January 1, 2012

IF HE WINS IA...:

Will Iowa Produce a Viable Alternative to Romney? (Ronald Brownstein, December 31, 2011, National Journal)

Two questions loom over the traveling political carnival that has encamped here awaiting the verdict of Iowa Republicans in their Tuesday caucuses. The first is obvious: Who will win the first-in-the nation contest? The second is attracting less attention but is ultimately more significant: Will the result change the overall dynamic of the GOP race?

For all of the sound and fury in Iowa this weekend, the very uncertainty surrounding the first question adds to the suspicion that the answer to the second could be: not much.

Iowa's impact is open to question this year not mostly because it is uniquely quirky -- though its quirks are part of the story -- but because it accurately reflects the basic trend that has governed the GOP race over the past year. Here, as nationally, Mitt Romney is performing solidly, if not spectacularly, with the party's most pragmatic and secular elements. None of his rivals, meanwhile, is convincingly consolidating the more ideological and religiously conservative components of the party most resistant to him.

That dynamic reframes the most important question in the caucus. The biggest issue is not who wins -- but whether the results create an alternative to Romney capable of competing seriously against him in other states. If the caucuses fail to do that, the results will solidify the advantage that Romney has reestablished in the race, no matter the order of win, place and show.

...who has any money, organization, or press coverage by South Carolina? When was the last time a Republican won both IA and NH in an open season?  I can't remember it ever happening. 
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Posted by at January 1, 2012 8:54 AM
  

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