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    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012 edited
     (10429.1)
    Well, the Iowa Caucus just finished up last night. There is no use denying the signs any longer. The time of election is upon us.

    Santorum did a lot better than I was hoping for or would have expected - would have thought Paul would put up a bit more of a fight, and it would come down to those him and Romney.

    Then again, Iowa conservatives are a strange lot, and Santorum might appeal to a lot of their social goals - I'm thinking specifically of the gay marriage issue (that's been a hell of a seesaw in Iowa politics ever since it was legalized). Romney also didn't spend as much time in Iowa as the other candidates did - he seems to be concentrating his efforts more on the middle of the campaign than the start, intending to ride on his own name recognition through that rocky part.

    Also, if you aren't already, you really should read fivethirtyeight. Good, math-based analyses and predictions, which in the last election turned out right more often than not.

    Here we go, here we go, here we go.
    •  
      CommentAuthortaphead
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.2)
    And apparently Bachmann is about to go, and Perry is in Texas "reassessing". Newt is getting ready to really ugly on Romney.

    I bet Huntsman is feeling like the straight man in a clown car.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012 edited
     (10429.3)
    I'm kind of impressed that Hunstman got the 1% that he did, actually.

    Bachmann was always a joke for this election, and I think even she knew it. Perry's "reassessment" is, while gratifying, a little surprising. I expected him to go down a bit later, maybe in or after Florida.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.4)
    BBC are reporting that Bachmann has definitely dropped out.
    •  
      CommentAuthornelzbub
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.5)
    Santorum??
    I mean I was kind of aware that the field was widely made up of nut jobs,but for him to come within eight votes of first place in the first round has really creeped me out.
    Please reassure me that Iowa is wildly different than elsewhere... please??
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012 edited
     (10429.6)
    Well, having spent more than half of my life living there, I can assure you that Iowa is not even vaguely similar, in voting, to some of the big states that Santorum will need to take in order to win the nomination. However, the two coming up, South Carolina and Florida, look pretty Santorum-friendly, and Florida in particular probably won't like Romney all that much. Santorum might go farther than we expected. I doubt he'll take the nomination, but whoever does might have to seriously consider him as a running mate.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012 edited
     (10429.7)
    Couple of things to keep in mind:
    1. The caucuses aren't primaries and, ultimately, are nothing but a popularity contest. Case in point, Huckabee won the IA caucus in 2008 and McCain, who was the nominee when all was said and done, was fourth.
    2. Santorum, by the fact that he was so unconsidered by Romney and Paul who instead focused on the more high profile Gingrich, has been putting A LOT of effort into IA in order to build more momentum for his campaign. Also, Santorum appeals very highly to the same people that Huckabee did in 2008, the Religious Right GOP voter, in ways that none of the other candidates could.
    3. Also, Santorum, despite the effort he was putting into IA, slipped under the radar because SO much attention was being put on Gingrich.
    4. I would love, LOVE, Santorum to get the nod because he'd help motivate those voters that Obama has made apathetic in a "Wait, that guy could be President and do his level best to take away the DADT repeal, birth control, and a host of other liberal-value issues? Oh fuck that."
    •  
      CommentAuthortaphead
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.8)
    You know what I'm really looking forward to? VIRGINIA.

    In case you missed it, the only two candidates to qualify for the primary are Paul and Romney, and since one of them will get at least 50% of the vote, it's a winner-take-all. Seriously, even the folks at Redstate (I'm a junkie) are starting to call this The Keystone Kop Primary.

    Oh, and McCain is slated to announce his support for Romney tomorrow.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.9)
    @Taphead

    Where does Virginia fall in the order o things?

    Perry's currently suing there to get on the ballot. In federal court. Over state election law. Good luck with that, Tex.

    Anyway, Perry doesn't appear to be leaving any time soon as he's just twittered that the great state (
    ) of South Carolina is soon to be graced by his presence.
    •  
      CommentAuthornelzbub
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.10)
    childish I know but...
    Santorum Bubbling Up Everywhere
    and other such mirthful headlines...
    •  
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.11)
    @taphead

    I'd say Paul is the straight man, but otherwise that's a pretty good assessment.
    •  
      CommentAuthortaphead
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.12)
    @RenThing

    I'm not really sure as to what the actual effect of VA will be in the grand scheme of things, but it will be screwing with the others' magical "momentum" for sure. It's also a sweet irony to see Newt not clear the hurdle in his home state. And his whole public image is "the smartest guy in the room"?

    It's been fun seeing the GOP activists go from an easy run at the White House into a really depressed and half-hearted finger-pointing mode. I mean, the main proprietor of Redstate is blaming BUSH of all people for this (for not setting up an electable veep as an heir)... It's like they can't really even be bothered to set up a good circular firing squad, but I'm hoping they'll muster the energy for that yet.

    That whole veep/heir thing is also weird. I mean, the last ex-veep president was Bush I, and he was a one-term wonder. Not exactly a successful model, I'd think.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.13)
    @taphead

    I think the vp/heir thing is mostly a myth that's just stubbornly held on. I mean, I'd love to have a beer with the guy but Biden as Pres? Heeeeeeeeeeeeeell no.

    The amusement I've been getting has come from watching the GOP establishment look at their choices and hold their noses as they sort of acknowledge that Romney is going to be the guy, but having the GOP/Tea Party/Religious Right pleabs saying, "NO!" I mean, getting them to accept him as the nominee candidate has been likened to getting a dog to swallow a pill it really doesn't want to.

