It will be interesting to see how tonight’s results from Iowa influence upcoming primaries in New Hampshire and beyond. Iowa is an expectations game. If you are expected to do well, but don’t do as well as expected, you take a hit. Those who appear to be taking the big hits tonight are (obviously) Romney and Clinton. Huckabee finished stronger than expected, with an overwhelming win, but it remains to be seen how much tonight’s results will help him in New Hampshire. The turnout of Christian evangelicals in Iowa estimated by some at over 60 percent tonight gave Huckabee that big win. One thing to watch for is whether the big evangelical turnout in Iowa is repeated elsewhere, and if it is, if that vote sticks with Huckabee. He is a pro-life Baptist preacher, which makes him popular with some social conservatives, but on many issues , including immigration, he is not the conservative candidate. As Huckabee comes under increased scrutiny, and is targeted by other candidates, voters will learn more about his stands on issues he is not so conservative on and that could hurt him. Romney is hurt because he put so much money and effort into Iowa and didn’t come out on top. McCain is helped because he is battling Romney in New Hampshire and a win for Romney in Iowa would have given him a great boost. Instead, Romney goes into New Hampshire after taking a bit of a hit.
On the Democrat’s side, Clinton should be afraid. She should be worried because Obama’s strong win in Iowa, a state with no big urban voting blocks, shows that he can win in rural areas, and in areas with low numbers of minority voters. Obama should be afraid because he is now going to feel the business end of the Clinton machine. He seems like a really nice guy. I wonder if he has any clue what is in store for him.
Update: Blog Power: Amanda Carpenter filed this report about Ed Rolllin’s very candid lunch conversation which she overheard. Drudge picked it up and linked and Chris Wallace asked Rollins about it in an interview on Fox earlier tonight. That was definitely the most interesting interview of the night. Here’s the video (via Jon Garthwaite at Townhall):
Update 10:40 p.m.: Huckabee is giving his victory speech (with Chuck Norris right behind him). So far the speech is funny, and at the same time eloquent, and shows the great communications skills that Huckabee exhibited in the debates and that fueled his incredible rise in the polls.
Update 10:55 p.m.: Mary Katharine had the same reaction to John Edwards’ speech that I did — including her complaint about the accent. (I have a seriously hick southern accent, but he makes me sound like Eliza Doolittle after Henry Higgins was done with her.) I know his thing is playing on fear and gloom and doom, but it seemed a bit much that he spent the beginning of his speech talking about a girl who needed a surgery who died when her insurance company didn’t move quickly enough. He railed against corporate America and greed and then he talked about needing a president with a spine. It just seemed a bit odd for this kind of speech.
Obama is getting ready to give his victory speech. I wonder if Oprah is in the house.
Update 11:20: I am so torn. It is great seeing Clinton lose, but I think Obama would be the tougher candidate to beat in the general election. The energy for Obama is incredibly high, even without the Oprah factor, and is something Republicans would have a hard time overcoming. Obama has a problem with lack of experience and he has had some “foot in mouth” problems in the past, but he has more Bill Clinton-style charm than Hillary could muster even with Bill Clinton at her side. One line in Obama’s speech that jumped out at me was his comment that as president he would end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home. Typical Democrat pandering — he obviously has not heard the recent news from Iraq. It doesn’t matter though. The media is not going to question it. They aren’t paying attention to anything happening in Iraq now either. Obama seems like a nice guy and his nomination (even if he didn’t win the presidency) would be a hugely historic event. I think Hillary is going to have to put the attack machine in high gear to keep Obama down.
Read Carol Liebau’s take here.
Update 11:50 p.m.: Paul at Power Line has an interesting take on tonight’s results.
Interesting. Kos posted excerpts from Richard Viguerie’s email about Mike Huckabee including the following: “Mike Huckabee’s victory in the Iowa caucuses is bad news for the Republican Party. Mike Huckabee is a Christian socialist. He is a good man, but with a Big Government heart. He is the most liberal of all the Republican presidential candidates on economic issues.”
Update 12:30 a.m.: Rush Limbaugh did a telephone interview on Fox News. He talked about how many of the networks were talking up Huckabee and playing down Obama’s historic win. He also talked a bit about some behind the scenes exchanges with Huckabee. Rush thinks many Democrats fear the religious right and that they would like to build Huckabee up so that they could defeat him as a representative of the movement.