The Republicans are doing their best to sugar-coat a bitter pill by the name of Mitt Romney. The first voting clearly showed they are resisting. The anyone-but-Romney bloc is more than substantial. Most Republicans are desperately seeking another candidate, but so far surges by other candidates have fizzled, the exception being Rick Santorum who may or may not have new momentum going forward.
The final tally: Mitt Romney 24.6%; Rick Santorum 24.5%; Ron Paul 21.4%; Newt Gingrich 13.3%; Rick Perry 10.3%.
But if you are Mitt Romney, how are you going to sell this as a victory when you can't even get one fourth of your party's vote? Only eight people in Iowa decided the outcome. If they had chosen to go out for dinner instead, Santorum and Romney would have been locked in a tie. Too bad it didn't happen.
Of course, there is always the possibility that at some point Romney and Santorum will join together on the same ticket, but who would agree to drop into the vice-president slot?
Ron Paul continues to cause problems for Republicans who have spent more time bashing him than Mr. Obama. The President must be relaxing in comfort watching this play out knowing that whatever the eventual outcome, he will probably come off as the moderate centrist. It's called triangulation and it worked rather well for former President Clinton.
The question is how much support the President has lost since his 2008 victory. Keep in mind that a lot of people that saw him as the second coming are now somewhat disenchanted with broken promises from that campaign. Those include failing to shut down Guantanamo, his signature on the NDAA 2012, the continuation of Bush-era economics, and several other flip-flops that have severely tested the loyalty of his Democratic base. Those people were energized by his campaign like no candidate since John Kennedy.
(In that election, Richard Nixon could have made a pretty good case for voter fraud but chose not to turn the election into a fiasco like the 2000 presidential election. He was rewarded for that in 1972 when he got another chance against George McGovern).
But the President could find himself in a similar position as the Republicans are with Romney, saddled with a thoroughly disenchanted base. It is likely the turnout in the next election will be low, probably a classic Red v. Blue contest that tests the loyalty, motivation and fund-raising capabilities of both parties in the face of rampant apathy.
Ron Paul also maintains a solid percentage amongst Republicans, but almost half say they would not vote for him and he hasn't chosen to take the third party route. As a result, the only thing that seems assured is the fact that this will be a painfully predictable, uninteresting presidential season. Except for the elephant in the room.
The Occupation Movement has remained essentially apolitical, focusing on issues rather than a particular candidate, but the political dialog has changed over the last months due in large part to the activism of its members. One could argue that the popular support of the movement is largely because it has rejected the Red-Blue paradigm.
The movement enjoys more support than the President, a lot more than the congress, and doesn't find itself promoting a guy who is obliged to define victory as something less than 25% of his own party members. So how does the occupy phenomenon translate into becoming a factor in the next election? The answer is that it does because it doesn't. The movement now enjoys a degree of credibility that the existing political players don't largely because it hasn't been bought and paid for by special interests.
Those that have followed these posts probably realize that the issues can be co-opted but the movement can't. The result is a new discussion separate from the force-fed tripe offered by the usual political suspects and the mainstream media.
This is a good thing for everyone except for those that are reliant on the money from those special interests to spend their way to victory using the same tired phrases and promises, reliant on the same sources of campaign cash. We've heard all of this before, so we know that none of it actually translates into significant changes to the status quo.
There is no particular genius to remaining focused on issues and ideas. It's rather easy in fact, and you don't have to sell your soul to the highest bidder. You don't have to rally around a candidate that is known for doing exactly the opposite of what he said he would do, or reinventing himself (or herself) depending on the prevailing political winds. And you don't have to anticipate the next scandal that may or may not include the candidate you voted for in the last election.
So as the networks try to make something our of nothing like a thoroughly uneventful Iowa caucus, the Occupation Movement will do well to continue on the path of enlightenment rather than the pursuit of power within the existing framework .
Thanks to G for the following video. Reds and Blues pay attention: