So the straw poll is over, and my belief in a just world has been restored.

Well, almost.

You may remember that three days ago, after the debate, I attacked Pawlenty for his 5 % growth goal. Well, I’m not going to apologize. I think justice has been served. The candidate who tried to be someone he’s not and who set a ridiculous growth goal based on faulty economic models which cannot be applied in today’s world lost, and the candidate who took a stand won.

The first candidate, of course, is Pawlenty. The second one is Santorum. I doubt that Santorum would have gotten more than 5-6 % of the votes had he not taken a fight with Paul in the last debate. He knew that by doing so, he would be the most hated man on virtually every political messageboard on the internet (Paulbots dominate those nowadays). He’ll never win an online poll. The Paulbots will make sure everyone knows that his name is also a sexual neologism. Paulbots, admirable as they are in their enthusiasm, are far from gentlemen, never afraid of mercilessly trashing opponents.

He didn’t care. Maybe he didn’t have anything to lose, or maybe he figured he didn’t get that much time to talk, so he better not waste it with self-censorship. It’s about time someone called out Paul on his dangerous position on Iran. Paulbots seem angry that someone asked Paul about that issue, and actually, it may have cost him the victory in today’s straw poll. They always brag about how open they are, that they never conceal any of their positions and that they’re so proud over being the GOP’s rebels. Yet, now they seem angry because Paul revealed that he doesn’t think of Iran as a threat.

Did it actually cost Paul the victory? I don’t know. We’ll never know. It wasn’t beneficial, that’s for sure.

Santorum definitely gained votes by challenging Paul and standing up for marriage. The other candidates mostly ignore Paul, maybe hoping he’ll go away. Some may say that finishing out of top 3 is a disappointment, but in Santorum’s case I don’t think anyone expected him to do as well as he did. And it’s all about beating expectations, remember. That doesn’t mean Santorum is suddenly a frontrunner – he’s not. It doesn’t even mean he’ll last until the caucus – we don’t know yet, it depends on his fundraising and how much his poll numbers improve. Yet, he is a winner, and he can walk out of this presidential race with his head held high, knowing he did the right thing.

That’s not to say Paul can’t do that. I got a lot of respect for him, and he deserves credits for being open about what he thinks about Iran and about all the other issues.

Pawlenty on the other hand. In a fair world, Pawlenty should have finished a distant third for his unrealistic, daydreaming economic policies. However, while that is tempting for me to believe, it’s more likely that Pawlenty’s organization was overrated from day 1 and people just assumed that because he had some really good consultants, everything would be alright. I’m afraid he’s just too boring for voters. And that’s the wrong reason not to vote for him.

Still, I want to think of this as Pawlenty paying a price for what he did and Santorum being rewarded. Maybe just because it makes for a better headline. But I believe there’s at least some truth to it.

In other news:

* No Sarah Palin? I sort of expected Sarah Palin to get at least a few hundred votes. Yeah, so I know she hasn’t declared yet, but I figured with all the thousands of diehard Palin fans I see on C4P and Hot Air, at least some of them would live in Iowa and would want to vote for her out of principle and to show her their support. I know there was 1 % of “scattered” votes, and she may very well have received some of those. Any Palin fans out there who could explain the strategy?

* Rick Perry? Well, if Iowans are upset because he stole the show (or attempted to do so), they sure didn’t show it yesterday. Over 700 votes, and he beat Newt Gingrich and Romney (who wasn’t really competing, but still). Looks like we got our Anti-Romney after all. Hopefully this one can stay away from migraine and post-war boom growth.

* Newt Gingrich. Turns out you need a campaign team to do well in the straw poll. Who would have thought?

* Herman Cain has positioned himself well for 2016 and 2020. This hurts to say since he’s one of my favourite candidates (being a FairTax supporter and everything), but maybe he should call it a day. He’s a good guy, and he has clearly done some reading the past months. But a 5th place at Ames is hard to spin, and it’s not like his fundraising was great before that. If he ran for another office in 2012 or maybe just remained a vocal spokesman for the FairTax, he’d have a good basis for support for a later run.

* Michelle Bachmann – why haven’t I mentioned her yet? Anyway, she won, and she should thank her lucky star the straw poll wasn’t next week as she was declining in the polls and clearly losing momentum that she may now be able to regain. Now I’m 99 % sure she’ll at least make it to the caucus.

I could go on and on, but that summarizes my thoughts on the straw poll.

7 comments
  1. Agree with your comments 100%. I was looking for articles on Rick Santorum because I really have liked his message and delivery and passion. Your article appeared when I did the search and I really found it interesting and accurate. Then I read your bio  and knew then why I agreed with you so much – you are a Huckabee supporter! I a volunteered in SC for Huckabee’s campaign. I have met him 3 times and had him autograph his books. I supported him from day one when he was just like Rick Santorum: fighting for the media to give him some much deserved attention. I have read Huckbee’s book explaining the Fair Tax and am now a big supporter of the Fair Tax. I think Huckabee would have made one of the best Presidents, but since I have to pick someone else I am leaning towards Santorum. I also like Herman Cain as you do, but know he is not likely to get the nomination.

