanity candidate of this cycle. And I said if this country is offerred an election between Obama, honestly laying out the Democratic vision of what this country should be, and McCain doing the same for the Republicans, we will be better off than we have been for many decades.

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 3, 2008 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

God Soaked(?)...WTF

Posted by: Karl Rove on January 3, 2008 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Iowa isn't a god soaked state. The Republican party of Iowa, like the state level party everywhere is god soaked. Note the turn out numbers in Iowa for thhe Republicans: pathetic, and the Huckster cultists are only a fraction of that. AS a porportion of the total population of Iowa, the Christianist rightists are nothhinng more than a very vocal minority.

Posted by: wonkie on January 3, 2008 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get the depression re Edwards (my preferred candidate).

The question is, IMHO, who gets the VP slot.
I still believe HRC will win the nomination, and, it seems to me, putting Edwards on the ticket gives her more of an advantage than putting Obama on the ticket (in that anyone who supports Obama will vote for anyway, while Edwards allows her to pick up some Southerners, and Obama on the ticket frightens off a whole class of voters.)
Even the other way round, with Obama as the candidate, I think the voting arithmetic works out the same (Edwards as VP is more likely to bring in other-side candidates than HRC), but in this case HRC has a lot of political capital ro rely on, so I don't know how it plays out.

Either way, my hope is we at least get Edwards on the ticket as VP, with a chance in 8 years (he's still fairly young). This strikes me as eminently plausible.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on January 3, 2008 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, wonkie, I think libs and centrists are still giving too much weight and mass to God's army. They are a reliable core for the Repugs, but how many are there, really, and can they trusted to lean rightward on all issues -- especially over the coming years?

Posted by: Kenji on January 3, 2008 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

bleh what are you smoking? Hillary is in deep shit. Iowa is 94% white 2.5% black. If Obama wins in Iowa he can win everywhere except the deepest south. He wins in New Hampshire. He wins in South Carolina.

There is no firewall for Hillary unless she creates a miracle in New Hampshire.

The one thing I do know is that Americans,Democrats and Republicans and Independents alike, are all sick to death of the old and want change. What is Hillary except the status quo. She is the past. Obama is the future.

Huckabee is more than an evangelical. If you listened to his speech he was touching exactly the same themes as Obama. That is why he is doing so well. The Republican voters are telling the Republican elites to go away, now.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 3, 2008 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

You say that Edwards is "doomed" after putting in a strong second-place showing while being outspent 3 to 1. I'd say that if money is all that matters in American politics -- and that seems to be what you're implying -- then he's not the only one who's doomed.

It's going to be a long race, and this is only the first primary. And for the record, I think forecasts of Edwards' doom are quite premature. See you in New Hampshire, if you're not too overcome by Obama's charm.

Posted by: Sean Brodrick on January 3, 2008 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Just to add to my previous post, Toobin had an interesting comment where he pointed out that, for the first time in history I think, every person on the Supreme Court is a lawyer and that this probably isn't good for the country. He followed that up by saying that he thought that if HRC wins the election, she should put Obama on the Supreme Court as soon as a slot opens up, as a way to limit his political opposition to her, as a way to get someone who (for the most part) agrees with her wrt the domestic agenda in a position to keep that agenda alive for a long time, and as a way to curry some favor with all the Obama supporters.

Sounds like a good idea to me --- but is one more reason why she'll pick Edwards as her VP, not Obama.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on January 3, 2008 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

The most salient message about the Obama win is not the win per se, it's how he wone. The Iowa caucuees have turned out to be about the worst possible news for Republicans. Not only did Obama find support across the social, political, and economic spectrum in a predominately white, conservative state, he brought out a huge number of new (i.e. young) caucus goers. This is the Republican nightmare come true. They know how to handle Clinton. But Obama presents a new and unique challenge.

