I loves me some politicin'. So let me objective breakdown last night's Iowa Caucus. What did we learn? Pretty much nothing.
Pundits like to spin the results into something more than they are but the Caucus rules are confusing, especially on the Democratic side; so the result isn't an accurate measurement of how things will go. Nor can you look towards New Hampshire primary as a litmus test. Sure, NH has picked its share of Presidents, but in the last twelve years they also picked Paul Tsongas, Pat Buchanan and John McCain. Bill Clinton was dead in the water after New Hampshire in 1992 and still was a two termer. If you really want to see where the rubber meets the road, wait till South Carolina.
I will say that things looked the best last night for Huckabee. One pundit noted that the reason Huckabee was heads and shoulders above the rest is that he knew how to tell a joke; all other Republican candidates seem to come across as rather robotic. Huckabee has a Reagan-esque style not found in either of the Bush presidents. He's becoming a bigger character as things move forward. And you can attribute it all to a few classic remarks in a debate. Well, that and those Chuck Norris commercials.
Things looked the worst for Giuliani, who finished dead last. Remember when he was the sure-fire Republican nomination? Now he's MIA. Giuliani barely campaigned in Iowa but coming in behind Ron Paul, finishing dead last, certainly didn't help his street cred. McCain will win in New Hampshire, but I think Huckabee takes the south and wins the Republican nomination.
The Democratic side is still too close to call. Hillary took it on the chin yesterday but she will win in New Hampshire. The margin of victory will be critical. If Obama keeps it close, then he has a real chance to get the nomination. The same goes with Edwards. He'll take South Carolina for sure, so it'll probably come down to the Super Tuesday showdown between the three of them. It's critical for Hillary, however, to win in NH, and if possible, to win big. If she loses there next week, she's a goner.
I'm still holding firm that the Democrats win the White House with anyone but Hillary. She's still too polarizing. As likable as Huckabee is, I'm not sure he can take Obama. Maybe Edwards.
When you don't really care who wins, this can be really fun. You should try it sometime.