Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lessons of Iowa and Moving Forward to the Next States

In watching the returns from the 2012 Iowa Caucus, it looks to be a photo finish, and at 1:25AM, Rick Santorum has won by 18 votes. Many are looking at this as an upset, yet because of his ability to retail politic, this victory should not be considered a surprise. With little organization and less money, he defeated Mitt Romney, who started late in the Hawkeye State, but still had more money and a deeper organization.

In moving through the primary process, there are important lessons to take from Iowa. First, spending time in a state matters. The candidate needs to take the time to meet the voters, talk to the voters, attend town hall meetings, kiss the babies and eat the local cuisine the right way (learn the lesson from John Kerry's mistake). I have previously noted Rick Santorum's strength in this and this is why he had what some consider a David v. Goliath victory.

Second, it looks as though being "safe" and "cautious" is not going to win this race. Time and time again, I have stated that the winning candidate will have campaigned with "No Fear" and in the general election, will defeat the president in the same manner. For Mitt Romney, he had better get the memo and make some changes. We've seen examples of this already and I must add one more: calling the president a "nice guy." This phrase accepts the premise of the left and the establishment moderates that the president is personally popular. This president is tanking and the winning Republican must capitalize on his low numbers. If Mitt Romney wants this nomination, he must sharpen his rhetoric and more consistently embrace conservatism. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are now more closely breathing down his neck.

Third, negative ads matter and the candidate being attacked must respond. By not responding, the candidate in question allows the opponent to define that candidate. And following my previous "S**t on a Wall" theory, everything will get thrown and without a response, some may stick. Newt was damaged in Iowa by his lack of response and that is the primary reason he came in 4th. As the campaign progresses, he is still alive in the future races. Apparently, Newt has learned his lesson and will be be switching back to offense, come New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.

Fourth, Republicans want a candidate who will endorse a foreign policy that won't be destructive to the safety and security of the United States and their allies. Ron Paul's positions make the United States more vulnerable from attacks by our adversaries. He peaked tonight, this was disappointing to his campaign as Paul was expected to finish 1st or 2nd, and as a result of his 3rd place finish, will not, thank goodness, come anywhere near winning this nomination. And I honestly doubt he will run third party. He may gain some traction, but doing so damages his son, Rand Paul, the US Senator from Kentucky, in both his position in the US Senate and the Republican Party.

If Iowa is any indication, the Republican primary race is still wide open.

No comments:

Post a Comment