In the past the Republicans were able (and very willing) to practice the Politics of Division (TM) and write off whole classes of voters to appeal to their base plus a couple of "swing" groups to put together a bare minimum to win the election. For example, they could alienate the secular urban dwellers to lock in the support of the evangelicals. This time Obama's support may be too broad to make that strategy work. Obama can attract votes from both secularists and evangelicals. And the worst of the bad news for Republicans is that young people are not just predominately Obama supporters, they are enthusiastic Obama supporters and will come to the polls for the first time if he's on the ballot. It will be nearly impossible for the Republicans counter this support because young people get their news from John Stewart, not Bill O'Riley.

The Republicans only hope is to put the Republican Slime Machine (TM) into hyperdrive, and that's just what they'll do. If Obama ends up getting the nomination I hope he (and his staff) are up to the challenge. If they are, the Republicans are so screwed.

Posted by: aaron aardvarka on January 3, 2008 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

It won't be a Clinton-Edwards ticket, that's for sure. Tonight was rejection of Clintonism. No more Bushes or Clintons is a good thing for all of us.

Who will Obama get for a VP? Webb? Richardson? Schwarzenegger?

Huckabee is so darn likable but in the end his religiosity will probably be his undoing. It'll probably be a McCain/Lieberman ticket on the GOP side.

Obama wins.

Posted by: MilwGonzo on January 3, 2008 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going on record that Huckabee will be the GOP nominee. Will anyone give me 5-1 odds? - MattD

He's going to have a lot of scrutiny and explaining to do with the FairTax. That's his boat anchor, IMO. When it becomes obvious(will it?) that the rich would make out wonderfully and the middle class is going to get soaked under that plan people should be howling up a storm. But who knows, he might ditch the plan altogether and offer up single-payer health care and really fuck with everybody's head! Jeebus, watch out for the general election.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 3, 2008 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

corpus juris, I think one needs to be careful of the "availability paradox," i.e., that the most recently available sample tends to be thought of as more accurately representative of an unknown underlying distribution than it really is.

I'd also suggest you take a look at the polls from other states that are very large and/or have primaries fairly soon, e.g., NV, SC, MI, FL, CA, NY, as well as national polls of Democrats, noting especially their trends. HRC is, and has been for months, an overwhelming favorite, both nationally and in every state except the lily-white ones of IA and NH. Plus, she's got the most money and the most professional organization.

Now, that's not to say that the narrative can't change, or that the media -- custodians of the narrative -- have any fondness for her. And it's not to say that Obama's message and personality aren't attractive or timely. And it's also not to say that I'm particularly enamored of the Establishment Democrat.

But you gotta consider, (1) Obama has been the media's favorite for recently, both because of his Stevenson-like message and because he's seen as the Hillary-killer, (2) that trend peaked just about perfectly for this caucus, and yet (3) his win was far from dispositive -- this was closer to a tie than to a clear victory. And unless very large numbers of primary voters change their minds, HRC is gonna cruise like a battleship through the majority of upcoming primaries, especially the big ones.

(Also, no smoking; this is California after all.)

Posted by: bleh on January 4, 2008 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Clinton is a strong candidate, and she's got a ton of money & very good organization in key states still to be decided, Iowa results notwithstanding. I'd guess that this is a long way from being over. If she winds up with the nomination, which isn't a stretch at this point, I'd be shocked if Obama's name were so much as whispered in discussions of VP possibilities. It's pretty clear that there's no love lost between these two. But beyond that, it wouldn't make much electoral sense to a Clinton campaign. You'd have two northern, fairly liberal (in the eyes of most America) junior Senators on the same ticket. Obama, hailing from a reliably blue state that wouldn't show any reluctance to go for Clinton in the general, wouldn't bring anything to the ticket for her. Edwards, on the other hand... (or Warner, on still in other hand...)

Posted by: junebug on January 4, 2008 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

I said earlier today that if either Edwards or Obama were decisively defeated some of their supporters would switch. I don't know if tonight was decisive enough, but the momentum is clearly in O's favor. There is still time for a surprise, especially with the early February super-Tuesday. Most likley the nominees will be determined after that one.

