Yesterday I talked about the media narrative and how, no matter what the result, the narrative would already be in place.

Anyone who watched the coverage yesterday and today can recognize this.

 

Just a week ago, we were told by the talking heads that Donald Trump’s 2nd place finish by 4 pts was a crushing defeat that it brought questions about if Mr. Trump was for real.  At the same time Marco Rubio’s 3rd place finish was the sign that his time had come, the media was all Rubio all the time.  Endorsements poured in and Marco mentum was the rule of the day.

Not so Ben Carson whose 4th place was an afterthought, nor Ted Cruz whose actual victory seemed to mean nothing because NH is different kettle of fish (do people put fish in a kettle)?

 

Well now we’ve seen NH and we’ve learned some interesting things.

 While finishing 2nd place by 4 pts is a crushing defeat in Iowa in NH 2nd place by 18 points is a great victory that can propel a candidate to the upper tier of the GOP field even if said candidate didn’t manage to crack 10% in Iowa.

We learned that while 3rd place by 2 pts in Iowa is an incredible finish that gives a candidate momentum 3rd place in NH by 4 point is no big deal even in a state where you aren’t expected to do well.

We’ve further learned that while 4th place in Iowa is not even worth mentioning 4th place in NH revives a campaign and guarantees a candidate can go on even if that 4th place finish is the best said candidate has done so far.

And most odd of all we’ve seen that a first place finish by a wide margin is less newsworthy than finishing 2nd.

How can this be?  Well it’s very simple.

For the MSM Jeb Bush and John Kasich are the most liberal members of the GOP field supporting Obamacare, Common Core & Illegal Immigration and thus the easiest for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders to defeat, therefore any meme that potentially advances their chances to get the GOP nomination is to be given the full force of the msm.

Ted Cruz opposes all of those things, thus in Iowa his 1st place finish is eclipsed by Marco Rubio and his 3rd place finish is eclipsed by Jeb Bush because under no circumstances shall any scenario that advances his candidacy be advanced.

Finally while the media absolutely hates Donald Trump they fear Ted Cruz.  Therefore while they will downplay Trump’s win for now they will hold their fire under the assumption that it might come down to Trump vs Cruz and in that case they will go all in for the Donald.

Never forget that the media’s stories are already written, it’s only a question of shoehorning the facts to fit them.

 

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You know we on the right have been telling us that the MSM can’t be trusted and that their reports should be taken with a grain of salt.

Apparently they agree: (via Newsbusters)

LLAMAS: …Will you fire or suspend anyone at your campaign for putting out misinformation?

TED CRUZ: No. We’re not going to scapegoat anybody and I would note that the news story that our team passed on was true and accurate. CNN reported it.

LLAMAS: But is it a dirty trick to confuse voters?

CRUZ: Is it a dirty trick to pass on your news stories? You’re in the business. Would you think it was if I forwarding an ABC story or just a dirty trick to pass on CNN stories?

Cruz is not shy about pointing it out.

Ted Cruz said Wednesday that CNN’s reporting on the night of the Iowa caucuses about Republican rival Ben Carson’s campaign was accurate.

“CNN got it correct. Miracles happen. But that is part of the democratic process to let Iowa caucusers know, here is the news that is breaking. And it is relevant,” Cruz told a man who asked what happened on Monday evening.

And CNN is really upset about Ted Cruz quoting them

 

In a strongly worded statement on Wednesday evening, CNN said, “Senator Cruz’s claims about CNN are false. At no point did the network indicate Dr. Carson would suspend his campaign.”

 

In fact Rush had a montage of it on his show:

We have a montage. They had to defend their reporting. They had to savage Cruz as a liar for hours last night. We have Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, Dylan Byers, and Brooke Baldwin all talking about Cruz’s campaign telling voters that Carson was leaving the race.

COOPER: Ted Cruz keeps saying that it all stemmed from the CNN report, which just is not factually correct. He’s saying that CNN reported that the campaign was being suspended, and that’s not what was being reported.

BURNETT: Do you think, though, that it does raise a question of character and integrity, though, that is important for people to understand? It’s Ted Cruz’s campaign, and everything that comes from it is a direct reflection on him and he’s blaming it on CNN’s reporting.

BYERS: Senator Cruz’s claims about CNN are false…

BALDWIN: Senator Cruz tries to throw my network, CNN, under the bus. That accurate report was the disseminated on television and CNN digital, and that was that. I’m going to call out BS if I hear BS.

