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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Relevance of Iowa

A lot of the talk about the Iowa Caucuses yesterday centered on whether or not Iowa is, will be, or should be irrelevant.

Some said Iowa would be irrelevant if Ron Paul won. Others said Iowa would be irrelevant if Ron Paul did not win. In the aftermath of the caucuses, which Ron Paul did not win (he placed third behind Romney and Santorum, for those of you hiding under a rock until it's all over), Ron Paul's camp now claims (surprise!) that Iowa is irrelevant.

The Washington Times claims that Iowa is irrelevant because the GOP has consistently failed to produce a younger, more charismatic and Clintonesque candidate that will inspire the voters to flock to the polls in larger numbers.

I apologize in advance for sending you to The Daily Kos... If you can get past the spelling mistakes and atrocious grammar, you'll see that they too are of the opinion that Iowa just doesn't matter for many reasons, up to and including the classic: "Iowa is just too white."

All that said, I do not believe that Iowa is at all irrelevant. In fact, I believe that Iowa's relevance is being downplayed especially by establishment Republicans in order to obscure the fact that what happened in Iowa yesterday has the power to make conservatives irrelevant in the 2012 presidential race. I spoke in my last post about the three types of Republican voters who would be making their way to the polls this primary season. A Romney win with very little effort (though Santorum did come very close in the end) suggests that the majority of voters in Iowa come from the first group I talked about - those more concerned with perceived electability than with real conservative principles. For that reason, they traded their "first in the nation" status for Mitt "personal mandate is bad unless it was my idea" Romney. For Mitt "I'm not a Washington insider but that's only because I lost" Romney. For Mitt "I left my state in massive debt but that's okay because I can build companies" Romney.

If that trend continues in other primaries, what we get will not be a win for conservatives even if Romney makes it all the way to the White House. What terrifies me is that after a Romney presidency it might take four years of a worse disaster than Barack Obama to wake enough people up to right the ship.

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