A question is whether the Repub powers that be, can derail Huck. That may not be an easy task, although his newness as a serious contender might leave some remaining time for a skeleton to be unearthed. His confident mild appearing manner makes it tough for dirt to stick to him. Kinda reminds one of Ronald R.

Posted by: bigTom on January 4, 2008 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

"God-soaked"...ha.

Posted by: Xanthippas on January 4, 2008 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

bleh, "far from dispositive"? I thought there was a ban on legal jargon here. Clinton dumped a ton of money into Iowa and worked her ground game, years in the making, for all she could. A third place finish, seven points behind the winner, is awful. People didn't come out for Obama because he was the "media's favorite".

If "lily-white" Iowa can go for Obama, what states won't?

I guess we'll see. But I bet you'd be laughed off Hillary's campaign bus right now if you boasted that she would be cruising like a battleship through the rest of the primaries.

Posted by: shams on January 4, 2008 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

I'm going on record that Huckabee will be the GOP nominee. Will anyone give me 5-1 odds?

Huckabee won't be the nominee because the moneycons are terrified that he is what he seems to be. This will demoralize the evangelicals and loose a lot of of the evangelical vote. And Ron Paul won't be the nominee, either. So scratch the libertariancon vote. The Republican candidate will enter the race with one arm and one leg cut off.

If Obama is the Democratic candidate, and he survives the Republican Slime Marchie, his breath of his support and his ability to turn out the youth vote will turn a Democratic victory into a landslide.

Posted by: aaron aardvarka on January 4, 2008 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

Brief history of Iowa caucuses
Huckabee, at least, bested Pat Robinson's second place in 1988.

….Hillary is in deep shit….corpus juris at 11:42 PM

Her third place finish still won twice as many votes as Huckabee but obviously she will have to re-tool her campaign. It's not impossible: She has money. Getting rid of Mark Penn would be a good start but may not happen yet.
Note, the early returns showed an almost even division but as people moved to second choices, Obama's vote increased and Edward's, like hers, decreased a bit. I don't think this result will bring in enough money to Edwards for him to compete effectively in the big states on Super Tuesday.

Posted by: Mike on January 4, 2008 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Clinton is the weakest national candidate since Al Gore [aka Tree Stump] who couldn't carry his home state running on the Clinton record. And if you think she will get any support in the black community if Obama wins Iowa, NH, SC then gets the nomination stolen from him by the party establishment types you're nuts. A McCain/Rice ticket nominated after the Dems snub Obama in that scenario could make the black vote competitive.

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 4, 2008 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

The Huckabee ascendancy was predicted on this very blog 22 months ago.

Posted by: Roxanne on January 4, 2008 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

I'm terrible at math, but it seems to me that both Edwards and Clinton wound up with far more support tonight than Huckabee did. As for Huckabee's chances after Iowa, Kevin continues to demonstrate that he fails to understand the role of evangelicals in elections. When the evangelicals find a candidate worth coming off the bench for, they turn out in huge numbers to support their chose one. If they cannot find a candidate to support, then they stay home on election night. But if they do come off the bench, then they tilt the whole playing field in their favor.

Posted by: Pocket Rocket on January 4, 2008 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

bleh

Did you listen to Obama's victory speech. Hillary Clinton couldn't give a talk like that if her life depended on it. That speech alone probable gained Obama 5-10 points in New Hampshire.

If Obama isn't the greatest orator of his age I would love to know who is. The last person I heard who could give a standing speech that well was Martin Luther King. He excites the imagination like no Democrat since Bobby Kennedy. He is attractive to young people, lots of young people. He is attractive to independents.

Hillary came third behind Edwards. If she came a close second I would say the game was still afoot. But she came third. That is a giant hurdle for her to over come.

Finally, Hillary isn't Bill. Bill was up to the task of fighting back from a bad Iowa showing. See my first paragraph. Bill was wonderful on the stump. Hillary isn't Bill. None of Bill's opponents were anything like Obama.

