Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy New Year

I hope that everyone had a happy New Year and a very merry Christmas season. Now that the new year has begun, the permanent campaign we have been trying to ignore for the past year has begun to take on a more urgent tone with the approach of the first primaries. And before the primaries can start, we have the Iowa caucuses. According to the reports, it seems that on the Democratic side, the winner was Illinois Senator Barack Obama, and on the Republican side, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

To me, neither of these wins seem particularly pertinent, other than the fact that Huckabee's win has to be a blow to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who spent a lot of money and time in Iowa, only to finish a distant second. And the weak third-place finish of former Tennessee senator Ferd Thompson has to be a concern to that campaign as well. However, since former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator John McCain both essentially sat this one out, it means very little in the overall scheme of things, in my opinion. we will learn more once the major round of primaries begin. Until then, this is still anyone's nomination to win.

On the Democratic side, the third-place finish of Ms. Inevitable, New York Senator Hillary Clinton has to be a major concern. Especially since she lost decidedly to the inexperienced Senator Obama. If she loses New Hampshire, we might see a major meltdown in the Clinton campaign, since one cannot be inevitable if one cannot win primaries. I still think that in the end she will be the nominee, since the Clintons have money, power and the national press on their side. However, she is no longer looking like a juggernaut.

Overall, I think these results simply mean that there may be a real fight on the Democratic side. On the Republican side, we didn't have a clear-cut favorite before Iowa and we still do not. The only thing Iowa did is to deal a blow to the pretensions of Clinton and to put Thompson on the brink. If he cannot finish higher in New Hampshire, I think his campaign might just be done.

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