Welcome to the Post’s new politics and culture blog, “She the People: The World as Women See It.” Though dedicated to the proposition that politics properly understood encompasses just about everything, I thought we’d start with some predictions about Tuesday’s caucuses in Iowa, where a bunch of our writers rang in the new year with Republicans.
My own bet is that Rick Santorum will indeed score the surprise of the night, just as he told me he would . Yet even if he wins outright, four years from now in Iowa, I further predict that we in the media will keep right on badgering all candidates who aren’t leading the pack at that moment with question after question about why they haven’t wised up and dropped out already. I mean, once is fine, but beyond that, what’s the point? Are we hoping they’ll burst into tears? Is there nothing else we’d like to hear from them? For readers and particularly viewers, these harangues are an utterly uninformative waste of time.
(Case in point? By the time Christiane Amanpour asked Jon Huntsman for the fourth time what the heck he thought he was doing running for president, I might have been shouting a little. Question five was legit: Did you flipflop on climate change? Then, the final query: If Newt Gingrich is the nominee, hint hint, will you support him? A couple of days later, ABC announced Amanpour had been reassigned, and I felt kind of bad, as if I thought maybe her bosses had heard me carrying on.) Yet though this line of questioning has yet to yield a single interesting reply, we seem quite committed to it; if anyone can explain why we persist, I’d love to know. Meanwhile, here’s what some of our other contributors see happening:
Lori Stahl: Ron Paul outperforms Rick Perry, which is embarrassing back home in Texas.
Sarah Kaufman: Santorum wins, and receives a congratulatory Pope-o-gram.
Amy Gardner:With Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry pledging to skip New Hampshire and head straight to South Carolina -- and all the candidates promising not to drop out no matter what the results Tuesday -- it’s possible Iowa will settle nothing.
Karen Tumulty: Turnout will be high, which could help Mitt Romney if it means more moderates show up.
Mary C. Curtis: While Ron Paul has his passionate supporters and Rick Santorum’s late surge is for real, Mitt Romney is peaking at the right time – and Ann Romney has had a hand in increasing his support, reassuring voters with her down-to-earth presence that her husband of more than four decades is not as robotic as he sometimes seems on the campaign trail.
Bonnie Goldstein: Sarah Palin finds a way to steal attention from the winner.
Patricia Murphy: A sizable number of Democrats will change their registration to vote for Ron Paul.
Krissah Thompson:: For the second consecutive presidential cycle, hearty Iowa caucus voters will pick a GOP candidate who does not go on to become the Republican nominee. (See Rick Santorum’s late rise in the polls.) And as usual, questions will be asked about the state’s relevance in the primary process.
Suzi Parker: Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum to win, place and show. I’d call a Paul win sheer irony: A pro-civil liberties antiwar candidate wins the first GOP caucuses.
Sandra Fish: Ron Paul has the young troops on the ground – and he won’t be sending them to Iran. Organization plus enthusiasm will equal a win for him in Iowa.
Carla Baranauckas: A sudden snowstorm will play havoc with turnout and only the most ardent supporters will show up. Michele Bachmann wins in a landslide, er, avalanche. (No? OK, no.)
Melinda Henneberger is a Washington Post political writer. Follow her on Twitter at @MelindaDC