Friday, January 04, 2008

Iowa: The Morning After

"People are looking for a presidential candidate who reminds them more of the guy they work with rather than the guy that laid them off." Mike Huckabee takes a potshot at Mitt Romney

Here are a few links to some of the best post match analysis...

1. Britain & America on what the Iowa results mean for each candidate
2. Stephen Pollard on Huckabee v Obama
3. Red State offers advice to John McCain
4. Toby Harnden on Obama's giant step towards the White House
5. Justin Webb, the BBC reporter who, on the Ten O'Clock News last night failed to actually mention that a Republican Primary was also being held yesterday any of the Republican candidates and can't understand how America can think of electing someone with no foreign policy experience.
6. Post after brilliant post from James Forsyth in Iowa on Spectator Coffee House.
7. Peggy Noonan's incisive as ever in the WSJ.


Anonymous said...

The BBC can't quite bring themselves to say Clinton was third. This is the only mention of her result:

"Mr Edwards and Mrs Clinton were almost level on around 30%...."


Anonymous said...

The night belonged to Barack Obama. Obama is right when he says 'change is coming to America.'

There were records numbers of young people out voting last night. Barack Obama's message resonates with the people.
I really hope Obama gets the nomination.

Looking at the result in Iowa it also proves that negative campaining will only lose you votes (take note Hillary and Romney!).

The people decided that change and hope are more important than 'experience'. Let's face it - it's the 'experienced' politicians who've got us into this big mess that we're in today.

Go Obama.

Oscar Miller said...

Mitch - I think the BBC is often disgracefully partisan, but the fact is Edwards and Clinton WERE almost level on around 30% - according to the figures there was only 0.2% between them.

Anonymous said...

'campaigning' too.

Iain, Why can't you get an edit button ?! I hate my typos but there you go!


Anonymous said...

Justin Webb's report last night was introduced with these words.

"Tonight Republicans and Democrats in the US state of Iowa will decide who the front-runners are for the presidency"

New Year, any excuse, eh?

Iain Dale said...

BJ, I stand corrected and have edited the text. Nothing was reported on the republican side of things though, was it? I suspect he did report it but it was all edited out back at the ranch as they presumably thought the only exciting thing was Hillary v Obama.

Unknown said...

That's a brilliant line from Huckabee.

Anonymous said...

It was really a package about the mechanics of a caucus, rather than the politics of the contest. Yes, JW did analyse the Democratic race in his live piece at the end -- but don't you think Iowa is more significant to the Democratic contest than the Republican one? Rudy Guiliani might agree with me: he hasn't really bothered this time around.

Kevin Davis said...

Only one person in history, who was a non-incumbent, has won the Iowa caucus and gone on to win the General Election.

That man was George W Bush!

James Higham said...

Obama would have to be the one, one would now think.

Anonymous said...

Interesting fact: Two-thirds of the people who voted in Iowa voted for Democrat candidates.

A sign of the times? I think so.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't read too much into a 38-30-29 vote in the Iowa caucuses - based on past voting by the Democrats it signifies very little whatsoever.

Yak40 said...

Iowa is indeed of more significance to the Dems & appeals especially to the activists in both parties. Not so many years ago it was regarded as nothing more than a strange local ritual but the 24hr news beast must be fed.

That being said it's a kick in the teeth for Hillary and she'll turn loose the attack dogs now. However big the vote for Obama, just what has he done to qualify ? Seems like he's been running since arriving in DC as a new senator. NH is of far greater importance, can't wait for next week !

Justin Webb is an obnoxious little )(*% and is the reason I stopped listening to the BBC World Service some years ago

Anonymous said...

Iowa is of little significance when you consider that less than 3% of the population of Iowa took part. Only activists.

That said, if only activists took part then it tells me that Clinton may have to shed a lot more tears!

Not as many as Today's Scottish gentleman over there to relay the great news of Hilary's success!! Gosh he was certainly crying into his horlicks this morning.

Still. The republicans are going to win.By a read it here first.

Jonathon Cainer that famous old stargazer told everyone on Jules Holland's New Years (taped on the 24th!!!) show that Clinton will win by a mile... That man has never been right about anything!

Anonymous said...

The Republicans have no chance of winning this election. Given that most Dems are comfortably to the right of all our Euro Socialist scum and given that any American is willing to stand up for American interests (and thus - more often that not - for those of the Western world) this doesn't really matter.

