Things I said on the night of the Iowa Caucus
These are going to be strung-together thoughts as I remember them of what I said on Thursday night:
* After the results were in: "The voting begins now." Iowa is less about the voting, and more about the post-spin. To some extent that's true of every primary season window where there's no voting, but because of the way the calendar is and historical factors, Iowa is particularly this way this cycle.
* McCain 08 = Kerry 04, in this way at least: both are candidates the media built up, tore down, and then forgot that all the reasons they initially built him up still apply. Hillary Clinton is starting to fall into this category.
* If you asked me who the GOP nominee would be right now, I'd pick McCain (thought that for a few weeks, though it's obviously not over 50%). McCain's strategy was smart -- he should get more credit for making it to 13% on a small amount of effort and organization. Seems to me that Giuliani has spun pretty well his miserable showing. I know he didn't compete in Iowa, but there's a reason for that.
* Obama has taken the shine off Hillary. But Hillary 08, post-Iowa reminds me a bit of W 2000, post-NH. Although it seemed close, McCain never had that much of a chance -- media-driven candidacies don't win Republican nominations. In the same way that W had to completely re-do his campaign in the wake of NH, Hillary has to do that in the wake of Iowa. She certainly can do that, and it's good to get the aura of invulnerability off early. If you asked me who the Dem nominee would be, I'd say it's still a push between Obama and Hillary. Is it surprising that I said the same thing pre-Iowa and that even though Obama exceeded expectations, my opinion didn't change much? Schmeh.
* Al Gore looks wiser in 2000: Bringing in Bill the way Hillary did was not a winning move. Hillary ran an awful closing campaign in Iowa. Bill has the reputation of being a brilliant political strategist -- we'll see in the next few months if he's as overrated as I think he is. His taking over the campaign strategy in Iowa was a bust. Can he put aside his ego?
* Fred is wholly uninterested in fighting the media narratives. Is he getting bad advice or being willfully stubborn? It's pretty impressive how reporters are knowingly misinterpreting what Fred says because it makes for a better story and fits their narrative.
* It's hard to see a path to the nomination for John Edwards. The reporters covering him think he's a phony (they're right), he's quite limited money-wise, and he got beat in the state most friendly to him. Unless he pulls off a Bill Clinton-like overcoming expectations in NH, it looks like he's done. He can go back to railing about corporate greed from his new $30 million mansion (with private gym!).
* Romney appears to have to beat McCain in NH to have a chance.
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