Friday, January 04, 2008

Iowa Post-Script

Maggie says:
I didn't expect to be as saddened as I was last night with John Edwards' second-place finish. Somewhere along the way it became more personal for me than I expected it to, I suppose. I told my dad that I thought Hillary would place third and Edwards would be able to squeak out a win. Obama's win was convincing, though - I never would've guessed an 8-pt lead - and his campaign deserves so much credit for their turnout efforts among new voters. Seeing Edwards speak to his crowd last night - filled with so many union signs and labor types - I was saddened at the lost potential for true change. What struck me about Edwards was his courage in the face of the establishment - demanding concessions from drug companies, for instance - and I think Obama's approach will be more status quo triangulation, which hasn't gotten us much in the past. If Obama wins this thing, he's going to be an incredible candidate, and one that I'll support whole-heartedly, but I already sense a shadowing of the grand possibilities I allowed myself to believe regarding Edwards. Edwards' money "problems" - being the only publicly financed candidate who therefore has much less cash to spend than everyone else - only toughens a job already made more difficult with a silver corn medal around his neck rather than a gold one. A black man winning a white state's caucus, though? Powerful stuff. So onward, upward, and some random thoughts:

  • Combining the votes last night, 68% of Iowa Democrats voted for a perceived message of change rather than an establishment message, and that's great news for all of us.
  • Turnout is the huge story here. A record number of Democrats voted last night: 230,000 is a conservative estimate, and still more than twice the number of Iowa Republicans who turned out. Imagine what those numbers could mean next November if heavier Dem/young/Independent turnout becomes a national trend. That's the best indicator for general election success I can think of.
  • Change + Democrats as last night's big winners? That's a headline I can applaud.
  • I was really surprised that Romney placed as low as he did last night. That message is an obvious one - you can't buy an election in Iowa. Phil Gramm and Steve Forbes discovered that the hard way in years past, too. I don't have much respect for Romney, who has taken on more positions while running for various public offices than even he probably remembers. He's a rich phony, in my opinion, and I'm glad that Iowans saw through it. NH's going to be fascinating on the R side - particularly with McCain's strong presence there.
  • Chuck Norris got more camera time last night than he has in a decade. Bizarre.
  • How refreshing not to have to listen to Karl Rove last night. How awesomely refreshing.
  • I thought all three top Democrats gave fantastic speeches last night.
  • Chris Dodd is a great man, and a great Senator, and I respect him enormously. Maybe he can take Harry Reid's job next?
  • Some of the "political experts" our esteemed cable news stations bring in are just laughably bad. Or offensive. I thought Donna Brazile was going to slug the fat white guy she was sitting next to on CNN last night. As Trevor put it, "he might as well have been wearing a hood" while talking about race and the Democratic field. Jesus. And Carl Bernstein was so full of outrageous proclamations I wanted to burn my copy of "All The President's Men."
ps: What should I cook for New Hampshire primary night?!