I'd love to see Obama win this election. The thought of Bill Clinton (that sleazy, smug and thoroughlly self-satisfied jerk) having an influential role within the presidency of his equally arrogant and self-promoting wife is too much to bear. Twenty years, at least, of two dynasties in charge of a superpower is hardly an advert for democracy and sickens me to the core.

Obama may be experienced but good judgement is at least as important as experience. Brown has spent ten years at the heart of government but one would hardly see the benefits of this as judged by his efficacy in charge since June. Sometimes it simply is "time for a change" and I think the Americans have come to that point. Obama is their only realistic chance of securing it.

Anonymous said...

"inexperienced" of course. Also, forgive my "ll" in "thoroughly".

K S Rees said...

I'm rooting for Obama myself, not that it makes a blind bit of difference considering I live in Wales. One thing is certain; the next US and British elections shall be considerably more exciting than those in 2004 and 2005.

Personally I'd rather the past four presidents of the USA not read Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton; should this be the case it would say a great deal about the American system.

A Swansea Blog

Anonymous said...

Canvas - Your post was laughably provincial, especially your advising Hillary Clinton and Romney to take note of your words.

You say it's experienced politicians who have got us into the mess we're in today. That is undoubtedly the case in Britain, but America is not in the cesspit of European socialism.

Kevin Davis, George Bush was twice elected Governor of one of the most populous and powerful states in the Union.

Even if Obama was politically experienced and, as with just TWO YEARS as a senator, he most assuredly is not, Americans don't usually vote for senators for president because they have no executive experience. They can't run anything.

I think Obama will get a thrashing in NH.

strapworld said...

Watching true democracy at work does show what we have allowed this country to descend into.

Would Brown ever get elected as an MP if he had to go through such procedures as in the USA.

The USA is much maligned but when you see how they operate it tells us we have much to do to get us back to being a true democracy.

Anonymous said...

Verity, if you are saying that America is not in a mess because of Geroge Bush and his policies - then it must be you who lives in that laughable lala provincial land.

Obama says he wants to make this world a better place - and the people of the USA just might give him a chance to do that.

You think Obama will get a 'thrashing' in NH. Perhaps, but it doesn't seem likely. I would be happy with Hillary winning - but Obama is preferable because he truly represents REAL change.

verity - are you always such a bad loser or do you just resent people having a different opinion to you? hug hug hug ...what a card (roll of eyes).


Anonymous said...

Bretwalda - Based on a 3% turnout of voters in Iowa? Iowa's only significant because it's the kick-off.

I agree with [1:54]. Iowa, with a tiny percentage of activist voters out is entertaining, but it's not an indicator of anything. I think the Reps are going to win the White House. Still stuck with a Democratic Congress, though. Which Rep is the question. I'm hoping for McCain. Or Ron Paul on the inside track, but it's not going to happen. I just don't like Guiliani, although at least he's a Republican.

Strapworld: Agreed.

Paddy Briggs said...

It’s the Democrats to lose. Three strong candidates each with a perfectly credible case for election and each with a more than Presidential aura about them. I like them all - with a slight preference for Edwards because of his gutsy challenge to business America and his attacks on corporate greed. But I’d be happy with a ticket perming any two from the three in any order.

The Republicans are shambolic. Huckabee is a joke, as pig ignorant of the world as 85% of the American electorate and a believer in creationism! Where do they find these turnips? McCain is old, tired and tainted. Romney as moronic as he is mormonic and Giuliani, as well as tainted, is no more than an opportunist and a chancer.

Anonymous said...

Every time that someone points out that BO is very inexperienced, it reminds me that so are Edwards and Hellary. Experience is available among the Republicans, but probably to no avail.

Anonymous said...

Paddy Briggs 4:30 PM, you are spot on re: Democrats - "I’d be happy with a ticket perming any two from the three in any order"

It's a winning ticket.

Arden Forester said...

Apparently Huckabee has been telling porky pies about his theology degree. He hasn't got one as he dropped out of college. Oh,dear!! What's next in the revelation stakes.

Anonymous said...

I will make a small bet.In a couple of years time whoever wins not much will have changed,wars will still be foisted on us and everyone will blame the prez.
These people talk big(like gordon)but do little they may as well leave the chimp in chief they have at least he knows his way round the place.

