Patterico's Pontifications

1/3/2008

What Iowa Means

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

For the Democrats:

Iowa helps Barack Obama, not only because he won but also because it suggests race won’t be an issue in some states.

Iowa hurt Hillary Clinton, not only because she came in third but because third place tarnishes her aura of invincibility. She billed herself as the experienced, invincible candidate but Democrats prefer change to experience, leaving her strong point as invincibility … and she’s not.

Despite his second-place finish, Iowa hurt John Edwards because he sells himself as the candidate who cares about people that can’t make it on their own. If that doesn’t sell in Iowa, it won’t sell many places. It didn’t sell.

Iowa hurt Bill Richardson because he couldn’t get anywhere near double digits. But he may have done well enough that it helped his chances to be considered as a VP.

Iowa hurt Joe Biden, Mike Gravel, Chris Dodd, and Dennis Kucinich because they lost … big. Dodd and Biden have already announced they will drop out, and Gravel and Kucinich might as well have.

For the Republicans:

Iowa was a godsend for Mike Huckabee because it anoints him as a credible candidate. He should and probably will get a campaign donation bounce from Iowa but it looks like this win was disproportionately due to evangelical turnout. It’s hard to know if he can replicate this elsewhere.

Iowa hurt Mitt Romney primarily because he had been favored to win and he put a lot of money into winning. Worse yet for Romney, this result suggests that evangelicals are motivated to vote and they won’t vote for Romney.

Iowa hurt John McCain and Fred Thompson to the extent they had to scrap for leftover votes but, overall, I think it helped them both stay in the hunt. The big question will be which one can use this result to bring in funds and endorsements.

Iowa helped Ron Paul a great deal because he finished in double digits, just a few thousand votes shy of McCain and Thompson. No matter how much Republicans try, the fringe label won’t stick to Paul as long as he polls in double digits. It may also encourage him to run as an independent.

Even though he did not campaign, Iowa hurt Rudy Giuliani because he only got 3% of the vote. It painted him as a non-issue in an entire state. Giuliani is at his best in the spotlight, not marginalized on the sidelines.

One down, 49 to go.

– DRJ

24 Responses to “What Iowa Means”

  1. “Iowa hurt John McCain and Fred Thompson to the extent they had to scrap for leftover votes but, overall, I think it helped them both stay in the hunt. The big question will be which one can use this result to bring in funds and endorsements.”

    You’re otherwise right, but very wrong here. By your analysis, the only one who was substantially helped on the Republican side was Mike Huckabee, the person you acknowledge will have a hard time building a credible national campaign. If that’s so, how can it hurt every other Rep?

    It can’t. These results were a godsend to McCain, exactly what he was hoping for. It blunts Romney, McCain takes New Hampshire, and is then well positioned moving forward. Fred can’t win New Hampshire, and has to wait until at least South Carolina to start winning, which will be tough. Still, Thompson did better than expected, which never hurts.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  2. Your own excerpt shows that I said Iowa hurt McCain and Thompson but overall “it helped them stay in the hunt.” In other words, it was good and bad for them. I also said it helped Ron Paul, so the bottom line is I think Iowa helped 2 GOP candidates (Huckabee and Paul) and may help McCain and Thompson, depending on what they do with it. We can’t go much further than that. It’s only Iowa, and a caucus at that.

    DRJ (29b04b)

  3. I think Giuliani came out better than you give him credit for. He did not campaign at all, a wise decision. He has not been over-exposed from a losing campaign as Romney was. I’ve had trouble with Romney’s lack of charisma and this may be fatal to his campaign. McCain got a big push and Thompson didn’t do badly here. I think everybody realizes that Huckabee would lose like Goldwater did if he ever became the nominee.

    Mike K (ae3e2a)

  4. It was great for McCain, not bad.

    Anyway, we’re both just expressing our opinions, mine being conventional wisdom at this point, but time will tell.

    One thing overlooked here in talking about Iowa was the massive numbers of Democratic caucus-goers as compared to Republicans. These numbers bode poorly for the G.O.P. as an early indicator: And “change” as the overwhelming theme doesn’t help the party currently in power at the White House, would happen to be the G.O.P. again.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  5. Mike K., I think this was a disaster for Giuliani, coming so far behind Herr Doktor Paul.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  6. Cristoph may have a point. The Iowa results may be like the question on a standardized test that gets thrown out because everybody gets it wrong.

    Caucuses are not really democracy, BTW. They are machine politics. It should not be a surprise that Obama, a creation of the Daley Machine, would do well. Hillary’s loss might say something about her influence in smoke-filled rooms as well.

    nk (5221ab)

  7. Mike K,

    You’re right about Giuliani. His decision to focus on Florida and the 2/5 primaries may be a good one but I was trying to analyze it as of today.

