Obviously, the Iowa Straw poll will not be indicative of the Republican nominee. Neither will the Iowa Caucuses or the New Hampshire primary. All those magic entrails have been revealed as unworthy in the last few cycles. What they do is help define the top tier of candidates.
Right now, the tier is Michele Bachmann the winner, Rick Perry the non-participant and Mitt Romney, who chose not to put his name in but came for the fun. Tim Pawlenty quit because for all his efforts, a third place showing with single digits was a bad sign. Ron Paul was second, but his support is as deep as the ocean and wide as a thimble.
Still, this was Bachmann’s opportunity to make it into the top tier. She can rally the base, and the base shows up for primaries. There will be two candidates next year, Romney and not Romney. Bachmann is as much not Romney as anyone else. She has fiscal knowledge and experience in security as a member of the House Intelligence Committee. She’s also been in Congress longer than Obama was.
The Iowa Straw poll may be premature, but it’s nothing compared to the idea that the Republicans are clowns who could not possibly beat Obama. The Republicans have a better record of electable candidates than the Democrats. Over the last 50 years, only 4 Republican nominees never became president. The Democrats had 6. John McCain won 46% of the popular vote compared to Obama’s 53%. If just 1 out of 20 Obama voters loses hope and the Republicans who voted for Bush in 2004 and not McCain in 2008 go for the Republican nominee in 2012, the president will shed a tier.
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