Anonymous said...

Saw and met Edwards in a bar in Mass. he's not too bright!

Anonymous said...

Mitch - Agreed. It really doesn't matter what the President wants. The Congress governs the country.

I do think that Obama calling himself black is rather racist, though,given he's 50% white. Quite the little opportunist, Mr Obama.

Anonymous said...

Post-Iowa I was wondering on what the final tickets for each of the parties will be come November.

My thinking for the Democrats is that it will be Obama with former Virginia Governor Mark Warner as his VP running mate.

Warner is running for Senate in 2008 so might have to be persuaded to drop that. But he would add valuable experience as Governor to the ticket to counter inexperience acqusations, being a Washington outsider it would resonate with Obama's message and finally he comes from Southern(ish) state to give Obama greater southern penetration.

The alternative to Warner would be Bill Richardson. As a Govenor, former Ambassador and Clinton Cabinet Minister he would also add experience to the ticket both in term sof domestic governance and foreign policy. Might be considered an insider given his past which doesn't chime so well with Obama's message. His Hispanic routes might help secure another key voting block, though Obama-Richardson might be considered too ethnic by some. There has also been speculation of Richardson and Obama doing deals in Iowa. The beginning of a working relationship? Finally Obama-Richardson runs of the tongue better that Obama-Warner.

As for the Republicans. McCain does appear to have the momentum though I can't help thinking Guiliani will still sneak it the end. However I think the outcome of Iowa is that if either Guiliani or McCain is the nominee Huckabee will probably be the VP rnning mate. Huckabee on the ticket would keep the Christian Right on-board and put them in pole position to follow McCain or Guiliani. Coming from the a Southern state would help shore up Republican support in the south, which might be especially important for Guiliani. McCain-Huckabee and Guiliani-Huckabee both scan ok as well.

Anonymous said...

Chris -the "Christian right" is a very small group of people scattered around. In a country of in excess of 300m, they're barely discernible.

Anonymous said...

Interesting perspective on Republicanism 2.0 from todays's New York Times-

Op-Ed Columnist
The Two Earthquakes

Published: January 4, 2008

Ottumwa, Iowa

David Brooks

I’ve been through election nights that brought a political earthquake to the country. I’ve never been through an election night that brought two.

Barack Obama has won the Iowa caucuses. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel moved by this. An African-American man wins a closely fought campaign in a pivotal state. He beats two strong opponents, including the mighty Clinton machine. He does it in a system that favors rural voters. He does it by getting young voters to come out to the caucuses.

This is a huge moment. It’s one of those times when a movement that seemed ethereal and idealistic became a reality and took on political substance.

Iowa won’t settle the race, but the rest of the primary season is going to be colored by the glow of this result. Whatever their political affiliations, Americans are going to feel good about the Obama victory, which is a story of youth, possibility and unity through diversity — the primordial themes of the American experience.

And Americans are not going to want to see this stopped. When an African-American man is leading a juggernaut to the White House, do you want to be the one to stand up and say No?

Obama has achieved something remarkable. At first blush, his speeches are abstract, secular sermons of personal uplift — filled with disquisitions on the nature of hope and the contours of change.

He talks about erasing old categories like red and blue (and implicitly, black and white) and replacing them with new categories, of which the most important are new and old. He seems at first more preoccupied with changing thinking than changing legislation.

Yet over the course of his speeches and over the course of this campaign, he has persuaded many Iowans that there is substance here as well. He built a great organization and produced a tangible victory.

He’s made Hillary Clinton, with her wonkish, pragmatic approach to politics, seem uninspired. He’s made John Edwards, with his angry cries that “corporate greed is killing your children’s future,” seem old-fashioned. Edwards’s political career is probably over.

Obama is changing the tone of American liberalism, and maybe American politics, too.

On the Republican side, my message is: Be not afraid. Some people are going to tell you that Mike Huckabee’s victory last night in Iowa represents a triumph for the creationist crusaders. Wrong.

Huckabee won because he tapped into realities that other Republicans have been slow to recognize. First, evangelicals have changed. Huckabee is the first ironic evangelical on the national stage. He’s funny, campy (see his Chuck Norris fixation) and he’s not at war with modern culture.