No, Hillary's battleship is obsolete.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 4, 2008 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

The only reason I think McCain has a chance, despite the majority of Republican activists hating him, is the despair they are feeling today after their game show host got shot down. Close your eyes and listen to Hucklebee and you can hear William Jennings Bryan preaching from the back of a hay wagon -- the Republican Party doesn't like it's populist element that undiluted.

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 4, 2008 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Bleh, lily-white as Iowa may be, they voted for a black man, and I'm really not sure how anyone can view 38% to 30% as a tie. As for national leads in polls, Giuliani has been in the lead nationally on the Republican side and it almost seems like his battleship has already sunk. Not saying Clinton is in the same position, but tonight hurt, and NH is only a few days away.

Posted by: Quinn on January 4, 2008 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

To see a tongue-in-cheek review of the Iowa primary in pictures...link here:

www.thoughttheater.com

Posted by: Daniel DiRito on January 4, 2008 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

The results in Iowa are a big blow to Hillary simply because it's hard to see how she will end up with more than 50% of the delegates even if a majority of superdelegates vote for her at the convention.

"Not Hillary" got 70% of the vote, and you can bet that when Edwards eventually drops out, most of his support will be going to Obama, not to Hillary.

She may still get upwards of 40% in some of the bigger states where her support has been very strong, but if she's not over 50% now, its hard to see her support levels breaking that barrier in the future. If anything, she is going to lose votes to Obama now that people see how viable he is.

Posted by: mfw13 on January 4, 2008 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

He excites the imagination like no Democrat since Bobby Kennedy. He is attractive to young people, lots of young people.

They are the ones that are going to get stuck with all the wreckage and it is piling up fast. A huge stack of debt because of tax cuts for the wealthy and wars of choice which are literally threatening their lives. They are facing jobs with stagnant wages and thinning health insurance benefits-how are they going to afford health care when they start needing it later on? It's time that youth became political again-it does seem a bit like the 60s.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 4, 2008 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

But I just don't believe that Huckabee is going to be able to sustain this.

Let's hope not. The last thing we need is another moronic president whose major strength is the people want to hang out with him. If you want a homecoming king, go back to high school.

Posted by: craigie on January 4, 2008 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Re: "I think Edwards is doomed now, since he just doesn't have the money to overcome this loss."

Yeah, and if he had come in first with 65%, you'd say he is doomed because he doesn't have the money to follow up.

If you don't like him, just go ahead and say so. But don't make up non-reasons for ignoring him.

Posted by: focus on January 4, 2008 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

Youth is organizing. Yuck. Bring back, bring back, O, bring back the AARP to me.

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
Someone's in the kitchen I kno-o-o-ow
Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
Strummin' on the old banjo!

Singin' fi, fie, fiddly-i-o
Fi, fie, fiddly-i-o-o-o-o
Fi, fie, fiddly-i-o

Posted by: Luther on January 4, 2008 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

I just can't help feeling that Obama is Jimmy Carter Mk. II - an appealing "anti-politician" who makes a mess of the politics of office and puts the GOP in for another generation. I honestly think there is a reason the GOP hate HRC - they are scared witless of her; and ultimately 'politics' is more important than inspiring speeches.

Posted by: Syd on January 4, 2008 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

While Hillary has the money and the drive to keep on fighting, I don't think her people--her supporters and volunteers--are that committed, and won't last much beyond NH.

Also, fwiw, the news out of Iowa led the BBC 6 a.m. radio broadcast. Although they insist on calling him "Barrick".

Posted by: KathyF on January 4, 2008 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

Obama was strongest among the youngest voters. Typically this group has a lot of enthusiasm but doesn't actually come out and vote. It may have been an artifact of the caucus format that brought out so many young people. Obama lost among people over 44 which is the group with the highest percentage of actual voters. I expect a more normal voting pattern in NH which has a standard primary and not a caucus.

