Because life is a series of edits

Iowa

In Politics on January 4, 2008 at 10:25 am

A few thoughts on the thoughts of others concerning the goings-on in Iowa:

Dick Morris gets my vote for worst overstatement of the evening:

“Obama – by winning in a totally white state [actually 92%] – shows that racism is gone as a factor in American politics.”

Peggy Noonan is somewhat accurate (but also mean):

“Hillary Clinton, the inevitable, the avatar of the machine, lost. It’s huge. Even though people have been talking about this possibility for six weeks now, it’s still huge. She had the money, she had the organization, the party’s stars, she had Elvis behind her, and the Clinton name in a base that loved Bill. And she lost. There are always a lot of reasons for a loss, but the Ur reason in this case, the thing it all comes down to? There’s something about her that makes you look, watch, think, look again, weigh and say: No. She started out way ahead, met everyone, and lost.”

David Brooks perhaps comes closest to summing up my perspective:

“Obama’s made Hillary Clinton, with her wonkish, pragmatic approach to politics, seem uninspired. He’s made John Edwards, with his angry cries that ‘corporate greed is killing your children’s future,’ seem old-fashioned. Edwards’s political career is probably over. Obama is changing the tone of American liberalism, and maybe American politics, too.”

“The race will move on to New Hampshire. Mitt Romney is now grievously wounded. Romney represents what’s left of Republicanism 1.0. Huckabee and McCain represent half-formed iterations of Republicanism 2.0. My guess is Republicans will now swing behind McCain in order to stop Mike. Huckabee probably won’t be the nominee, but starting last night in Iowa, an evangelical began the Republican Reformation.”

The biggest surprise of the night for me was Fred Thompson (he of the “Sure, I’ll run” campaign) coming in third. Not sure where he nor Rudy Guiliani (who’s hanging out in Florida) will end up in New Hampshire next week, but at least it will make for an interesting (if arbitrary) angle to follow.

I’m guessing this is the beginning of the end for Ron Paul. RP, we hardly knew ye.

I don’t know if I fully grasp the Iowa caucus idea, but I think I like it, especially for the fact that it takes place in the Midwest. It’s nice for the nation to forget the coasts every now and then, forcing politicians to grovel and squirm at having to sit down in a local diner to rub shoulders and talk with small town folk about real life rather than rhetoric.

Thoughts from your point of view on the political spectrum?

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  1. i too, like that they have to talk to people who live in the real world outside of nyc, dc and hollywood. the ones who come across as arrogant (the clinton machine) pay b/c they don’t realize that these people are actually savvy to their “fakeness”. i think barack used the word “authenticity” last nite. i’m not certain he totally is, but his whole organization has that look. he does have charisma. i want to follow him…until i listen really close and think about what some of his policies could look like in the real world. it reminds me of the jfk/rfk days. watching those results last nite, i started to get excited about this election. MAYBE we will actually get some interesting candidates. of course, we’ll have to compromise on our choices over what we would like, but i’ve done that many times b/f and ended up with some pretty good presidents. m

  2. watching huckabee take iowa makes me wonder if people are more apt to vote for someone with whom they most identify, regardless of the possibility that most of us would make horrible presidents. except for me of course ;) obama’s win doesn’t necessarily fit that theory, so whatever.

    i agree that it’s great that iowa reminds the rest of the country that people live in flyover country.

    and for the record & out of principle, RP FTW.

  3. Following up on Martha’s comment (specifically about compromise on choices)– I actually think that a candidate that represented at least minor compromises for everyone might be the best thing for our country.

    Across-the-board compromise would force the U.S. to realize that it’s not all about us, individually or corporately. Frankly, I am almost convinced that the severe divisions politically that we’ve seen for the past two decades (almost) is the result of the rampant individualism that has set in so deeply in our culture. This also explains the waffling and deceit among politicians, because they can’t win if they don’t tell (and convince) at least two different people, “I’m just like you.”

