About time he conceded the obvious. “Newt Gingrich: I won’t win Iowa.”
Absolutely true. “We are now reaching the point in which the president is running a truly post-modern campaign, in which there is no objective truth but simply narrative. Obama’s campaign isn’t simply distorting the facts; it is inverting them. This kind of thing isn’t unusual to find in the academy. But to see a president and his campaign so thoroughly deconstruct truth in order to maintain power is quite rare. The sheer audacity of Obama’s cynicism is a wonder of the modern world.”
Even for him, this is abnormally silly. “Out on the trail with Texas Gov. Rick Perry in Iowa, Politico’s Mike Allen tries to ask a few questions about disarray within the Perry operation based on information from anonymous sources within the campaign. Perry refuses to play ball unless he gives up the names. Awkward hilarity ensues.”
To the abject horror of the rightwing blogosphere. “If Mitt Romney wins the Iowa caucuses, the race for the Republican nomination is over. If Mitt Romney comes in second in Iowa, the race for the Republican nomination is over. And if Mitt Romney comes in third in Iowa, the race for the Republican nomination is over. . . . It’s because the Iowa caucuses do not pick winners as much as they eliminate losers. And the Iowa caucuses Tuesday are likely to eliminate from serious contention the only two men who might have blocked Romney’s path to victory: Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry.”
Candidates generally should not abet the media in setting expectations they can't meet. “Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a play for conservative voters on Monday targeting surging rival Rick Santorum and predicting a strong ground game would see him finish in the ‘top tier’ in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses.” If he’s not in the top three, he has lost, then?
Confidence abounds in the Romney camp. “Romney’s campaign has worked for months to keep expectations down, trying to prevent a repeat of the 2008 campaign, in which he was favored but came in a disappointing second place in the caucuses. But the candidate has been leading recent polls, and he was feeling his oats tonight in front of an enthusiastic crowd that clapped and whistled after several lines of his stump speech. His prediction of an Iowa caucus victory came at the end of a 20 minute appearance in which he shared his vision of returning America to prosperity and strength.”
We’re going to see if Rick Santorum has the ability to withstand the long knives. Phil Klein begins to carve him up, arguing that “too many times, especially during the Bush era, he wholeheartedly embraced big government conservatism. Among other things, he sponsored an amendment to raise the minimum wage; backed steel tariffs; sponsored a bill for milk subsidies; took earmarks; voted for the Medicare prescription drug legislation and the pork-laden 2005 highway bill; and infamously endorsed liberal Arlen Specter over conservative Pat Toomey in the hotly contested 2004 Senate primary. He has defenses of his positions, but they won’t hold up to the scrutiny he’ll receive if he wins Iowa.” We’ll see. Most of the press ignored him until a week ago, thinking he’d never do well in Iowa.
Kim Strassel says Republicans are finally getting aboard the Romney train, calling his message “focused, unwavering, relentless.” She argues: “Mr. Romney has taken positions and stuck with them, even if it has meant defending the likes of RomneyCare. In Iowa, New Hampshire and everywhere else, voters have heard — again, and again, and again — the same two messages: He has the business and management experience to competently turn around the country, and he is the most electable against Mr. Obama. . . . So while Mr. Romney may not excite them, while he may not be ideal, in light of the other candidate[s]’ problems, and given the election stakes, voters are buying his argument that he is, well . . . good enough.” All you have to be is better than the rest.