Barack Obama 38%
John Edwards 30%
Hillary Clinton 29%
Bill Richardson 2%
Joe Biden 1% (bailing out of presidential bid)
Chris Dodd 0% (bailing out of presidential bid)
Mike Gravel 0%
Dennis Kucinich 0%
Mike Huckabee 34%
Mitt Romney 25%
Fred Thompson 13%
Ron Paul 10%
Rudy Giuliani 3%
One has to be thinking, what are Gravel and Kucinich waiting for? "Uncommitted" got more votes than they did!
But seriously, Iowa was surprising and yet at the same time none-to-shocking. It's absolutely expected that a state which would go for Huckabee would also be fiercely averse to wanting Clinton on top. We've got less than five days before New Hampshire, and a little over a month until super-duper Tuesday, on February 5th, when over twenty-some states decide, at once, who the heck this race belongs to on either side.
Problem #1 for Clinton: she has campaigned, and will continue to campaign, as the absolute and necessary front-runner. Yet realistically, she can't deny that Obama has slayed her in this state, where she certainly outspent him, and out exerted him. But, you might say, the say the same phenomena occurred on the other side, with Romney outspending Huckabee by seemingly gillions of dollars, and still coming up short. It seems Iowans, unlike many, don't necessarily bend to the will of the almighty dollar, and it's force during campaign season -- and that's a positive, for sure. Hopefully the states to follow will take Iowa's example and vote on other terms than campaign finance. But back to Clinton - she needs to win the next few states, straightaway, or her chances at the nomination are going to fall apart at the seems in the same delusory manner as her ill-fated attempt at children's health care during her husband's administration. Edwards, though happy to edge out Clinton, is perhaps hurting more than she is right now. Clinton, though gung-ho, was never expecting a landslide in Iowa. Edwards, in order to gain a quicker pace and prove he's not just a candidate with boyish looks and a cool smile and slight southern twang, has to basically wish that every state turns into a landslide victory if he wants to gain the momentum needed to propel him towards the nomination. The problem that Edwards truly faces is that not many pundits, media outlets, or the population in general find much to get excited about with him. He is truly "vanilla" -- the crudité in a political buffet of ethnic and exotic hors d'oeuvres.
Obama is positioned in a good place now, and hopefully he can keep the spirit up for his next test - because truly that's what they are. Iowa, despite it's relative remoteness in terms of US affairs during the rest of the 1460 days of the four-year presidential cycle, is a fairly well-educated population in comparison with many other states, with a large percentage attending college, and a decent average income. So it makes sense that Obama, the more intellectual or at least philosophical and idealistic candidate, would receive an edge. Funnily enough, Clinton, and not Obama, would have benefited from a more ethnically diverse Iowan electorate. Obama should not get complacent - he's got a long haul in front of him, and it's capstone is February 5. Let's hope he can propel his victory into similar numbers going forward.
Huckabee's win is perhaps the biggest triumph in terms of whose campaign will benefit most. Huckabee, just a few short months ago, was exiled to the outskirts of the campaign, getting little debate time, and scant notice from the general public and media, with such stars as Romney, Giuliani, and even the possibility of Bloomberg (now defunct). In essence, Huckabee was able to pull0ff, to great affect, what Thompson hasn't been able to do, though it was his strategy - to come in late, without the initial bruises of a long, belabored campaign, and wow the audience with his political finesse. Of course, Huckabee did enter early, but in stead of dancing around announcing his campaign as Thompson did for months, Huckabee essentially hid in plain sight. People disregarded him, and once they were completely over-satiated with the dribble the front-runners feed them, they started to listen. And Huckabee, unlike the front-runners, is on the surface at least, less complicated, and because not many knew what he did beforehand, he has less of a "checkered past." Guiliani and Romney both come from liberal cities/states, and their past pandering is coming back to bite them, at least in Iowa, were the evangelicals and wider protestant population reigns supreme. Never mind Huckabee spent a fraction of a fraction of the money Romney did, he's got god on his side, considering some Christians view Mormonism as a "cult." Hopefully for everyone's sake, Huckabee's win catapults his past into the spotlight, and some of his checkers do skip onto the printed pages and through word of mouth -- don't forget, this is the man that would take away reproductive rights, doesn't care about the average American worker, has little-to-null foreign policy experience or know-how, and says that the country should be made into a state subservient to the absolute teachings of Christ. Let's not forget he's a former minister, and that his sermons often preached that women should be subservient to their husbands in order to be good wives. (Actually, in 1998, Huckabee affirmed that he signed a statement saying he agreed with the family statements created by the Southern Baptist Convention, one of its beliefs being that "a wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the leadership of Christ.") It kind of makes you want Clinton to win over him just out of spite, doesn't it? Huckabee's ignorant views on homosexuality, secular rights, evolution, the belief that AIDS patients should have been isolated in 1992, and belief in allowing for divine intervention on decision-making are all quite scary. Let's hope some of the Republican party gets spooked.