The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Iowa, a State of the Union

Rich Galen

Wednesday February 5, 2020

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  • On Monday, Iowa caucus day, I wrote this:
    "…we may well not know the answer to "Who won Iowa" until tomorrow.

    Or, Wednesday."

  • I almost took that "or Wednesday" line out because I thought it was unnecessarily snarky.

  • If anything, as it turns out, I may have been optimistic.

  • As you've seen, read, and heard for the past two days, the only take-aways from Iowa (as I write this on Wednesday morning) is Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar did better than most people thought they would do; Bernie Sanders did about as well as most people thought he would; and, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren trailed the expectation pack.

  • As of four AM - when the Iowa Democrats found it possible to raise the percentage of precincts reporting from 68 to 71 - Amy Klobuchar was in fifth, but was in double digits.

  • Here's where it stands as the parade moves into New Hampshire:
    Buttigieg - 26.8 percent
    Sanders - 25.2
    Warren - 18.4
    Biden - 15.4
    Klobuchar - 12.6

  • When all the votes are counted - IF all the votes are counted - Sanders might sneak by Buttigieg but because so much time has gone by, that will mean nothing in the day-to-day coverage.

  • The campaigns that are in the political crosshairs are Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren who did not meet expectations in Iowa and must right their ships on Tuesday when the New Hampshire PRIMARY will be held.

  • The conventional wisdom is that Sen. Amy Klobuchar got a big boost in Iowa's northern counties which abut Klobuchar's home state of Minnesota.

  • Similarly, New Hampshire is bounded by BOTH Massachusetts (Warren) and Vermont (Sanders). New Hampshire also shares a border with Maine, but no one from Maine is running for President this cycle.

  • Not only do Sanders and Warren share borders, but they also share a hard Left philosophy of governing - in Bernie's case he unabashedly calls himself a Democratic Socialist which makes him neither a Democrat nor a Socialist.

  • Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Biden are more-or-less splitting the traditional Democrat vote and, as none of those three are from a state bordering New Hampshire, they will rise or fall on their own merits.

  • Biden appears to have shifted gears from being the kindly old Uncle Joe smiling through the kitchen window at the children playing touch football in the backyard to Joe Biden, politician, taking dead aim at Bernie Sanders to tackle Sanders as Biden attempts to gather some forward motion.

  • Maybe the Biden campaign has been a fiction from the start.

  • We'll see.

  • On the other side of the ballot, Donald Trump won about 127 percent of the vote in Iowa (yes there were Republican caucuses as well) on Monday night and then slid into the House Chamber for a 72-minute State of the Union speech.

  • To Trump's great credit he stayed glued to the prepared script. It was a script that Speaker Nancy Pelosi ostentatiously ripped in two at the end of Trump's remarks. She ripped in two about three times to make certain it was captured on video and still cameras in the Chamber.

  • It might have been in reaction to Trump having ignored Pelosi's outstretched hand when Trump delivered her copy of the text. It was unclear from the video whether he was snubbing her, whether he didn't see her hand, or saw it at the last second and decided to ignore it.

  • Whatever, Pelosi spent then next hour-twenty looking everywhere but at the back of Trump's head.

  • As to the speech you will have read all the fact-checking and commentary by now. About a third of the speech was devoted to hand-outs and surprises for guests in the gallery.

  • I take a back seat to no one in volume of tears when a deployed servicemember surprises his or her family. But, a State of the Union speech is neither the right time nor place.

  • I thought the SOTU had been, by that time, reduced to halftime of a high school basketball game.

  • Trump's announcing that he was giving Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom was fine. I like Rush. He has never been anything but kind to me over the years.

  • However, having Melania pull the medal out of her purse (or wherever) and pin it around Rush's neck in the gallery during the speech was inappropriate.

  • Nevertheless, Trump is having the best week: Won Iowa, got a standing O after just about every sentence in the SOTU, his Gallup job approval numbers are at an all-time high, and he will be acquitted of the impeachment charges later this afternoon.

  • As the song goes, "Who Could Ask for Anything More?"

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: The current Iowa order of finish, a map of New England, and the Gallup press release.

    The Mullfoto is of a bag of cashews I spotted in West Virginia last week. When you look at it you will agree it is Mullworthy.

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