Iowa Caucus Result Discussion Thread

For those of you who want to chat about last night’s caucuses, and want to chat about them here.

I don’t have much to say about them at the moment, other than that I think Obama v. Huckabee would be a really interesting contest, if it comes to that. I’ll probably have more to say at some later point, but today my brain is on another planet, as it should be, considering I’m writing a science fiction novel at the moment.

Anyway, off to work with me. Have fun with your discussions.

61 thoughts on “Iowa Caucus Result Discussion Thread

  1. Well, you’ve certainly described the scenario that changes my voter registration from (R) to (I) (or maybe I’ll join the American Communist Party, who, sadly, have a more coherent platform than the Libertarian Party). But I’d vote for Obama on the idea that I don’t reward 3rd party Presidential runs by people who couldn’t win a major party primary. I’m looking at you, Ron Paul.

    However, I think Romney and McCain beat Huckabee to a pulp in NH, and (hopefully) populism — at least, populism of the more ridiculously us v. them type (in the R form, evangelical christians v. heathens) — leaves the Republican Nomination race.

    I have no clue about the D side. Any scenario you name, I’ll believe.

  2. “interesting” largely in the sense of “I wonder if Huckabee would end up doing merely worse than Mondale, or actually worse than Goldwater”. Presidential campaigns aren’t so much about what policies we want implemented. Voters know better than to assume a president’s policies in office will have much to do with his policies on the stump. The presidency just doesn’t have enough power for that, and is in any case is essentially gauranteed to become Overtaken By Events. Instead, presidential campaigns are about expressing who we wish we were, as a people. Looked at that way, Obama would pound Huckabee like cheap veal.

  3. While I want to be hopeful about Obama’s chances, I have to keep reminding myself that what happened last night wasn’t a giant step forward in race relations. What happened was that about 18% of Iowans proved that they’re not too racist to vote for a black man in a strange non-election election that doesn’t actually count for anything. That’s a long way from winning the presidency.

    So I’m trying not to get my hopes up.

  4. Obama v. Huckabee would be the worst scenario I could think of; after Kucinich v. Ron Paul that is…

    Thankfully, I don’t think either of those possibilities will be realized.

  5. I was relieved to see Hillary come in third. I personally think she’d do a good job, but I’m smart enough to know she’d never win a general election, so Obama Edwards was how I was hoping things would come out.

  6. I’d love an Obama-Edwards (or Edwards-Obama) ticket; would vote for it in a heartbeat. Of course, I tend to vote (D) anyway. I agree that Hillary would probably make a great President, but she suffers from the North-South rift where her husband didn’t. Those in the South and Rural areas don’t like/get Northern City folk. The only candidate she could win against would be Guiliani. (Well, I think she’d win against Ron Paul, too. Whether she’d lose to RuPaul is questionable)

  7. My first reaction was to be encouraged that Huckabee won on the R side. I think he’s so “out there” that he’s unelectable. If that’s who they want to put up against the D’s, more power to them. Then I started to think about the other R choices. Each of them scares the hell out of me in their own special way.

    But wait folks. I predict that in May or June, Mike Bloomberg will announce as an independent. He’ll be spending his own billions and doesn’t see any reason to start spending too early while he can get the same amount of attention for free at the moment. I think he’ll, at the very least, have a viable candidacy and change the landscape the moment he announces. (Don’t take this as an endorsement, just a prediction. I’m not sure how I’d feel about a Bloomberg presidency, but I’m open to listening to the guy.)

  8. I never thought Hillary could win. Too many people know exactly who she is and half of them hate her. The idea that the Democratic ticket would be Hillary and Obama always seemed redicules to me. Hillary hates Obama.

    This morning on NPR Edwards said he would not take the VP slot again, but that does not mean anything, historically that is what they all say at this point in the race.

