Calm Down Already

Y’know, I’m having a hard time getting worked up over last night’s results, and the reason for that is, I have an extremely hard time taking the Iowa Caucuses seriously.

It’s amazing to me that almost all of the media refuses to point out a couple of salient facts at this point in every election cycle, namely that Iowa is a pretty weird state, and its freaky caucus system only enhances the weirdness. It’s a system that rewards extremes, and one that can be manipulated by small numbers of organized activists.

What happened on the Republican side last night is not terribly different from what happened in 1988, when Pat Robertson finished a strong second behind nearly-neighboring-stater Bob Dole (Bush 39 41 finished third). Like Robertson, Huckabee turned out enough of the local Baptists to swamp the tiny caucus turnout, and looked for a brief moment like a serious candidate–at least to people who were willing to ignore political reality.

This time around, Huckabee has the advantage of not being an outright weirdo like Robertson, and I’m sure that helped him… but c’mon. It’s Iowa. Ask President Gephart sometime about how much an Iowa win is actually worth.

Before everybody loses their minds and declares either theocracy or the death of the GOP, let’s see what happens in a few actual elections, m’kay?

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17 Responses to “Calm Down Already”

  1. Cory Says:

    It will be bad news for Huckabee and McCain when the rest of America realizes what Limbaugh already knows…neither of them are real conservatives.

  2. tsmonk Says:

    Shoot, even Reagan didn’t take Iowa in ’80.

  3. Tim P Says:

    I can remember in years past when the Iowa caucuses were hardly covered and their ‘media’ importance was more in line with reality.

    Today, I have to agree with Hitchens, that the media generated furor over Iowa helps the media mostly, since it obligates candidates to spend more money with the media.

    Politically, this is a pebble in a lake.

  4. Bishop Says:

    Iowa is only a big deal because of a certain female candidate and a particular guy from NY were on the roster. Hillary got a pinch and Rudy couldn’t have cared less, so no big thing. Especially without Hillary, this would have been page seventeen material.

    Wait and see what happens outside of Iowa, because lets face it, there wasn’t a lot to do in Iowa last night except wander over to the local caucus gatherings. There never is…believe me, I know.

  5. Djshay Says:

    The republicans have openly and avidly courted the evangelical christian vote for a long time now. And now their hard work is coming back to bite them in the a**. You respect their opinions, values and beliefs when you want their votes, but cringe when they put one of their own forth as a candidate. Just another form of republican hypocrisy.

  6. roux Says:

    “…Huckabee has the advantage of not being an outright weirdo like Robertson,…”

    Sorry can’t agree, the Huckster is an outright weirdo.

  7. Jay Reding Says:

    I’m worried about Huckabee because he represents a shift from the GOP being a party of conservatives to the GOP being a party of Christian Democrats. Huckabee’s appeal is based solely on identity politics, which is dangerous. The GOP cannot win unless both wings of the party are represented.

    Huckabee has no appeal to conservatives interested in smaller, better government. Huckabee doesn’t even want to court those votes. Instead, he’s running a campaign of being a “Christian leader” rather than a conservative. Ultimately, that makes him more of a Jimmy Carter than a Ronald Reagan.

    The GOP needs a candidate who represents both strains of conservatism. If Huckabee wins, it puts those of us who care about limiting the rapacious growth of government in the position of having no place within the top of the ticket. It would destroy the GOP.

    If Huckabee’s success were a fluke, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But when a Trojan Horse candidate like Huckabee could very well get the nomination it’s not time for concerned conservatives to merely wave it off.

  8. Midwestern Progressive Says:

    I’m worried about Huckabee because he represents a shift from the GOP being a party of conservatives to the GOP being a party of Christian Democrats.

    What a load of hooey.

    George Bush already led that shift. Or did I miss the part of his administration that actually adhered to a single “conservative” principle?

  9. V the K Says:

    Sorry can’t agree, the Huckster is an outright weirdo.