Second, Huckabee understands much better than Mitt Romney that we have a crisis of authority in this country. People have lost faith in their leaders’ ability to respond to problems. While Romney embodies the leadership class, Huckabee went after it. He criticized Wall Street and K Street. Most importantly, he sensed that conservatives do not believe their own movement is well led. He took on Rush Limbaugh, the Club for Growth and even President Bush. The old guard threw everything they had at him, and their diminished power is now exposed.

Third, Huckabee understands how middle-class anxiety is really lived. Democrats talk about wages. But real middle-class families have more to fear economically from divorce than from a free trade pact. A person’s lifetime prospects will be threatened more by single parenting than by outsourcing. Huckabee understands that economic well-being is fused with social and moral well-being, and he talks about the inter-relationship in a way no other candidate has.

In that sense, Huckabee’s victory is not a step into the past. It opens up the way for a new coalition.

A conservatism that recognizes stable families as the foundation of economic growth is not hard to imagine. A conservatism that loves capitalism but distrusts capitalists is not hard to imagine either. Adam Smith felt this way. A conservatism that pays attention to people making less than $50,000 a year is the only conservatism worth defending.

Will Huckabee move on and lead this new conservatism? Highly doubtful. The past few weeks have exposed his serious flaws as a presidential candidate. His foreign policy knowledge is minimal. His lapses into amateurishness simply won’t fly in a national campaign.

So the race will move on to New Hampshire. Mitt Romney is now grievously wounded. Romney represents what’s left of Republicanism 1.0. Huckabee and McCain represent half-formed iterations of Republicanism 2.0. My guess is Republicans will now swing behind McCain in order to stop Mike.

Huckabee probably won’t be the nominee, but starting last night in Iowa, an evangelical began the Republican Reformation.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I don't know whether you posess a vindictive streak, but it may interest you to consider that if things go on as they are in the USA, your adversary Bruce Anderson's prediction's (The Independent, 31/12/07) will prove utterly wrong. He opined that "Romney will beat Clinton to the presidency". Will you be celebrating if that doesn't occur? :)

Iain Dale said...

Jim, vindictive? Moi? :)

Anonymous said...

the commenteriat seeks meaning in Iwowa snake entrails. Here's a prediction. When the president is elected in about 8 months time the results of the Iwowa caucus won't even get more than a cursory mention. Keep your powder dry boys - there's a long way to go.

Anonymous said...

As much as momentum is important - and as impressive as Obama's comeback has been so far - I think everyone is rather getting ahead of themselves. Clinton has run a national campaign, Iowa was always going to be difficult for her, and the threat from John Edwards has probably now disappeared, given that he threw most of his limited resources at the Iowa caucus. It is incredibly exciting to see Obama doing what he is doing at the minute, but if he doesn't win New Hampshire - where Clinton still enjoys a decent lead in the polls - the race is wide open again.

That said I think Obama's victory speech, quite apart from being great rhetoric, was very clever. If he is to win the nomination, he needs to sustain the excitement around his candidacy. Telling people they are making history is an excellent way to do that, and I defy anyone to say he did not come across as a potentially great leader of men.

Anonymous said...

As an example of why Iowa shouldn't be taken as too much of a guide for the rest of the race, Wyoming is holding its own Republican caucus now, and Romney is currently in the lead with 50%. Huckabee is in single figures. (Although they only get 12 delegates this year, so this is hardly earth-shattering news.)

Anonymous said...

matthew, maybe you should watch the Facebook ABC debate tonight?

The news reports are that Obama has NH in a frenzy. At a 3000 strong democrats dinner last night Hillary was booed. They went crazy when Obama came on the stage.

Google it if you don't believe me!

but you're right, Hillary is still in it to win it. That's fine too. I like Clinton, Obama and Edwards. But Obama is VERY special.

Anonymous said...

Matthew writes: "and as impressive as Obama's comeback has been" ... Obama's comeback? The guy's never been anywhere! Even counting the conniving - and he was running for president before he got elected junior senator which is not exactly an important position in Washington - he's still never had a presence anywhere to "come back" to.

He's a greenhorn. He's inexperienced. He has a lot of thoughts about changing the world ... well he better not try to change the world where I am because I haven't had an opportunity to vote against him.

Canvas writes: "Verity, if you are saying that America is not in a mess because of Geroge Bush and his policies - then it must be you who lives in that laughable lala provincial land."

