Four percent of the people of Iowa have spoken! Iowa with a population of three million souls, outstripping the population of the City of Chicago which has only 2.7 million, sent 122,034 of its citizens forth to participate in the Republican caucus and in a non-binding fashion, suggest who they think should be the person who could possibly face the incumbent President in November of 2012.
"The system works," claimed Michele Bachman in her post caucus remarks describing how her sixth place finish propelled her on toward a possible nomination for President of the United States. Perhaps it works more than she is willing to admit, and especially so for the unacknowledged fact that the system in question consisted exclusively in hand counted paper ballots.
Mitt Romney claimed the crown of the corn country, with his eight-vote margin over Rick Santorum, in what is normally thought in Republican circles to be a landslide mandate, as long as the margin accrues to a Republican. In this contest, it couldn't miss. He carries this victory to New Hampshire where another generally unrepresentative and smallish state will presume to impose their choice on the rest of the nation and where, thank Romney's lucky stars, he used to live nearby.
It is a mistake, though, to suppose that Mitt has had his path to the Oval Office greased by small knots of voters who don't mind him turning himself inside out in a situational way. He will still have to contend with an ultra-vindictive Newt Gingrich who has vowed to destroy Romney with pleasant, positive campaign advertising.
In the meanwhile, Rick Santorum found a new legitimacy in taking his turn in the barrel so close to the January third festivities, garnering the votes of 30,007 Iowans who clearly do not have access to the internets. He now has the privilege of devoting campaign resources that he doesn't have to the effort in New Hampshire which he might otherwise have skipped in favor of the contest in South Carolina where his positions on social issues might have attracted more like-minded troglodytes.
The third place finisher, Ron Paul, improved on his 2008 performance in the Iowa caucus, more than doubling the number of votes he received in the earlier effort. It is thought to be a result of the reasonableness of the policies that he advocates in comparison to a generally straight-jacket worthy Republican field.
Rick Perry, the other Texan whose qualifications for office tended to unintentionally boost Ron Paul's effort, posted a solid fifth place finish leading him back to the Lone Star state to reevaluate his plans from this point.
Jon Huntsman, who has displayed a crippling level of sanity, thoughtfulness and independence, particularly in his decision to skip the Iowa campaign, nevertheless managed to scrape together 745 votes from Iowans who evidently shared his lack of esteem for the state. The other non-contending vote getters were campaign suspender, Herman Cain, with fifty-eight votes that still outpolled the thirty-one votes garnered by Buddy Roemer.Well, that's one down, forty-nine to go before a Republican convention that finally admits that there is no acceptable or qualified candidate in this field. Who do we suppose that they are holding back in the wings as the convention's brokered white knight? Will it be Jeb Bush? Could it be Chris Christie or Marco Rubio? Might it be a Mitch Daniels without regard for the wishes of his spouse? Who is it that they are holding up out of the mud that lubricates their primary season?