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Huckabee, Obama win Iowa

Here are the WaPo Republican story, its Democratic counterpart, and the NYT article. Here are the NBC Democratic and Republican exit polls.

For instant analysis, see this NYT piece, the Corner, and TNR’s The Plank (especially this post about the Obama and Clinton campaign styles).

Here’s the lead story on The Politico site, as well as some analysis of hte Republican campaign’s future.

My first thought is that Huckabee will never again face a friendlier crowd--60% of the caucus-goers were evangelical Christians, and he won 46% of them (more than 80% of his overall total). By contrast, roughly one-third of the Republican voters in the 2000 South Carolina primary were members of the "religious Right." (I know the question won’t be asked that way this time, and I suspect the proportion of evangelicals will be a little higher, but not 60%.) Unless he can reach out beyond his base, he’s not going anywhere, save perhaps as a running mate.

My second thought is that Romney has to worry a lot about McCain (13% to Thompson’s 14%) in New Hampshire.

My third thought is a question: what happens to Thompson supporters if he pulls out? If they’re the authentic conservatives, where do they go?

As for the Democratic side, HRC is in trouble, perhaps, if Mark Steyn is right, deep, deep trouble.

Discussions - 7 Comments

Even assuming that these Iowa exit polls are Gospel, it means that Huck was supported by 16% of non-evangelical voters in Iowa. He beat everyone but Romney's overall vote percentage just based on the non-evangelical vote. While the base helped him (all bases do), he had a respectable showing with the non-evangelical wing in Iowa, despite being outspent by oodles.

Another look at your parroted media analysis shows that Huckabee was the overwhelming CHOICE OF CONSERVATIVES, and that he ran almost even with Romney amongst moderates.

On issues and ideology, Huckabee was the conservatives' choice. Forty-five percent of caucus attendees called themselves very conservative, and 35 percent of them supported Huckabee, as did 34 percent of those considering themselves to be somewhat conservative.

Moderates - only 11percent of the pool - split between Romney and McCain, at 26 percent apiece. Only 22 percent of moderates supported Huckabee.

The cute tagline for the media spin is that Huck only won because of religious nuts, but the fact is that conservatives and very conservative voters are who supported Huck-regardless of religion. This would of course throw your electorate analysis out the window because other states will have large numbers of "very conservative" and "somewhat conservative" voters ready to support Huck.

Neither your analysis nor mine may be right, but numbers could just as easily be read that Huck's base is conservatives rather than evangelicals. I think it's a lot of both and it has the makings of the nomination.

One problem with Huck - and his supporters

Krauthammer (characteristically) nailed it in a column about Romney's speech about religion:

Now, there's nothing wrong with having a spirited debate on the place of religion in politics. But the candidates are confusing two arguments.

The first, which conservatives are winning, is defending the legitimacy of religion in the public square. The second, which conservatives are bound to lose, is proclaiming the privileged status of religion in political life.

I think Huck and most of his supporters fall into the second category.

Michelle-could you please explain what "proclaiming the privileged status of religion in public life" means???

I agree with Clint on that one. Krauthammer needs to flesh out what he was trying to describe by warning against "proclaiming the privileged status of religion in political life." And Krauthammer's first line oozes condescension, he's OK with a "spirited debate on the place of religion in politics." Well, isn't that mighty big-hearted of him. Subtext, you can talk about it a bit, but don't actually do something so foolish as to take it all seriously.

You have to take everything Krauthammer says with a grain of salt, because he's so jaded, so cynical. And he can't help but let that creep out occasionally, as he did in that column. And he's dead wrong by the way when he says a "confusion" has occurred. Christians know full well that cultural forces are at work trying to mainstream demonstrable pathologies. And that legal permission of those pathologies will naturally, indeed INEXORABLY follow that wider cultural acceptance. Politics, and law, FOLLOWS culture. You can't draw a legal line without drawing, AND MAINTAINING, a moral, cultural stance. And the GOP establishment doesn't want any part of that.

Clint writes: "Michelle-could you please explain what "proclaiming the privileged status of religion in public life" means???"

Krauthammer explains it clearly. He doesn't need my assistance.

Thank you for the link to the whole Michelle. Krauthammer said:

"Freedom requires religion," Romney declared, "just as religion requires freedom."

But this is nonsense -- as Romney then proceeded to demonstrate in that very same speech. He spoke of the empty cathedrals in Europe. He's right about that: Postwar Europe has experienced the most precipitous decline in religious belief in the history of the West. Yet Europe is one of the freest precincts on the planet.

Two things:

1. Many conservatives and founders believed religion was necessary for freedom. See Washington's Thanksgiving proclamation, saying it is the duty of all nations to honor God. Or this selection: The basis of those ideals and principles is a commitment to freedom and personal liberty that, itself, is grounded in the much deeper realization that freedom prospers only where the blessings of God are avidly sought and humbly accepted. from Ronald Reagan's "Evil Empire" Speech Reagan's line directly contradicts Krauthammer's argument.

2. Krauthammer's claim that Europe is free and irreligious ignores possible distinctions of liberty and license as Locke would say. It is not clear to me, and not clear to Krauthammer either I think, that Europe's experiment with "freedom" unhinged from moral principles will be successful. It seems to border on bare license-every person free to do evil which is not true Lockeian, Christian or American freedom.

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