Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Iowa Babble

Having again invested too much time in listening to babble about the Iowa caucuses, I will now as usual compound the error by investing too much time writing--or venting--about them.

Romney eventually won by a handful of votes over Rick Sanctimonius, having scored a handful of votes fewer than he did in 2008 when he came in second to Huckabee, who nearly doubled Romney's vote total that year. Romney got almost exactly the same percentage of the vote: 25%.  He remains Mr. 23%

 The news is the Sanctimonious surge peaked at the right time, and the epic fail of the Cowboy Rick campaign, which may well be over in a matter of days.  The Bachmaniac campaign staff urged her to stop, while hinting darkly that they didn't get Evangelical preachers endorsing them because she is a woman.  So far she is resisting this advice, so if she goes on it will likely be with new or no staff (again) as well as no money.  Update: Bachmaniac dropped out, but Cowboy Rick announced he would stay in, and compete in South Carolina. 

The salient fact for the general election in Iowa was something that the Democratic state chair said on MSNBC, though noone there seemed to have heard it: most of the counties that Romney won are solidly Democratic, which means it is unlikely he will win them in the general.  There were Dem caucuses, ignored by the media because there was no opposition to Barack Obama,  but 25,000 Iowans came out anyway, and reportedly these were enthusiastic events.

The other news that bears on the upcoming New Hampshire primary and the rest of the GOPer nom race is the impression that Gingrich (who finished a weak fourth to Rand Paul's dad) is going to make it a personal mission to destroy Romney.  He started in his own rambling remarks, scoring with the assertion that Romney won't transform Washington but will simply "manage the decay."  Earlier, his Superpac "leaked" that it is preparing an anti-Romney blitz in New Hampshire.

 Judging by Gingrich's complimenting Rick S. (as he did in one of the debates as well), it seems he would have no trouble endorsing him if Rick S. proves resilient beyond Iowa, and Gingrich himself doesn't resurge in the South.  It's also worth remembering that the 2008 GOPer candidates were united by one thing: they all wound up hating Romney.  That may turn out to mean something if it happens again in 2012.

There will likely be a parade of GOPer establishment endorsements of Romney, but the conventional wisdom seems to be that he was wounded by this tiny victory.  So those endorsements may mean less than Cowboy Rick dropping out, especially if he endorses Rick S., and ditto Bachmaniac.  St. Paul doubled his 2008 vote in Iowa, so he goes to New Hampshire with some strength.  As someone on Charlie Rose pointed out, Romney has to win 51% of the delegates in these primaries (all proportional this time) by convention time, and if St. Paul keeps getting 20% and the anti-Romneys (probably down to Sanctimonious and Gingrich) keep getting enough votes to add up to more than 50%, the coronation may have to be postponed.

No comments: