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Morning After: Reaction to Obama/Huckabee Wins Arrives

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Morning After: Reaction to Obama/Huckabee Wins Arrives

Article excerpt

We offered results and commentary on the Iowa caucus results all night, with material from numerous TV and Web outlets, and now have added some analysis and commentary from Friday morning, updated from the top, blog style.

To comment, go to Iowa.

*Later Friday: Howard Kurtz at the Post looks at the punditocracy: "We in the news business made the same mistake we've made so many times before, overvaluing money and organization. Phil Gramm was going to be huge in 1996 because of his war chest. Howard Dean was virtually guaranteed to win because he had raised the then-unimaginable sum of $40 million. But in the end, message and personality can trump fat checkbooks and precinct workers.

"We cling to those benchmarks because they feel real. We overvalue early polls, which can change in a heartbeat, as Huckabee just demonstrated."

Meanwhile, Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times' "Top of the Ticket" blog headlines a posting, "Clinton aides hint that now things'll get nasty." It opens: "While you were sleeping, the chartered jet of the third-place finisher in the Iowa Democratic caucus winged its way from Des Moines to Manchester, N.H. And it sounds like some decisions were made on that plane that may alter the course of that party's presidential race."

He then recounts an interview with Clinton aide Mark Penn on how she will now target Obama, with Malcolm recalling the hints or rumors put out by Clinton people previously about certain possibly not so swell things in Obama's past, whatever that means.

David Brooks in The New York Times hails the Huckabee win, feeling (rightly or not) that it heralds a new brand of "compassionate conservatism." Where have we heard that before? But he still finds Huck nomination "highly doubtful," and here it is: "The past few weeks have exposed his serious flaws as a presidential candidate. His foreign policy knowledge is minimal. His lapses into amateurishness simply won't fly in a national campaign.

"So the race will move on to New Hampshire. Mitt Romney is now grievously wounded. Romney represents what's left of Republicanism 1.0. Huckabee and McCain represent half-formed iterations of Republicanism 2.0. My guess is Republicans will now swing behind McCain in order to stop Mike.

"Huckabee probably won't be the nominee, but starting last night in Iowa, an evangelical began the Republican Reformation."

And from "The Iowa results, with a victory for a populist social conservative [Huckabee] deeply mistrusted by many people in the Republican establishment, also virtually guarantee that the nomination contest will not simply be a battle over personalities and credentials. Instead, the race will now be a deep and probably intensely negative fight for the direction of the party in the post-Bush era.

"Here's what still utterly uncertain: Who will emerge from this demolition derby? Iowa's historic role is to winnow the field. In 2008, it has the effect of expanding the number of credible top-tier contenders. There are now five people who can conjure at least somewhat plausible paths to the nomination."

Early Friday: Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal online: "Mr. Huckabee likes to head-fake people into thinking he's Gomer Pyle, but he's more like the barefoot boy of the green room. He's more James Carville than Jim Nabors."

Whoops. Still up at top of New York Times site is this editorial board prediction: "The Iowa caucuses are an extreme case of putting up barriers to voting. It is no wonder that turnout today is expected to be so low." Actually, turnout shattered all records.

11:45: Of course, the unstated joke is that so much is being made of this vote by what has been called "a sliver of a sliver of a sliver" of the electorate. And here's Andrea Mitchell on MSNNC agreeing with Howard Fineman that "the torch has passed" from Hillary Clinton and she needs to find a reason to even "go forward," as if she is Bidenesque and has nothing in her favor at all. …

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