Sunday, August 12, 2007

On the Iowa Straw Poll

Our old pal Mitt won. By a lot. But, I don't know if he should throw a high-octane Mormon fiesta just yet. After all, Giuliani, Thompson (the one who actually has a chance, that is), and McCain weren't participating. Plus, the straw poll doesn't really show who has the most support in Iowa, but rather who can buy the most support in Iowa. And we know that Mitt is by far the most free-spending candidate out there. So, he won a money competition. Wow. Congrats there Mitty.

I think the true winner of the straw poll was the man who came in second place, Mike Huckabee. He and his chief rival for the coveted second place, Sam Brownback, were very close, with Huckabee getting 18 percent and Brownback getting 15. But, there should be an important asterisk here. Brownback spent more money and exerted more effort here than Huckabee. So, in theory, Brownback should have taken second place.

Of course, coming in second place in a rather meaningless and completely undemocratic poll in which three of the main competitors chose not to participate may not seem like a big accomplishment. And it really isn't. But, I think it may be a bit of foreshadowing. We know that conservative Republicans are displeased with Giuliani, McCain, and Romney (and they will be even more displeased once primary season really heats up and the airwaves are filled with negative ads showing how liberal these guys are). They're sort of holding out hope that Thompson will be their man, but I have the feeling he will flop pretty quickly. So, what then? Who will be the conservative standard bearer? Huckabee or Brownback. Of course, I'm not saying that the nomination will ultimately go to either of those two (I don't think it will), but I do think one of them will be a bigger part of the campaign than they currently are. And I think this straw poll shows that Huckabee may be that guy.

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