Friday, July 27, 2007

Ames Iowa Straw Poll Approaching/Strong Showing For Huckabee And Paul?

Though not physically, I’ve been away this week. I’ve just been thinking about other things. I want to say some more about Christopher Hitchens and God, and about some thinking I was doing after reading more of scientists who are actively anti-creationist and anti-intelligent design. Actually, though it isn’t, they tend to regard the second as a disingenuous Trojan Horse for the first.

But, I was reading on the web about the Ames Straw Poll, coming up, now just two weeks from tomorrow (Saturday). Of course, everyone says that they think they are gaining, but I really expect Huckabee is, probably because he’s been working all over Iowa, he’s a true sober Christian conservative with optimistic ambition, and Iowa has always rewarded that among Republicans and shaken “expectations.” And Huckabee’s easily the most engaging speaker in the field.

Also, there’s been some mixing it up among candidates jockeying for attention. Most specifically, Brownback has been dogging poll-leader Mitt Romney with jabs about the genuineness of Romney’s conservatism. Actually, I think that there are very reasonable questions in that regard. But, I don’t see Brownback as an able messenger. Though he sports conservative positions, he isn’t particularly charismatic and he appears to not be going about questioning Romney in the right way: focusing negatively on Romney, more than portraying his own positives perspective. I can easily hope that scuffling between Romney and Brownback will benefit…neither of them, but others.

And, perhaps seeing Huckabee as getting traction with social conservatives, Tom Tancredo has run a radio ad falsely fingering Huckabee for supporting the failed immigration bill. His strategist, Bay Buchanan holds to the ad’s legitimacy and says it won’t be pulled. With immigration as Tancredo’s signature issue, Tancredo is indeed the most dark candidate on immigration: nothing but “build a wall and “trow da bums out!” You can see how he attracted a Buchanan. While he opposes amnesty and believes the border must be controlled first, Huckabee’s theme on immigration is not a drone against immigrants, but a focus on the failures of American policy. From the campaign, today: We have a great new video up on YouTube of a few citizens sharing their testimonies, as well as of the Governor telling his views on immigration.” We must control the border and when we do we should invite the positive labor of orderly screened and processed immigrants, as America always has.

Anyway as I said, Huckabee is the most engaging and charismatic candidate. And prior to the poll, candidates will give speeches. Romney can do that, but he tends more to talk at you while Huckabee tends to talk with you. If the speeches are to have an effect, as they should, they should help Huckabee. The Iowa crowd should be over 2/3 social conservatives and polls suggest this population isn’t terribly excited with the anointed “frontrunners.” After Giuliani and McCain pulled out thinking they could not win but only lose, Romney sopped up the polls shortly thereafter. I think he can only go down, the farther the better, but he still should win. He’s got problems if he doesn’t. Fred Thompson will be on the ballot,, but not at the poll. With media celebrity, his polls have been fairly high, so why get in and risk getting hurt? He’s still not in the race and it looks like he won’t be until at least, September. Giuliani and McCain should only slip farther with the conservative and snubbed Republican crowd. I’m thinking Ron Paul will surprise with the open poll not being strictly Republican, and he has a strong Republican following, too. I’d be real interested if it weren’t for his head-in-the-sand (tail in the air?) posture on Iraq and foreign policy in general. Tommy Thompson has put so much stock and effort into Iowa, if he doesn’t pull out closer to 10 than 5 percent, I can’t see how he goes on.

I took particular interest in Huckabee bloggers MA For Huckabee and Kevin Tracy . Massachusetts for Huckabee has been running lead-up notices and instructions for Huckabee campaigners all week. And Kevin
Tracy posted an explanation and outcome prognostication yesterday, before submerging himself in work for a while. His post made sense to me, also acknowledging Huckabee’s inherent personal advantages and other important trends and obstacles: mainly that Huckabee’s speech needs to dampen the celebrated-but-absent Fred Thompson’s showing. Looking at
Tracy’s predictions and injecting my cock-eyed optimism (I’m terrible at predicting or even understanding how and why other people behave), I tweaked the numbers a bit and imagined a positive scenario. But, I’m not posting it yet. Plenty’s sure to happen in the coming days that will likely prompt more tweaking. At bottom, it would be nice if this straw poll flushes a lot of people out of the race, consolidating around one, or two if you count Romney, conservative(s). I’d take a head-on Romney-Huckabee matchup. May the best man win: there goes that cock-eyed optimism, again.

Larry Perrault


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