Friday, January 04, 2008


Yep, Huckabee and Obama won their respective caucuses in Iowa tonight. Dodd and Biden both dropped out, as far as I know they haven't thrown to anyone yet. Not sure if they're even going to.

What does it mean? Policy-wise, not sure if it means anything. I'm still not convinced that policy has a damned thing to do with the popularity of either man. If "centrism" were the core of Obama's appeal, he never could have beaten the centrist Clinton machine. Huckabee's policies aren't exactly enthralling either.

One interesting thing for me is that Edwards beat Clinton too. Edwards has been discounted in the race, I think unfairly; while he doesn't have the momentum Obama does, this was definitely a big win for John's crew tonight. Big loss for Clinton, either; I think she was expecting to lose to Obama, but not Edwards.

As for the Republicans, the conventional wisdom is that this is a big boost for McCain. I don't buy it. McCain is still the tired, compromised candidate that he was a month ago, and even if the media is anointing him to try to head off Huckabee--whom they almost certainly loathe as much as the mainstream Republicans do--he's far from transcending his weaknesses. Lieberman may have endorsed him, but he's still the guy that was outfundraised by Ron Paul.

No, I think the man that won tonight was the man who won tonight: Mike Huckabee. He not only pulled off something I'd have considered unthinkable six months ago, but did it by exploiting earned media and smart campaigning in ways I'd never have expected. Yes, a LOT of it had to do with him not-so-subtly reminding people that he's the sole Evangelical candidate, but I wouldn't have expected anything else. He's one to watch.

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