  9. The more I listen to Edwards, the more I like him, and I already liked Obama (and Hillary, who has the best science policy out of all the candidates IMO) so really, any way you slice it I was encouraged by how things came out on the Democratic side.

    I’d like to think that Huckabee is such a wingnut that all but the most conservative fundamentalist Republicans would run screaming from him, but I’m not counting on it. The Republican party has a history of sinking lower than I could have thought possible with each passing year, which is why I’m now registered as independent. I’m really dreading this election, to be honest.

    As a side note, I’m still unconvinced that Huckabee and Romney aren’t actually the same person. They sure sound the same to me. But we’ve seen them in a room together, right?

  10. I hope Obama wins the Dem primaries, just so we can see the look on Senator Clinton’s face. Because it’d be sweet.

  11. Huckabee is this year’s McCain (who, ironically, seems to be this year’s Wesley Clark). He’ll be gone midway through, or at least irrelevant. The Democratic side is probably going to go all the way to March, since, as Stephen Colbert put it, Hillary might find herself evited.

  12. I hope Huckabee gets the R nomination – I think all of them would be terrible, but Huckabee should be the easiest to defeat. I’d love to see him try to explain for the next 11 months exactly how he would deport 12 million illegal immigrants in 120 days (that’s 10,000 people a day, every day, for 6 months) when CIS is clearly and obviously incapable of doing so, and if he actually managed to succeed, he would significantly hurt our economy. The man is an idiot. Of course, we’ve recently reelected a president who PROVED that he was incompetent, so I could regret these words in a year.

    For the Democrats, I don’t really care whether it is Clinton, Edwards or Obama. I think they’d all do a great job. But all the ‘helpful’ comments about Clinton’s ‘negatives’ should be taken with a grain of salt – those comments were originally made by the right wing, to ‘help’ the left wing nominate a winning candidate. And when was the last time the right wing actually said or intentionally did anything to help the left wing – much less help them win the White House.

  13. Not that I’m on the Obama banwagon or anything but I’ve heard Huckabee speak about foreign policy. He knows actually nothing about foreign policy he gets things wrong like really wrong. Sigh.

  14. Jemaleddin said What happened was that about 18% of Iowans proved that they’re not too racist to vote for a black man in a strange non-election election that doesn’t actually count for anything.

    So what you’re saying is that 82% of Iowans are too racist to vote for a black man?

  15. With the Bush and Clinton ‘dynasties’ cracked and cracking, I think we need to find some Roosevelts and Addamses (heck, I’d take Addams Family Addamses at this point) to stir things up.

    Inter alia, I’ve never cared for Hillary for the same reason that I’ve never cared for Willard: they’re both too much products. If the Evangelicals can get Huckabee the nomination, they’ll have hobbled the Republican party for a generation.

  16. I agree completely, Buck: if Huckabee doesn’t lose hard in NH it looks like he’ll pick up steam in SC, and then the entire election will be an exercise in just how far into oblivion the evangelical movement is willing to drag the GOP

  17. I think the winners of each party’s caucus votes make a plain statement about each party.

    On one hand, GOP voters settled on the candidate that denies evolution and thinks one of the biggest problems facing America today is Pakastani illegal immigrants.

    On the other hand, Democratic voters settled on a candidate who campaigned on themes like unity and hope.

    I think the winning candidates make a plain, crystal clear statement about the voters on each side of the political aisle.

    (And I’m glad with the side I’m sitting on.)

  18. To all the folks who predict an easy win over Huckabee, should he be the GOP nominee…

    You fools! Don’t you recognize Nehemiah Scudder when you see him?

  19. To state my bias upfront, I’m a conservative republican with libertarian leanings. By that, I mean I don’t particularly care for religion dictating policy, amonsgt other things. Government should stay out of my life and my wallet, to the largest extent practical.

    Having said that, what’s with the evangelical bashing? The Republican party seems to expect their vote (to reduce taxes and invade other countries, neither of which I am particulary opposed too), but doesn’t want to deliver the goods. A vote for us because the other guy is worse sales pitch.

