… if the Des Moines Register’s front page is right, and Rick Santorum is up by 4 votes.
Two Nine precincts remain (The Des Moines Register inexplicably dropped its precinct total from 1772 out of 1774 to 1765; those smelling a rat can chime in if they have something substantive).
Already, the insufferable spin is flying (both items from Tony Leys at the Des Moines Register), even though Mitt Romney is in second place, and can’t possibly claim any kind of positive advantage from these results, even if he ekes out a win:
- “Mitt Romney successfully played possum in Iowa …”
- “Romney savors success after running lean, targeted campaign” (yep, the kind of “success” we’ll see on November 6 if he’s the nominee — except that the other guys can cheat by enough to wipe out a 0.006545% “advantage”)
As John Hawkins wrote last week:
It’s actually amazing that Mitt Romney isn’t lapping the whole field by 50 points because he has every advantage. Mitt has been running for President longer than the other contenders. He has more money and a better organization than the other candidates. The party establishment and inside the beltway media are firmly in his corner. That’s why the other nominees have been absolutely savaged while Romney, like John McCain before him, has been allowed to skate through the primaries without receiving serious scrutiny.
As Michael Barone said in another context:
It’s like the old story about the advertising agency and the dog food which I wrote about last June. The best ads in the world won’t produce sales if the dogs won’t eat the dog food. “We have to pass the bill,” Nancy Pelosi said last year, “so that you can find out what is in it.” Well, we’ve had a year to find out, and the dogs still hate the dog food.
Adapt this for Romney, who based on his track record and inconsistency can only say: “You’ll have to nominate me so you can find out what kind of general election candidate I’ll be, and then find out what kind of president I’ll be when I’m giving you absolutely no credible idea.” (Hint to Republicans and conservatives: Please look at what he did in Massachusetts on taxes and social issues, and, thinking longer-term, look at the shape of the Massachusetts Republican Party, which is still in a shambles five years after Romney’s departure ended 16 years of Republican control of the Governor’s mansion.)
Republicans nationally have had five years of exposure to this guy, and 75% of them still aren’t comfortable voting for him.
UPDATE: Daniel Horowitz at RedState — “Result of Iowa: They Didn’t Want Mitt in 2008; They Don’t Want Him Now”
UPDATE 2, 7:30 a.m.: Final results, apparently learned at 2:45 Central Time –
Romney – 30,015 (24.557%)
Santorum – 30,007 (24.551% — DMR rounded this down to 24.5%, I guess to show a Romney victory margin)
Paul – 26,219 (21.45%)
Gingrich – 16,251 (13.30%)
Perry – 12,604 (10.31%)
Bachmann – 6,073 (4.97%)
Huntsman – 745 (0.61%)
All Others – 310 (0.25%)
UPDATE 3: Interesting observation from someone who I believe was in the state on the Democratic side in 2008 –
The Iowa Caucus is incredibly easy to steal through voter fraud and other nefarious means. It is, by design, a chaotic and horribly organized affair with no ID checks for people attempting to vote. Very elderly people run most of the Caucus sites and most of the counting is done by hand, without a system in place to assure any sort of accuracy. Results are then called in verbally via telephone from the Caucus site to the “headquarters” that tallies the results. I have known of elections in junior high schools that were more secure and safe from both fraud and human error.
… which is why I’m not giving Mitt Romney a “W.”
Sadly (I’m open to correction on this), based on stories out of New Hampshire on the Democratic side from 2008, it was very easy to vote in New Hampshire’s primary if you were not a state resident. If that’s true in 2012 on the Republican side, guess who that helps?