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Some Thoughts on Iowa -- Big Wins for Huckabee and Obama

It will be interesting to see how tonight's results from Iowa influence upcoming primaries in New Hampshire and beyond. Iowa is an expectations game. If you are expected to do well, but don't do as well as expected, you take a hit. Those who appear to be taking the big hits tonight are (obviously) Romney and Clinton. Huckabee finished stronger than expected, with an overwhelming win, but it remains to be seen how much tonight's results will help him in New Hampshire. The turnout of Christian evangelicals in Iowa estimated by some at over 60 percent tonight gave Huckabee that big win. One thing to watch for is whether the big evangelical turnout in Iowa is repeated elsewhere, and if it is, if that vote sticks with Huckabee. He is a pro-life Baptist preacher, which makes him popular with some social conservatives, but on many issues , including immigration, he is not the conservative candidate. As Huckabee comes under increased scrutiny, and is targeted by other candidates, voters will learn more about his stands on issues he is not so conservative on and that could hurt him. Romney is hurt because he put so much money and effort into Iowa and didn't come out on top. McCain is helped because he is battling Romney in New Hampshire and a win for Romney in Iowa would have given him a great boost. Instead, Romney goes into New Hampshire after taking a bit of a hit.

On the Democrat's side, Clinton should be afraid. She should be worried because Obama's strong win in Iowa, a state with no big urban voting blocks, shows that he can win in rural areas, and in areas with low numbers of minority voters. Obama should be afraid because he is now going to feel the business end of the Clinton machine. He seems like a really nice guy. I wonder if he has any clue what is in store for him.

Scott Elliott posted Iowa predictions earlier today and has a good roundup of links to others blogging about the results. John Hawkins has an extensive round up of predictions.

Update: Blog Power: Amanda Carpenter filed this report about Ed Rolllin's very candid lunch conversation which she overheard. Drudge picked it up and linked and Chris Wallace asked Rollins about it in an interview on Fox earlier tonight. That was definitely the most interesting interview of the night. Here's the video (via Jon Garthwaite at Townhall):

Update 10:40 p.m.: Huckabee is giving his victory speech (with Chuck Norris right behind him). So far the speech is funny, and at the same time eloquent, and shows the great communications skills that Huckabee exhibited in the debates and that fueled his incredible rise in the polls.

Update 10:55 p.m.: Mary Katharine had the same reaction to John Edwards' speech that I did -- including her complaint about the accent. (I have a seriously hick southern accent, but he makes me sound like Eliza Doolittle after Henry Higgins was done with her.) I know his thing is playing on fear and gloom and doom, but it seemed a bit much that he spent the beginning of his speech talking about a girl who needed a surgery who died when her insurance company didn't move quickly enough. He railed against corporate America and greed and then he talked about needing a president with a spine. It just seemed a bit odd for this kind of speech.

Obama is getting ready to give his victory speech. I wonder if Oprah is in the house.

Update 11:20: I am so torn. It is great seeing Clinton lose, but I think Obama would be the tougher candidate to beat in the general election. The energy for Obama is incredibly high, even without the Oprah factor, and is something Republicans would have a hard time overcoming. Obama has a problem with lack of experience and he has had some "foot in mouth" problems in the past, but he has more Bill Clinton-style charm than Hillary could muster even with Bill Clinton at her side. One line in Obama's speech that jumped out at me was his comment that as president he would end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home. Typical Democrat pandering -- he obviously has not heard the recent news from Iraq. It doesn't matter though. The media is not going to question it. They aren't paying attention to anything happening in Iraq now either. Obama seems like a nice guy and his nomination (even if he didn't win the presidency) would be a hugely historic event. I think Hillary is going to have to put the attack machine in high gear to keep Obama down.

Read Carol Liebau's take here.

Update 11:50 p.m.: Paul at Power Line has an interesting take on tonight's results.

John McCain is all smiles.

Interesting. Kos posted excerpts from Richard Viguerie's email about Mike Huckabee including the following: "Mike Huckabee's victory in the Iowa caucuses is bad news for the Republican Party. Mike Huckabee is a Christian socialist. He is a good man, but with a Big Government heart. He is the most liberal of all the Republican presidential candidates on economic issues."

Update 12:30 a.m.: Rush Limbaugh did a telephone interview on Fox News. He talked about how many of the networks were talking up Huckabee and playing down Obama's historic win. He also talked a bit about some behind the scenes exchanges with Huckabee. Rush thinks many Democrats fear the religious right and that they would like to build Huckabee up so that they could defeat him as a representative of the movement.


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Comments (23)

Maybe Romney should ... (Below threshold)

Maybe Romney should have pardoned some repeat felons to help His cause?

