Dick Morris of consultant infamy offers a sound bite for the Screw Iowa national media:
The short list of contenders for the nomination will not be chosen in the early primaries. Iowa and New Hampshire will not impose their will on America. America will impose its will on Iowa and New Hampshire.
The quarter finals will not be waged in the cornfields of Iowa or the former mill towns of New Hampshire. They will be held in the living rooms of America among the Fox News audience!
Shane Vander Hart of Caffeinated Thoughts, one of the state's better righty blogs, offers a solid eight point rebuttal that's mostly bipartisan applicable. Except that MSNBC isn't a full-fledged party propaganda arm like Faux is.
Naturally, as a diehard Iowa Firster, I'm more inclined to Vander Hart's viewpoint. Even the right wing noise machine needs some raw material, whether it's made up factlets or made up events, and the action in Iowa is something to fill air time. Which they'll need a lot of once all their Special Commentators quit to go back to campaigning. ("If you ever see me sign up for a gig on Fox News, it'll be a clear indication that I've decided to run for president -- that's not in the cards anytime soon, thanks." Mitt Romney told Leno this week.)
But just like 2007, I expect the August GOP straw poll to finish off more candidates that the caucuses themselves. Despite Romney's big effort and first place finish, the important thing that came out of Ames was Mike Huckabee beating Sam Brownback in the de facto Fundamentalist Primary. Sam stumbled along for a few weeks after that, but Ames was the key moment in the Huckabee win. Look for the same dynamic between Huckabee, Palin, and Rick Santorum next summer. There's only one room for one of the three. It won't be Santorum, of course, but cCan Vander Plaats keep the band together for Huckabee? (Extending the comparison: Haley Barbour is this cycle's Tommy Thompson.)
As for Palin, Todd Dorman predicts:
With her resources, clout and following, I think Palin will have a solid base in this state, if she runs. She’ll do plenty of obligatory small events, and likely will be lavishly praised for exceeding low expectations. She can tell the Woodbine Twiner and the rest of us to take a hike because her supporters don’t care what we write about her. They’ll just check her Facebook page.But while she signs books at the Spirit Lake Wal-Mart, there's already grumbling about Palin ignoring New Hampshire.
Over the long haul, I see the 2012 Republican cycle looking like the 2004 Democratic cycle. Is the priority playing it safe with an "electable" candidate, with Mitt Romney in the Kerry role? Or do they follow their hearts and go with the unorthodox base-inspiring candidate, with Palin as the Republican Howard Dean?
Democrats chickened out in the last three weeks of the 2004 cycle. We have to beat Bush, you know. They can't attack John Kerry -- he's a war hero! But I don't see Republicans going that way. Primary voters showed a willingness in this year's Senate races to embrace purity at the risk of victory. They won anyway in Kentucky, but threw away Delaware, Colorado and Nevada, and technically (but not really) lost Alaska.
So still looks to me like Palin, which Tom Harkin says Obama needs to hope for.
And looking ahead, I'm not buying this quote:
"I think I will serve as secretary of state as my last public position and the probably go back to advocacy, and probably on behalf of women and children."
-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, quoted by the Washington Post, apparently ruling out a presidential campaign in 2016
Last call: Godfather tonight, 11:00, IMU.