Not really. I am familiar with the United States and you, all too obviously, are not - except perhaps a little over-familiar with the products of Hollywood.

I do agree with you, though. Obama is very special. Especially as he began running for president before he had any government experience whatsoever. Before he was elected a first-time senator even, which is a little odd. And claiming not to be a muslim. And explaining away his attending a madrassah in Indonesia by claiming that madrassah is just the Indonesian word for school. No. Madrassah in Indonesia means the same as madrassah in Pakistan, where they don't speak Indonesian. But I speak some Bahasa Meleyu - Indonesian/Malaysian, and the word for school is sekolah.

Obama seems to have lived a life overly-filled with incident.

I have already christened him The Manchurian Candidate.

Anonymous said...

Verity, I guess the fact that I was born and raised in the USA, travel there several times a year to visit my family and friends, and have dual nationality , means that I "obviously" have little insight into US politics? You are very wrong...By the way, can you actually vote in the US elections? I can.

I'm not the only person who thinks Obama would be a great president. But the voters will decide. I would be perfectly happy to see Clinton or Edwards win too. But Obama has to be first choice.

The Republicans are uninspiring. They are tired and exhausted just like the Labour Party.

Anonymous said...


I was talking about Obama's comeback from his mid-campaign dip in support, including a double-digit polling deficit to HRC. Calm down.

There are some inaccuracies in what you wrote. Firstly, Obama did not start running for President before he was elected Senator: he had no real national prominence before his speech to the DNC in 2004. Secondly, experience aside, U.S. Senator is undoubtedly a 'prestigious' position - and 'junior' Senator simply means that of the two from a particular state, your tenure is shorter. Thirdly, there's nothing odd about him 'claiming' not to be a Muslim - he's not. And even if he was, why would it matter? Fourthly, he didn't attend a madrassa. He attended, for two years, the Basuki school in Jakarta, a Muslim-oriented school but one with children of many faiths, and one without any specific focus on religious instruction. See CNN's de-bunking of this smear for more details.

Finally, Verity, I think it's safe to say that Obama will not lose much sleep over the fact that an anonymous commentor on right-wing blogs has given him a (rather uninspired) nickname.

Anonymous said...


Couldn't stay up for the debate, but I've caught up with it this morning. I do understand that Clinton is on the back foot, but Obama's campaign has always been more suited to chasing rather than leading the pack. Clinton's substantive criticisms on his record and experience are now likely to be harder to brush off. For what it's worth, I think NH will most likely end up very close between HRC & Obama at the top, with Edwards behind by about 6 points.

I still don't know what to think about this race. In personal terms, Obama is far more appealing. But when he says things like he did last night, when he defended his comments about invading Pakistan, you have to wonder if he is suitable for a job that is two-thirds foreign policy.

Anonymous said...

Canvas - Apologies. We are so accustomed to reading ill-informed anti-American rants from people who have never been to the country, never mind lived there, and who know nothing of the US government structure that I slipped over into the assumption that anyone commenting on the United States was doing so from an uninformed British/European position. I do apologise.

Barak Obama is still a phony and a dangerous one. So now the maddrassah is being massaged because Obama's people didn't realise that there are plenty of people who know what a maddrassah is. Ooops! Back and fill. Back and fill.

If it was a perfectly normal school, why did ol' Barak tell reporters that 'maddrassah' is just the Indonesian word for school, when it is not? If he lived there as a child, and attended school there, he most certainly speaks Bahasa Indonesia and was aware that he was lying.

I have read - and failed to make a note of it - that he had laid his plans out for running for the presidency in '08 before he managed to get himself elected to the Senate for the first time. As soon as he got elected, he started his campaign, short changing, I would have thought, the people who voted for his services as their senator in DC.

There is something very disturbing about this individual and I think he is dangerous, which is why I call him the Manchurian candidate. I am hoping his glibness and that earnest and sincere look on his face will turn off a lot of Dem voters. He's creepy.

Anonymous said...

Verity, No problem! We're all entitled to our opinions. The voters will decide - but I think Obama offers real hope for the future.

Matthew, I understand your concerns but I think it would be great to have a president who realises that the world is actually *larger* than the North American continent. Obama seems to get that.

Interesting times ahead?! Let the people speak.