More Iowa Notes

The rest of the gang has already weighed in with useful thoughts, but to paraphrase the great political philosopher Marx (Groucho), if you don’t like these thoughts, we have others!

  • Scott and others have mentioned the significance of Cruz winning while opposing Iowa’s sacrosanct ethanol madness. I recall meeting, some years ago, with a presidential candidate before his announcement to talk about energy policy, and when I suggested that the ethanol racket was bad policy, he cut me off to say that, “When it comes to ethanol in Iowa, you should know that I pandered first.” Give him an “A” for honesty I guess, but Cruz’s stand shows, quite simply, that it is possible to run successfully against parochial self-interest. Cruz overcame the implacable hostility of the state’s Republican governor and a fusillade of negative ads on the issue. In his latest conversation with Bill Kristol, Harvey Mansfield argues that Republicans should emphasize virtue more. Looks like Cruz just took a big step in this direction.
  • Turnout was way up for both parties, it appears, but because of the odd way the Democrats tally their caucuses, it is not clear whether Hillary or Bernie got the most votes. (Apparently Hillary won six tied caucuses by coin flips. I’d want to check those coins if I was Sanders.) Already we can see that Hillary does miserably with younger Democrats, with 70 percent having cast their votes for Sanders. Young voters, of course, have no personal memory of the ghastly failures of socialism (and apparently pay no attention to Venezuela circling the drain right now). That and free college is probably all it takes. Watch for Hillary to promise not just free college, but free beer from campus drinking fountains and job placement services through the Clinton Foundation.
  • High turnout was supposed to help Trump, while Cruz needed low turnout to win. Another bit of the conventional wisdom you can throw out.
  • Watch for a flood of money heading into the Rubio campaign in three, two. . .
  • If you’re Jeb Bush, do you now direct your death star PAC on Cruz, or Rubio? Or do you take Option C and drop out now while you still have some residual respect from conservatives? (Hint: the right answer is C.)
  • What’s up with Bill Clinton? He looks horrible. The “big dog” looks more like a broken down hound lazing 22 hours a day on the back porch. Someone give him some cheeseburgers.
  • Tweet of the night from Ben Domenich: “The economic nationalist couldn’t get a quarter of the GOP vote. The economic socialist got half the Democratic vote. Who’s extreme again?”
  • So I might as well break some news. I am responsible for Ted Cruz. Way back around 1997, when Cruz was clerking for Chief Justice Rehnquist at the Supreme Court, he came with a mutual friend to a party at my house. We fell into a vigorous argument. My point was that he was insufficiently conservative, and not faithful enough to the Constitution. Obviously my argument worked!