Huckabama: Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses Thursday, prompting much ado in the blogosphere about broken molds, upended assumptions, and multiple visions. The big questions: Is this it for Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney? Does Huckabee’s win benefit McCain, who placed fourth but might thrive in New Hampshire? And will Britney make it out of the hospital in time to cast her vote in the California primary?
Andrew Sullivan knows hope: “As for Obama? Maybe you saw it. Simply put: he sounded like a president. The theme was not just change; it was a new unity. And as a black man, he helps heal the past as well as forge the future. This really was history tonight. To win so many white voices, and bring together so many minorities, and use the unifying language that leaves the toxins of race and partisanship behind: This was the moment America stopped being afraid.”
TNR editor Franklin Foer didn’t swoon for Obama. Until last night. “I had to watch the Obama speech twice to be sure: But at a moment early in his oration, his crowd responded by shouting, ‘USA! USA!’” he writes at the Plank. “I’ve been slow to fall for Obama. … Still, his emphasis on the ‘nation’—one of his most recurrent themes—is also one of his most appealing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a crowd of Democratic primary voters erupt in a spontaneous display like this. It was a genuinely moving moment, and another leading indicator of his electibility.”
T-Steel at the Moderate Voice is thrilled: “Usually in Black America, black politicians have to have the blessing of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the NAACP, black liberal radio hosts, black liberal talking heads, and just ‘black leadership’ in general. Not Barack Obama. Iowa, which is 94.3% white, said that Obama is their guy on the Democratic side. Do you see what I am saying? A state that is 94.3% WHITE gave Obama their support. Take that [Black Democratic Establishment] and don’t let the door hit you in the behind on the way out.”
Ann Althouse smells the end of Hillary: “It seems she’s already tried everything. After getting dirty with the insinuations about drugs and religion and after using her husband the ex-President as much as he could be used, she faces an opponent who has never gone negative and has acquired a new and powerful aura. We’ve already seen every possible permutation of Hillary, haven’t we?”
Peter Wehner at Commentary’s contentions praises Obama’s political skills but nevertheless points to his shortcomings, “including his inexperience and his liberalism, and they matter. We’re electing a President, after all, not deciding on a prom date. And so scrutiny on Obama’s positions, which has largely been missing from the campaign so far, will increase – and that will eventually take a toll.” At liberal My DD, Jerome Armstrong says all the candidates are winners, and Mike Connery says the kids are all right.
Paul Mirengoff at righty blog Power Line thinks it’s a sad day for politics: “Iowa has given its seal of approval to (1) a one-term Senator who stands for ‘hope’ and ‘change’ and (2) a tacky, big spending governor who doesn’t know much about foreign policy but did stay at a Holiday Inn Express. The common demoninator here, other than a patent lack of qualifications for the presidency, is likeability.”
Jay Tea at Wizbang is all set to welcome the candidates to his home state of New Hampshire: “I want every voter who can to take a Democratic ballot and write in Mike Huckabee’s name. And those who will be voting in the Republican primary, make your mark for Huckabee proudly – then tell the ballot workers that you misunderstood the way the ballot works and ask for a new one, which you then mark for the candidate of your choice. (Mine’s going to be for Fred Thompson, and so should yours.)” And Vodka Pundit’s Stephen Green has penned an open letter to Iowa Republicans: “32 years ago, your Democratic brethren took one look at Jimmy Carter – the worst 20th Century President bar Nixon, and the worst ex-President ever – and declared, ‘That’s our man!’ Three decades later, and along comes Mike Huckabee. Same moral pretentiousness, same gullibility on foreign affairs, only-slightly-less toothy idiot’s grin. Then you so-called Republicans took a look at Carter’s clone and said, ‘That’s our man, too!’ ”
But at the Weekly Standard’s Campaign Standard, Matthew Continetti doesn’t get the skepticism, saying Huckabee “leaves Iowa as the only Republican presidential candidate to win a caucus or primary (so far). Yes, New Hampshire likes to vote differently from Iowa, and there are fewer religious conservatives in the Granite State. But what’s to stop Huckabee from overcoming those obstacles, just as he overcame the obstacles that faced him in Iowa?”
Hugh Hewitt’s a big Romney booster and has advice for his bruised candidate: “Independent-powered victories for McCain in New Hampshire and Michigan won’t matter if they are understood as such, but Romney has to let the party of Reagan know that both Huckabee and McCain want it broken up and sold off in pieces. He or Rudy need to win in Florida, or achieve a three way tie with McCain to put the campaign back into the hands of the people who built the party over the past 28 years.”
Meanwhile, Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters predicts: “If McCain wins in New Hampshire, Romney has serious problems, but it assists the other 50-state candidate: Rudy Giuliani. Unlike Hillary Clinton, Giuliani was smart enough not to waste time in Iowa, and he won’t tangle in New Hampshire, either. If Romney gets derailed, it leaves the Super Tuesday field open to Giuliani, who already has leads in the big coastal states. He’s an experienced campaigner, and this Romney loss validates his strategy.”
At the Corner, Rich Lowry runs an e-mail from an ideological opponent who’d promised to subscribe to the National Review if Hillary finished third, Kathryn Jean Lopez wonders if the Thompson campaign has been resurrected, and Mark Levin argues that Rudy benefits more than McCain.