Winners and Losers

WINNERS

Iowa’s caucuses — Sure, the NY Times edit page may be dumping a truckload of smug on our “undemocratic” process, but Iowans who care passionately about politics jammed their caucuses and thumbed their noses at everyone who says that this state shouldn’t matter. That maligned small gathering of old, gray and white party hacks in seed caps turned out to be a much larger gathering that included young Iowans and independent voters. Oh, and those lily white Midwesterners may have just put America on the road to its first black president. The dead Iowa stereotypes are stacking up like chord wood around here this morning.

That said, Iowa Democrats in particular had better hope Hillary doesn’t win the nomination, because if that happens, the caucuses are toast. Did you see the look on Bill’s face while she tried to explain her third place spinning butt-fall? He wanted to dismantle this state brick by brick and sell it to Canada.

Idealism — Someone at the bar last night was complaining that Obama is little more than a flowery public speaker. I want to see a plan for what she’s going to do, she said.

But the fact is Americans are desperate for a leader who has the skills to inspire them to make them feel proud, who knows what to say and how to say it with passion.  They don’t want a wonky 12-point plan, they want some hope. Listen to Obama’s victory speech last night and you can easily see why caucus night went down the way it did. I heard it again on the way into work this morning. I’m as cynical as the next heartless hack, but that was goosebumps stuff. Hillary is in big, big trouble.

Lunch Pail Republicans — Sure, Evangelicals made Huckabee a winner. But So did lunch pail-carrying, deer hunting, churchgoing and NASCAR loving conservative Republicans who looked at Mitt Romney and saw their jerk boss standing there in an expensive suit with a fake smile. They didn’t like him and they didn’t trust him to look out for their  best interests. Huckabee’s campaign, part revival, part blue collar comedy tour, was right up their alley.

Journalists — For reporters, you couldn’t have ordered a better caucus night. The best campaign here ever ended with the most dramatic outcome in decades. The ledes wrote themselves.

LOSERS

The Establishment — The kingmakers in both parties, who threw their expert support behind slick Mitt and Ms. Inevitable, had humble pie on their faces. They thought newbie Obama would never get the kids to the caucuses. They thought the media pounding Huckabee took at the end would be enough to finish him, and that Mitt would buy the caucuses just like the straw poll. Oops.

Republicans — Could this party be any more screwed up right now? Huckabee was a great caucus candidate, but he could be a general election disaster, especially if Obama wins. Romney and Giuliani are fading fast. (Did you notice Ron Paul had three times as much Iowa support as Rudy?) Thompson is sleepwalking. The GOP’s best hope may be McCain. He’s a likeable, solid candidate who could have general election appeal, especially among independents. His strength, experience, could be contrasted with Obama’s weakness.

T. Vilsack — Needless to say, this has not been a great year for our former governor. He abandoned his presidential  bid, signed on with Hillary and then watched her go down in flames. Just think, he could be in year two of an illustrious third term, counting the triumphs handed to him by an adoring  Democratic Legislature. It’s hard to believe this guy once had a golden political compass.

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4 Comments

Filed under Iowa Caucuses

4 responses to “Winners and Losers

  1. Steve Ironsides

    Was I the only one that saw on one of CNBC’s live shots…a real short guy running around with a Lamar Alexander sign?

  2. Dot

    Hope schmope, I want action.
    I stand by my flowery language comment.
    Think of the Bush Administration and its overuse (and ruination) of the words freedom and hero, while yanking some of our most basic rights out from under us.
    I want someone who speaks the words that give me goosebumps — while rolling up his sleeves to do the dirty work that forces positive change.
    Sure, having a leader who can unite the country would be fantastic. Hell, I’d be happy with someone who could unite Democrats, or even the Linn County Democrats.
    But, what does Obama PLAN to do? That’s what I want to know, so I’d better start paying attention, huh?
    And listen to that fantastic speech …

  3. Dorman

    Plan, schmam.

    In the 15 years I’ve been listening to politicians, and I’ve heard a lot of plans. In the current race, everybody has a plan, including Obama. A health care plan, an Iraq plan, a government reform plan. The problem is you can’t get anything done unless you win, and win by a margin that means something.
    Edwards and Clinton might win, but it will be 50.1 to 49.9. Clinton-hating Republicans and independents will throw out Democrats in swing congressional districts. Angry Edwards says he wants to come to Washington so he can crack heads. Good luck with that. Look how well Bush has done with my way or the highway.
    I’ll say it again, Obama appears at this point to be the only candidate with the kind of message and skills capable of building a broad coalition of voters that would yield a mandate victory, the kind of victory that gives you enough political capital to get something done. One reason is his message about a hopeful future, instead of nostalgia for the 90s, or the 60s, or anger at the past.

    I still owe you a beer, Dot.

  4. I’m with you Todd, the fact that someone has a plan means nothing. What really matters is the ability to abandon your plan when necessary, and make the proper decisions needed at the time. Hillary has already shown us that she is so enamored with her own plans that she will cling to them even as the ship is burning and sinking.

    Dwight Eisenhower said “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”.

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