By Dmitriy Shapiro
As I watch C-SPAN’s coverage of the Ames Straw Poll, a spectacle that reminds me of 19th century vote buying, I cannot help but entertain myself by attempting to predict – to the best of my ability – the complete lineup of the candidates in the results of today’s poll. I first sent the list through my Twitter account at 2:18PM, and it has been unchanged since. I have only added write-ups of my opinion of each candidate. It only reflects my gut feeling about the results based solely on my stereotype of Iowa voters. It is not scientific by any means. First, I will present my prediction and why; then I will compare it to results that I’ve found made by others… Scratch that, so far I cannot find any comprehensive lineup (other than top three) anywhere on the web. But since I have nothing to lose, here is my attempt, let’s see how close I can get:
- Michele Bachmann– Bachmann already had more than a few things going for her. Although she can often come off as too simple and no doubt kowtows to the Tea Party activist belying her intelligence. Her energy and attractiveness are great assets to her campaign, but more importantly in Iowa, her religious dialogue is sure to impress. Bachmann’s impressive performance in the recent Fox News debate showed her to be cool under fire, after Tim Pawlenty’s attacks, and most likely made her a sympathetic figure especially among women voters.
- Ron Paul– Truly polarizing, Ron Paul’s extreme libertarian views are often at odds with other traditional GOP candidates and voters, but his ability to motivate masses of disillusioned and unemployed young people, ensure that he will have a rabid support base that is motivated to win any poll in existence. The presentation of his message, the Ron Paul Revolution – and his followers’ ability to quote every word he has ever said or written – makes him more similar to the communist leaders like Lenin and Mao, than an American politician. There is no doubt that Ron Paul-ites will be streaming from all corners of Iowa to show their allegiance to Grandfather Paul.
- Rick Santorum-Until the FNC debate, little has been heard or said about Rick Santorum. By all appearances, he is the very model of a Republican. Although, he had been overshadowed by the other candidates, he effectively pointed out the media’s disinterest in him at the debate; forcing the moderators to give him his fair share of the time; while evoking sympathy from viewers. He became the underdog. After grabbing everyone’s attention, he made his opinions clear, and challenged Ron Paul to rapturous applause from traditional Republicans and boos from Paul supporters – creating many of the most interesting moments in the debate. Finally, Santorum’s dependable and uncompromising stances on all traditional Republican issues, has made him a safe choice for the increasingly ignored “social conservatives” and the “Anti-Gay” vote. I think Santorum will be the surprise of the day.
- Mitt Romney– Mitt Romney has largely kept himself above the fray. If Bob Beckel of Fox New’s “The Five” was able to call the Republican contenders “munchkins,” Mitt is the exception, and Romney probably agrees with Beckel. Anything that happens in Iowa will never affect his campaign.
- Tim Pawlenty- Pawlenty, as the media agrees, has the most to lose in Iowa. Having entered the running for President off of the rush of support he received from the last two American Conservative Union’s CPAC events, he had not anticipated new entrants who possessed more charisma and media skills than he has ever been able to muster. He appeared weak and awkward in CNN’s debate, backing down when confronted with his own words against Mitt Romney. In the FNC debate, his performance remained awkward and scripted. Worse, his over the top attempts to attack Michele Bachmann made him look as if he is beating up on a poor defenseless lady. Conservative voters, never big on feminism, will feel that Pawlenty is a bully and will need to be punished for this ungentlemanly act. Anybody supporting Pawlenty’s campaign should realize that the window of opportunity has already closed, and the question will be: How many nails after Iowa will Pawlenty need in his coffin?
- Rick Perry (write-in)- To truly describe what Rick Perry means for the Republican Party and the 2012 Election, would require me to write an article solely on him. His entry into the race gives traditional GOP voters a guaranteed candidate who will be one of the final two in competition for the Republican Party nomination against a more moderate candidate such as Mitt Romney. Basically, anyone who is not Romney, Huntsman or Paul; fear him.
- Herman Cain– Tea Party star Herman Cain, is undoubtedly a very able man. His business abilities exemplify this – but unlike he and many of his supporters would like to believe, being a Washington outsider does not necessarily make one a good Washington insider (President). Being a businessman does not make one a good lawmaker – a major part of a President’s job – or that not being any of these makes you have any foreign policy intellect. Cain made a point in his straw poll speech that President Obama had little foreign policy experience when he took office either, but at least he had been a Senator. Furthermore, having been in the running for a good amount of time, Cain should have taken the time to be properly instructed on issues by experts. Lack of knowledge, seen clearly in the debates, raise questions about his natural curiosity.
- Newt Gingrich– For all intents and purposes, Newt Gingrich has been a candidate for years. But ever since his announcement, his campaign has done nothing other than spiral downward out of control. Nevertheless, the obviously scripted and what I believe tongue in cheek posturing actually gave Newt a surprisingly good showing in the debate. He seemed relaxed, experienced and professional, in contrast with the squirming neophytes – and though I feel he was disingenuous, he showed he could stand his own ground.
- Sarah Palin (write-in)- I doubt she will jump into the race now, since Rick Perry has made Bachmann not threatening to any candidate. Palin, as a write in, will nevertheless inspire some who will write her name in the blank.
- Jon Huntsman-Coming Soon
- Thaddeus McCotter-Coming Soon
Actual Results (Update 7:30PM):
|6||Rick Perry (write-in)||718||4.3%|