The Real Conservative Wins Iowa for GOP

4 01 2008

Filed under: Mike Huckabee, Election, 2008, Politics, Conservatism

Despite a torrent of potshots by the conservative elite in the last two months, Huck took Iowa last night, 34% to Romney’s 25%. Thompson and McCain finished virtually tied for third.

Some think Iowans were simply too stupid to think for themselves. Others think Ed Rollins will kill Huckabee’s campaign. Michelle Malkin live blogged the speeches.

But Joe Carter shows why the opposite is true. Iowans did think for themselves last night. And they saw Mike Huckabee as the most consistently conservative candidate.

We may let the DC/Manhatten-axis think they are the “elite” but the true leaders of the resurgent GOP were at the Iowa caucus.

How’d They Miss It? — The conservative media is part of the GOP establishment so it’s easy to comprehend how they missed the rise and appeal of Huckabee. But what accounts for the conservative blogosphere missing out? Does it march in lockstep with the mainstream (conservative) media? This is one of the most significant rises in Republican Party history in decades and yet no one in the blogosphere seemed to have foreseen it coming. Why is that?

Change These Three — If he had a degree from Yale rather than Ouachita Baptist University, if he spoke with a Midwestern twang rather than a Southern drawl, and if he had spent a decade as an investment banker rather than a pastor then Mike Huckabee would be the Republican establishment’s “favorite son” right now. I truly believe that you could change only those three things and that would be enough to make him palatable for his critics.

They Still Don’t Get It — How many times can the “elite” conservative pundits be wrong before we stop listening to them? Case in point: Mark Hemingway at NRO, “The only people I know who are excited about a Huckabee victory are friends who are rigidly pro-life Democrats. That about sums it up.”

Let’s look at CNN’s entrance polls to see what type of people are drawn to Huckabee:

* In Vote by Ideology he took both “Very Conservative” and “Somewhat Conservative” while McCain and Romney split the “Moderate” vote.

* On the four top issues listed (illegal immigration, war in Iraq, economy, and terrorism) he had the top percentage.

* Took 40% of the female vote–more than Giuliani, Hunter, McCain, Paul, and Thompson combined (34%)

* Took the top percentage in every category on the “Events in Pakistan”

* Took the top percentage in “Feelings About Bush Administration” in every category except “Angry” (which Paul took, naturally).

* Took the top percentage in every category “Vote by Income” except “$100,000 or More” (which Romney took, naturally).

* Took the top percentage in every region of Iowa

* Took the top percentage in every age category.

Unlike Hemingway and most of the rest of the chattering class, the caucus voters are actually familiar with Huckabee’s record and positions on the issues. That is why he won and why they are still scratching their heads wondering what happened.

Iowans aren’t stupid or ignorant simply because they aren’t swayed by eccentric attacks on Huckabee by the conservative elite. And if that includes Rush, so be it. Huckabee’s message resonated with Iowans more than Romney and that is why he won.

Voters in New Hampshire are concerned about the same issues as Iowans. And Huckabee’s message will resonate there too. He’ll just have to tweak its delivery because it will be vastly different voting class there. New Hampshire voters don’t like negative ads much either. This favors Huckabee and McCain. Romney will probably attack both, starting with McCain since he has the lead. I think McCain has a good chance to win New Hampshire, but look for Huckabee to keep climbing in other states. With Huckabee’s win in Iowa, he will be flooded with funding in the coming days, which will help his second and third place standings in other states move up to first and second.

Related: Joe Carter sheds light on the blinders that are confounding the conservative elite.

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