2008 January 04 Friday
Obama And Huckabee Win In Iowa

Barack Obama won the Iowa Democratic caucus with a total of 93k votes (38%) versus John Edwards 74k (30%) and Hillary Clinton with 73k votes (29%). Okay, the Democratic Party's race changed direction because of only 93k votes. Evan Thomas says that now Obama will jump to the lead in New Hampshire. The purpose of the Iowa caucuses was to create winners and losers and now Obama is the biggest winner.

Isn't it bad that a single state at the outset plays such a big role in the final choices of party nominees? On second thought, the deeper problem seems to be that even with just a single state to hold an election in we can't get better candidates to show up and campaign for months before the caucus election. We are stuck with the likes of these people.

57% of those under 30 went for Obama. He got 35% of women versus 30% for Clinton. Even John Edwards beat Hillary. What does this say? Hillary is not a likable person. Even in a caucus of fairly activist Democrats Hillary can't manage to get more than 29%.

On the Republican side Huckabee won with 34% versus Romney with 25%, Thompson at 13% and then McCain slightly lower at 13%, Ron Paul at 10%, and Rudy Giuliani at 3%. I am not surprised by this result. Lots more liberal Democrats are eager to vote for a black man than Christian Republicans will vote for a Mormon. Also, as for Giuliani I never saw how Christians would vote for a guy on his third marriage. 60% of the Republicans who came out were born again Christians and Huckabee got 45% of them.

The Christians are why Romney has dismal prospects.

In the Republican contest, born-again or evangelical Christians comprised six in 10 Republican caucus-goers, and 46 percent of them favored Huckabee. Only 19 percent favored Mitt Romney, a Mormon who has been viewed skeptically by some religious conservatives.

The Christians who vote for Huckabee demonstrate the power of identity politics. It doesn't matter that Huckabee wants a huge immigration amnesty that the overwhelming majority of the Republican base oppose. That Huckabee is one of them in religious belief trumps mere policy positions - never mind how damaging those policy positions might be for his supporters.

Can some Republican besides Huckabee make big inroads among Christian voters?

The movement's old leadership, which looked as tired and confused as the conventional wisdom suggested, splintered. Pat Robertson stunned some in the movement by endorsing Mr. Giuliani, despite his three marriages and support for abortion rights. Paul Weyrich and Bob Jones III, both leaders among Christian conservatives, endorsed Mr. Romney, a Mormon. Sen. Sam Brownback, a Christian conservative favorite, endorsed Sen. McCain after his own candidacy flamed out.

And when former Sen. Fred Thompson entered the race, much of the punditry world figured he would be the man to consolidate conservative Christian support.

But what happened in Iowa was that the foot soldiers moved out on their own, without regard to where their leaders were heading. They singled out Mr. Huckabee, and turned him from afterthought to front-runner.

I like Fred Thompson's supposed laziness. Bush is lazy in the "I'm not going to bother to understand the real world before march off on some crazy campaign" way. Fred is more of the "I'm lazy and so I won't go marching off" way. I prefer the latter in Presidents. Do less. Mess up less stuff.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 January 04 12:49 AM  Politics American Presidency

Dragon Horse said at January 4, 2008 10:30 AM:

I predicted the wins of Huckabee and Obama, but I did not think the margin would be so great, especially for Huckabee. I also did not think Hillary would lose to Edwards.

If Obama can get Edwards to drop out by Super Tuesday the nomination is his, if not, who knows. Hillary is no ones second choice, so Edwards is taking away from Obama and so is Richardson.

Huckabee will not win New Hampshire but if he can make to Super Tuesday he might win the nomination. The base of the Repub is Southern, white, evangelistic Christians males. Giuliani and Romney won't get that vote. In fact I predict Huckabee will be 3rd in New Hampshire but will win South Carolina.

If Obama can win New Hampshire, he will definitely get South Carolina as half the electorate there is black and they will likely believe he can win (having won two predominately white states by that time), which has been hurting them there and giving power to Hillary.

Florida...who knows...but Super Tuesday is right after so that will be the deal breaker, Obama needs to maximize momentum.

According to CNN:

New Hampshire

Obama 30

Clinton 34

Edwards 17

South Carolina

Obama 35

Clinton 34

Edwards 13

Ned said at January 4, 2008 12:09 PM:

I think it was Alan Greenspan who said that the last "normal" person we had as President was Gerald Ford - because he became President sort of by accident and never sought the job. Abraham Lincoln didn't even attend the Republican convention in 1860 - can you imagine such a thing nowadays? Anybody who is willing to put himself (or herself) through this devastating ordeal must be fundamentally flawed. RP, I agree with your observation - is this really the best we can do?

