What the Heck – You’re Welcome – Join Us at the Caucus

You can eat your fill of all
the food you bring yourself.

Meredith Willson’s home state gathers in local caucuses – Dubuque, Des Moines, Davenport, Marshalltown, Mason City, Keokuk, Ames, Clear Lake – tomorrow night. The contest is still up in the air (We could stand touchin’ noses for a week at a time, And never see eye-to-eye).

Family values and social conservatism have always been trump cards in the GOP caucus – Mike Huckabee won last time around on that basis. (Trouble my friends. Right here!)

The polls show Santorum finally emerging as flavor of the month at just the right moment. But the arcane caucus system really puts a premium on local organization – which may especially help Paul. Plus, the process of switching to a surviving candidate when your first choice doesn’t get enough votes on the first pass complicates things. (Maybe not – see below).

So, what are your predictions? For both Tuesday’s results and their effect on the national race?

You really ought to give Iowa a try…

  • Dean Barker

    What a trainwreck, with all the running to this side and that.  Peer pressure everywhere.  Made me covet the privacy of the ballot box.

    OTOH, I read recently the GOP caucus doesn’t do 2nd choices, so that changes the dynamic significantly.

    • elwood

      rather than all move to their candidate’s corner in the room. But I hadn’t heard that they didn’t have “same day runoffs”. The Register poll asked about second choices, but that may have simply been to gauge late-breaking switches…

  • elwood

    Santorum to win, Romney to place, Paul to show.

    Santorum is going nowhere in New Hampshire – Christian fundamentalists don’t do well in the second least-churched state. A win in Iowa will get the Sabbath Gasbags (hat tip to Calvin Trillin) taking about how irrelevant Iowa is, not how strong Santorum is.

    But his showing will affect the race: nominee Romney will see a need to reach out to the fundamentalists when he picks his Veep. Prediction: Romney/Huckabee ticket.

  • Rep. Jim Splaine

    I think that by Thursday, the one-day story that Iowa became will be meaningless to the process, making New Hampshire’s First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary even more important.  

    Their turnout will be small as it has traditionally been — they have about 2 million registered voters, and they’ll have about 120,000 Republicans turn out at most.

    In New Hampshire, we’ll see a near 60% of Republican voters turn out to participate in a real election.  And with eleven days before the start of the next part of the process in South Carolina then onto Florida and Nevada, those who did well in New Hampshire will have time to capitalize on their success here.  That’s why protecting that “7 days after N.H.” window is so important.  That’s why they spend time here.

    And the mushy results from Iowa will result in several claiming “victory,” for what it’s worth, on a slippery, soggy mudpile.  

    • elwood

      Travelling to South Carolina right after the caucus.

      Though in Perry’s case, it may simply be confusion about election dates or travel directions…

      • Rep. Jim Splaine

        Even Republican voters — well, enough of them anyway — can figure out that they both are off this planet.

  • susanthe

    flavor of the month?

    EEEEEUUUWWW, elwood.

    I’m going to go brush my teeth and take a silkwood shower.  

    • JonnyBBad
      • susanthe

        of New Year’s Eve can certainly make some people awfully grouchy.
        Try drinking a lot of water. It helps with the dehydration.  

  • elwood

    He will do so poorly that competing further will seem pointless – first to key staff, finally to him.

    Perry has answered the question: “How would Gilligan have done without the Skipper to advise him?”

    • Kathy Sullivan 2

      The national media pundits are pushing a second coming of Rick Perry, the villagers on tv over the weekend kept blathering on about how Perry still could be a danger to Romney; I guess the idea of a competitive Rick Santorum doesn’t fit their narrative.

      So, here is my Perry/Santorum story. Back in September, when Rick Perry had just gotten in and was the hot new commodity, I had several cals from members of the media from away about David Carney, the NH resident who got his start at the side of John H. Sununu and who has been Rick Perry’s top political consultant/advisor whatever for years.  For some reason I had been identified as the go to Democrat to talk to in NH about Carney, probably because it is pretty well known that we don’t like each other.    

      Meanwhile, at about the same time, another NH person, Mike Biundo, had made his way up through the ranks of the Santorum campaign, from  working on his PAC to political director to being named the national campaign manager. I did not get one phone call asking about Biundo, who actually lives in my ward in Manchester. In November I ran into Mike at the  polls on the day of the Manchester city elections.  I had forgotten that he was with Santorum, and when I asked what he was doing he mentioned that he was now Santorum’s national manager.  I congratulated him and said you must be having a good time.

      Well, I bet he really is having a good time  today. Isn’t life funny?

      • Rep. Jim Splaine

        I suspect that his “high” will be rather short-lived.  It’s great to see the Republicans mess themselves up like this.  

  • susaninrindge

    It’s all stupid candidate tricks and the MSM getting caught up in the “race that isn’t.”  The only story is that Mitt is practicing killing off opponents with his media whizzes. He can do it now in 2-3days of relentless ads blasting across a state. Funded by the 1% and backed by what looks to me to be a blockbuster advertising/marketing department masquerading as a PAC, Mitt, Inc. has demonstrated just how tough he will be on Obama.

    There is no real story among the other candidates. They are simply not Presidential material and will all dissolve within a month or so. By comparison, Romney looks like a giant-killer. And he’s getting a lot of practice firing up crowds of Obama-haters!

  • political chowder

    “I don’t endorse candidates, I don’t get involved in politics, I don’t make donations to any politician. Rick Santorum is a friend of mine, but I choose my friends carefully and I would never tell you someone was a friend of mine if I didn’t have great respect for them. I will tell you this. People ask me all the time, ‘who is out there?’ I tell them the same thing, I don’t trust any of them, but if I had to trust the reins of power with one person that is currently in this field and, because I think the next president has got to be Abraham Lincoln, he has got to be somebody who knows exactly who he is, knows exactly where he stands and is willing to, in the end, turn those reins of power back over. The temptation and the pressure is going to be absolutely enormous. If there is one guy out there that is the next George Washington, the only guy that I could think of is Rick Santorum. I would ask that you would take a look at him.” -Glenn Beck

    • Kathy Sullivan 2

      And poor George Washington, they don’t deserve this.

  • elwood

    Iowa:
    State population: 3,046,355 (US Census, 2010)
    Republican caucus turnout, 2008: 118,696 (NY Times)
    Turnout ratio: 3.9%

    New Hampshire:
    State population: 1,316,470 (US Census, 2010)
    Republican primary turnout, 2008: 241,039 (NH Sec State)
    Turnout ratio: 18.3%

    They put on quite a show, but they just don’t bother to vote.

  • Dean Barker

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