Friday, January 4, 2008

Last Night In Iowa

Late night, the people of Iowa did an amazing thing. They began the first step in the peaceful, democratic, transition of power from one chief executive to the next.

In case you haven't already heard about it, the Iowa caucuses were held last night, and Senator Barack Obama, of Illinois, was the clear winner for the Democrats.

I won't go into the specifics of the demographic percentages of who voted for whom and why, other than to say that, interestingly enough, in Iowa, Barack Obama gave Senator Clinton a bit of a thumping, even when it came to the votes coming from women. Apparently Obama garnered 5 percentage points of votes from women than Senator Clinton did.

Anyone who pays attention to Presidential politics are aware that winning... even decisively winning the Iowa caucus doesn't give a candidate a lock on the nomination of their party, but it sure gives the winner a big boost going into the New Hampshire primaries, which will be held next Tuesday, January eighth... with Michigan following on the fifteenth.

Together, Senator Obama and the people of Iowa have done another amazing thing in this caucus. They have shown America that at least from the Democratic perspective that this election will be about change, and they have shown that, not only by voting for a man that has said that he wants to be an agent of change in Washington (and God knows that we need it in this town!), but by signaling a dramatic change in the way young Americans think about race. Picture it... can any of you that are over 50 have ever imagined, when you were twenty five, that a Midwestern state, with a 94 percent white population, would have given a presidential primary victory to a black candidate?

Last night was one for the record books, friends.

This is a big country folks, and some states will be holding primaries as late as June, but I believe that this nominating process, at least for the Democrats will be locked up much earlier than that. I am certain that we will know who the party's nominee will be much sooner that. Who that nominee will be is still anyone's guess.

Another result of the Iowa caucuses is the ending of the campaigns of Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and Mike Gravell. The herd must be thinned.

Stay tuned.

13 comments:

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Okay, so I'm flipflopping myself. I guess my real concern wasn't so much "experience" as "electability" - more, though, for his youth and inexperience on the national stage as anything else. The race factor certainly is a factor, as is the gender factor in Clinton's campaign.

But this morning I have hope for this country, for the first time in a long time. And yes, I'm no longer undecided.

Julie Pippert said...

Good point and well said.

Here's my thing. I think I'm suffering from PTWSD (post-traumatic W stress disorder).

I was excited to see how Iowa went (on my seat again today) but then there's the flip side: how the republican primary went.

Huckabee. And Romney. Just like that.

And my PTWSD kicked in and I imagined the US with Huckabee and/or Romney in the White House. I believe it could happen.

Talk me down GF talk me down.

I think I'll just re-read your post each time the PTWSD kicks in.

jessabean said...

I kind of want to shoot a music video remix of "Obama Girl" right now. :-p

Heather said...

It is a step in the right direction I think. I'm excited for some change. I hope America is willing to do it.

Flower Child said...

I'm flipflopping a bit myself - and want to see these primaries play out over a number of states. I'm sure Iowa is a great place but it would be nice to get input from other parts of the country including primaries and not just caucuses. That said it was a nice night b/c for the first time in a long time I felt some hope that things will change - whichever of several people it could be.

and your first line about democracy brings to mind the Kenyan connection. in a country that just went through and is suffering elections, it is heartening that one of its sons has done something remarkable a half a world away. makes for a different kind of hope.

teresa said...

One quibble—and it is admittedly a minor one—I have with Obama's campaign is that it has deployed the word change as a buzzword, this one in his favor, in much the same way that experience has been deployed against him. Without elaboration each concept is fairly meaningless, which makes them brilliant political slogans, because many of your more hopeful Democrats will project their own desires into the vacuum and interpret the concepts as endorsing the specific experience or changes they value most.

Julie, allow me to talk you down regarding the Republican result. The most positive spin I've heard thus far is this: The Republican Party is so dispirited that participation has been winnowed to the party's absolute base—evangelical Christians, the folks who account for any remaining approval rating above 0% for Bush. They can win a candidate a primary, but I firmly believe they cannot win a two-party election. We are too diverse a nation for that, and the only positive of W.'s presidency—as we saw in Iowa on the Democratic side, which registered almost double the turnout of the last caucus—will be an uptick in voter participation. Among the factors, failures, and corruption that led to Bush's presidency, widespread complacency among voters, particularly Democrats, was at least as crippling as any Karl Rovian bullshit.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

*big sigh*

This is the most important elections in my life ~ in my opinion.

Not sure who I'm voting for yet.
No one is juussssst right.

I just can't help but see
that ole Charlie Brown "teacher voice" coming out of their mouths as they speak ...
wah wah wah wah wah..

Grandmere said...

You state: Picture it... can any of you that are over 50 have ever imagined, when you were twenty five, that a Midwestern state, with a 94 percent white population, would have given a presidential primary victory to a black candidate?

I am well over 50..and I had always hoped that it could happen. That all the dreams this young activist had in 1960 had could come true. I am still afraid of November. After the after walk coffee discussion this morning with friends, the old racism is still there, the fear and the ugliness. I still argue....but it is still rearing its ugly head 48 years later.

Gunfighter said...

GM,

I'm not surprised. Not at all. the difference is that this time it happened. Not a fluke. Not a flash in the pan.

I suspect that some of your firends are in for a big, and unpleasant surprise.

Wholly Burble said...

I'm from Iowa--they were not prepared for the caucus turnout they received. So many first-timers! Iowa is not a major influence, I'm sure, but it is a beginning, and an indicator of sorts because of this placement. I was particularly pleased to see the interest and the participation--pointing to a vigorous voting turnout later this year I hope!

Grandmere said...

Oh, I wasn't surprised...I just keep hoping that things will be better for the world my grands are growing up in. Racism always makes me angry...and sad...and I fearr its power in November. Obama gives me hope..for change and we need so much change in this country right now. But surprised? No, not really. Disappointed...a bunch!

Hahn at Home said...

It's an amazing process. I never got to participate since I left IA at 17. You might enjoy www.redhogdiary.com this week for his coverage as a caucus volunteer and raging liberal.

dawn224 said...

Being that the midwest is the seat of covert racism, I'm floored that a midwestern state picked Obama.

That said, I can't *wait* to see how some choice members of my family deal with choosing between a Republican and Obama :)