First thoughts on the Iowa primary.

OK, with [96%] of the vote in we can maybe start to look at the results and get some meaningful data out of them. Apologies if any of this sounds loopy: the cold that took over the rest of my family last week finally hit me, so anything weird that I say is the medication. Also… you’ll note that I avoided being rude about the actual Republicans running for office (Ron Paul can be included as one just as soon as he promises to support my party’s eventual nominee); I really suggest that the triumphalism be kept down to a dull roar.

So… right now it appears that Romney and Santorum are pole-positioning for first place with 25% of the vote each; Romney was ahead earlier, Santorum is ahead as of this moment, and that may flip back and forth. Given that the difference in their vote total is unlikely reach four digits, both campaigns will probably credibly claim a win if Romney ends up with the higher vote total. Rick Santorum is having the best night of his political life, and I figure that we can let him have it before we start pointing out anything problematical; Mitt Romney is probably already focused on New Hampshire.

Ron Paul… came in third, thank God. If you’re wondering why he’s unequivocally in third place when the polling had him tied for first, it’s probably because most of the polling showing Paul ahead or tied under-counted the Republican vote, over-counted the Democratic/Independent one, or both (the actual entrance polling had it at 75/2/23 R/D/I). This hurts the heck out of Paul’s chances; and, again, thank God.

Gingrich/Perry: there’s going to be calls for candidates to drop out (nobody’s going to bother trying to get Ron Paul to do it, of course); and Gingrich is going to be able to point to his fourth-place finish to argue about why it should be Perry who does so. Speaking as a Perry supporter I still think that he’s the best choice that we have*, so I’m not done until he’s done; but the non-jackasses who point to his fifth place showing as an argument for why Perry should drop actually do have an argument. Gingrich has a lifeline, and we’ll see how that affects him in the next two states.

Bachmann… it’s over, Rep. Bachmann. I’m sorry. Time to start on your re-election campaign for Congress.

Huntsman wasn’t ever in this race to begin with.

And, in general: New Hampshire is stereotypically eager to put a metaphorical thumb in the eye of Iowa over these things. Blessed if I know whether that means giving Romney or Santorum the win, though.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*After the debacle of 2008 it’s going to be a long time before I support a candidate for President who hasn’t been a governor. Preferably one who has won re-election.

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  • Aruges says:

    Damn. With Perry off to TX to “reassess” his campaign, I officially have no dog in this fight. So pissed right now. It will all be over before I even get a chance to vote, again, and I live in FL this time!

    Romney should have had the decency to either admit his error with Romneycare or withdraw from the race, but no, “It’s my turn. I came in second last time and I can’t be seen as a flip-flopper… again… still…”

    Santorum should have had the decency to leave elective politics after his disaster in `06, but no he had to run for Prez because “Only I can save the country! Who cares if I’m already hated and have the charisma of a bat?”.

    Gingrich should have had the decency to disappear after `98. He has done zilch for anyone other than himself since then and has been erratic to say the least. “I’m amazing. I should be president! Oh, look a shiny object!”

    These are our choices? I’m checking out of the primary race. Tell me when Romney locks it up, because I see no point in watching vain losers slap each other around for a few more months.

    They are all still better than Obama.

  • MikeCG says:

    Tough night for Perry supporters. Instead of jetting off to SC, he’s heading back to Texas to “reassess” his campaign. That’s never a good sign. I’d love to see the governor keep on fighting, but the argument as to why people should continue to support him is becoming harder and harder to make. I think a first place finish in South Carolina would put him right back in this thing, but I don’t think it’s terribly likely.

  • Aruges says:

    I suggest everyone turn their efforts to WI to help Gov Scott Walker and the 4 Republican state senators defeat their recalls and to Indiana as they make another push to pass Right-To-Work legislation. We have to show the Unions that we will beat them again and again and again.

    Break the union political money machine and a whole lot of things get much much better.

