Kos sums it all up perfectly with a post titled The Triumph of our Democratic Field:
Barack Obama won tonight, but, in a sense, John Edwards’ campaign also triumphed. The progressivism of the race, the focus on ideas, the courage of the Democrats — all were products of his early example. He began the campaign by talking about poverty, announced his candidacy in the mud of New Orleans, set the agenda with the first universal health care bill, and closed Iowa speaking of the uninsured. This is Barack Obama’s victory, and it’s richly deserved. But Edwards, running as a full-throated populist, set the agenda and finished second, ahead of the Clinton juggernaut. He said his role was to speak for the voiceless. He now barrels towards New Hampshire with ever more volume. And while his shot at the nomination is long at best, his candidacy, even if it fails, will have been far more successful than most.
I have to admit a bit of sentimentality. I loved all the speeches tonight — from Edwards’, to Clintons’, to Obama’s. I’m proud of my party. I’m hopeful for the future.
Melissa (Shakes) has hilariously telling pictures of the winners. And also a line we might see again come the general:
Well, I think between this good Southern Baptist Preacher,
and this Muslim terrorist, the choice for America is clear.
Obama’s win, specifically, is a call for change and represents a real beacon of hope for the Democrats. Not because of his policies, but because even more than Edwards Obama has the ability to get out the vote. Obama on the ticket means new and excited voters in the booth.
On the Republican side the results are dire. The head far and away is religious nut Huckabee, and there’s a palpable sense of discomfort and itching coming from the conservative camp. Tristero at Hullabaloo has some sobering thoughts:
Which brings us to the genuinely repellent topic of Michael Huckabee. The fact that he won the Iowa caucus chills me to the bone. This is a ruthless, ignorant, and dangerously opportunistic fanatic who is so unqualified for the presidency that no one in the media should have returned his calls. And they still shouldn’t.
His decisive victory is a bitter pill, a two edged sword. He’ll brings a few great weaknesses to the general. From the right his spending and record on crime. From the left his theocratic tendencies. But at the same time it is frightening to see someone like that do so well. It says a lot about far too many Americans.
The picture gets clearer when we look at the rest of the candidates. A second place finish for Edwards means he is now a contender, and will head into NH with some serious momentum. Hillary is running in deflated, facing numerous independents and Republicans who will cross party lines to vote against her. The months of being propped up by the media as the front runner have met with a brick wall of a reality check, and rather than her last hope, NH is going to be a crushing defeat. Frankly, whether Obama or Edwards take NH, they ought to get together and have that VP conversation. An Obama Edwards ticket would present a strong and unified Democratic choice in 2008.
Republicans have a more complicated picture. Romney’s finish at second is confusing. He’s a compromise candidate, and his inability to pull in first in Iowa is going to hurt in NH, where familiarity is breeding some powerful contempt. McCain came in third, but he didn’t even break 20 percent. He isn’t really going into NH with momentum so much as positioning, but it might be enough. Huckabee is in the opposite position, lacking in positioning, but bringing in some serious momentum.
The only candidate who did horribly who still has a shot at staying in the game isn’t even focusing on NH. He’s aiming for Florida. We can’t count out everyone’s favorite fascist, Rudy Giuliani. But if he loses Florida in the face of a consensus candidate, he’s out.
All in all, the Republican are in for a rough and divided ride. While the Democrats are enjoying the rising winds of change. I’d like to close with these words from Kos:
But tonight, seeing what transpired in Iowa, I can’t help but be hopeful for our party’s long-term future. The youth vote is turning out big, and turning out for us. Independents have had enough of Republicans and are trending our way. The center is moving leftward for the first time in a generation.
Tonight’s message was one of hope.
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