Thoughts on Iowa Caucus before the New Hampshire Primary

I was glued to the television watching the Caucus results a few days ago. There is a palpable sense that this election will be a turning point (one way or another) for the United States. It’s the first time in 80 years that a member of the sitting administration isn’t running – so it seems everyone is throwing their hat in the ring. It is a true political free for all. Make no mistake, we are seeing history unfold in front of us. 2008 could be the first year we elect a Mormon, a woman, or an African American to the office of president. Pretty exciting stuff.

To be 100% transparent, I was pretty excited about the Iowa caucus results on both sides. I like both Obama and Huckabee, and have absolutely no idea who I will vote for in November. In case you didn’t know this – I am an Independent – and the last four years have solidified that independence. As a friend of mine recently said about his own political stance, “I am fiercely Independent.” Ultimately there is a lot that I dislike about both major political parties and wish there were a third viable party.

Anyways, below are YouTube vids of Obama’s and Huckabee’s caucus victory speeches. If you haven’t listened to them, you probably should.

Huckabee was very warm, genuine, and sounded like someone that I could respect. The fact that he won this caucus despite being outspent 15 to 1 is very impressive to me. Being a former Baptist preacher may or may not be an asset (I speak from experience) – but if his victory speech is any indication it’s an asset. I’ve also seen him in a couple of debates and on the news and he has always handled himself very well. I don’t get the sense that as President that he will open his mouth and embarrass us. I also appreciate the fact that he does not completely tow the party line, esp. when it comes to the treatment of the poor or immigrants. This has caused much of the rest of the Republican field to label him as “liberal.” So, ultimately, I’m not convinced that Huckabee will be able to do as well in New Hampshire or beyond. I think the Republican field is going to be all over the place throughout the nomination season. Only time will tell who will rise above the fray.

While Huckabee’s speech was solid and heartwarming, Obama’s has the potential to be historic. He is a very gifted orator who speaks with confidence and candor. Some focus on his relative inexperience – but I love the fact that he has the audacity as a 1st term senator to run for president. And that he fearlessly takes on the Clinton juggernaut. Just tonight I was listening to a Democratic debate on NPR and was so impressed with how Obama diffused each and every one of Clinton’s barbs with poise and specificity. My gut tells me that it is no turning back for Obama – I think we are going to see a meteoric rise in popularity with each passing caucus and primary. Which is ok with me. There are far more issues that I agree with him on than disagree.

A Huckabee-Obama face off for the White House would be very interesting. And I would probably be very conflicted about who to vote for. I’ve pretty much made up my mind (negatively) about the rest of the candidates on both sides.

Oh – so you may be wondering what this has to so with the Middle East? Well, pretty much everything since the US has turned into the self-proclaimed policeman of the world. The next president has a very delicate and complex tight-rope walk ahead. The past 5 presidents have all tried their hand at Middle East diplomacy with mixed (mostly failing) results. And I’m a little scared to think about the decisions the next president will need to make. And although I like both Obama and Huckabee, neither have enough foreign policy experience to really give me confidence about their ability to wade into the Middle East diplomacy quagmire. On the foreign policy experience front, one would have to think McCain and Clinton are the top candidates.

So, if you haven’t heard the speeches, check them out below. And grab some popcorn, sit back, and watch with fascination, excitement, and possible horror as our destiny for the next four years continues to unfold state-by-state. Please feel free to give your opinions on candidates in the comments section!

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One Response

  1. And the plot thickens after last nights NH results…

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