How do them apples strike you? Do you feel like you just ate a worm?
I'm coming to believe that I'm more moderate in my political beliefs than I ever imagined. The primary voters in Iowa, if they are representative of the mood of the country chose extremes--at least superficial extremes. In Huckabee, the voters get a folksy, religious populist in the Jimmy Carter strain. In Obama, the voters get a "change agent" outsider willing to take on D.C.
Neither man is what the voters believe them to be. In fact, they're more alike than different when it comes to their view of the role of government. Both believe that government solutions is the answer to all problems. Both use the victim rhetoric to appeal to the oppressed. Who in America is oppressed these days? For all the wealth and prosperity and personal happiness, it doesn't seem to be enough. Everyone carries the victim mantle now, and the candidate who best taps into the resentment gets the votes. Actually, the Dems feel victimized just living in a country that elected George W. Bush, twice. And the conservative Republicans are fuming about immigration and the corrupting influence of Washington. It seems like every Republican sells out. Still, it seems to be pure fantasy that either candidate will change much.
And then, these guys will have to be elected by the general population. Both are extreme. I'm a rather conservative Christian and Huckabee turns my stomach. And while I like Obama for his personality and his attitude, he's too inexperienced. Period. Not to mention that he's also exceedingly liberal in the Chicago strain of liberal. Um, no. The presidency is not where you gain your first executive experience, or it shouldn't be the first place that happens.
Having these guys in the general election will cause all sorts of electoral distress. I would predict record low turnout. Many people will pick neither candidate. This is all conjecture, though. It's early.
Huckabee won't be the Republican candidate. As much love as he got in Iowa, he won't feel the same thing other places. Romney is sliding. Without his immense personal wealth his goose would already be cooked. I cannot believe that I'm writing this, but John McCain is coming back and may well surprise everyone. Fred Thompson might come back, too. We'll see.
Will Obama be the nominee? It's a very good maybe. It's definitely between Obama and Clinton. The inevitability of Hillary has worn off and Obama's win may embolden voters who personally liked Obama better but were afraid to vote for him. But Hillary is a disciplined machine. That counts for a lot. George W. Bush's discipline and support structure made the difference down the stretch.
The Anchoress doesn't think Iowa means squat. And she so distrusts Huckabee (as do I) that she's leery of his using Chesterton to lure Catholics. Ugh. Well, I think Iowa means more than squat. I think it's shifted the Democrat side significantly. The Republicans? I still view Huckabee as a Dean who has yet to really scream.
Betsy Newmark talks about how Iowans chose "novices" when the world events seem to demand experience. She, too, hopes Huckabee fades fast. It has occurred to me, that bloggers might be considered part of the elite chattering class by the average voter. Do bloggers skew libertarian or just more liberal?
Captain Ed says that Hillary is a spoil sport. Has she ever struck you as gracious? That would not be one of the first qualities I'd pick.
I'll add more updates later. It's just a start.
In the Iowans are idiots department: Jonah Goldberg says this (read the whole thing):
More important, if Iowans are so deadly serious about the issues, why is ethanol the third rail of Iowa politics? It’s hard to reconcile the idea that Iowans are exemplary custodians of civil virtue with the fact that they are rabid defenders of welfare checks for government moonshine.John Hawkins gives clear-headed analysis, but I'm more interested in fantasizing about Fred Thompson pulling this out.