Too Happy About Iowa

Perhaps the most definitive and amusing conclusion we can draw from the recent caucus results from Iowa is that Chuck Norris and Oprah Winfrey are the king makers in the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively. Norris endorsed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee for the Republican nomination, Winfrey endorsed Senator Barak Obama, and both endorsed candidates won their party Iowa caucuses.

Humor aside, Republicans are far too sanguine about the results from Iowa. The guilty pleasure of watching Hillary Clinton come in not second but third in Iowa masked the fact that results probably reduced the chances of the Republicans winning the presidency in November.

(1) Despite Republicans being constantly beaten by Bill Clinton’s machine in elections, Hillary Clinton carries much of the Clinton baggage without Bill’s consummate political skills. Bill knew how to work a crowd and pulled energy from retail politics. For Hillary, such politics is an enervating grind. Bill had a musical temperament and could modulate his voice and hit the proper note. Hillary oscillates between pedantic is shrill. Hillary Clinton would be formidable candidate in a general election, but may be the least difficult candidate for Republicans to beat. Given the Republican glee at the loss in Iowa, she would certainly energize Republicans.

(2) Mike Huckabee does not come from the heart of the Republican party. Although he has hit many traditional Conservative themes, he speaks with populist tone and appeals to and actually encourages class resentment. His foreign policy is animated by the same feel good rhetoric that propelled President Jimmy Carter into the most humiliating foreign policy in memory. Moreover, Huckabee’s religious beliefs particularly his belief in Creationism will be easily ridiculed by the popular press in the general election. Ridicule is the most destructive political force.

The only positive item that came out of the Iowa for Republicans is that the rise of Obama will likely bring out the Clinton nastiness. Clinton may be able inflict more damage on Obama than Republicans could.

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