– It is all about Obama. IF he wins, especially if he wins with a spread, it is probably all over on the Democratic side… and maybe for the general as well. Why? Because it will prove that all of the general enthusiasm about him – particularly with younger voters – is real and translates into votes… even caucus votes in Iowa in January. 2004 saw a big effort to turn out youth voters. It failed. But let’s face it, no one was going to get enthusiastic about John Kerry. He was 2004’s Mitt Romney. The question that will be answered tonight is whether Obama is 2008’s RFK – arguably the last candidate to excite younger voters with a vision for what America could be. If he loses, then chances are he is finished because the enthusiasm has been nothing more than that… unfocused excitement.
– All that being said, I still think John Edwards has a strong shot tonight. He has raw passion on his side and it is resonating. He is speaking to real discontent, real fear, and the reality of a thoroughly corrupt political establishment. He is, in many ways, the anti-Obama. Obama is dangling the proverbial carrot of hope. Edwards has the Teddy Roosevelt stick out and is saying it is time to do damage to the establishment. That is a message that can sell nationally.
– Hillary? She is in a lose-lose position. If she wins it won’t be that big a deal – no Clinton has lost an election since 1980. If she loses? See Obama above.
– Huckabee will win. He will win be a larger than expected margin. After that? Who knows. Can he, on the Republican side, do what Obama is doing? There isn’t any evidence for that yet. The upside for the barrage of attacks, inquiries, and missteps that he has endured/inflicted on himself the past month is that things will only get easier from here on. He’s run the gauntlet and is still standing. Many people thought he might go Howard Dean in Iowa – perhaps, with Leno last night, he is proving he might go Bill Clinton in Iowa instead.
– Sir Mitt will probably get second and then he will probably lose in New Hampshire and then he will lose in South Carolina. Then? He has so much money and is apparently so ambitious that it is hard to see him ever quitting. Can anyone say brokered convention?
– McCain will finish third and will go on to win in New Hampshire and then go to South Carolina where it all started falling apart for him in 2000.
– Giuliani probably wouldn’t have gotten many more votes in Iowa than he will get had he shown up. It is hard to see how he isn’t dead in the water. He will lose in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and will probably lose in Florida. Yes he has a massive war chest for Super Tuesday (Mega Tuesday?) but chances are great he won’t even be part of the conversation.