I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Iowa Caucus Circus

After months and months of campaigning, we finally have a moment of peace and quiet, but only a fleeting moment as we wait for the results of the Iowa caucuses. The poll results have been all over the map. One poll says that Hillary will win, with Obama and Edwards following closely behind. Another says that Hillary will come in third behind Edwards and Obama. The Republican side is just as unpredictable. Some say Huckabee will win, while others say Romney is the man. Others say that McCain and Thompson are surging to the front.

It has been more than 40 years since neither party is running an incumbent President or Vice President. The political parties have given us a wide array of candidates to choose from, with none of the politicians distinguishing themselves from the rest of the pack. Just a few short months ago, the pundits told us that the primaries were already decided with Giuliani and Clinton being declared the winners. Now it is 2008, and we see that Clinton’s lead has evaporated to the point that some polls show her trailing both Edwards and Obama. Giuliani’s lead is gone to the point where he hasn’t focused on the Iowa caucuses.

In the run-up to the first test for the candidates, some “experts” questioned whether or not the Iowa caucuses really matter anymore. The same “experts” posited that if Hillary came in second or third, it would actually be seen as a win because of the uphill battle she has had to fight. I simply don’t understand what battle she has had to fight. She held a commanding lead in every poll since before she even declared her candidacy. Their logic does have a ring of familiarity. Former President Bill Clinton came in fourth place in Iowa, only to see him come in second in New Hampshire. He was seen as the “Comeback Kid” and went on to win the nomination. Hillary’s campaign is being run by the same people that propelled her husband to the Oval Office, I have to wonder how much of this is coincidence or political maneuvering.

As the results come in we will see all of the candidates rationalizing the outcome to their advantage. If Hillary does come in second, it will still be declared a victory and she will move on to New Hampshire a little more determined. If she ends up in third place, Obama and Edwards are in for the fight of their lives. The gloves will come off, and the Clinton War Machine will get in gear to roll over anyone in their path. She believes it her birthright to be the next President and will do anything that she deems necessary to achieve that goal. If Edwards comes in third behind Clinton and Obama, I believe we will start to see the last days of his campaign. Obama is in this for the long haul, no matter where he ends up in the polls.

On the Republican side, I see Huckabee finishing at the top of the heap this evening with Romney trailing closely behind. I think that the real race is to see where Thompson and McCain end up. I think that the upcoming primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina et al, will be a free for all with a different candidate winning each state. It will be interesting to see who remains at the end of the accelerated primary cycle.

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