    I have news for most people. Evangelicals are not stupid (outside the literal truth of the bible speil, which ignores that the original version, if one existed, was re-copied by mistake prone and agenda driven humans about a 100 times). If you want thier vote, deliver the goods (which means, essentially, strict constitutionalist judges- which aren’t a bad thing for small goverment republicans like me). If you don’t, they’ll field their own candidates. And surprise-surprise, they cast a *lot* of votes.

  20. To put Iowa into some context…

    http://vodkapundit.com/archives/009373.php

    What happened on the Republican side last night is not terribly different from what happened in 1988, when Pat Robertson finished a strong second behind nearly-neighboring-stater Bob Dole (Bush 39 finished third). Like Robertson, Huckabee turned out enough of the local Baptists to swamp the tiny caucus turnout, and looked for a brief moment like a serious candidate–at least to people who were willing to ignore political reality.

    This time around, Huckabee has the advantage of not being an outright weirdo like Robertson, and I’m sure that helped him… but c’mon. It’s Iowa. Ask President Gephart sometime about how much an Iowa win is actually worth.

  21. I’m happy with Obama’s win. I wish he had a lot more experience, but there’s a built-in bias against experience these days. You know what they say: good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment. And a candidate’s bad judgment, no matter how long ago it happened, is something opponents flog them with. Hillary Clinton (can we stop calling her just “Hillary?”–she’s not Cher, for God’s sake) probably knows more than any other candidate about how to successfully implement universal health care, but only because she screwed it up the first time. And we’ll never forgive her for that.

    As a Democrat, I might be expected to hope that the weakest Republican candidate gets the nomination. But you have the country’s best interests at heart, you have to hope that they put forward the person who would be the best president, because, you never know, even a hopelessly unqualified candidate could win. As evidence, I offer the current Numb-Nuts-in-Chief. Unfortunately, at this point, all of the Republican candidates seem so manifestly unfit that I have no idea whom to root for.

  22. stevem – more than anything else, here’s my problem with the Evangelical political bloc: first, it tends to give us big-government conservatism. Second, the current administration is popularly considered to be a southern evangelical administration, and even though Huckabee is not associated with the Bush administration, putting up another southern evangelical will be seen by swing voters as “business as usual.” And by and large that’s not what they want.

    Basically, Huckabee stands for red-state populism, and unfortunately the GOP voters to whom that appeals don’t seem likely to realize that they’ll be significantly in the minority if that’s what they bring to the general election.

  23. Bob @ 21

    But you have the country’s best interests at heart, you have to hope that they put forward the person who would be the best president, because, you never know, even a hopelessly unqualified candidate could win.

    Precisely. Two affable populists won last night.

    Affability is fine, but we do not need a populist President

    Populism is what the House of Representives was designed to cater to.

    This is especially true since Foreign Policy is what we elect Presidents for. For everything else, we have Congress.

  24. stevem: I think the evangelical bashing is from the feeling that the voting bloc, unlike you, are very interested in religion dictating policy. And most of the Republican candidates, in their attempts to woo the evangelical vote, are advocating it. A lot of us really resent that.

  25. Katsu said

    And most of the Republican candidates, in their attempts to woo the evangelical vote, are advocating it. A lot of us really resent that.

    Not just Republicans; the Democrat contenders are all over themselves trying to project the image that they got God too.

    OTOH, Fred Thompson, my personal fav, stated he doesn’t go to church.

    Go Fred!

  26. Nathan wrote: ” I predict that in May or June, Mike Bloomberg will announce as an independent. ”

    If Obama’s looking like the likely Dem nominee, this is doubtful. Just look at the Iowa entrance poll demographics. Bloomberg’s trumpeted as a ‘Unity08’ candidate, but looking at Obama’s pull of self-described Independents and Republicans, along with young voters in droves, and his probable appeal to African Americans, and considering the HUGE Democratic turnout (more than 2 x 2004) and it seems pretty clear that Obama *is* the ‘Unity’ candidate.

