Iowa caucus results show it's still early in the game and nothing's certain. So what happened on the way to the Republican presidential nomination?
Either Mitt Romney is the presumptive nominee by early February, or we have a replay of the 1976 GOP primaries on our hands.
Political analysts are scratching their heads trying to figure out how Mitt Romney won first place in the Iowa caucuses since the state is highly evangelical, he did not campaign heavily there, and his share of support in the polls has remained steadily at just under 25 percent.
Elections are contests held during a moment in time between candidates who have records stretching back, often far back, into the past. So there is always a tension between the man (or woman) who is running and the moment.
An underlying theme of our times that has gone unperceived by the high and mighty in media, government and other locales where the politically alive come to roost is the thumping failure of an increasing number of counter-productive, old progressive reforms.
It is quite extraordinary what the rumpled, unpretentious 76-year-old OB/GYN has already achieved. Many Republicans now agree: If the GOP listened to Paul on domestic and economic issues, their "brand" would look a lot better.
My family and I have spent over a week in Iowa. We were expecting the normal cold, snowy weather, and bought boots, wool socks and sweaters the week before Christmas. We packed up soon after Christmas and flew to Des Moines. Four family members, 8 checked bags (double my initial goal -- bulky snow boots and sweaters).
As the results of the Iowa caucuses dribbled in, Americans got to see how the GOP candidates greeted victory and defeat. Top vote-getter Mitt Romney was gracious toward Rick Santorum, who came in second by eight thin votes, but uninspiring as he pledged to get America back to work.
It's been a mixed week for Mitt Romney's campaign. On one hand, Romney won Iowa, but on the other, he was endorsed by John McCain.
Much of the conservative punditocracy has declared that Mitt Romney is the consensus conservative candidate. If he is, he's the least consensual consensus candidate in modern political history -- the man can't break 25 percent with a sledgehammer.
At long last, real voters cast real votes on behalf of real candidates. One down, 49 to go and that doesn't include American Somoa, Guam, the District of Columbia and other U.S. holdings.
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