Randall Parker said at January 4, 2008 5:50 PM:

Dragon Horse,

I want to know who would do the most damage. Any ideas on that? I would appreciate anyone who can point me to specific reasons various of the candidates would be particularly bad as Presidents.

I hold it in Obama's favor that he voted against the war in Iraq. I hold it strongly against Huckabee and McCain that they are so for mass Hispanic immigration. Both are unacceptable to me for immigration alone.


Yes, in a nutshell: few talented normal people will put themselves thru the campaign ordeal.

If the campaign season was many months shorter we'd attract many more entrants. That's what we need. More competitors.

Stephen said at January 4, 2008 6:01 PM:

Ned, I agree. The Presidential system is truly warped.

In terms of solutions to the problem, how about a parliamentary system where you do away with the anachronistic role of President and instead have a Prime Minister? A parliamentary system has the advantage that the PM isn't voted for by the rabble, but by his parliamentary peers. While I'm not claiming that the system is infallible, it does tend to filter out the morons and if someone stops performing he's easily replaced without having to wait for the expiry of a fixed term.

Stephen said at January 4, 2008 6:12 PM:

What's also needed is mandatory voting in order to reduce the power of special interest groups.

Randall Parker said at January 4, 2008 6:28 PM:


I like how conveniently you demonstrated the contradiction of your position. On the one hand, the rabble can't be trusted to directly select a leader. On the other hand the rabble must be made to vote with compulsory voting.

Look, most people who do vote do not know what they are voting about. They don't bother studying very much. They lack the knowledge and skills needed to evaluate most policy proposals. The people who do not vote are even worse. Why do you want them to vote when you obviously and correctly do not trust their judgment?

You can't argue that more voters will allow better voters to cancel out the decisions of lousier voters. The opposite is the case.

There's a basic problem with democracy: one gets little in return for becoming well informed. One benefits far more by focusing on economic pursuits in one's own life.

Bob Badour said at January 4, 2008 7:29 PM:


How do you explain the morons we have had running Canada for my entire lifetime? (I don't know as much about the morons who ran Canada before I was born.)

In fact, as the recent Liberal leadership race so admirably demonstrated, the caucus selection process is likely to put forward the most moronic on the belief they are less dangerous to the rest of the caucus or because the alpha and the beta are too proud to cooperate.

John S Bolton said at January 4, 2008 10:57 PM:

One wonder of our kind of democracy is the way the anointed of the national party establishments are getting disfavored like Hillary, or even thunderously repudiated like McCain. Brownback, the alternative establishment favorite is already long-gone, with Giuliani also sinking in spite of the hugest name-recognition. Political elites must be getting nervous about their hold on the interpretation of events, and we'll probably see some concessions in terms of public statements by these elites, who don't want a preacher from Arkansas controlling the plums in Washington.

D Flinchum said at January 5, 2008 2:43 AM:

"Look, most people who do vote do not know what they are voting about. They don't bother studying very much. They lack the knowledge and skills needed to evaluate most policy proposals." RP

Exactly. How do you think that Huckabee got so many votes from people identifying illegal immigration as a very important issue to them? He sure doesn't fool any of us who know his record on the immigration issue. Would anybody who did trust him? Hardly.

Dragon Horse said at January 5, 2008 7:55 AM:


All the Dems are for mass Hispanic immigration. I know Obama has said he wants "more security on the border" but I have never heard what that means. He also calls for "immigration reform" but I doubt his administration will crackdown on employers or be deporting more people.

Most of the Republicans avoid immigration talk or are in favor of mass Hispanic immigration (I'm talking about the leading candidates) although they call for more security. Thompson always says, "Big fences, with wide gates".

I think corporate interest and pressure groups have gotten to all of them. There is another factor as well. No one wants to alienate Hispanics because no one wants to loose the potential vote of a population that will increase to 25% by 2050 (if not more). Little Jorge is going to remember the people who deported his father when he grows up.

As far as the war, as you said Obama wants to bring troops home as soon as possible. Hillary wants managed withdrawal. Most of the Republicans are backing Bush to some extent, which is unpopular with most of the country outside the Republican base.

Here is what I do know. If the Republicans don't change their democratic appeal away from rural white male identity politics and Christian fundamentalism they will be inviable as a party in 30 years and every election cycle in between (barring scandals or major policy fubars) will be increasing difficult for them to win as the base of the party is white and male, as can be seen in their conventions and primaries candidates. White males are 33% of the population and quickly shrinking. That is not sustainable, especially as about 1/3 of white males in this country vote Democrat.

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