    This morning Bloomberg is probably thinking of better ways to spend his money.

  27. Frank:

    True. The amount of pious posturing on both sides is utterly vomit inducing. But I think it’s still fair to say that the Republicans are worse; they’re the side with the evolution deniers, and the rather medieval stance on things such as stem cells, abortion, sex ed, and the like. The Democrats are trying to prove their religious without so much thunder about running the country like a theocracy…

  28. In all honesty, I don’t want Huckabee anywhere near the nomination — the man is a religious loonball, and after 2000 I don’t trust our electoral process anymore to weed out the truly incompetent.

  29. # Melanie Fletcher Said

    after 2000 I don’t trust our electoral process anymore to weed out the truly incompetent.

    Well, in 2000 it worked out OK in that regard, but it was too cloase to want to try again…

  30. #19 stevem: I’ll take up that gauntlet. Let me tell you how creepy it is as a small-government, lapsed-Catholic, Republican to hear that the Prods want to play identity politics. Great. Maybe you should read a history of Ireland in the 20th century before we start all that.

    Ask the Blacks about living in the Democrats’ Ghetto. Obama is breaking out because he isn’t a class/race warrior in the mold of Jackson/Sharpton. ID politics are a zero sum game. And populism, if we’re really lucky leads to the kleptocracy of Huey Long, and it kind of goes down hill from there.

    Also, I don’t have to hear about how we’re the science haters if someone who understands why Entropy doesn’t disprove Evolution wins the R nomination. (Katsu, you should be careful about your lumping. I think Clinton has spent more time than McCain, Thompson, Paul and Giuliani combined selling herself as being on the theocrats’ side.)

  31. #30 Brett L – Ron Paul has expressed his own doubts about evolution, which at this point is becoming not-so-secret code for “I stand against secularism in government.”

    I agree completely about populism, and I for one am stymied as to why so many politicians proudly affix that label to themselves. “Populism” basically means “constitutional limits on the government are less important than action on today’s hot-button issue, even if we forget about it entirely tomorrow.”

  32. Funny how seriously Edwards is gloating about his 1% victory over Clinton. paraphrase: ‘now voters have to choose between Obama and me’

  33. Agendized partisans — both sides — really don’t listen to themselves when they talk (or in this case write) do they?

  34. This breakdown is interesting:

    Total Voter Turnout (approximate)
    356,000

    Percentage of total vote
    24.5% Obama
    20.5% Edwards
    19.8% Clinton
    11.4% Huckabee (R)

  35. 34. mensley – from what I understand about the caucus system, if that means anything, it means that the republican caucuses had poor turnout.

  36. I’ve been saying for a while that one or both national party candidates in November will not be any of the names currently in the running. Call it voter fatigue, not necessarily a referendum against anyone in particular.

    Dr. Phil

  37. Jon H.

    Just because Unity ’08 is trying to draft Bloomberg doesn’t mean he’ll run under their banner. In fact I’d be surprised if he ran under anyone’s banner other than one he floats himself. He is nothing if not pragmatic and I think the very least he’d want to do is to initially set the agenda. He’s not going to sign on to someone else’s organization.

  38. Here’s a list of the winners of past contested Iowa caucuses:

    1972: Edmund Muskie (D.)
    1976: Gerald Ford (R.), “Uncommitted” (D.)
    1980: George H.W. Bush (R.), Jimmy Carter (D.)
    1984: Walter Mondale (D.)
    1988: Bob Dole (R.), Dick Gephardt (D.)
    1992: Tom Harkin (D.)
    1996: Bob Dole (R.)
    2000: George W. Bush (R.), Al Gore (D.)
    2004: John Kerry (D.)

