I am very pleased that Obama has won the Democrat primary in Iowa,
by a convincing margin (Obama 37.5%, Edward 29.8%, Clinton 29.5%) and a
much higher turnout (232,000 2008 vs 125,000 2004).
Of course, it’s not in the bag yet. I’m aware of Clinton’s deep
pockets. But there is an obvious contradiction in her presentation as
an agent of change, when the whole world knows she’s very much the
Washington insider. It’s great that husband Bill is going out to
campaign for her, but she can’t win on a platform of change,
particularly when she’s got the likes of Madelene Albright (previous
Secretary of State) standing next to her!
I’ve managed to call every US Presidential election since 1984 (I
did think Carter could beat Reagan in 1980). Ohio itself has proved
very much the bellweather state, and I knew Mondale, Dukakis and Kerry
had no chance. I honestly thought Gore wouldn’t win Ohio, but by the
slimmist of margins; Gore should have campaigned longer in Ohio.
As my mother told me before I met Hillary last July at the US Capitol, “Tell her ‘Hi!’, and that she’s not going to win!”
I’m still willing to give Clinton some space to win Ohio (and thus
the Presidency), but she is running out of time, particularly if Obama
can keep turning out so many new and enthusiastic voters.
On the Republican side, by the same Midwestern logic, Mike Huckabee
is now a serious contender. Midwestern Republicans have certainly
warmed to him, and fast. Huckabee’s challenge is whether he can win
bigger states for the Republican nomination. Illinois, Michigan and
Ohio are all his, and he should do well enough (but not necessarily
win) in some southern states, but places like Florida, Texas and
California will be a bit tougher for him. This Republican race is still
a very interesting one to watch.