Well, it certainly is a season of surprises. I suggest that until November we stop listening when the professional bloviators in the media tell us something is a sure thing. Hillary was finished, nothing could stop Obama. Well... Still, it's important to see that she only won by two percentage points in a state she was supposed to win anyway, and that she and Obama both came out of it with the same number of delegates.
There has been a fair amount of discussion at William's and Jeff's about the primaries and the candidates. I still feel closest to Edwards, but I don't see him going very far at this point. Perhaps he could surprise us in South Carolina, but if he doesn't I'd rather see the voters who are concerned about Hillary put their weight behind Obama.
For the record, I will vote for Hillary if she does get the nomination, but not terribly happily. If nothing else, I'm tired of the Bush-Clinton alteration -- do you realize that 18-year-old voters in this election were born under Bush I? I could list the other problems I have with Hillary, but Kevin has done so very well already here (though I feel more sympathetic to Edwards' populism than he does).
One thing I have noticed in talking to people is how much this nomination is about personality and our reactions to personality. For example, William and I have differed with Crystal about Edwards' sincerity. Each of us has tirelessly explained why we like him or not, but in the end it comes down to a gut feeling that really can't be debated. It's the same with Hillary. I personally don't see her as soulless and fake as some people do (though I wonder about her opportune show of emotion this weekend), but I do feel (emphasis on the word "feel") that she lacks vision and that her brand of politics is too divisive and cutthroat. On policy, I'm probably closest to Kucinich, though I see that it is unlikely that he could implement it and impossible that he could be elected. I prefer the Clinton and Edwards health-care plans to Obama's, and Richardson's approach to foreign policy. Still, Obama's speech after winning Iowa really moved me. My brain says it's all just pretty words, what about his policies, will he be too conciliatory to people who are willing to eat him for breakfast... but still, maybe there is something to what he said in last weekend's debate:
And, you know, so, the truth is, actually, words do inspire, words do help people get involved, words do help members of Congress get into power so that they can be part of a coalition to deliver health care reform, to deliver a bold energy policy. Don't discount that power. Because when the American people are determined that something is going to happen, then it happens. And if they are disaffected and cynical and fearful and told that it can't be done, then it doesn't. I'm running for president because I want to tell them, "Yes, we can," and that's why I think they're responding in such large numbers.Getting away from the politics of fear is something I think we're all longing for. I'm about ready to throw my weight behind Obama.
In the meantime, it's interesting to see the breakdown of NH voters. Once again, wealthier and better-educated people like Obama more. Less well-off people are not responding to Edwards' populist message. Clinton and Edwards both did better than Obama among people who said they voted for the candidate "who cares for people like me." Very oddly, Clinton, the most hawkish of the Dems, did best among those who wanted troops to be withdrawn immediately from Iraq, whereas Obama did overwhelming well with those who want troops to stay in Iraq "as long as they're needed." On the religious breakdown, Obama and Clinton did equally well among Protestant voters, but Clinton dominated among Catholic voters with 44%, and Edwards did better with Catholics than with any other religious denomination, getting support of 24%. There are more interesting tidbits there, take a look at it.
On to Nevada.