Thursday, December 22, 2011

Iowa up for grabs

(note: apologies for not posting for 2 weeks. Started my new job w/ Akron Children's)

We're now 12 days away from the Iowa caucuses. Here's a summary of all the polling in the state since April. The lead has gone from Romney, to Bachmann, to Perry, back to Romney for a couple days, then to Cain, then Gingrich, now Ron Paul.

The prospect of a Paul win has been scaring the hell out of the Republican establishment, with the Iowa governor advising voters in other states to ignore the result if Paul wins. And he very well might pull it off, given his current lead in the polls and the strength and dedication of his organization. A major factor that's been holding back his campaign is a lack of media coverage. A win in Iowa would change that.

But a win is far from a certainty. As we saw after Newt Gingrich's rise, the knives will come out against whoever the frontrunner is. And, at least among the Republican electorate, Paul is extremely vulnerable to attacks. While voters would respect his economic views, his non-interventionist foreign policy is diametrically opposed to the traditional Republican approach. The other candidates' campaigns, and their super-PAC, will likely spend much of the next 12 days exploiting this vulnerability.

So I don't have a fucking clue who's going to finish anywhere from 1st-6th; pretty sure Huntsman will be 7th, but that's it. I think it's unlikely that Bachmann, Perry or Santorum would win it all, but any of them could finish a strong 2nd. With Romney's big New Hampshire lead, the result there almost certainly won't be "news", so the Iowa winner will likely get an even bigger boost than normal.

While I still think Romney wins the nomination, the shape the race will take is very much up in the air.

1 comment:

NWest said...

The thing is, Ron Paul's foreign policy *is* the traditional Republican approach. Republicans opposed entry to both World Wars (until we were attacked by Japan in WWII). They typically followed Jefferson's idea - "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none."

The modern republican party has been taken over by the hawkish progressives, who used to mostly be Democrats - Wilson (WWI), Roosevelt (WWII), Truman (Korea), Kennedy/Johnson (Vietnam). It began to infect the republican party with Nixon, and we haven't had a Republican *or* Democrat president since who didn't think that foreign intervention is a good thing (Obama escalated Afghanistan and intervened in Libya, and soon will likely attack Iran).

I used to believe the "neoconservatives" and hawkish democrats were right, but now I'm not convinced, since nothing we did in Iraq seems to have made it much better (it's about ready to collapse), and we killed Bin Laden, so shouldn't we be done with Afganistan?