Posted by: JohnK on January 4, 2008 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

JohnK, If young people will trudge out to participate in a caucus, why do you think they wouldn't do it in a primary? I would think it was exactly an "artifact of the caucus format" that would discourage young voters more than the quick process of a standard primary. Locking yourselves into a room with old people for three hours? Splitting off into groups away from friends voting for Edwards or Kucinich or whoever? Iowa seems designed to repel young voters.

It's entirely likely that in NH we will see just as many first-time voters. Maybe more, even.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 4, 2008 at 4:27 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not forecasting, just pointing out that historically the youth vote has tended to not show up at the polls. Also, note that less than 7% of the population took part in the caucuses. We should be cautious about extrapolation from that to the whole nation.

Posted by: JohnK on January 4, 2008 at 4:47 AM | PERMALINK

There is one thing that is different: Those kids, for the most part, know someone who is serving in Iraq. In 1972, the youth vote turned out, and the driving force was an unjust war, not just the novelty of suffrage at 18. I am the mother of three young adults - I saw all of their friends over the holidays. They were disgusted in 2000, somewhat apathetic in 2004, and now, they are fired up, and pissed off. Don't just assume that the youth vote will cling to form.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 4, 2008 at 5:05 AM | PERMALINK

Damnit! I've been sucked in by a concern troll claiming an RNC email address.

So - JohnK - How bout that Huckabee?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 4, 2008 at 5:08 AM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, I think rcn is a webmail company, no? Or is Ken Mehlman claiming credit for that now, too? :-o

But I still don't understand JohnK's logic. Yes only 7% of the Iowa population participated, but that low turnout only seems to underscore my point. These were the most committed of Iowans, and a large number were first-time, young participants. How much higher will that percentage be in primary states where young voters don't have to wait through the tedious caucus process?

You may be right about caution as a general rule, JohnK. But that is not the lesson from last night's results.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 4, 2008 at 6:47 AM | PERMALINK

Democracy is the only true revolutionary process, giving a nation the lasting ability to reinvent itself. All the 'isms merely use democratic processes as a means to their inevitably single-answer ends. They miss the point that democracy itself is the only end state that enables perpetual renewal.

I am pleased at Barack Obama's victory and not very enamored of Huckabee's success. But I have great faith in democracy. Last night was a good start.

Posted by: trashhauler on January 4, 2008 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta wrote: "Polls showed Edwards in second place and he was really not mentioned at all in the coverage I watched anyway on MSNBC."

MSNBC and the other cable and broadcast networks are the voice of America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc.

They are not going to allow anyone who openly says that corporate greed is the preeminent problem facing America to become president.

The corporate aristocracy has concluded that the Democratic nominee may well win by a theft-proof margin in the general election, so the corporate media is propagandizing for the most corporate-friendly, big-money-driven Democrats in the race, Obama and Clinton.

If we are very very lucky, the Republicans will not be able to steal the election in November, and we will wind up with either Obama or Clinton in the White House, and a kinder-and-gentler corporate dictatorship than we have had under the Cheney-Bush regime.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 4, 2008 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

I love how everyone is suprised that Edwards did so well among more conservative democrats.

Polls have consistently shown that he is perceived as the most conservative Democrat in the race (while HC has been perceived as the most liberal).

This is not suprising, considering that populism is typically socially conservative and economically liberal (see William Jennings Bryan, also Huckabee).

For the pst 30 years, the leaders of both parties have made a point of stirring up the "culture war". That allows them to pander on social issues. Then they don't have to address the economic issues that really fuel discontent in this country.

Posted by: Adam on January 4, 2008 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Despite Obama's impressive win in Iowa and his equally impressive speech last night, I'm still concerned about his willingness to adopt Republican talking points--e.g., the so-called "crisis" in Social Security.

I was supporting Chris Dodd but since he's now out of the race, I'm now supporting Edwards. Having said that, I think Edwards' chances are slim at best for two reasons:

1. The "Villagers" in the MSM hate him almost as much as they hated Al Gore in the 2000 election (see any column by MoDo or Broder).
2. Edwards' economic populism scares the corporate fat cats.

