A Facebook friend of mine last night summed up my feelings about the Republican caucuses in Iowa perfectly when he said:
Looking forward to finding out what flat earth, anti-woman, homophobic, creationist, global warming denier the Republicans vote for in #Iowa
Truth is, any of this bunch is enough to give any self respecting liberal, anyone who cares about equality, the absolute creeps.
The most radical of them favours same sex civil unions, but would still implement a constitutional ban on abortion. He only got 1%.
A quarter of the Republican voters of Iowa voted for a man, Rick Santorum, who doesn’t think abortion should be allowed in any circumstances and wants the US Constitution to bar same sex marriage. In contrast, the so called moderate, Mitt Romney who polled just 8 votes more, only thinks that the Federal Government should not recognise same sex marriage and states can decide for themselves whether they can ban abortion. Bearing in mind that most Americans don’t travel much outside their home state, that could make life very difficult for women who find themselves unexpectedly, or dangerously, pregnant.
Every single Republican would repeal Obama’s healthcare reforms, which stopped insurance companies denying cover to sick people and ensured that the poorest had some access to health care. I literally don’t understand how anyone can defend denying medical treatment to someone on the grounds that they can’t pay for it.
We can’t be sure, until November 6th, that the guy the Republicans choose (and it will be a guy, I think, given Michele Bachmann’s thankfully poor performance in Iowa) will lose to Obama. Any of them would be an awful prospect as President. Even if the nominee is not officially part of the Tea Party, he’ll be advocating pretty much their agenda.
As far as the GOP contest goes, we’ll have to wait to see whether Santorum’s surge in Iowa will have an effect on the New Hampshire vote next week. He’s pretty much in the margin of error of oblivion there at the moment with around 3% in the polls while Romney’s lead is widening. The former Massachusetts governor is polling somewhere between 35 and 40%. Just over a month ago, he had Newt Gingrich giving him a run for his money. However with the latest poll showing that 16% of voters are still to make up their minds, if Santorum can get enough of the anti Romney vote behind him to give his campaign momentum, it would put him in a good position as the primaries head to the more socially conservative states.
The challenge for the Obama Campaign is to get their message across – at the moment they are trumpeting 5 major achievements: Putting Americans back to work (challenge of that one is to make people feel he’s on their side as the economy continues to falter), making college affordable, reforming Wall Street, repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the biggie, affordable healthcare. He needs to come up with a positive vision for his second term while making sure that the grassroots organisation that won him the last election is in place. If people going to vote for him, they need to be registered and the sooner that happens the better.
I suppose we should spare a thought for the friend of mine who put a bet on Rick Santorum winning Iowa and who lost out by 8 votes. He clearly read the runes correctly.
If we are lucky, though, the Iowa contest will have seen the end of Rick Perry, who changed his position on abortion after undergoing what he described as a “transformation” after
watching a DVD watching his poll rating sink. He’s suspended his campaign after winning just 5% of the vote.
Anyway, one contest down, just another 45 weeks of excitement to go……..