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Senator Barack Obama : 37.58%
Senator John Edwards : 29.75%
Senator Hillary Clinton : 29.47%
Governor Bill Richardson : 2.11%
Senator Joe Biden : 0.93%
Uncommitted : 0.14%
Senator Chris Dodd : 0.02%
So I was wrong. I thought Obama's strategy of dependence on young voters and non-Democrats was risky, and that his open attacks on key Democratic constituencies in recent days would cost him. Turns out the kids turned out
, and a whole bunch of brand new Democrats, too. Caucus attendance nearly doubled, and young voters
turned out in numbers to rival the over-65 crowd, a tremendous credit to the Obama campaign's ability to translate inspiration into action. As a Democrat, I've got to feel good about that even if the results offer some disappointment.
Little of that disappointment is felt on behalf of John Edwards. It's better to win than to place, of course, but it's also better to place than to show, particularly in this case. One of the tougher struggles for the Edwards campaign has been fighting the impression that this is a two-way race between Clinton and Obama. If Edwards has been covered at all, he's usually been depicted as some kind of angry crank, scaring off voters with wild-eyed rants bordering on anarchy. A lot of people are going to be taking a second look at the second place finisher, since it's hard to argue that he can't compete with someone he just beat.
At the same time, a lot of people who've been holding their cards close to their vests, waiting to see if there really was a possibility that a populist message might resonate this year. Clearly, it does. Not just because of Edward's finish tonight, but because of the way his example has framed so much of the debate. Hillary? She's all about change and fighting for the middle class now. Senator Obama? He's putting corporate lobbyists on notice that while they're welcome to his bargaining table, if they forget their manners and hog the gravy he'll push right by 'em and get some. Health care as a centerpiece of everyone's campaign, with the debate revolving around what universal means? Thank John Edwards and the SEIU.
It's not the finish I hoped for, of course, but it's a finish Edwards can build on. No sense of elation here, perhaps, but not too much disappointment, really.
None, naturally, for Obama. Some elation, in fact. I was born in the Jim Crow era. The deed to the house I was raised in included a covenant forbidding it's sale to non-white buyers (It was still in the text long after changing laws had rendered it moot). Tonight I watched a black American win an election in Iowa. Win it decisively, with support that crossed racial, generational and ideological lines. I've got to admit that I still don't get it, but I'm starting to believe that may be my own fault. Nope, no share of disappointment for Obama. Just congratulations.
A little disappointment for Senator Clinton. Not so long ago, her star was so bright, her hopes were so high, the expectations were so strong. I mean, it was going to be Hillary, right? Clear shot. She's so contained, so confident, so, well, 'presidential.'
And so 90's, I'm afraid. Poor Hillary.
Most of my disappointment, though, is reserved for the second tier. Senators Dodd and Biden both rank above Clinton on my personal preference scale (Edwards, Dodd, Obama, Biden, Clinton, Richardson, in that order). Both of them committed all the resources they could muster and ran postive, honest campaigns, making their best cases on their respectively considerable merits. I thought they'd do better - not well enough to continue, perhaps (Dodd is reportedly ready to withdraw, Biden will likely follow him in short order), but at least 2 or 3, maybe even 5 percent.
On the bright side, for us if not them, the Senate will be strengthened by the full-time attention of the duo.
And, OK, just a spot of disappointment on behalf of Governor Richardson. Though he sat at the bottom of my acceptable list, primarily because of his foolish commitment to a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and though desperation drove him to foolish and fruitless negativity, he too worked tirelessly to share his version of the Democratic vision. And he should drop out in the morning.
Labels: Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Caucus, Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton, Iowa, Joe Biden, John Edwards, Results