Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Iowa morning sweep

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.

Discussions - 9 Comments

My prediction is that Ron Paul will come in third. In front of McCain.

I don't want a conservatism that obsesses about "the way forward." That is a bit oxymoronish, isn't it? I want a conservatism that looks back.

Yeah, let's have that kind of conservatisn. The kind where Lords and Kings and blood ties were honored above all else.

What, that is too far back?

Come on, Red, be serious.

Dale, I am entirely serious. Official conservatism in this country has never conserved a darn thing. Dabney made this observation over 100 years ago.

All those criticisms of Obama are spot on. If people want to vote for a Democratic change, they should vote for Edwards. I'm surprised you didn't comment on him, considering that he's got quite a bit of support in Iowa. Not to mention that if he loses there, he's pretty much done.

But hey. I'm so into change these days that I've been telling my 'ol conservative pals that if Edwards isn't on the Democratic ticket in the general election, I'll be casting my vote for Ron Paul.

I thought someone would have blogged on here by now about Iowa. Obama and Huckabee. I'm sure someone's fingers are flying, or will be shortly. This WSJ article says that six out of ten GOP voters were self-described evangelicals or born-again Christians. North Carolina could be like that, too.

Matt, what interesting politics you have. How will you be presuming to vote for Ron Paul if Edwards does not win?

Peter L. and I got to it above. I'll stick with the point I made that in no state will evangelicals comprise 60% of a primary electorate. They're roughly a quarter of the U.S. population and perhaps 40-45% of the Republican coalition. I could look the latter number up in one of the Pew surveys, but I've got to go walk my dog.

Kate -

Oh I hate Ron Paul's politics (the economic half anyway), but I am impressed by his kind of anti-establishment, let's-change-the-way-things-work message (and it's a real message, unlike Obama's). I don't like the two party system and he will inevitably have to run on the Libertarian ticket (or at least as an Independent) and he actually has a shot at getting a third party recognized. I'm also inclined to like him because the media hates him.

So it's not my politics that are interesting. I would just really like to see Washington and American politics shaken up, woken up, and reformed (even if that means sacrificing, to an extent, my beliefs about the economy). Paul won't win, but by voting for him I think I can help make that happen.

Does that make sense?

Yes, Matt, that makes a kind of sense. My youngest son is inclined to that kind of candidate and I am sympathetic. If you think Paul might displace the Libertarian's candidate, (or he will go independent - and he might get the money for that at the rate he raises the stuff) then I can see that you might be able to vote for him in the general election.

Your politics are interesting. I am considered conservative and yet would like to see American politics, especially in DC, "shaken up, woken up and reformed" as I worry that we slide into ceding liberty for security. To me, that makes sense in marriage, but not in government.

Thanks, Joe. I'll respond to this in connection with your morning post on the subject.

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