    Both Obama and Huckabee (though far less so with Huckabee, which might be the very thing that makes him electable) represent this sort of across-the-board compromise. I’d love to see an Obama vs. Huckabee race, or even an Obama vs. McCain race (particularly if McCain should name Joe Lieberman as his running mate!).

    One other thing about Obama– he attacted young voters in unheard-of numbers yesterday. That is worth something, in itself.

  4. thoughts on the political stream… hmmm? well, i’m still a cynic (though knowing is half the battle) and am still planning on not voting in the fall.

    on another note – you weren’t suggesting that city folk don’t have real lives were you?

  5. city people DO have real lives. i just get tired of all the input coming from nyc, DC and hollywood… areas that i don’t believe are representative of either our country or city dwellers in many parts of the US.
    also travis, i think you definitely have the right to NOT vote. when you exercise it however, you lose the right to complain about the people who did/did not get into office. are you willing to give up THAT right? i’m not:) m

  6. Regarding the Hilary v. Obama thing – I wonder if voters are more afraid of what is known (Hilari) that what is unknown (Obama). Does Obama’s win mean that voters are ready and willing to take a chance?

  7. Good thoughts all. I’m not trying to contrast rural/city folk but rural/political folk, a majority of whom are from or are negatively influenced by the coasts. By all means, I think there’s great life in the cities, as long as politicians aren’t involved.

    I think with regard to Hillary and Obama, people assume Hillary is the poison in the Democratic party, and Obama is the antidote. It does appear people (at least in Iowa) are willing to take a chance with the new, but as impressive as I think Obama is, I wonder if he’s more style than substance? I love to hear him speak, but often wonder what he’s really saying.

    On a different note, the Ron Paul folks are spinning his 10% finish in Iowa as a huge victory going into New Hampshire, where his libertarian leanings are expected to be more embraced by that population. Is this spin or possibility?

  8. martha,

    since my complaints tend to be the same whoever is in office i’m not sure it matters. i voted for bush the last two times and have generally regretted my decision. but that might just be because i’m one of those liberal cityfolk. ;-)

  9. I’m not that knowledgeable about politics. It’s something I would like to be knowledgeable about, but it is just far enough down my priorities list that I don’t ever get to it. That said, in a democracy, and especially in the blogosphere, any idiot can have his say; so here’s mine…

    Politics is almost never a zero-sum game, and that is especially the case in the primaries. What I mean by that is that a vote for Obama (or whoever) is not necessarily a rejection of Clinton. Maybe lots of folks liked Clinton, but they just liked Obama better.

    On another note, I do think that Paul’s 10% is pretty remarkable. At the very least, if he can keep it up, it will force the party to account for his issues in its platform in order to retain his supporters. I don’t really know what those issues are, but that’s my take on the situation.

    As far as the Iowa caucus, I’m not too sure that forcing politicians to grovel and squirm in diners with farmers 11 months before the election has really served to make them more aware or engaged with the real life of small town folks.

  10. now i know why i’m not a writer! i figured it out for sure. i’m NOT good with words at all:) i looked back again over what i wrote to see where some of the comments came from and realized i didn’t express myself well at all.
    yes, i think obama is an interesting candidate but don’t plan to vote for him at this point b/c i think it is quite likely that he is more style than substance (as craig said).
    i also sound like i dislike cities and i don’t. i like cities a lot. i lived in miami for a number of years…happily…when people were moving away in droves. i much prefer the city to the country in fact. more than anything, i like the variety of people you find in the city and the variety of opinions. it is very invigorating. i have a daughter who has lived in nyc and loved it and now lives in seattle…also likes it a lot.
    it is interesting to me to see cycles and things that are supposedly things that are “new” in politics that don’t seem all that new to me. that’s when i think i’m getting older.
    the biggest disappointment to me in this election has been the lack of a really good republican candidate that i could get excited over. we have plenty of really good people, but i’ve never been one to vote only one party. i try to choose the better choice, in my opinion and go from there.
    who knows, maybe out of this election will come a movement of christians praying more for their gov’t. rather than being “involved” in gov’t. now that is a revolutionary idea isn’t it:) m

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