Friday, January 4, 2008

What Does Iowa Mean?

The major shock coming out of Iowa is the poor showings for both Hillary Clinton’s and Rudy Giuliani’s camps. Of course, Giuliani barely campaigned there and many now claim his “big state strategy” looks better than ever (we'll see), while Hillary appears badly wounded, tracking a close third (29.5%) behind both Edwards (29.8%) and Obama (37.6%).

The Democrats seem to have embraced the message of “change,” and rejected Edwards as the candidate best poised to deliver that change. This will almost certainly serve to usher in at least one significant change, as it will almost without question CHANGE the Clinton strategy down the line.

On the Republican side, both Thompson and McCain have essentially ceded the Conservative core to least for the moment.

Huckabee is indeed articulate, eloquent, with a sense of humor, BUT aside from having been very weak on illegal immigration, almost "pro-illegal immigrant," going so far as to offer the children of illegals "In-State" tuition rates, while citizens from out of state paid a higher rate under Huckabee's plan than foreign born nationals and ILLEGAL ones at that, he’s also sounded a lot like John Edwards in blaming corporate America (employer to over 60% of the American workforce) for all the ills of society! So, how is Huckabee still leading Thompson among Conservative voters? The answer lies with the personalities of both McCain and Thompson themselves.

For Thompson, the biggest obstacle he faces is that the GOP hierarchy, its "monied interests" have seen Rudy & Romney as "the only candidates who could possibly beat a Democrat in the national election."

Regardless of whether that is true or not, it is the viewpoint that most of those monied interests have come from and many of those interests are so-called "Moderate" or "Country Club" Republicans. That's the primary reason why Ronald Reagan was forced to pick a fellow Moderate (Bush Sr.) as VP back in 1980, instead of his own first choice, Paul Laxalt from Nevada. (*)

I think Fred Thompson’s camp initially felt he was a shoe-in as the most articulate Republican, but that's not held true - Romney is by far the most telegenic and slickly packaged GOP candidate, Rudy is, despite a slew of flaws, very articulate and even convincing, despite being a shameless self-promoter, on the subject of terrorism and even Huckabee has proven to be a better communicator than the Thompson camp envisioned.

As a result, Fred Thompson hasn't stood out and he hasn't gotten the traction he so desperately needs.

We're now nearly within a month of "Super Tuesday" and the nomination for both Parties will be pretty much sewn up by the end of that day.

Can a Fred Thompson or a John McCain make a move?

Yes, the GOP field, at this point, still seems still wide open, but trailing Huckabee (34%) and Romney (26%) so badly in Iowa (McCain and Thompson both garnered about 13%) is not a good sign at all.

Huckabee’s 34% to 26% win over Romney certainly puts credence behind the claim that the GOP’s Conservative base hasn’t been able to embrace the Romney or Giuliani campaigns and it may well boost his national figures. The pre-Iowa NBC/WSJ Poll had Giuliani and Romney tied for the top spot with 20% of the vote, Huckabee next with 17% and McCain following with 14% and his Iowa surge should no doubt help the Huckabee cause nationally.

Others, however, are undeterred by Rudy Giuliani's dead last showing. According to Norm Podhoretz, “The result in Iowa could not have been better for Giuliani tactically. Romney has been injured. Huckabee won, but did not apparently win by a huge margin, and there won’t be many other states where evangelicals make up fully three-fifths of the primary electorate. And John McCain did not, it seems, come in third with a surprising showing, but fourth with a very modest showing. If McCain beats Romney in New Hampshire, Romney will have a difficult time going on — but McCain clearly hasn’t yet turned the corner and brought conservative Republicans back in his corner. And Fred Thompson’s third-place showing wasn’t impressive enough to kick his campaign back to life. With no one especially strong on the Republican side through the first few states, the Giuliani strategy of betting it all on Florida on January 29 and the big states on February 5 is looking better than it did a week ago.”

Is that true?

Well, if Romney loses New Hampshire to McCain, and he’s trailing in polls there now, that would appear to open the door to a Rudy comeback, especially with Rudy’s expected strong showings in the large states like Florida and New York.

What Iowa has seemed to show is that a state that’s picked 6 of the last 8 Presidential candidates for both Parties has voted “No Confidence” in their Party’s chosen candidates (Hillary Clinton/John Edwards and Mitt Romney/Rudy Giuliani) and chosen, on both sides, the most outside of outsiders (Obama and Huckabee).

Within a month (February 5th) we’ll see if the rest of the country follows suit.
(*) Thanks to Fred, for pointing out my error of substituting Mo Udall for Paul Laxalt.


trampjuicerocks said...

Lax Immigration has pulled down McCain, rightly so.

Its simmering as an issue on the campaign already, but not appearing as a major election issue in these states as they are not affected being mainly rural and northern.

Iowa is 99.99% native born american and currently has no problems with illegals, while New Hampshire also massively is unrepresentative of the US, with only 2.3% of people even hispanic while you have to remember the US as a whole is now 14% hispanic.

As the race moves into Florida the issue will start to dominate the campaign.

People in these states can be bought off with talk of 'intentions ' to strengthen borders and similar neboulus talk which could mean anything from a few extra guards and a mile or two more fence but no real change to the current status quo, there is not yet any real detail to tackle penalisation of employers of ilegals, ending massive chain migration, babies of illegals being automatically granted citizenship under a misreading of the constitution, or other real steps which would make a difference.

So I think a the primarys are moved through the whle debate will change.

JMK said...

That is almost certainly true TJR, but none of the leading GOP candidates have a good track record on illegal immigration. While Giuliani and Romney argue that federal laxity drove them to the expedient route ("sanctuary cities"), neither of them railed against illegal immigration UNTIL the Bush-Reid-Pelosi Amnesty deal was driven to defeat by citizen sentiment.

The problem with getting a political solution to illegal immigration is that BOTH Parties support it - the GOP for "cheap labor," and the Dems for "cheap votes."

As a result, BOTH Parties have sold out the American people.

I hope that issue moves to the forefront, but all the promises in the world doesn't mean that the politicians will ignore the wishes of Big Business, which wants that "cheap labor."

Seane-Anna said...

Hey JMK! I think Huckabee won Iowa because most evangelicals didn't look past his Christian label. Huckabee won't have such an easy ride elsewhere. So I don't think Iowa really meant all that much.

And you're right on the illegal alien issue. All the candidates will claim they'll do something but all of them are already sold out to special interests on this matter. Nothing will be done about illegals until we Americans raise some HELL!!!


JMK, I'm now signing my comments and posts with the name Seane-Anna. My blog is still called PoorGrrl Zone, though. :)

JMK said...

Interesting observations Seane-anna, especially about the illegal alien problem.

You can tell when a politician or ANYONE is being disingenuous about that issue, it's when they talk about ILLEGAL immigration as part of the overall "immigration debate."

It's NOT!

ILLEGAL immigration is a criminal (self-explanatory), economic (it lowers the wage floor and ultimately drags down all wages) and a national security issue (a porous border is an invitation to terrorists)...I sure hope the American people start to raise some of that hell soon!

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