As the balloons and confetti are being swept up and the candidates back up their campaigns to head out of Iowa, I thought it would be a good chance to review what happened and figure out the winners and losers of the Iowa Caucuses.
- Barack Obama: This was anything but a foregone conclusion, in my opinion. Hillary had the money, the name recognition, and the media blitz going for her, but Obama had the drive to win. After being down early (as every Democrat candidate was), Obama cut into the lead and once he got it, he never looked back. Also, when you consider the Democrat who wins the Iowa Caucuses tends to win the nomination, it's looking very good for Obama.
- John Edwards: Edwards ran into the same problem Obama did early, but came through with perhaps the most surprising finish of both major parties. It may not be much of a victory, but getting more votes than Hillary in Iowa is an accomplishment. Then again, it may not be much of a surprise, considering Edwards came in second in Iowa in 2004 behind John Kerry.
- Fred Thompson: Everyone was talking about Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and John McCain in the last couple of weeks, which left Thompson with an opening. When push came to shove, Thompson pushed his way into a third place finish, which is significant for two reasons. One, people had pretty much written him off after lackluster performances at the debates. Two, the Republican who comes in second or third at the Iowa Caucuses can win the nomination. (Just ask George H. W. Bush.)
- Rudy Giuliani: Yes, he came in a distant sixth behind Ron Paul, but consider Giuliani didn't really spend that much time campaigning in Iowa. Yet, he still got votes. His strategy is to win later states when other candidates may be scrambling for money or weakened from other election battles to fight back. Whether this strategy will work has yet to be seen, but winning even one vote in Iowa can be seen as a victory for Rudy.
- Hillary Clinton: Ouch! Spending all that time and money in Iowa, and you come in third? You're the Republican version of Mitt Romney with regards to underperforming in spite of the advantages you had going in. Of course, blowing off the press in the final week of the Iowa Caucuses and the other foibles you've made for the past couple of months don't exactly help you.
- Mike Huckabee: Wait! Didn't he win the Iowa Caucuses? Yes he did, but he's exposed himself as someone who might not be as honest or upright as we've been lead to believe. It doesn't really matter that Huckabee didn't spend as much money as Mitt Romney, the more we see Huckabee, the more he shows us a side of him that makes him appear less Presidential.
- Mitt Romney: A second place finish isn't normally a bad thing, but in Romney's case, it's a cause for concern. Much like Hillary, he had all the tools to win, but he lost his lead and his image of election certitude by letting Huckabee get ahead of him. Then, he didn't play catch-up effectively and wound up spending a lot of money and time to underperform. Romney needs to do better soon if he wants to keep going.
- Ron Paul: I've received emails from Ron Paul supporters, taking me to task for ripping into their candidate and telling me to get ready to eat my words. Well, the winner of so many straw polls early on...wound up fifth, which is where he usually winds up in polls and when the votes matter. So, to all you Ron Paul supporters who wrote me emails and told me he was going to be the big winner, let me say this: YOUR GUY CAME IN FIFTH PLACE!
- John McCain: Coming in fourth in the Iowa Caucuses is nothing to crow about, especially for someone who had the media talking about his "surge" in the polls in recent weeks. To have someone like Fred Thompson sweep by you, if only barely, in the polls to take the third place spot is a sign that it's just not in the cards for you. Feel fortunate that Iowans overlooked your campaign finance reform, voting against the Bush tax cuts, and immigration blunders.
I'll write more about the Iowa Caucuses on my website, CommonConservative.com, later. Now, I can enjoy peace and quiet not having to answer political phone calls and throw away junk mail.