Well, today is Judgement Day for some dozen or so presidential aspirants. Sort of.
The obscure caucus ritual that lends Iowa its 15 minutes of fame every four years begins in just a few short hours. Iowans will gather and express their support for one or another of the human-like avatars that are today's candidates.
No one is sure how it will turn out with either party. So, here are my predictions. First the Republicans:
- Mitt Romney - Bye bye, Mitt. Tonight is the beginning of the end. Romney will lose out to Christo-Facist Mike Huckabee in Iowa. Then he'll go on to lose to John McCain in New Hampshire. Then he'll drop out. Sorry, Mitt. Being filthy rich only gets you so far, even with the Republicans.
- Mike Huckabee - Tonight's winner. But, in the long haul, a flash in the pan. His aw-shucks Christian fakery works well with Iowa's home school crowd, but doesn't sell with the more sophisticated (read "educated") voters in New Hampshire. He'll be king for about 5 days, just like Pat Robertson was when he beat out Daddy Bush for second place in Iowa back in 1988. New Hampshire will be the beginning of the end for the Huckster.
- John McCain - Tonight is not his night, but he'll bounce back in the "miracle" of New Hampshire. When that happens, don't make the mistake of thinking that New Hampshire Republicans are enthused about him. It's more that New Englanders, even the Republicans among them, are realists. They see Huckabee, Giuliani, Romney, and Thompson as losers. McCain is their only hope for victory in the general election. In fact, I think McCain will eventually be the GOP presidential nominee. In Iowa, however, McCain tanks. The Christo-Fascist base of today's GOP have never forgiven him for dissing Junior.
- Rudy Giuliani - Rudy's not even trying in Iowa. He knows a lost cause when he sees one. Giuliani has apparently pushed all his chips into the Super Tuesday pot, where he hopes to have a big day thanks to "moderate" Republicans. A daring move that shows a lot of faith: just as Huckabee's Christian armies place their faith in their warlike god, Giuliani imagines that there is some vast hoarde of GOP social moderates that will materialize and place him on their shoulders. I think it's a dream. Karl Rove and Junior, with their slash-and-burn politics, drove the last of the moderates out of the GOP after 2004. Rudy will drop out after a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday.
- Fred Thompson - No signs of life here. He'll tank in Iowa, then again in New Hampshire and then quit. His campaign is already making noises about it. The aristocratic Republican fantasy of a new sock puppet has come to naught.
Now, the Democrats:
- Hillary Clinton - She's got the money to keep fighting, but she loses tonight in Iowa. She'll fight like hell for New Hampshire and she may well win there. Her fate will be decided on Super Tuesday. So much depends on how rank-and-file Democrats perceive her. Has her political "triangulation" alienated her from her party and made her seem too compliant in the Bush administration's misdeeds? Well, that's the way I feel about her. Let's see what other Democratic voters think.
- Barak Obama - He has a very good chance of winning in Iowa. The latest Zogby poll has him on top. If he doesn't win Iowa, however, his prospects become dim. He needs to win the caucuses to get the Big Mo with all those fat campaign donations. He is trying to win without getting mean and nasty. (Noble, I suppose, but I want retribution and accountability. The Bush administration must be made to pay for their crimes! Spare me the hopeful soaring rhetoric! The Bush crime family must hang!) If he wins Iowa, he's got a real shot at the nomination. If he loses, he isn't out yet, but New Hampshire looms large.
- John Edwards - I think Edwards is going to win Iowa and surprise everyone, just like Kerry did in 2004. The Edwards campaign is well organized and dedicated. If he does win Iowa, Big Mo will bring him along, past New Hampshire, where he probably won't win, into the South Carolina primary, where he has a very good chance, as a son of the South.
- Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson - None of these is going to win in Iowa, nor in New Hampshire. I like Dodd and Richardson, and I love Kucinich. But these campaigns aren't going anywhere. Speculation is that Richardson and Biden are angling for cabinet positions in either a Clinton or an Obama administration. Dennis is the valiant Don Quixote. Dodd is probably setting himself up for another run in 4 or 8 years.
Let's see how it all turns out...