Could Santorum Win Big?
January 03, 2012
So everyone more or less agrees on the storyline heading into caucus night: Romney is clinging to a narrow lead, though there are doubts about whether he can break out of the mid-20s, which he’s never really surpassed either in Iowa or nationally. Ron Paul is near Romney at the top of the field, but is widely regarded as a sideshow: He draws heavily from young voters, most of whom will either turn out and vote for him or not vote at all. That leaves Rick Santorum, whom everyone agrees has the wind at his back. The latest polls have him in striking distance of Paul and Romney.
Who Are The Real GOP Radicals In Iowa?
January 03, 2012
RED OAK, IOWA -- Outside a candidate's event in Council Bluffs, as the wind was blowing in bitter cold from Nebraska, I witnessed my first ugly moment of the Iowa caucuses. A 19-year-old local man, Steve Bertelson, was standing outside on the sidewalk, shivering visibly, silently holding a sign with a scrawled slogan about the 1 percent. As people left the event, several turned on him, shouting angrily just steps away from him as he absorbed the abuse without saying anything. Why didn't he go across the river to Omaha and bother Warren Buffett instead, shouted one man.
Rick Perry, Texas Governor And Iowa Goat
January 01, 2012
SIOUX CITY, IOWA -- The big question coming out of the Des Moines Register poll released Saturday night is whether social conservatives who were leaning towards Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich will move in large numbers to Rick Santorum, whom the poll showed to be rising fast. I went yesterday to the town Boone -- hometown of Mamie Eisenhower! -- to see Perry and see what he's offering to voters to keep that sort of desertion from happening. I came away fairly flabbergasted. What in the world had happened to Rick Perry, the campaigner extraordinaire of Texas legend?
What the Republican Primary Season Has Revealed About the GOP
December 30, 2011
It’s very tempting to dismiss the Iowa caucuses as much ado about almost nothing: As Iowa goes, so goes . . . Iowa, and little more. But, despite its inherent myopia, the early part of the 2012 primary season has managed to be clarifying. Indeed, by combining the most recent survey evidence, we can learn a great deal about the state of the contemporary Republican Party. Put simply, its dominant concerns are economic—especially the federal budget deficit.
The Many Accidents That Produced Romney's 'Inevitable' Nomination
December 30, 2011
Having spent much of 2011 writing incessantly about the Republican presidential nominating contest, I’m simultaneously relieved and saddened by the impending end of the “invisible primary” and the beginning, with next Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, of the actual voting.
Really, Rick Perry?
December 29, 2011
There hasn't been much reason these past few weeks to dig back into the vast landscape of unsavory dealings in Rick Perry's Texas, given the governor's increasing irrelevance in the GOP primary.
Where Things Stand in Iowa
December 28, 2011
A new poll out from PPP gives some indications about where things are headed in the home stretch. Given that it's only one poll, and that the polling was done between the first and second nights after Christmas--and that it pours some water on my Gingrich uptick theory--I'm not going to interpret the results too literally. But they do offer some hints about what's going on. First, as on the Democratic side in 2008, it looks like turnout is going to tell us who'll win the caucuses well before the actual votes are tallied, at least if present trends continue.
Conversion Narrative, Iowa Caucus Edition
December 28, 2011
Rick Perry is getting grief for his conversion on the proverbial road to Dubuque -- announcing this week that he now opposes abortion even in the case of rape or incest, not because he is desperately appealing to evangelical voters in the Iowa caucuses, but because he watched a movie. What, has Perry been kicking back with "Juno" in the Hampton Inn? No, hardier stuff than that: "The Gift of Life," produced by David Bossie, the conservative activist behind the Citizens United campaign finance case. It features Mike Huckabee and profiles people who say they were the result of rapes.
A User’s Guide to the 2011 Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary
December 26, 2011
The Republican field is crowded and fluid right now, but it won’t be for long. By January 11th, there will be at most three remaining contenders, and we’ll have a much clearer understanding of how the race will develop. There are seven candidates with a pulse, and only six of them—divided into two groups of three—are competing in Iowa. For two of the three denizens of the lower tier—Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum—failing to finish among the top three on January 3rd would spell the effective end of their candidacies.
How Social Conservatives Blew It In Iowa
December 23, 2011
The 2012 “invisible primary” is looking likely to end just how and where it began: with Republican ideologues anxiously looking to Iowa for signs of an electable “true conservative” alternative to Mitt Romney. Depending on whom you ask, they have found no such candidate, or have found too many of them. In either case, despite their fevered hopes the First-in-the-Nation Caucus is not likely to play its intended role as an all-important arbiter where ideological squishes are disciplined or destroyed and the faithful find their champion.