... or at least the Republicans there do. He won a decisive victory in the Republican caucus, sending Romney off to nurse his wounds. Thompson finished a surprising 3rd. Guiliani didn't even register on the scale. It was a result few would have predicted several months ago when Guiliani was the assumed candidate (with an endorsement from Pat Robertson), when Thompson got Rove's minions working for him, when Romney supposedly got the endorsement from the Southern Baptists (although that was later qualified as not
The Democratic caucus results were less surprising, ending in essentially a 3-way tie, with Obama slightly ahead. Edwards came in second, and Hillary finished third (perhaps the only real surprise here). The other candidates barely registered at all. Sadly, the results prompted both Dodd and Biden to bow out of the race.
Because of this, we have removed the Dodd link from our ad/endorsement strip.
For all of us watching, we got to see amazing speeches by Obama and Edwards. Both were passionate, heartfelt, and emotionally evocative. Both showed their respective strengths as orators. Edwards stuck to his "two Americas" theme, asking us to help him fight for the downtrodden. Obama's speech was more hopeful in focus for the future. Edwards might want to think about putting more hope into his speeches and tame down some of the guilt.
Huckabee preached to the crowd like a pro, showing how his years in the pulpit have paid off. He - like the Democrats - was calling for change, in some ways the same as the Democrats, and in some ways very different. As the pundits proclaimed - this year, the leading candidates from the two major parties represent real choice. It (currently) isn't Republican -vs- Republican-lite.
So just how important are these results? From an emotional point of view, apparently enough for so-called "second tier" candidates to throw in the towel. But historically? Let's see how recent Presidential winners faired in the Iowa caucus
Jimmy Carter: 27.7%
Reagan: 29.5% (to Bush's 31.6%)
Clinton: 2.8% (to Harkin's 76.4%)
Clinton's results especially show why it's so disappointing to have Dodd and Biden bow out so early. While there is always a lot of weight given to the Iowa caucus, history shows that it is definitely not the harbinger of things to come. There are still 49 states to go; the end of the race is still there for the taking...