Lorie:Sorry for th... (Below threshold)


Sorry for that glitch -- next time I'll check the entry log before posting.

In any event, look for Hillary to get ugly on Obama. I mean U.G.L.Y. Toricelli ugly. James Carville ugly.

McCain was a surprise. If he finishes 2nd in N.H. we might be heading towards the mother of all multi-candidate contested GOP conventions. Sacre bleu.


No glitch! Post yours. I ... (Below threshold)

No glitch! Post yours. I want to see what you have to say. Yikes! Until you mentioned a multi-candidate contested convention it had not occurred to me. Now that is a scary thought.

The notion that Huckabee wo... (Below threshold)
Alan Orfi:

The notion that Huckabee won Iowa solely because of Evangelical Christians is not entirely true. He has developed a wider base of support among the conservative base than many pundits have speculated. Some Republican supporters have been obsessed about Huckabee's supposed failures as a conservative, but he does have a very strong record to support his pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-military, pro-death penalty, FairTax platform.

It is clear he will not win in NH, but he really stands as a fairly solid favorite in South Carolina. Down here in Florida, he is building a tremendous base of volunteers.

If McCain does win NH and Huckabee holds on in SC, this could become a two-horse race... and all the nonsense about him not being conservative enough with McCain being his last obstacle.

John Edwards speech was one... (Below threshold)

John Edwards speech was one of the most painful ten minutes I've ever spent....

I'm curious what you mean b... (Below threshold)

I'm curious what you mean by "business end" How can the clintons hurt Obama there?

Actually, I should have sai... (Below threshold)

Actually, I should have said his strength was from evangelicals along with his strong communication skills and outstanding debate performances. I don't see concerns about him not being conservative on many issues as nonsense. I don't see how anyone could see his "nanny state" stands or his recent comments on foreign policy or all the commutations he issued as governor as irrelevant. His position on immigration/amnesty is something many conservatives have a really hard time getting past too.

The main problem I have with him as a candidate though is all the mistakes he has made in the past few weeks alone. The comments he has made and later had to back away from or explain make me fear what type of candidate he would be in the general election. The little stunt of saying he had second thoughts about airing the Romney negative ad, but then at the same time he showed it to reporters is just too cute by half. Huckabee seems like a really nice guy, but I have problems with some of his stands on issues, as well as his tendency to make statements he later has to explain.

McCain or Huckleby? Gee, no... (Below threshold)

McCain or Huckleby? Gee, now theres a strong front on our southern boarder.

Ross Perot get them pie charts back out of the closet.

No one has played the trump... (Below threshold)

No one has played the trumph card on Obama about him on the stage with the other three stooges and refusing to honor the flag or America. That will eventually sink him. At least 51% of the American public is still patriotic.

CNN still has Thompson in 3... (Below threshold)

CNN still has Thompson in 3rd place with 93% precincts reporting in. No reason fof McCain to continue smiling.

Card played..debunked... (Below threshold)
nogo war:
Once the Clinton machine ge... (Below threshold)

Once the Clinton machine gets done with Obama, the Dems don't actually have anyone left, do they?

Edwards? Please. Loser once, loser twice.

Clinton? This shows just how weak her support is (and always has been).

After the top three, they don't have anyone solid or well-known - and NOBODY good lined up for the VP slot (Clinton won't run as a second banana, Obama might, but that puts the Silky Pony in the lead - again, no way).

The GOP? Well, they have a nice backup bench for when the Dems go after Huckabee and Romney - or as VP candidates after the early primary choices.

nogo - "Card played..de... (Below threshold)

nogo - "Card played..debunked"

Good god nogo, even when you post a link (what's that your quota for 2008?) it is far from what you claim.

You take issue with scrapiron's statement that Obama refused "to honor the flag or America."

YOUR LINK doesn't call into question the photo. What it does do is confirm that Obama and all the others on stage that day didn't follow Title 36 or the U.S. Code by placing his hand over his heart.

Turn back the clock about 5 days nogo, 2008 is starting out like 2007. You're still a delusional misguided fool.

I participated in the caucu... (Below threshold)

I participated in the caucus. Since I am a democrat I can't speak for what happened re the Repubs. I do have some observations about my side though.

First, our precinct had more than twice as many participants as any other time. the turnout was enthusiastic and vocal. In the past, the turnout was mostly middle aged folks like myself. Last night I was surrounded by youngsters 18-25 or so. It was amazing. Their enthusiasm was incredible. Forget party politics for a minute. This is good for America no matter who wins. I don't know the count of women in my group but I'd say it was at least half or more for Obama.

We had 454 people from my precinct. 228 were counted for Obama. Admittedly I am in a liberal precinct in Des Moines but the noise and the chatter was so much louder and folks were so much more engaged than for the other candidates.