    Christoph,

    I may be wrong and you may be right — That’s how opinions work. But one night does not make an election … unless that one night is a certain Tuesday in November.

    DRJ (29b04b)

  8. This RedState Diarest has it right:

    “John McCain Wins Iowa. The House Falls on Hillary. Fred Gets A Second Chance. $10 Million and all Romney got was 2nd.”

    “Mike Huckabee, you did well. Now you can get some money and try to go further. You deserve the win tonight, but let’s be honest. Your win was McCain’s by proxy.”

    “The clear winner tonight is John McCain. He talked up Huckabee and he talked down Romney. He sat out of Iowa and still made a respectable showing in the state in fourth place as I write. He’s going to get momentum in New Hampshire now and McCain now has the clearest path to victory.”

    How anyone concludes John McCain didn’t do well tonight is a mystery to me. Fred just inched a nose ahead of him with serious campaigning. Fourth place without hardly campaigning, New Hampshire, his stronghold, coming up next.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  9. I think the media and Romney’s campaign have helped lend a lot of attention to Giuliani not even bothering with Iowa. And I know a lot of the voters Giuliani is counting on are going to be irritated that Huckleberry actually won a contest.

    This blunts the 3% a bit, I hope. It’s likely to be seen as a freak campaign. Had Romney won, it would look much worse for Giuliani. But of course, you’re right that 3% in any contest is bad.

    Huck is going to suck up many evangelicals, which I hope doesn’t hurt Thompson. I think 4th is bad for Mccain, but it’s Iowa, and in a fair world is nearly irrelevant. New Hampshire and SC will do a lot for Mccain, one way or the other. But because Huck is the opposite of Giuliani, the longer he lasts, the better for Giuliani. Huck sucks votes up from Giulianis closer rivals that Giuliani had little hope of getting anyway.

    The fact Huck won Iowa shows just how impossible it was for Rudy to do well at all in Iowa.

    Jem (9e390b)

  10. latest quotes from the iowa electronic markets. you fred thompson people need to check this out. a fred thompson contract is now trading at three cents (for the chance to recover a dollar if he’s nominated), whereas the republican rest of field contract (that would be ron paul, so many appear to be afraid to say his name, like he were lord voldemort) is now trading at 4.9 cents. these are people betting real money, and they don’t think very much of your guy’s chances.

    assistant devil's advocate (317b32)

  11. First off, this primary means nothing, sans that if Hillary manages to gain the dem’s nomination she will NOT be elected! She can’t ever escape Vince’s death where she is oh so bloody, and it was not even her time of the month. Such is good news. Bill may enjoy the flesh of others, but so far I’ve not seem him kill those he fked.

    “…. won’t vote for Romney”. No won’t vote for a Mormon! (Even though they might actually be a better steward for the nation). (Especially now). No I am not a member!

    Charisma and Romney, he has more than any other candi running for this office, hands down. Perhaps too much. Aside from him being gov for kennedyville and not taking a real stand, (on like anything), something which would indicate his Mormon roots, he melds into the desires of the entity putting him in office and keeping him there as well. I almost equate his trait with Edwards, who does have an attraction, but a VERY short trip behind the headlines, I’d rather see Edwards and Yagman sharing a cell, which I think is his destiny.

    If Chappaquiddick happened today would Teddy be elected/reelected?

    It’s too bad that Paul comes off as such a tool or baseline idiot. Because in my observations of folks writings that span the political spectrum, is that most folks really do tend to lean toward the libertarian side of things. Meaning, keep the purse strings tight, and why is it of concern to the govt how I have live my life as long as I am NOT interfering in yours, and basically leave us alone as citizens to choose our own vices. There exists enough real crime that we do not need fabricate more. Such only costs the taxpayers money. A whole lot more.

    BTW does anybody remember it took a vote of the people to outlaw booze? As well those same folks decided it would be best to not outlaw, but regulate and tax it. How many of you or your forefathers/mothers voted to outlaw hemp? Not to mention all the other countless substances currently o the controlled list today? You can’t go in a store and even purchase spray paint, but by the quart or gallon it’s all you can carry. Cough syrup? That industry is effectivly dead today. Better to gain a few billion into the public coffers than to spend such for in effect, Nothing. Right?

    Why is this nation destroying doctors and forcing those in real need into prisons or lives of constant pain? What is the public gain for such? What might be the public loss for such?

