Children of the Corn

The Iowa caucus results are in. A rational person may, of course, be tempted to say—would be justified to say, even—“So what? A couple of hundred thousand Iowans have had their say. Let’s get on with life.” But politics, like other, more worthwhile things in life, is occurs largely between the ears. And in American politics Iowa does matter to some degree, rationality be damned.

So what does a reading of the corn husks tell us? On the Republican side, John McCain may turn out to be the bigger winner. Mike Huckabee can win the rural heartland vote but before he returns to those fertile, evangelical fields, he has to face more secular New Hampshire where he will probably still, despite Iowa, come in third behind McCain and Romney. Huckabee might survive a bronze in NH and go on to silver or gold in South Carolina but doesn’t have the legs or pockets to carry both the home of the Confederacy and the home of old northeasterners (that would be Florida) within twenty four hours of each other.

Romney, meanwhile, may have taken the biggest hit yesterday having outspent Huckabee decisively only to come in second. While McCain’s finishing fourth behind Thompson wasn’t stellar, a) he didn’t contest the state heavily; and b) He’s more popular in NH. Thompson and the rest of the GOP crowd–except for Rudy—meanwhile, may limp through NH but will be gone before the first votes are cast in Dixie. If McCain can pull out a first or second in New Hampshire and South Carolina and a win in Florida, he’ll be well established for a decisive upset win on Super Tuesday. Move over Bill Clinton. Meet the new comeback kid.

A McCain falter, however, will give Rudy G. his best shot to win the nomination. McCain will be hurt by the fact Hillary didn’t crush Obama in Iowa. Independent voters, who gave McCain New Hampshire in 2000, may well vote in the Democratic primary for Obama this time. If they do so Hillary and McCain may both come in second. This would give Rudy a shot in the South as Romney probably won’t play well there. My bet is, however, that Giuliani’s decision to focus on Florida and Super Tuesday will backfire: by then the mighty Mo of momentum will be behind someone else. Though probably not Mike Huckabee whom, having done well with the children of the corn will go on to become yet another candidate who did so only to melt away in the New Hampshire snow. Nor Mitt who, despite possibly winning New Hampshire next week, will sour as he heads south.

On the Democratic side it is the Obama moment. And it probably won’t last. So cherish it Barack fans and nuture it until 2012 or 2016. Hillary may well be set to follow directly in her hubby’s footsteps (except for that intern thing): Third in Iowa, second in New Hampshire and then a sweep of Super Tuesday clinching the nomination. She still has the money, the establishment support and the name to go on. And, according to the latest Pew Research survey, she enjoys a twenty point lead over Obama with national Democrats. Once the non—representative firstees of corn and granite have finished having their say (and, once again, America, how long are we going to let those fine folks monopolize said first say?) national trends will probably win out.

Probably, Maybe. But, by golly, this is the most dynamic election season at least since the Republican ’96 race, so don’t go betting the farm or SUV on anyone just yet.

Though I wouldn’t bet a farthing (should I be able to find one) on John Edwards, whose second second place finish in Iowa spells the real end of his run. As usual, the Iowa caucus was good for culling the herd but not for selecting the dominant bull (or top cow, in Hillary’s case…). Biden and Dodd are gone with more to follow. Hunter is a dead man walking. The GOP race is down to four and the Dems are really down to two: Clinton and Obama.

Exciting, isn’t it.


4 Responses to “Children of the Corn”

  1. mlaiuppa Says:


    I still think it’s going to be an Edwards/Obama ticket for the Dems.

    New Hampshire is anyone’s game but it’s going more Democrat and in N.H. independents can vote for anyone regardless of ticket. I think this will be an advantage to Obama and Edwards. I don’t think it’s going to help Hillary that much.

    Hillary rubs too many people the wrong way. And I think it’s going to be more evident after this third place in Iowa. She is going to try a little too hard. And to some she will appear strident and desperate. (I also don’t think 8 years as First Lady constitutes “experience” but that’s just my opinion.)

    Whether it’s Obama or Edwards as lead on the ticket isn’t an issue for me. I think they’ll compliment each other. Obama’s “lack of experience” doesn’t bother me either. He has a good head on his shoulders, will “hire” good people and will *listen* to them. If Edwards takes the lead I hope he’s smart enough to bring in Obama as VP on the ticket.

    Both Obama and Edwards are hitting notes people want to hear. “Change” and “protecting the middle class”.

    I really don’t care what the Republicans do so I’m not paying much attention to that side.

  2. previous student Says:

    mccain and hillary and who knows from there

  3. mlaiuppa Says:

    Hillary is not electable. She will lose, whether just barely or by a greater margin but she will lose. The Democratic Party will be shooting themselves in the foot if they put her on the ticket as the Presidential nominee. Even as VP she’d weight the ticket down. To win they need independents. Not enough independents will vote for Hillary when push comes to shove, pull, punch or bubble. In the end, undecided and independent voters will not be able to bring themselves to vote for her. Run Hillary for President and we’re looking at another four years of Republican rule. We better pray the Republicans run a benevolent candidate with some brains.

  4. Eric Wolff Says:

    Well, I can jump in with the knowledge of two days later. Clearly Obama is going to crush Hillary in NH. And i think South Carolina voters will like that whitey voted for Obama in those two states, and they’ll got for Obama too. I don’t think Hillary can fight that kind of mo going into Florida and super mega duper Tuesday. her air of inevitability will be shot and she’ll be sucking wind.

    Meanwhile, I think Huckabee will do very well in South Carolina, maybe even win it. Romney or McCain will win Michigan, which means there will be a three or possibly four way clug fest going into florida. I think the Huckabee-McCain split of Nh and Iowa was the best thing that could have happened to Rudy. The fight for Florida will be bloody.

    Also, mlaiuppa, while it’s possible Hillary will tkae the nomination, I don’t see Edwards as anyone’s running mate. I don’t think he’d want to do it again, first of all, and second of all, he was terrible at it. He was no help to Kerry at all. He got beat by Dick Cheney in a debate, for cryin’ out loud.

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