    This is why I don’t pay too much attention to Iowa. It’s like putting a lot of weight on pre-season NFL games….

  39. I was not surprised by Huckabee winning in Iowa. I’m actually encouraged by this because I do not think Huckabee would make a viable national candidate and he’s helping to knock a couple big name candidates back a bit — I’m biased for Ron Paul. It’s interesting seeing all these comments from non-Iowans. I would just say, you gotta live here to know what Iowans are like and I am not at all surprised by the outcome of either caucus.

    I have not spoken to any racist Iowans, so I don’t know why people continue to think race ought to be a factor in deciding which candidate we choose. In fact, I find that offensive. Religion is a factor for most Iowans (not me) and I am not surprised Romney got knocked back because of that.

    I seriously doubt Huckabee will win in New Hampshire. I also think the Republican side is going to be contested for quite a few more primaries.

    Tully in 39: Very interesting list there. From what I understand the chosen candidate always gets either Iowa or New Hampshire. The candidates (this rarely happens) who get both Iowa and New Hampshire have always been the nominees. In the current election I think it’s possible for a candidate who did not get either first primary/caucus states to win the nomination.

  40. In the current election I think it’s possible for a candidate who did not get either first primary/caucus states to win the nomination.

    Bill Clinton did in 1992–Harkin took Iowa and Tsongas won NH. Iowa tends to pick the “wing” leader on both sides (Harkin was a Home Boy exception) and NH runs towards the middle-mainstream trend. Of course, Iowa is a caucus and NH is an actual primary. The only other person to ever lose in the NH primary and win the Presidency was Bush in 2000–he got waxed in NH by McCain.

  41. Tully @ 39 and 41
    Don’t forget that when the votes were *really* counted – Gore won.
    And in ’04 the Diebold candidate stole the election.
    Are you telling me that the (voting) machine candidate will win in ’08?

  42. It was a lot worse than just voting machine fraud, but also voter disenfranchisement and years of very intense voting district gerrymandering. And now we’ve got major news outlets (not just FOX) who don’t want to let major candidates into debates, and run polls missing said major candidates, etc. Fun times. I love living in a third world country. *sigh*

  43. I’m coming back to this a little late, but I wasn’t saying that 82% of Iowans are racists, at least not in the sense that they’re members of crazy sheet-wearing members of a lynch-mob. But I hear a lot being made of the fact that a black man did so well in Iowa, and I’m just worried that America isn’t as progressive as we’d like to think it is in terms of race. That’s all.

  44. Bob @21 said: “As a Democrat, I might be expected to hope that the weakest Republican candidate gets the nomination. But you have the country’s best interests at heart, you have to hope that they put forward the person who would be the best president”

    Hear hear!

  45. Jemaleddin in 44: Yeah, I noticed a lot of attention on that detail. You have to remember that’s the media talking and a lot of them are not Iowans either. I moved to Iowa a while ago and while it is a mostly white state I really have not spoken to any racists. I think it’s just the media making something that isn’t a big deal into a big deal.

  46. Jemalledin, Esther,

    I chose to look at the attention being paid to that as proof of progress in the country as a whole. The fact that a predominantly white state went to a black candidate is worth noting. I’d venture to say that the vast majority of people voting for Obama or for any of the other candidates didn’t make their decision based on race. I don’t think anyone is saying that a significant portion of the votes cast for Obama’s opponents had racist undertones.

    And I think its a fairly recent shift in the country that’s knocking down one more barrier. Once again, its a good thing and worth noting.

  47. nargel @ 42

    Actually, the Florida Ballot Review, undertaken by the NORC at the behest of several media companies showed that the only way Gore would have won would have to by counting methods not requested.

    That said, if any one individual can be blamed for the voter debacle in Florida, look no further than Theresa LaPore…

    Thresh

  48. This Presidential campaign is odd in that it has so many seemingly unelectable major candidate:

    — a woman who is one of the most reviled political figures of our time

    — a member of a religion most Christians consider a cult

    — an ethnic minority whose middle name is “Hussein” (a venerable name in the Mideast, to be sure, but one that for most Americans is generally associated with one of the worst dictators in modern times, whom we recently went to war to remove)

    And then there’s Mike Huckabee, whose foreign policy pronouncements are childish at best and frightening at worst, and whose domestic policies are abhorred by most in his party; one gets the sense the Creationist crowd is just voting the guy who most looks like them.

    And the John Edwards candidacy is surely the most bizarre of all:a primping, mansion-dwelling, super-rich trial lawyer waging a class-warfare campaign. The mind boggles.

    2008 is going to see some very strange and ugly campaigning.

  49. “But I hear a lot being made of the fact that a black man did so well in Iowa”

    It’s an odd distinction in American politics. No one would call it “racism” if blacks supported Obama because he’s black, but it would surely be unacceptable for a white voter to say “I’m voting for so-and-so because he/she is white and Obama is black.”

    Still, it would undoubtedly be a good thing for America’s meritocratic ideals to see an ethnic minority, especially African, to be elected to the highest office in the land, and I think a lot of whites vote for Obama for that reason.

  50. Thresh @ 48

    The point is that if all the votes were counted (that is supposed to be the idea, right?) then Gore would have won by a comfortable margin. And yes, I believe that election fraud was already in place which made the count closer than it really was, to boot.

  51. Getting back to the origional thread: Was it just me or, when reporting the voting patterns that night, were the media drasticly underreporting the number of Dem (vs Rep) votes being counted?
    I kept seeing votes for Rep candidates shown in 100K plus numbers and votes for Dems shown as 100s while after all was over and done it turned out that the Dem participation was roughly 2 and a half the total number of Rep caucasers.

  52. “I kept seeing votes for Rep candidates shown in 100K plus numbers and votes for Dems shown as 100s while after all was over and done it turned out that the Dem participation was roughly 2 and a half the total number of Rep caucasers.”

    That might be because the two parties vote in very different ways. The R’s do it the usual way. The D’s have a more complicated way and what is reported are the number of delegates, not the number of votes. Each delegate represents multiple voters. (ie, 15 Obama votes might get him a delegate)

  53. “That might be because the two parties vote in very different ways.”

    Yes, that’s why. The D’s don’t actually report the vote count to the media. They just report percentages. In their caucuses they get into groups for each candidate. If one group (say Biden’s) does not have a high enough percentage of people in the caucus then they are disbanded and the groups for other candidates get to persuade those people into their groups. It leaves a lot more room for debate than the way the R’s do it (regular secret ballots). However, the R’s get to have speeches for each candidate and can debate issues if they stay until the end of the caucus (the last order of business is about party platform issues).

  54. nargel @ 51,

    You think that would be the case, but in Florida there wasn’t a general recount because neither side requested one, they just asked about the votes in those counties that were most contentious.
    Gore requested recounts for all ballots in Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Volusia counties, and if that had gone through, he would have lost.

    You’d think in this day and age they’d have something better than butterfly ballot. Failing that, you’d think in this day and age people would be competent enough to understand a butterfly ballot. Who that speaks ill of most, I am not sure…

    Iowa has never really been a “bellweather” state, it will be interesting to see if that remains the same…

    Thresh

  55. 1. Population of Iowa, 2006 est. 2.982 million, USA 299.328 million. Iowa is almost exactly 1/100 of the population of the US. None of the big areas have voted yet, so Iowa really means very little despite the fuss.

    2. Approx. 120,000 Iowans attended the caucuses, or 4% of the population of Iowa and .004% of the population of the US. This is an insufficient sample to reach any real conclusions other than one – with the whole nation watching them there were STILL only 4 in a hundred Iowans who bothered to go spend 2 hours on the fate of the nation.