The MSM "Villagers" hate Hillary probably as much as they hate Edwards (particularly Chris Matthews who's had a bizarre obsession with the Clintons for over decade). However the corporate fat cats love her (including former enemies such as Rupert Murdoch and Richard Mellon Scaife).

Looking ahead to New Hampshire: Obama has been surging in the polls in NH and I think his win in Iowa will only strengthen that surge. I think Obama will win in NH, Hillary will come in second and Edwards third.

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney bet heavily on Iowa and came in second. McCain was the darling of the Villagers in 2000 and his strong showing in Iowa means the MSM will once again be donning their knee pads on the "Straight Talk Express". Like Obama on the Democratic side, McCain has been surging in the polls in NH and I think he will win there next week with Romney coming in second, and Huckabee third. I think Frederick of Hollywood will be out of the race after the NH primary.

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on January 4, 2008 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

While I welcome the disruption Huck is causing the GOP, there is NO WAY he will be the nominee, but if he is, he winds up with less than 100 electoral votes. Creationism, the fairtax "anchor" (as soon as that gets any scrutiny, forget it) and his complete and frightening foreign policy ineptitude will destroy him. He makes GWB look like Lincoln. Pakistanis coming from Mexico with shoulder supported missile lauchers? Sure, Huck.

Posted by: Matt B on January 4, 2008 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

FWIW, I didn't think that Obama's speech was particularly "impressive". It seemed pretty vacuous to me.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 4, 2008 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Those who have compared Huckabee to William Jennings Bryan are right (though he isn't as bright as WJB); Bryan gave fits to the Democratic party establishment just as Huckabee is causing heads to explode in the GOP establishment.

Posted by: Speed on January 4, 2008 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

There was a discussion in these parts not so many days back about whether Democrats - fearing a black man up against the south (do Democrats still win the south?) - would make Mrs. Clinton their nominee.

Maybe it is now the case that Republicans - fearing a black in the White House - will un-make this Huckabee fellow as their nominee.

Posted by: Linus on January 4, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Huckabee is a neo-con's worst nightmare. He's the conservative Jimmy Carter. The fact that he won in Iowa just shickles the tit out of me.

Posted by: e. nonee moose on January 4, 2008 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

I just don't believe that Huckabee is going to be able to sustain this.

Well Kevin better believe it because it isn't about evangelical matters or issues. It's about ethics and honesty. Conservatives are as tired of criminal for president as liberal are tired of it.

And Obama DIDN'T win "in virtually every subcategory". Obama lost the adult vote - AND that is the only one that matters. So in the same way Hillary lost the vote, Obama will lose too because you can't trust him. Sure Obama is a smooth talker, and the kids fell for it but the adulted didn't. Obama social security talks has lost him the adult vote, the adults have alreadly left the building too and there is no way to get them back once the adults figured out they can't trust Obama. Obama sounds like he is going to put corporations first and people last, if he puts them anywhere at all. The adults saw it too. Obama has already screw-up to big to fix it, same as Hillary did.

Josh Marshall and Kevin maybe too paritisan to see but the independent voter is going to be moving toward Huckabee because he is appears to be the most honest of the two, and voters have no reason to doubt Huckabee's honesty right now. Huckabee's post-election speech was WAY better than Obama's speech. Dems have much to be afraid of.

Posted by: me-again on January 4, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

I think Edwards is doomed now.

The hell he is. Edwards came in second, how does that doom him? Kevin is wishful thinking again. Kevin is alot Bush, in that he passionately hates truly liberal candidates.

In fact I bet that Edwards wins NH are comes in pretty darn close to winning but it certainly will NOT be Hillary, she that one that is doomed right now. She's toast. NH won't treat her any better than Iowa did.

Posted by: me-again on January 4, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama lost the adult vote"

Really? So the 30-44 age bracket, which he won by a sizable margin, isn't "adult"? If you mean he didn't win the 45-64 bracket, hey, you're right. He lost by a whopping ... wait for it ... 4%. Man, that's just a devastating loss. He's toast.

