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Morning Mix: Can We Talk About the Caucus?

Morning Mix: Can We Talk About the Caucus?

Remember when political races didn’t always end up in near photo finishes?  Instead of one clear winner, we instead get a drawn out battle and a Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney tie, with Ron Paul finishing within inches of the others.

For former Governor Mitt Romney, it’s perhaps the worst of spots.  The ploy that he wasn’t really campaigning in Iowa didn’t stick, and he wasn’t successful in lowering expectations as much as the campaign would have liked.  Anything less than a full win was likely to make him look bad, and a tie? That has to hurt.

Former Senator Rick Santorum’s high finish appears to be primarily a result of high evangelical turnout, as well as a large number of undecideds breaking for him at the final moment. But how much of Santorum’s finish was a result of the well-timed combination of flavor of the month surge and the fact that the other candidates didn’t take him seriously enough to bother attacking before the caucus began?  You can bet that is a mistake that won’t be replicated as the three frontrunners head into the next primary.

Congressman Ron Paul nearly managed to get into photo finish, too, and it looks like it was thanks to the youth and first time voters of the state.  Those were the same demographics that propelled President Barack Obama into winning the endorsement, but it seems unlikely that history will be repeated with the Paul campaign.

Still, some things were made abundantly clear last night.  For instance, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s campaign is over, whether she likes it or not.  Bob Vander Plaats says hang it up.  Her former campaign manager says just stop it already.  And when even Sarah Palin is telling you your time is over, Bachmann may want to consider just conceding.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was that former Republican turned Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson made a few headlines on caucus night, through his endorsement of Ron Paul’s campaign.  The news was most surprising to Johnson himself — it turns out the endorsement was a hoax.


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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, via wikimedia commons

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5:21PM PST on Jan 6, 2012

Debbie. What she really means is shit floats for a time and when it sinks someone else rises. Gingrich didnt rise……everyone else just sank. Now HE sank… far.
I have a feeling that no matter how much the Rs don't WANT Romney there is no one else that won't sink

2:22AM PST on Jan 6, 2012

Cream rises to the top, but so does pus out of an infected wound.

8:54PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

"That cream always has a way of rising to the top even when there are a few obstacles in the way"

Don't say ... It is exactly that property of ... uh-h-m ... "cream" that is being used at waste-water treatment facilities.

8:32PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

Please god, no more about freakin' Iowa!!

7:30PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

Diane O. You keep saying that the cream will rise to the top. Earlier your hero was the newt, but his past transgrenssions have turned off evean the must stanch GOP voters. Now you seem to be singing Mitt's song. The problem with Mitt is that he is a member of a religon that is unaccetable to evangelical christens and they have a strangelhold on your party.

Who is left, Rick Santorum. who have no problem with that but in my mind, it makes him the wost of hippacrits

2:32PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

Actually,Diane O.,President Obama is raising much of that money from small,individual donors. As for the amount,don't blame him for that necessity,but the Supreme Court's Citizens' United ruling,which removes all limits to how much Obama's foes will spend trying to get him out office.He has to fight that money with money.And I hope he's finished being nice to the Republicans,Diane O.,because what he mostly has to show for having reached across the aile are teeth marks.

I don't like all the money being spent on this campaign either,Diane O.,but I don't just sit whining about it over the internet; I've signed and gotten others to sign the petition supporting the Constitutional Amendment Bernie Sanders introduced which would do away with corporate "personhood" and ban corporate money from campaigns.The petitions can be found on line.

1:33PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

Caucus is history. Moving on....which candidates know what the major industry of New Hampshire is, and will they address that, or will they wax eloquent about social issues? I wonder if that will work in New Hampshire...hmmmm.

1:30PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

Yeah, let's talk about the Caucuses, as if there hasn't been enough chatter about them for the last 6 months. Iowa has about 3 million people. In and of itself this is a small sample on which to base election predictions for a whole nation, but wait it gets even worse. Only about 120,000 Iowans voted in the Caucuses. That's fewer than live in my town and the next town over. A minute, statistically insignificant sample (Sorry Iowans, no offense meant, but numbers are numbers.) But the worst of it is that Romney and Santorum each got only about 25,00 votes, THAT IS AN INSUFFICIENT SAMPLE UPON WHICH TO MAKE ANY VALID GENERALIZATIONS, BUT THIS DOISN’T STOP THE MEDIA FROM CREATING A CIRCUS ATMOSPHERE.. Let's regain some sanity here. Let's pay more attention to major states and populations and far, far less to a minute popularity contest to which participants are attracted by bribes like free dinner and bus rides. The news media blow Iowa all out of proportion because it's al entertainment to them and so much easier to continually bloviate about it than to go out and dig up real news.

10:31AM PST on Jan 5, 2012

RobK, I believe you are right. It is going to get nasty coming from Obama, too. He wanted to raise $1 billion from the 1% (??) for what reason? Negative ads.

I hope Romney stays above the fray. That cream always has a way of rising to the top even when there are a few obstacles in the way.

10:19AM PST on Jan 5, 2012

It's going to get real ugly for and on the part of the GOP candidates out there. Newt has abandoned his "positive" campaign" and is now attacking Romney. Perry's main reason for staying appears to be to attack Newt. Ron Paul will probably attack Romney,Santorum and Newt. Stand out of the way this weekend,because during the debates more mud than ever is going to fly.

At least it'll be the same color as mud....

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