    3. Vis-a-vis Ron Paul – anybody who can present such “radical” positions of freedom and liberty to Iowans and get 10% of their vote should not be discounted. His message is stronger in urban and internet-savvy areas, so wait and see what happens there before deciding his fate.

    4. I suspect, with no evidence on this point, that the vast majority of the urban centers will reject another four years of “faith-based” political leadership and government and will therefore resoundingly reject Huckabee. Moreover, since his allegiance to the Baptists is clear, don’t expect New England or other enclaves of particular religions to welcome him with open arms.

    5. The Republicans don’t have anyone who can beat Hillary, let alone Obama. Strategically, therefore, they should save their best contenders for 2012 and let a relative outsider like Fred Thompson or Ron Paul take the hit. They won’t do this, of course, because they have no long-term strategy for anything these days and because it would essentially be an admission that they have done poorly by the American people, which will never, ever happen.

    6. People scoff at the notion of a civil war, but the odds of violence increase every time there is a divisive leader, a nanny-state leader, or a leader who takes their guidance from sources other than principles of good governance. We really, really ought to think about this before it’s too late.

  56. KIA said:

    6. People scoff at the notion of a civil war, but the odds of violence increase every time there is a divisive leader, a nanny-state leader, or a leader who takes their [sic] guidance from sources other than principles of good governance. We really, really ought to think about this before it’s too late.

    Ever read Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address? I’ll take a competent religious leader over an equally competent secular political technician any day of the week.

  57. PJ, Katsu and Brett (and anyone else I may have missed):

    To clarify, I do not consider myself an evangelical. While I do consider myself a Christian, its of the “go to Church twice a year” variety, and one of those visits is the Halloween Fair the Church puts on for the kids (dress up with a safe candy supplier).

    My point is the evangelicals make up a lot of votes. They also tend to be (by reputation anyway) single issue voters, namely abortion. If other issues play a role, its generally frustration with efforts to take God off the coinage or prohibiting the pledge of allegiance. They are very predictable in this regard, and it transcends the republican and democrat parties (they sent Jimmy Carter up in the 70s).

    With that said, who does anyone think they’d vote for? Guiliani who has announced his pro-choice view point? Romney who has changed his position a least three times (pro-life, then pro-choice, and now pro-life again)? McCain who has been reliably pro-choice, but is also known as a fence crosser, such as his cutting deals with the left side of the Senate to keep some very conservative people from being appointed to the bench. They aren’t going to trust him.

    That leaves the evangelicals to choose among Thompson (my favorite, a reliable, not foaming at the mouth, small government conservative), Paul (who has positives but even more negatives) and Huckabee. Its hardly surprising that they’d jump on Huckabee’s bandwagon. His pro-life position cannot be doubted for a second, though I think he’s shaky on some other issues (which would likely not concern the stereotypical evangelical).

    To repeat, evangelicals are not in-bred bufoons. They, as a group, seem pretty smart. What they are, by reputation anyway, is focused on a single issue, abortion. This is no different then any number of single issue voters, which can include: businessmen who vote for the “business” candidate; feminists who vote for the woman as its time for a woman president; second amendment supporters who won’t vote for a gun control proponent; anti-war voters who won’t support anyone who won’t bring the troops home now; voters who scream for single payor insurance, etc. What seperates the others from evangelicals is that there appears to be more of them, as a single group, then the other groups (compared individually). Which is why the abortion issue hasn’t died.

    Just my two cents.

  58. My point is the evangelicals make up a lot of votes. They also tend to be (by reputation anyway) single issue voters, namely abortion.