    GAWD bless the war on drugs! It is by far more effective than keeping booze off our streets, aint
    it?

    We care more, and are willing to see millions spent to destroy our (hero) athletes, who might actually hit more, run faster, and win more games), than we are to keep the cops, (those with guns badges and bald heads, off the same stuff)! You know the guys that stop citizens every day and can turn a basic stop into some sort of life and death situation, in which the civi dies, 100% of the time. Oh the formal reason? Because they dared distort the truth as perceived to some LE person. Just ask Martha how much fun she had over the same thing. Her story differed so she is the liar. Should this be any sort of actionable law?

    War on Terror/getting OBL, well if such was really so important the press would have NEVER known we were trackin his ass via satellite/cell phone usage and he would be oh so very long gone by now. Conspiracy? I don’t totally buy it but for sure makes for good print.

    Hey didn’t the Israelis just drop some additional ordinance in Syria? Such is an item that takes some looking for, but it happened. A preemptive y the jews against a moslim country for self preservation or perception of such. World media almost silent on that Aug 26th raid. Imagine if US war planes had been involved?

    I may have wandered from the core subject. OK Ciao

    TC (1cf350)

  12. “It’s too bad that Paul comes off as such a tool or baseline idiot.”

    The beautiful thing about libertarianism is, if they happen to be tools or baseline idiots, it really doesn’t impact the way they govern. When you believe in a government system that has maximum freedom as its goal, rather than the promotion/enforcement of a particular ideology, even a baseline idiot can enable freedom and productivity a lot more than a big-government shill (even a really nice, smart one).

    Phil (aa9cba)

  13. Phil,

    Jesse Ventura is a Libertarian and look how he governed.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  14. “Jesse Ventura is a Libertarian and look how he governed.”

    Well, you can also look at how Paul has governed for his last ten terms as a congressman in Washington.

    Additionally, is there some particular thing that Ventura did that you think could have been done better by a non-libertarian? I know he had public relations problems, and wasn’t a smooth talker, but I wasn’t aware that he seriously botched anything.

    Also, did he institute many new taxes, increase government spending, take power from local governments . . . anything that a libertarian wouldn’t be expected to do?

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  15. Clearly Iowa was an overwhleming victory for Fred Thompson.

    David Ehrenstein (da3648)

  16. McCain is running ads in NH which bleed over the border here into MA asking the primary voters to “help him once again.”

    Techie (ed20d9)

  17. Phil,

    Yes, He did raise taxes, especially taxes for a stupid light rail line for the Twin Cities.

    He didn’t get much done legislatively because he ticked off both parties.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  18. Christoph said:

    How anyone concludes John McCain didn’t do well tonight is a mystery to me.

    Exactly. He’s not my favorite but he not only sat out Iowa but came out against ethanol—the kiss of death in Iowa. Third is like winning for him.

    PeterW (d63e2b)

  19. All yesterday proves, is that Iowans are fucking idiots.

    gabriel (6d7447)

  20. Gabriel,

    I think you have to rethink your remark. I think a majority of Californians are Brain-dead hedonists. See how dumb such statements look?

    PCD (5c49b0)

  21. Kerry *won* Iowa in the caucases. Bush won Iowa in the general election. In other words, what PCD said.

    nk (4bb3c1)

  22. Most Californian’s are brain dead, but we would never put forward someone so inept as Huckabee.

    Sorry if I don’t want to see a “GOP” version of Carter go much further in this election. Huckabee offers nothing to anyone who isn’t part of the Jesus Camp side of the GOP. He’s pro tax, pro illegals, pro big government, and an absolute neophyte when it comes to foreign affairs. The guy will get utterly destroyed by any Dem candidate barring Kucinich (and I think even he could beat Huckabee)

    gabriel (6d7447)

  23. Off topic (or tangentially related) – More LA coverage in need of some correction – and as of yet, uncorrected: LA Times homeschoolers heart huckabee

    The biggest problem is that there isn’t a “national homeschooler association”. There are several, and Ferris’ HSLDA is one of them, but hardly the only one.

    Their statistical comments – regarding homeschoolers’ makeup – aren’t even sourced, and don’t appear to be correct.

    gawaine (8a70f9)

  24. Finally, sweet reason from Volkapundit. Here’s a taste:

    Dear Iowa Republicans,

    I’ll put this in language even your tiny little Iowa brains can understand: What the f*** is wrong with you people?

    The news coming out of Des Moines (literally, French for “tell me about the rabbits, George”)…

    Click the above link for more. However, be wary in doing so as this letter may have a tendency to disagree while remaining disagreeable.

    Christoph (92b8f7)


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