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January 01, 2008

This Post is Really About Iowa, I Swear

Well, I just spent 8 hours at the airport and guess what, I'm still in D.C., right where I was when I started. That's an hour in the plane, waiting to leave the gate; an hour on the taxiway waiting for a mechanic; another thirty minutes back at a new gate, before asking us to deplane; and an hour there while they promised an update in "just a few more minutes."

That's when I wised up and called reservations and had them book me a flight tomorrow. Twenty minutes later they announced over the PA (cowards) that the flight was canceled and 300 people ran to wait in the customer service line behind me. I was there because I had one simple question: "How can I get my checked bag?"

No one seemed to know. This made me realize that the only United employees in the terminal on New Years Eve are those too low in terms of seniority or intelligence to get the night off. It was finally decided that the bags would be at "Carousel C in about an hour." I knew then that I needed to give up and call for a ride: Dulles has numbered baggage claim carousels. They assured me that if I didn't stick around to pick up the bag, it'd get put on a flight to LAX. Everybody cross your fingers.

So now I'm sitting on my brother's living-room couch, drinking a screwdriver while he watches something violent on TV in the guest room, my pregnant sis-in-law asleep in the bedroom. I have the clothing on my back, my laptop, and a book I've already read (History of the Lord of the Rings: Treason of Isengard, which I finished after the first hour in the plane).

Anyways, since after I finished the book, I had plenty of time to think about the Iowa contest. Specifically, what would I consider a win and what would I consider a loss.

Before I get started, I should say that, as my father recently expressed at the Fort Belvoir Officer's Club, "In the general, I will vote for a monkey if it is a Republican. Or a dog. Or a horse. Or a zebra." I agree with one exception. I will not vote for Ron Paul, even if the ghosts of Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan show up at the stroke of midnight tonight and tell me to. It ain't happenin'.

[Incidentally, I just noticed it's 12:09 as I type this. Happy New Year, morons.]

So what will make me happy in Iowa? A Romney win. Three months ago, I didn't think much of him. I hadn't seen him on the news shows, or heard him on Hannity. I was holding out for Giuliani and pretty much ignoring the rest. Since Giuliani isn't making Iowa part of his program, I had to go looking at the other candidates. Of the remainder, I believe Romney is the best.

Lauraw posted about McCain earlier, and I second what she said; he isn't my candidate. I'll vote for him if I have to, but I won't like it.

The other serious choice would be Thompson. But if you haven't figured it out by now, he let me down and I've never recovered from it. In June, I was a believer. I was pumped. When my parents asked me about the race, I said, "wait for Fred Thompson to get into it."

But that's when I thought he'd announce in early July. Then I started to think, "this is it," in August. And then time went on and nothing seemed to happen. He isn't unacceptable; on the contrary, he says all the right things. He just never convinced me that he will do the right things. The other Republican candidates are also saying acceptable things, but even more than that, they've got better records of actually doing things on issues that are important to me.

The final possible candidate brings me to my second question. I will consider Iowa a loss if Huckabee gets the most votes on Thursday. He's a disaster waiting to happen, not just because he's more liberal than not, and a seemingly scummy fellow on top of that, but that we'll lose even the few Republican ideals he supports because there's no way that he's going to win in the general.

There's no point in me voting for this Republican monkey if he's not going to win. If Huckabee gets the Republican nomination, our only hope is that both Paul and Bloomberg run independent and manage to draw off enough folks who would otherwise vote for the Democrat.

That's about it. I don't really care who wins or loses on the Democratic side. I suspect that Clinton will win because of the party super-delegates. That's fine, I think she'll be a good target in the general. On the other hand, Obama and Edwards have their own weak spots.

Of the three, I think Edwards will be the hardest to beat in the general because he's the most stereotypically presidential. As much as we make fun of "Silky," we know that he is just what Democratic voters like: white male, Southerner, who is a likeable lawyer who connects with victim culture. Just like Bill Clinton. Think he's too effeminate for the role? John Kerry got 59,028,111 votes. 'Nough said.

In short, I don't get a vote in Iowa. But I'd like to see Romney coming out of it strong. I'd like to see a Huckabee embarrassment, but I have no real hope for that. And the Democrats can entertain themselves quietly, out of my sight.

Worst Case Scenario [Ace]: Huckabee wins, but Giuliani wins later.

These two certainties [Huckabee winning early and taking a large number of evangelical voters; Giuliani winning in the godless, communist northeast] point to one possible outcome that should alarm Republicans of all ideological stripes — the religious and the irreligious, the right-to-lifers, the gun-rights advocates, the supply-siders, and the neoconservatives alike. A two-way knock-down-drag-out fight between Huckabee and Giuliani could completely destroy the coalition that Ronald Reagan built by combining social and economic conservatives with anti-Communists.

In one corner stands Mike Huckabee, whose campaign speaks freely of destroying the conservative movement. “It’s gone,” said Ed Rollins, his national campaign chairman. “The breakup of what was the Reagan coalition — social conservatives, defense conservatives, antitax conservatives — it doesn’t mean a whole lot to people anymore.” Naturally, Rollins points to Huckabee as the figure to form the new coalition.

This would be ugly. Really ugly. Republicans would be torn between two candidates each of whom is considered patently unacceptable by half the party.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 01:35 AM

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