    Props to stevem for getting it half right. Speaking as an evangelical Christian in the theological sense, not necessarily in the political one, I think we tend to be less united on a single issue than we are portrayed by the media and by folks who frankly don’t understand what “evangelical” means anyway (let alone “Christian”). Taxes, the role of Government, individual liberties, national defense and of course the war in Iraq – we evangelicals don’t care about any of that, oooohhhh no! Come on folks, cut us some slack! Just because our faith is a prominent and central part of our lives doesn’t mean that we cannot reason and make educated decisions…

    As for my analysis of the Iowa Caucus, here’s what I think:

    1. Caucuses are complicated!!! I had to read CNN, CSPAN, about.com and finally Wikipedia before I got a clue…give me a straight up or down and a hanging chad any day! :) Seriously, the caucus strikes me as closer to the way our Founding Fathers probably envisioned democracy than the way it is practiced in our blitzkreig all-out 24-hour news cycle assault.

    2. Obama was a big surprise to me – and a welcome one. It isn’t because he’s black. It’s because he has relatively little experience in comparison to the other Dems (the name Joe Biden comes to mind) and is really pretty unknown in the country. But he’s articulate, funny, and seems to have a vision for America that is different than where we are today. I kind of hear echoes of, “It’s morning in America…”

    3. Huckabee may not be all bad! Seriously! I mean, anybody who can make fun of himself and the buffoonery that is the political landscape of America by using Chuck Norris is probably someone I want to see more of…that’s not to say he’ll win or that he’s qualified. I don’t think we know that yet. But I do think he demonstrated the Reps aren’t overly unified, and that Iowa is still a surprisingly conservative state. My theory? The Incredible Huck won because he wasn’t Mitt Romney (who frankly is pretty liberal on a lot of issues by track record) and wasn’t John McCain (who is not though of as a “true conservative” by a lot of the party.

    4. Rudy is Finis. He looked defeated after the Caucus and at the debate. I’ll be surprised if he makes it all the way to the New York primary…and I think he’d get killed there too.

    5. John Edwards is a Yap Dog. Hey, he makes sense to a degree, but he’s like the blonde leading the blonde. “Hey I’m a rich, powerful ex-Litigator and I think tort reform will save America…classism is wrong and I’m for the little guys (who I’ve never been one of)…” Right ideas, wrong spokesman, or maybe just a bad PR flack. If he doesn’t tone down the stridency, I think he might ruin his second chance at being VP and seeing the inside of Dick Cheney’s secret lair.

    All humor aside, for those of us who love politics and the process this is going to be a really interesting election season. I still don’t think we’ll know who the nominee will be until Super Tuesday for either party, but I think we are going to see some surprises. Romney’s going to do well tonight in NH (after all, it’s just north of his stomping grounds) and Hillary ain’t done yet…I predict tomorrow there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the upsets and shifts in the race(s)…and I’ll be in the corner with my popcorn and soda cheering everybody on.

    STB

    Thought for the day: “There are 10 kinds of people in the world…those who get binary and those who don’t.”

  59. STBEEMAN-

    Yeah, I had my doubts about evagelical opposition to abortion being the only reason people were turning out for Huckabee. Its not frequently mentioned that Huckabee is one of the most reliable supporters of individual gun rights (a large voting block in of itself) and the “populist” message has always resonated with middle and lower income voters. Add in the fact that he speaks well and has a sense of humor, and Huckebee becomes a strong contender.

    My interpretation of Huckabee is socially conservative, individual rights oriented pol, who happens to favor some liberal policies (medical care and education issues, principally). In the primaries, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, especially considering the flawed candidates we have. In the general election, assuming he’s the candidate, I think Huckabee’s populist positions might play surprisingly well.

    To be clear, I support Thompson. He’s the candidate who seems best suited to my particular issues and style. On the other hand, I like Huckabee more than I like Giuliani (too many issues I disagree with him on, not to mention the shambles that is his personal life), McCain (too pompous and self-important, not too mention being part of the Gang of 14, McCain-Feingold, etc), Paul (I like abolishing the IRS and replacing it with a sales tax coupled with a prebate, the rest is nuts) and Romney (I won’t ever know what he really stands for, particularly on social issues, as he’s changed his mind so frequently).

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