  • DaveP. says:

    Winner- Ron Paul, who has just graduated from Marginal Kook With Cult
    Following to Serious Contender status. After this, there’ll be no way to
    dismiss him and his followers as ‘fringe’ or nonserious. People who wrote
    him off before Iowa will be taking a second look and courting his favor.
    Like it or not, he’s just got a seat at the table and if the party wants
    to dispose of him, it’ll actually have to do something to make it happen.

    Winner- Rick Santorum. Before today, Santy wasn’t even counted when
    political hacks handicapped the ’12 nomination. He was dismissed along
    with Huntsman and Bachman: too smalltime to matter. Well, he just beat
    Romney’s tens-of-millions-of-dollars machine with a shoestring and a piece
    of bubblegum. He’s now the official Not Romney candiate, and he’s got
    nowhere to go but up. Also, see below.

    Loser: the Inevitable Mitt Romney. Now suddenly quite, quite evitiable.
    Beaten by a third-stringer; almost beaten by Ron Freaking Paul. Picked up
    the same percentage of votes as he did in his LAST Presidential bid, which
    means he hasn’t picked up ANY adherents in six whole years. Also, see

    Loser: Michelle Bachman. On Saturday morning, Bachman could say to herself
    that the polls were inaccurate and that if a few things broke her way-
    say, Sarah Palin endorses her- and she looked good in Iowa, she could
    “continue the fight”. All over now, baby. Now comes the test of character:
    what do you do when you can no longer deny that the fight is hopeless?

    Neither winner nor losers: Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. No, you guys
    can’t win the nomination. But you CAN have a big hand in deciding who
    A lot is going to depend on who throws in the towel and where they send
    their troops. Perry, Gingrich, and Bachman together hold almost a third of
    the votes (13%+11%+6%). If any two of them endorse one of the top three,
    the other two top-listers might as well go home. So… can anybody see a
    devout Newt or Perry follower changing his support to Romney? Can anybody
    see Romney or Paul courting either the candidates or their adherents? I
    can’t. And let’s not forget that Mitt ol’ boy has gone out of his way to
    make things personal with both newt and Rick…
    Bottom line- Santorum is more likely to pick up disaffected Bottom Three
    partisans than either Paul or Romney.

  • Aruges says:

    I imagine this means the Perry VA ballot lawsuit is now moot…

  • […] Lane thinks we should let Santorum have his moment in the sun tonight, and concludes: Gingrich/Perry: there’s going to be calls for candidates to drop out (nobody’s going to bother […]

  • Ric Locke says:

    I’m with Moe. In the world I’d prefer to inhabit, serving as a Senator would forever disqualify the individual from the Presidency, although as a backstop against dirty tricks minded Governors I’d put a time limit on it; forty-eight hours would be about right. Looking back on Lyndon, I would include Representatives as well.

    Utopia doesn’t exist, by definition. You’d never get an amendment to that effect through that gang of self-aggrandizers. It’s also worth noting that there are no guarantees. Carter was a Governor.


  • DaveP. says:

    Ric- so was Wilson.

  • Brian Swisher says:

    Lincoln had exactly one term as a US Representative…the rest of his political career prior to 1861 was in the Illinois statehouse. Of course, he was an extraordinary man, but we can’t count on them to come along when we need them…

  • NotSoBlueStater says:

    I’m sort of shrugging at all of it. Perry seemed to have the bona fides that conservatives were looking for, but I never once saw him speak and thought “Wow. that guy’s going to be my president!” Probably just a Northeasterner’s biases.

    I live in MA and never truly warmed to Romney. That said, President Romney would have the simple advantage over our ideologue president because he seems to have at least a modicum of business sense. To me, that’s what matters right now. Somebody has to try to start righting the ship. He’ll be less Paul Ryan, and more Simpson-Bowles, but we can live with that, no? We need an adult in the White House right now. Romney, if nothing else, is an adult.

  • Canthros says:

    God help us, but Ron Paul came in third, with 19% of the vote. Ron Paul is to the GOP as Ralph Nader is to the Democrats.

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