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Obama Takes Iowa on the Soul Train

January 4, 2008

No one saw this coming, probably not even his campaign squad, certainly with all polls showing a statistical dead heat on the day of the caucuses. I certainly didn’t, and in the summer I wondered whether the time was right for Senator Obama to enter the race.

Will it be Oprah vs Chuck Norris in the fall?

This is no time to hand him the crown, of course. Next week we may well see a Clinton victory in New Hampshire, though the race is tight there as well. Yet, Obama is certain to receive a healthy bounce from the Iowa win, buttressed by his excellent victory speech where he was one part Bobby Kennedy and one part Don Cornelius.

Should Obama win in New Hampshire by a similar margin, then Sen. Clinton, still leading in the polls nationwide, should start to sweat bullets. It’s likely that 20% nationwide margin she enjoys will be down to 10 or less by next week.

So, what went wrong with the Clinton campaign? I’ve mentioned one or two of their missteps @ Dork Nation already. Having Bill along seemed to carry little weight in Iowa. Normally democrats wet their shorts upon seeing him enter the room and spontaneously burst into chants of “F*** term limits!” Despite what Matthews sees as a “changing of the guard, the end of an era” with the Obama win in Iowa, democrats’ sentimental attitude towards the Clintons haven’t changed.

Bill Clinton may not have been effective in Iowa and may not be in New Hampshire, however, in New York and Philly and perhaps even Nashville, the former President will still prove an asset. He can charm campaign finance dollars out of your pocket as well as he can charm . . . you know.

No, it wasn’t so much the misguided attacks and stumbling bumbles in the debate that caused Sen. Clinton to lose in Iowa. It was the strength of the game of the teams supporting Obama AND John Edwards. I hear Obama’s ground game was mad effective in the caucuses (predicted days in advance at Rural Voters) and he had Oprah. Edwards crept up on both Obama and Clinton with message and an appeal to populists as well as the democratic base.

Obama beat Clinton among women voters.
Obama brought out new voters; the 18-24s went in majority to Obama, which was expected, what was unexpected is that he motivated them enough to want to caucus. We talked and talked and talked about the “youth vote” back in the day and the little buggers just didn’t want to bother. Obama got them out. That speaks volumes.

There was some rumor that Richardson was going to feed votes to Obama with some kind of deal. I don’t know what they could have offered him, free Dunkin Donuts? Does he want yet another cabinet position? I doubt any kind of deal was in play.

Edwards has to do well in New Hampshire, by well I mean winning. He has to keep the anti-Clinton voters from migrating to Obama.

Clinton has to find a new strategy. The experience argument was a failure. I don’t know who thought this was a good idea, especially with cats like Biden and Dodd parroting it. Most of her attacks made her look prickly and schoolmarmish, the kind of thing people already expect of her. Thing is, attacking on the issues isn’t exactly a winner because Obama (and Edwards) have cornered the market on the big ticket issues; health care, Iraq, etc. And, with Obama’s butt kicking, she doesn’t appear to be the candidate who can beat the Republicans in the fall.

Things are even less clear for the GOP. Huckabee scored an upset, but it should have an asterisk without Giuliani there. That guy looks kinda dumb at the moment, skipping out on Iowa to focus on Florida, or is he actually smart, knowing that he might have been made to look bad there and he really didn’t need an Iowa win to take the nomination? He’s still leading in the RCP poll, however. Romney is still in the hunt though he looks bad after his Iowa spanking. Freddie is dead. That’s what I said.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2008 12:02 pm

    Mark,

    For hours I was speechless and in utter shock and awe. I could feel a change in the air as early as December when Oprah barnstormed. Cynical though I may be, the size of the South Carolina crowd and the persuasion of Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey moved me into the Obama camp. For months all I could hear was the politician. Last night, I heard the President.

  2. January 4, 2008 1:52 pm

    It’s really starting to look like we will see history made, though I worry about what is to come.

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