The role of the political pundit is to tell the reader what is going to happen before it happens, and then to explain what happened when it didn't.
I think it's time to explain what the Iowa caucus vote meant before all of us get too invoved in New Hampshire.
Q -- What did Iowa give George Bush, that he didn't have before?
A -- Momentum.
Q -- How did he get this momentum?
A -- By beating the front-runner, Ronald Reagan.
Q -- What was Bush before he ran in Iowa?
A -- A virtual unkown.
Q -- How did it happen?
A -- Reagan started out as the early favorite but his lead dropped dramatically when he failed to take Iowa voters seriously. This was a strategic blunder of political mangitude because it propelled George Bush from obscurity into the position of leading challenger and what now looks like a two-horse race.
Q -- What about the other Republican candidates?
A -- They considered Iowa a "beauty contest" which had no national political significance.
Q -- Did they always consider it that?
A -- No. They only did after they fared so poorly with the independent-minded Midwesterners who turned out in record numbers ot indicate their prefences through the straw ballot, which is very complicated and does not really decide anything.
Q -- What will the other candidates have to do now?
A -- Reassess their positions and take a hard look at their campaign strategy.
Q -- Why?
A -- In order to get back the momentum they lost to George Bush, who, until Iowa, was an asterisk in the polls.
Q -- Is this the end of Ronald Reagan?
A -- No. But he has been politically wounded by his lack of grass-roots support in the heartland of America. He must now overthrow his complacency and lethargy in order to regain his momentum.
Q -- What can we learn from President Carter's overwhelming and decisive victory in Iowa?
A -- That Teddy Kennedy has a long way to go.
Q -- What was Teddy overwhelmed by?
A -- Events at home and abroad.
Q -- What did it put an end to?
A -- The talk about the inevitable invincibility of the "Kennedy political juggernaut."
Q -- What do you think Kennedy is doing now?
A -- agonizing over his inability to get President Carter to come out of the White House.
Q -- What will teddy have to do if he hopes to get back on the campaign trail?
A -- Have an overwhelming victory in New Hampshire, which is his own back yard.
Q -- Was Iowa a knockout blow for Kennedy?
A -- No, but since it was the kickoff of the 1980 presidential campaign, and Teddy now has the ball on his own five-yard line, he has to figure out a way of hitting a home run in New Hampshire.
Q -- What does he need to do it?
A -- Momentum.