    All politicians are weirdos. Normal people do not enter politics.

    As a voter, the only question is, which of these freaks can do the general populace some good in the course of satiating their lust for power and status?

  10. McGehee Says:

    The republicans have openly and avidly courted the evangelical christian vote for a long time now. And now their hard work is coming back to bite them in the a**.

    Tell us, are you one of those who was shrieking “blowback” about 9/11? Was it punishment for our past foreign policy sins?

    Funny how much you all sound like Pat Robertson claiming AIDS is God’s vengeance against gays…

  11. Luke Says:

    You said: “(Bush 39 finished third).”

    Err, you mean 41?

    The idiot is 43. Clinton is 42

  12. Luke Says:

    JR said: “If Huckabee wins, it puts those of us who care about limiting the rapacious growth of government in the position of having no place within the top of the ticket. It would destroy the GOP.”

    What do you call the last eight years? You guys reelected Bush, and he can hardly be credited as someone who cares about “limiting the rapacious growth of government.” Government right now is bigger and more expensive than it has EVER been. Example: Department of Homeland Security, anyone? It should be self-evident, but cutting taxes while raising deficit spending (or even keeping it level) is NOT THE SAME as reducing government.

  13. McGehee Says:

    Example: Department of Homeland Security, anyone?

    Do you read newspapers? Were you reading newspapers back in, oh, mid-September 2001?

  14. Hillary Delenda Est Says:

    Adult beverage time. Make mine a Creme de Puppy Puree with an Absolute Puppy chaser.

  15. Kyle Baugh Says:

    At least we are now unburdened of your boy Biden.

    And speaking of Delaware, did you know that the driver’s test there consists of turning your car completely around without any part of the car ever leaving the state?

  16. Hand of Vecna Says:

    One thing I’m really getting ticked about is the constant ingemination over the past 24 hours of the lie (yes, that’s exactly what it is) paraphrased as follows: “Fiscal conservatives are always keeping the social conservatives in the back of the bus and telling us to support their guy, but now that a social conservative wins an election, they yell and scream and say they won’t support him.”

    I’m sorry, but the fiscal conservatives did put their reservations on the back burner eight years ago when George Bush became the nominee. There was plenty of evidence that he was not particularly wedded to the concept of limited government – or fiscal restraint for that matter. I’d seen it first-hand as I lived in Texas from 1996 to mid 2000. But after Bush won his victories in the primaries, the fiscal cons closed ranks behind him. And 2000 was far from an anomaly. Social conservatives have had their guy for eight years. Eight years of “compassionate conservatism” while fiscal conservatives, and all other non-evangelical conservatives for that matter, have shown loyalty – even through expanded medical entitlements, poor leadership on Social Security reform, Ted Kennedy education initiatives, campaign finance reform and a host of other “good government, compassionate conservatism” with no cuts in spending (we got tax cuts – which are now set to expire and certainly won’t be made permanent now). And now that some old line movement conservatives are asking social conservatives to get behind a candidate or two that’s stronger on economic issues and weaker on the social issues, they play the victim card? They complain that they’re guy never gets a chance, while Bush is still in the White House no less? That’s how social cons treat political allies?!

    The truth is the folks in the conservative movement who whinge most when a candidate does not perfectly align with their ideals, it’s the social cons. They’re the ones who scream most and constantly threaten to stay home on election day if they don’t get the candidate they want. While I share many of the values of social cons, I don’t make those views a litmus test every election. I don’t do it on fiscal issues either, as I supported and voted for Bush in the last two presidential elections. It would be nice to see some reciprocation.

    The fire of limited-government conservatism is smoldering. Another dose of “compassionate conservatism” might well douse it for good. Lord knows the lefties will never adopt the principle. And social conservatives, they don’t seem to care.

  17. Roy Mustang Says:

    McCain came out against Ethanol subsidies in Iowa. That’s a real conservative, my friends.

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