    At this point, until we have more caucuses and primaries, I think we're looking at:
    1. Romney as the establishment/1%ers/sane(er) GOP choice
    2. Santorum as the Fundie/Religious Right/anti-anything resembling progress choice
    3. Paul as the Libertarian/original Tea Party/crazy choice

    It'll be interesting to see if Santorum can raise the same cash as Romney or Paul and the tone of their advertising, both of whom vastly outspent Gingrich and used most of that money crushing the Gecko (as my wife refers to him) down into the floor.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.14)
    and used most of that money crushing the Gecko (as my wife refers to him) down into the floor.


    I wonder if Romney and Paul will go after Santorum the same way. It doesn't seem like the smart choice - Santorum's a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, and any blasting of him will push Romney and Paul further away from the right, which is the last thing they want.

    I'm really torn between whether I'd prefer Romney to take the nomination (it will, I really hope, make for a saner election), or if I'd rather see, as Ren pointed out, an absolute bughouse madman like Santorum get the ticket, thus mobilizing the left.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFinagle
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.15)
    What made last night's contest so interesting is how the three wings of the republican party are represented:

    1. The Better Business Bureau/Hawk wing - "Rockefeller" republicans, represented by Romney.
    2. The Christian Conservatives, represented by Santorus.
    3. The Libertarians, represented by Paul.

    The real problem for the republican party long-term? Fewer than 15% of people under 21 identified as republicans - but of those, over 50% were for Ron Paul.

    What this means is that the populist, antifederalist wing of the party that also overlaps with the Occupy/99% movement is ripe to be split off from the republicans - and possibly the democrats as well.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.16)
    @Finagle

    Here's the problem with that situation:
    There will, in all likelihood, never be a big split and a national third party start unless there is a very, very, VERY large amont of outside organization and money sunk into the process, not to mention time and continued interest. Why?

    Well, for starters, each state has different hoops to jump through in order to become what is known (in California at least) as a "certified party". When registering to vote anyone can put anything down under that "Other" box and, when I used to work for a county elections department in California, you saw some creative answers. Any and all of those could be potential parties, including the "Ice Cream Party" of New York's "The Rent's Too Damn High Party", but they aren't "certified". Certified parties in California hold a certain percentage of the total state registrations as well as other requirements (parties like the Green Party and the American Independent Party are certified third parties). So, for California, you would need to establish a massive organzation to track and record the registrations for the new party, make sure that such registrations are valid and counted correctly, and make sure you jump through all the right hoops to be certified. Then you'd have to go through all of the other forty-nine states and do their unique hoops.

    And there's always the threat of being "decertified" as well if your registration numbers drop below a certain percentage.

    It's my opinion that the legislators in the states, who were primarily Dem and GOP, made it intentionally difficult for third parties to flourish to cement their power.

    So, without a massive effort (and the money to back it) there will never be a nation-wide, nationally-successful (in that they regularly, and frequently, get people elected to office) third party.

    Now, could those dissatisfied Republicans (and Dems) jump ship to a national third-party and try to take it over? Sure, but I don't see that happening either for the same reason people hold their nose and vote for a party candidate even if they don't like them; they A) don't want to feel like their vote didn't matter, B) they don't want those "other guys", whoever that might be, to win, and C) it's far easier to stay in place and bitch than start something new.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2012
     (10429.17)
    populist, antifederalist


    Honestly that seems like a bit of a contradiction to me.
    •  
      CommentAuthorOsmosis
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2012
     (10429.18)
    Cheeky tenner on Jon Huntsman? Or completely wishful thinking?
  1.  (10429.19)
    Throw this into the mix - Ron Paul's deep connections to the far right (ie Stormfront) are known. His connections to Southern reconstructionists & (of all things) Scottish Rite Masonry... less so.

    He's probably not got a snowball's chance, but it's interesting to note just how deep into the dodgy fringe he is.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFinagle
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2012
     (10429.20)
    @Jay Kay -

    populist, antifederalist


    Honestly that seems like a bit of a contradiction to me.


    I'm afraid I don't follow. American 'Federalists' are classically in favor of a strong central government. Populism is just an appeal to the perceived interests of the people. The current blend of American populist thinking comes along with a strong distrust in the central government.

    The blend itself *is* a bit paradoxical because the majority of these popularist tea party and Occupied types aren't necessarily against government programs - welfare, social security, medicare - in principle. They rather feel that they have been deceived about them or that they won't actually be there for that generation when they retire.

    The reason why the whole Occupy/Tea Party/populist axis is so unstable is that it isn't necessarily driven as much by distrust in government, as disappointment. I'd say about as many people really believe government has failed them, as there are real hardcore libertarians who believe that the government should never have been doing these federal programs in the first place.

    The worst sort of cynic is a disappointed person. In the 20's and 30's, the dispossessed and disenfranchised were strong supporters of the State to intervene and solve their problems. We've now seen that those promises weren't worth the paper they were written on. That's disappointment in government. A friend of mine who has Ron Paul stickers on his car was complaining about how when he was a kid, the city would clear the sidewalks, and now they don't get that anymore. That is disappointment in governmet.

    So sure, there is a bit of a schitzophrenic feel to the crowds who protest that they want government to stay out of their lives - and please, don't cut their subsidies. For ever one honest, hardcore libertarian who really doesn't want government in their lives, there are two to three voters who simply believe government has failed them, whetner because of corporate interests or those damn immigrants.