The WaPo’s Dan Balz conveniently summarizes the conventional wisdom. Dana Milbank takes a look at the young voters supporting Obama, wondering if there’s another Dean in the making here. Methinks not, but I’ll bet that Huckabee’s homeschoolers are more reliable than Obama’s college students. (Here’s why.) David Broder gives us some more conventional wisdom about the unrepresentative character of the Iowa caucuses, characteristically preferring to regard New Hampshire (say what???) as more representative.
The NYT’s Adam Nagourney tells us that Iraq is off the front burner (duh!). For all their differences, Huckabee hearts Obama (for reasons that Peter L. has already noted). This NYT article suggests that support on the Democratic side is softer than on the Republican, though the anecdotes don’t amount to data.
This WSJ article discusses the populist rhetoric on both sides of the campaign. It resonates, but wouldn’t it be nice if the populists took the time to get their facts right? It kinda makes you want to vote for Fred, who’s in a media-assisted (or is that resisted?) fade.
Or maybe McCain, who still draws the media, if not the crowds. A "surprisingly good" third-place showing in Iowa will help him a lot, especially with his friends in the media, and especially if Romney doesn’t impress.
NR’s Stephen Spruiell explains why the liberal netroots don’t cotton to Obama (he sounds too little like them and too much like someone who really wants to go in a new direction--even if, in the end, the direction isn’t all that new). Indeed, I think this is what makes Obama a formidable general election candidate, especially if his opponent can’t get anyone to listen to how Obama--despite the fog--is still just the same old same old.
This NR editorial concedes some of David Brooks’s argument, especially that none of the Republican candidates has articulated the way forward for conservatism. The excuse? You have to consolidate the existing base first. But the editorial notes that tax-cutting doesn’t at the moment have the traction it used to have, since many fewer of us are paying a painful share of our income in taxes. Give the Democrats a couple of election victories and that might change, but the easy fiscal promise doesn’t energize voters right now and the hard one almost never does.
TWS’s Richelieu predicts that Republican women will put Obama over the top on the Democratic side and hurt Romney on the Republican side. Low Republican turnout helps homeschoolers for Huckabee and manly men for McCain. Stephen F. Hayes thinks Romney will win and McCain won’t do as well as he’d like.
Finally, here’s a look at the independent voters who might help Obama in Iowa and McCain or Obama (or both?) in New Hampshire. Interestingly, it seems to me that the independents who say they’ll support Obama look more like McCainiacs and those who tend to support McCain part company with him on Iraq. In the end, I’m not convinced that the independent vote in New Hampshire can help candidates in both parties.