Iowa is a predominantly white state and is usually one of the swing states. My take is that if Obama continues with the same results in the next few states it will become a tidal wave for him in the primaries.

Almost everyone I spoke to had a similar view. We don't want the possibility of an uninterrupted 28 years of Clinton/Bush. People really want a change. Someone new and someone different.

Barack Obama is not Muslim,... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Barack Obama is not Muslim, but Muslims think he once was.

Barack Hussein Obama was a Muslim based on his paternal ancestry from a Muslim family in Kenya, his living in Indonesia (a Muslim nation) with a Muslim stepfather and attending a public school that gave religious instruction (as they all do in Muslim nations). While his mother did not practice any organized religion, his maternal grandparents were Muslim.

Anyone with this background is considered Muslim under Islamic jurisprudence. Obama converted to Christianity as an adult and I have no reason to doubt his sincerity. BO is not now Muslim, so why should we care? Well, as president, BO would have to deal with Muslim nations where he will be seen as an "apostate"; a crime punishable by death according to all five major schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Should Americans be concerned about how BO would be viewed in the Muslim world? Only if you hope for peace and a continued supply of oil.

JFO,Turn out is one ... (Below threshold)

Turn out is one thing, but the way the Dems caucus can't be compared to the reps, period. Neither represents how we pick a candidate in this country, but the dems don't represent how a candidate is picked on this planet.
I left caring for the caucus when I left behind long term plans for IA.

I'll be voting in the N.H. ... (Below threshold)

I'll be voting in the N.H. primary Tuesday.

McCain looks strong, Romney as well, despite the liberal news trashing. I'm really a Fredhead, and will donate again to him today.

I'm thinking my vote for Fred in N.H. will not be worthwhile. And being a realist, he probably won't get much more traction than he does now, but want to do what I can for him before S.C.

My plan is to vote for Romney, mainly because I abhor McCain -- can't stand him.

But I can see why he is being resurrected by the media and his old supporters. Too old Washington, will say anything for media attention, closest friends are Democrats ... really got it wrong in the past 10 years on so many conservative issues.

I'm pretty sure McCain will walk away with N.H. Just hoping he'll have one of his nasty verbal explotions (like a Dean moment), before too long.

If it's between McCain and Clinton. With Clinton, we'll have 100% liberal crap legislation. With McCain we'll have 90% liberal crap legislation. McCain will get positive MSM, while throwing conservatives an occasional bone. All the big issues will go left.

10% is better than 0, I guess. But in the end, it will all end up as liberal crap.

SCSlwuzzyI underst... (Below threshold)


I understand your point very well. But to ignore the statistical increase in turnout together with the numbers of young voters and their enthusiasm would be a huge mistake for any politician. Take my word for it, the place was electric.

If that carries over to the other primaries Obama will probably win the nomination.

I have no idea about the general - way too early for that.

Ms. Byrd,Mr. Hucka... (Below threshold)
Alan Orfi:

Ms. Byrd,

Mr. Huckabee's position on taxation is hardly tantamount to a "nanny state". The rate of taxation in Arkansas was the same when he left as when he took office. Yes, he is guilty of raising some taxes, particularly on cigarrettes and alcohol, but he also lowered many as well. He's no Reagan on taxation, but he's not the lib some are trying to paint.

His position on immigration is that we build an impenetrable border immediately. His platform requires that all illegals leave within months and apply for re-entry. All illegals who do not comply are subject to arrest and deportation with no reentry. Many of the children of illegals were actually legal. I agree, however, this is practically indefensible.

Mr. Huckabee's foreign policy, like many of the other candidates, is difficult to discern because the debates (mostly moderated by liberals) have hardly touched the subject. Huckabee has supported the Iraq invasion and has always advocated the surge. In fact, he has been an ardent supporter of the Bush doctrine -- with the notable exception being this "light footprint" deal where Bush acquiesced to the libs.

Huckabee has certainly made a ton of mistakes this past month. Most of the mistakes, however, have been the result of poor preparation. His rag-tag staff has been so overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of running this campaign. I would surmise he would not make such errors in office with proper advisement.

Alan, are you trying to con... (Below threshold)

Alan, are you trying to convince other bloggers or yourself that Huck is really a conservative?

You sound a might insecure about that fact.

See my article on the Hucka... (Below threshold)

See my article on the Huckabee win and what it means to center-right Republicans.


Top 10 Reasons Huck Will Pi... (Below threshold)

Top 10 Reasons Huck Will Pick Chuck As His VP


And frankly i dont care for... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

And frankly i dont care for any of those wackos their too liberal






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