Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The last (?) Iowa polls

Here’s a Kristol-clear speculation, and here’s the Des Moines Register poll. If Kristol is correct, then Huckabee holds on to win Iowa. My question then would be how close McCain comes to Romney, and how that might alter the dynamic in New Hampshire.

On the Democratic side, Obama leads, but his support might be a little soft and, in its youth, perhaps unreliable about showing up. As the WSJ’s John Fund points out, the rules for the Democratic caucuses are complicated, with second choices mattering a lot. Since I’d bet that the’re’s a lot of ABH sentiment out there, that can’t help the Clinton campaign. (Here’s a Knippenberg speculation: given the gender and age gaps, the smoothest path to a Clinton victory would be a caucus dominated by older women.)

It’s also worth noting that the principal speculations in these posts aren’t borne out by the substance of the Register poll. Nevertheless, the Obama campaign’s apparent confidence about the outcome (and its effort to discourage belief in Edwards’s staying power) suggest, first, that they’re worried about him (as, apparently, are the Clintonistas) and, second, that the stakes in Iowa are very high, as this Voegeli post summarizes.

I’ll close by noting this summary of the poll reactions and this analysis by the dean of Iowa observers, who suggests that his newspaper’s own poll--probably the best of the bunch--will have problems in predicting the outcome.

Discussions - 9 Comments

The big news in the analyst's article is that all the energy and enthusiasm is on the Democratic side. They're getting all the independents etc. Republicans need to wake up to how bad this situation is.

Is that news? I do not think anyone is asleep to how bad the situation is for Republicans. There is just no clear solution to the problem - our current candidates do not inspire - though there are some exceptions of those inspired exemplified by Clint on here vociferous for Huckabee and some few others for Paul. Perhaps most enthusiasts write on other blogs that are candidate or issue specific. It seems more likely to me that there are just not all that many true enthusiasts.

We have been writing about this problem on NLT for months, I thought. Or at least that has been an underlying concern to my whining on the topic.

Kate is correct. My initial plan was to respond to Peter with "Wake up and do what?"

If the independents are trending Democrat, then the question is what "mood" are the independents in this year? The operative word seems to be "change," but I don't think it's clear what that means. Presumably it's change from the status quo, but do the voters have a clear view of what the "status quo" really is? I'm not so sure. The tea leaves seem to be indicating some confusion on this score. And as to what the objective of change would be ... well, I fear nobody has a good handle on that.

We seem a nation that is desperately ambivalent. We can't quite cast from our minds the threats that are out there, yet we very much want to. We seem yearn for a return to some imaginary yesteryear -- Clinton 90's for Democrats, Reagan-era for Republicans -- but I think in our heart of hearts we know that will never be. So we cast about, hopeful that something will bob to the surface and provide the answer.

Rich Lowry over at NRO has done some fine work explaining how Obama represents a kind of hopeful vision to many. We here can argue all day long about how naive and shallow it may be. But for those independents out there, it may be just the message they need right now. Sad as that may be.

I'm not sure that I'd read too much into the most politically active independents deciding in a very low turnout caucus to go to the Democratic side. Are they indicative of independents as a whole? If the Democratic race is more interesting, is it because people are fascinated by Obama or repulsed by HRC? I agree that Republicans at the moment seem to have a "passion problem," but even in 2004, much of the passion was on the Democratic side.

That doesn't mean I'll sleep easily, just that I think there's a long way to go.

It's kind of difficult to get enthusiastic 3 years into this 2d term.

Bush's ideological incoherence has left our party enervated.

But Bush won't lose any sleep thinking that Hillary might succeed him.

"Wake up and do what....?"

Well first off, they need to sharply distinguish themselves from the Bush administration. Much of the dismay in the party has to do with the leadership, and the direction the leadership has been dragging the party in.

You can't underestimate things like that Dubai Ports deal. You can't underestimate the importance of Bush refusing, point-blank refusing to secure our borders. Not to mention the rather lame war effort. He took the world's sole superpower to war yet still, STILL refuses to wage war. He even refuses to properly identify the enemy, and naturally refuses to dwell in lurid detail on the many atrocities committed by that enemy.

It's real hard to get enthusiastic, what with the incompetence of the Bush administration. Just recently news reports were speculating on whether Hillary "had it." The Republican candidates went out there and said "she's no experience to speak of." And what did Bush do, when he was asked about it, what did he do? Well of course he undercut the Republican candidates and all the Conservative columnists by saying "Of course she has the experience for the job." Now that's just a small example of the serial incompetence displayed throughout this nightmarish 2d term. Bush could have said "Those are serious questions....." But no, he goes out there and gives that demonstrably ill-equipped Hillary a clean bill of political health.

No wonder there's no energy, no jazz.

of course i didn't mean you guys...but to joe i will say that this is much more like 06 than 04, only worse.


The difference between '06 and '08 is that Democrats can't run against Bush (or the war, really) and that they have to articulate what they're for. If they're lucky, Republicans can run against the second coming of Clinton, and, perhaps, against the excessive aspirations of a Democratic Congress. But being a party of "No" works better when the other guys have had a chance to annoy people for awhile, and I'm not convinced that Clinton-Pelosi-Reid fatigue will be an adequate platform.

If Obama's the nominee, the GOP's problems are greater, and it will be incumbent (so to speak) upon the Republican nominee to articulate a compelling (and "hopeful") vision of conservative governance. Which I haven't heard from anyone yet.

It's not just us guys. This worry is everywhere as I mentioned here just the other day.

Joe is quite right, especially in his last paragraph. If conservatives have lost "a compelling (and "hopeful") vision of conservative governance" then we he have to hope that whichever Democrat wins the primary becomes obnoxious to the electorate somehow. The argument for any one of the Republican candidates positives never quite outweigh the negatives. I read this today, suggested on The Corner by Jonathan Adler. Any one of the candidates has positive characteristics. The situation is not hopeless. Yet, for me and for most conservative voters I speak to out here in formerly rural Ohio at the edge of Cleveland's sprawl, that is not quite enough and we could wish for more.

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