    1. Thank you so much Jane. Are you a member of Huck’s Army? I am, and it’s still active, so if you’re not please join. We’re among the friendlist people on the internet 🙂 It’s interesting that you volunteered in 2008, I was going to volunteer this year if he had run. Yeah, I was actually going to come to Iowa this summer, I had it all planned. Never been so disappointed as I was when Huckabee dropped out 🙁

      I feel like Cain and Santorum are splitting the vote – never a good thing. I also wish Santorum would support the FairTax, then I could forget that he’s not been a governor and support him to 100 %. I may still end up supporting him (he has some striking resemblance to Huckabee), but I could never be as fired up for him as I was for Huckabee. 

      Please continue to visit Caffeinated Thoughts. You can read the rest of my post if you click on my name here to the right, under “Contributors. 

  2. Not only was Rick Santorum wrong about Iran but his talk of needing the government to be a “moral leader” but not an economic planner was extremely disturbing. Trying to control people’s decisions is an economic planning behavior. The reason why he was incorrect about Iran is that it is the consensus of all 17 US intelligence services and the IAEA that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Iran is not a threat to the US; complaining about a country which hasn’t attacked outside its borders in more than a millennium and can’t even make enough gasoline despite being oil rich makes Rick Santorum and anyone who agrees with him look like big crybabies. His attempts to legislate morality are strictly un-American, policies which in a different time would have been used to attack his Italian and Catholic forebears.

    1. Millenium? Was the Yom Kippur war really that long ago? There are situations where the government is forced to take a moral position, and I’d rather it be a christian one. You can’t avoid all moral issues, avoiding them is a moral statement in itself (which would contradict the purpose behind avoiding them). 

      No doubt does Iran have economic troubles (which country doesn’t?). But not being able to produce gasoline is not the same thing as not being able to produce a nuclear bomb. There are completely different skills involved. They’ve tried to defeat Israel before, why wouldn’t they try again? And what better way than with nukes? 

      And what point is there to even mention his italian and catholic forebears? It seems like you want to attack someone’s faith and ethnicity without REALLY doing it, instead you’re just hinting at it. If you have a problem with a catholic president, just say so. I for one don’t, I live in Ireland for most of the year and I got tremendous respect for the catholic church and all the lovely catholics I’ve met there. 

      Oh, and btw, back in the days of the founding fathers, gay people were imprisoned or killed. How’s that for legislating morality? We shouldn’t go back to that of course, but the idea that America was founded as some kind of libertinistic paradise is simply wrong. 

  3. Some things you probably didn’t know since you’re not observing this in-state (or in-country for that matter).  1.  Pawlenty’s organization wasn’t over-rated, he just didn’t generate excitement.  That wasn’t due to his economic positions.  2.  Santorum was certainly helped by his debate performance, but he has also been campaigning tirelessly showing up in 68 counties.  He earned every single vote without having any radio or TV spots.  3.  Herman Cain hasn’t been campaign here hard and it showed.  He also has lacked substance.  4.  There was no organized write-in campaign for Palin, there was for Perry – Americans for Perry the 527 group was incredibly active trying to get people to the straw poll.  What makes you think Bachmann is losing ground in Iowa?

    1. Thanks for the info Shane. I know there was an organized write-in campaign for Rick Perry, and not for Palin, but what I don’t know is why no-one organized anything for Palin. She seems to have so many diehard fans. I think generating excitement is sort of what your organization is supposed to do if you yourself are not exciting. Obviously, Pawlenty’s organization failed with that (although to be honest, they had a tough job). I know most people don’t read and analyse candidate’s economic policies, or any other policy, as much as they maybe should. Still from what I’ve heard (not sure about Iowa but overall), his “5 %” goal has been mostly criticized, which could have hurt him though I understand there are lots of factors in play. I think Bachmann appears fairly stable in Iowa but she’s been slipping in polls nationwide. Sooner or later, I imagine that decline would have reached her Iowa numbers as well.

    2. Thanks for the info Shane. I know there was an organized write-in campaign for Rick Perry, and not for Palin, but what I don’t know is why no-one organized anything for Palin. She seems to have so many diehard fans. I think generating excitement is sort of what your organization is supposed to do if you yourself are not exciting. Obviously, Pawlenty’s organization failed with that (although to be honest, they had a tough job). I know most people don’t read and analyse candidate’s economic policies, or any other policy, as much as they maybe should. Still from what I’ve heard (not sure about Iowa but overall), his “5 %” goal has been mostly criticized, which could have hurt him though I understand there are lots of factors in play. I think Bachmann appears fairly stable in Iowa but she’s been slipping in polls nationwide. Sooner or later, I imagine that decline would have reached her Iowa numbers as well.

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