The dust settled with final results for yesterday’s Iowa caucus with Mitt Romney as the clear winner — by a whopping eight votes. The caucus, which is the first primary of the 2012 election year, revealed little in the way of surprises based on recent polls.
First is the surge of Rick Santorum, who glided his way from behind into the number two place after spending two years campaigning. Santorum, like all of the GOP candidates who are “not Mitt Romney” is enjoying his moment in the spotlight, with a glimmer of hope that he might actually have a snowball’s chance of being the 2012 Republican nominee.
Fat chance, Rick.
Sure, he’s the darling of far-right fringe freaks, but anyone who’s taken even a casual glance at his positions and his asinine statements. For example, he supports a “state’s right to choose” on most social issues — and he supports a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, preventing states from choosing. He would support outlawing birth control, and of course, fight tooth and nail to get all forms of abortion outlawed.
These are the things that matter to Santorum. He has little else to offer in the way of foreign or domestic policy, and even less to offer when it comes to this thing the rest of us like to call “reality.” Will his surge have staying power, or will he become as impotent and flaccid as the rest of the candidates that have come and gone so far this season?
He might get some votes in his home state of Pennsylvania (the very same state that booted him from the U.S. Senate in 2006 with an 18% loss), but aside from that, he’s pretty much climaxed. All that’s left to do is roll over and take a nap.
But if you really want to learn about Santorum’s chances, go to any search engine and enter “Santorum.” Just make sure the kids are out of the room.
Then there’s Ron Paul, who’s been enjoying an enormous amount of push from his supporters. His views are radical, and his policies are flat out nuts. For example — his website says that he “asserts that Congress had no power to impose a direct income tax” and wants to repeal the 16th amendment, which — you guessed it — gave Congress the power to impose a direct income tax.
Once he cuts the income tax, his ludicrous idea is to not replace it with anything. After all, it would restore our government spending to the levels of the late 1990s. Sure, Ron. Put half of all government workers on unemployment. That’ll get the economy rolling along. Ridiculous.
If Paul got his way, he would also work to put abortions back into the age of back alleys and coat hangers — resorting to his usual “states rights” nonsense. And finally, he was the only congressman in 2004 to vote against a bill celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Add to recent reports of his very strong connections with White Supremacist groups, it becomes apparent that there’s more to Mr. Paul than we’ve been told.
Do we really want a President that has such “rabid” support from men like former KKK Grand Wizards Don Black and David Duke? I sure as hell don’t.
Rounding out the remaining candidates, Gingrich slipped down to fourth place. Bachman is out. Perry is still in. No one still knows who Huntsman is. When we compare the numbers from last night to the numbers in 2008, it’s pretty interesting. Romney came in just a little higher than he did four years ago. Iowans are giving Paul a little more love, but despite the heavy campaigning all around, no one broke the 25% margin — with six major candidates. For the record, in 2008, both winners of the Iowa Caucuses had around 35% of the vote in each party. That was without an incumbent waiting to duke it out in November.
In a year where the Republican party should be galvanized, the voter turnout in the Iowa caucus was increased by slightly more than 2500 people, with a little over 120,000 people voting overall.
One thing is for sure — this race is going to be very interesting. Get the popcorn ready.