"Josh Marshall and Kevin maybe too paritisan [sic] to see"

ROFL.... Oh, the irony....

"and voters have no reason to doubt Huckabee's honesty right now."

Well, sure, if you ignore the lies he's told. See, for example, Huckabee's ever-changing story on Dumond. And let's not overlook his overwhelming ignorance on, well, damn near everything.

"Dems have much to be afraid of."

So let's see: counting the total vote in Iowa, Huckabee came in fourth place, behind all three of the Democratic front-runners. The independent voters primarily voted Democratic, not Republican, and when they did vote Republican, they voted for Paul, McCain, and Romney over Huckabee. And it's the Democrats who "have much to be afraid of?" Can I have some of what you're smoking?

Posted by: PaulB on January 4, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

But I just don't believe that Huckabee is going to be able to sustain this. Iowa's Republican turnout was 60% evangelical, and I don't see him being able to broaden his appeal in less God-soaked states. But we'll see.

From your lips to God's ears, Kevvy baby.

Posted by: Brian on January 4, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Insensitive:

I said Hillary's inevitablity would collapse like Ted Kennedy's in 1980, once the voters saw the empress had no clothes.

I'm sorry, but the entire notion of HRC w/o clothes made me lose my appetite.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on January 4, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that ticks me off about this vote is how so many pronouncements have been made based on it. Edwards is doomed. Hillary is in trouble. This on the basis of about 1/1,500th of the population of the US voting. And that was double the expected vote of about 1/3,000th the US population. This is the reason states are falling all over themselves trying to advance their primary dates. Why bother having primaries in all the states? It would be a lot cheaper to just let the winners of Iowa and New Hampshire be the nominees.

Speculation: Before the age of electronic news Iowa may have been a useful proving ground for all the reasons we've heard so many times. However, absent the pundits on TV and radio Iowa's effect didn't radiate coast to coast. People were more excited to see how things played out as the campaign came to each of their successive states. Also, I think it was in the 1970s that the rules were changed so that delegates chosen for a specific candidate were bound to vote for that candidate. Prior to that I believe that delegates would be pledged to a favorite son candidate for each state (who had no chance of winning) so that after the first round of voting they were free to vote as they liked (or as the state party bosses wanted them to vote). The important effect was that events taking place late in the campaign could profoundly affect the convention. This meant you could lose many primaries and then gain ground later. If the leading candidate stumbled for some reason the second or third ranking candidate or even a non-candidate could step forward. If the delegates didn't like the way things went by the time of the convention they could decide to draft some altogether different.

Hubert Humphrey won the Democratic presidential nomination without entering a single primary. That kind of thing would be extremely unlikely today. The change to the rules has given states with early primaries more significance than they used to have.

Blue Girl: My ISP is RCN.com (not RNC). Anyway, they've been bought out by Astound so that should change before long.

Posted by: JohnK on January 5, 2008 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

JohnK - I am sooo at my best at 3:45 in the morning...sorry about that.

I do agree that we all need to take a deep breath.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 5, 2008 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

I am a Democrat. I hate Bush’s presidency. I hated the war in Iraq before we were involved and continue to. I think we are in deep sheet politically and economically due to the money wasted on this war. I believe we need a President who can get us out of it. I am not going to vote Democrat if Obama gets the nomination. Depending on the Republican nominee, I might vote Republican - because he could be less evil then Obama.

Change is a beautiful word that sounded very seductive when used by Obama, especially today considering the sheet that we are in. Without change, mankind would stand still. However it is only a seductive word at the moment. What we need right now is somebody who can and knows how to navigate us out of where we are and Obama is not this person. There were political leaders before that wanted change, but what they achieved was destruction - like in Russia &Iraq. Not all changes are good and it is extremely important when, where and how changes are implemented!
What is Obama’s position today in Kenya?

Posted by: an on January 6, 2008 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

It is clear to me that Obama did win without a doubt. As you stated in your article-he excelled far above the rest in all areas.

Posted by: Cynthia Ross on November 22, 2009 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK
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