As I sit at home watching the results of the Iowa caucus come in, I am struck by several thoughts:
1. Despite media attempts to already crown Mitt Romney the nominee, this may be premature. They ignore a very important fact – that the early primaries and caucuses this time around do not carry nearly the same weight as in past elections. The GOP have ensured that all the early races have had their “winner take all” status removed and will assign delegates proportionally. Romney could win everything from here to Florida and still possibly only be a dozen delegates ahead of his rivals. We won’t see a real winner emerge until Super Tuesday. Anything before that is a Phony War;
2. Romney is the frontrunner because he has a good team, is disciplined, and the other candidates have thus far avoided attacking him. There is an assumption that he has simply cornered the moderate Republican market and that there is a “sub-primary” of conservative voters vying for the right to eventually challenge him. I don’t agree with this analysis. Romney’s vote has only been consistent because nobody (save for Huntsman in New Hampshire) has actually made a play for it. The “conservatives” are fighting for the non-Romney votes when they should be fighting for all of them. In doing so they hurt only themselves, because there is simply too many of them. By they time they have all finished knifing each other and sorted out a “challenger”, there will be no time left to take those precious Romney votes. They will be locked in. To stand any chance, they need to start attacking Romney now;
3. Rick Santorum is awful. Just awful. How desperate are conservative Republicans that they would actually vote for this man?!
4. Ron Paul will still never be the GOP nominee;
5. If Rick Perry can beat Gingrich in this caucus, it is game on, and I would give him even odds of being the GOP nominee. Remember that this man has not lost an election since the 1980s. Even if he does finish well back, I would not count him out. Perry is the zen master of the negative attack ad. He does not have Gingrich’s baggage. His only weakness is that he has a record of being lazy, and he has had to be soft on immigration to keep getting elected in Texas. That can be overcome by comparison to the weaknesses of others. How much does he want it? It is his for the taking.