RUSH: And that was the lovely and gracious Brooke Baldwin there saying that she’s gonna call out BS when she hears BS. Go back up to 13. What did Cruz say that has them all agitated? Listen again. (replaying of sound bite) ‘Kin’A! It’s exactly happened. CNN posted it. (interruption) The original tweet did not say that. (interruption) The written one? No, screw the news story. CNN put that tweet out there. That’s what Cruz is talking about.

Yeah, later on after the proverbial excrement hit the fan, yeah, then everybody goes into CYA mode and CNN. “Hey, wait a minute! We reported he was going back,” and Carson said, “Hey, wait a minute. I said I was returning after I got a clean clothes change. Hey.” All that’s happening there is that there was a tweet — and don’t tell me tweets don’t matter. That’s all anybody does anymore. There’s a tweet out there from a CNN guy (Chris Moody, that’s his name) that Carson was leaving, before the caucuses started.

Now, CNN can deny this left and right. They can say, “Well, we didn’t broadcast it.”

Actually Rush isn’t entirely accurate here, because I was one of the apparently very few people in the country who actual HAD CNN on at the time and heard the report as it was made and the speculation it created. I was in the middle of writing a post with predictions as to the result and said report I had just heard on CNN caused me to include this line.

Note: If suggestions that Carson is thinking of dropping that have just been reported, all bets are off.

 

Now I understand everyone is trying to win here but to pretend that this wasn’t reported is disingenuous, to pretend that it’s not a logical inference that a candidate choosing to go home “to do laundry” rather than go to the next primary state is suggests something is up is disingenuous and to suggest as I’ve seen some do on twitter that Steve King should be pilloried because he didn’t see a Carson campaign update before speaking because after all why would he be expected to be doing anything other than monitoring Ben Carson’s campaign pronouncements the night of the Iowa caucus is the height of absurdity.

But for all of the ranting by the various campaigns in their quest to destroy Ted Cruz nothing is more amusing than watching the MSM confirm what we have been saying for years, that the best way to misinform the public, is to take one of their reports and run with it.

Closing thought: How grateful do you think the MSM is to those who supposedly don’t trust them that they have given them an excuse to focus on something other than the Hillary Clinton Iowa “win”?

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I’ve been watching the news since I got home with 2 hours to sleep, given what the MSM is saying here is what must be true.

It’s normal to dub Hillary Clinton the “apparent winner” in a race she hasn’t won yet & Ted Cruz the “projected” winner in a race he has clearly won.

There is nothing newsworthy about 60% of the GOP vote going to Hispanic & Black candidates

Marco Rubio finishing it the position that he was expected to (3rd place) is more newsworthy that Ted Cruz winning a race he was supposed to lose.

Apparently winning Iowa dooms Ted Cruz’s campaign as much as winning does.

The fact that a candidate who was publicly opposed ethanol subsidies and was directly attacked by the very popular gov of the state & still won is not newsworthy.

The 1st woman to win the Iowa Caucus is historic, the 1st Hispanic to win the Iowa Caucus is not.

There is absolutely no possibility that there is anything untoward about Hillary’s (now called) victory in Iowa because of her perfect reputation for Honesty.

Donald Trump finishing 2nd in Iowa means he’s finished, Jeb Bush finishing nowhere means nothing.

The fact that the MSM & the polls got everything wrong in Iowa has no bearing on if you should trust what they say about New Hampshire etc.

As of this moment the only think we know for sure about Iowa is the fact that hotel room prices are about to drop like a rock.

As I will be at work with no access to a radio or the net my first knowledge of the results in Iowa will, unless I take my laptop with me as I have no smartphone, either at 7 AM or what people with smartphones tell me during breaks.

It’s my opinion that Ted Cruz will put it out, that the turnout thanks to the storm will not grow as much and his ground game will make the difference. It’s also my opinion that not enough people will choose to vote strategically (although it’s the pragmatic thing to do) to turn the Donald Trump events into victory.

It’s also my opinion that Sanders wins simply because to the young Sanders voter the caucus itself is like a Trump event & they’ll so because it’s an event, plus there is enough fear in Hillary voters to make the difference.

But even if I’m wrong and it’s Trump Cruz vs Cruz Trump what’s next? Since I’m obliged to write thing before I have any clue what has actually happened here is what I think:

If TED CRUZ wins by a lot:

An unlikely scenario, but if it happens it will make a huge difference in NH guaranteeing him top 3. This will require cause a bloodbath in NH as the big three establishment candidates plus Rubio fight for their lives. Jeb Bush may decide to back out of NH all together and decide to go all in for SC in order to retain the donor class. But it also becomes last stand for Kasich and Christie, particularly if Rubio finishes a strong 3rd.

It also means that Ted Cruz’s already formidable ground & money advantage increases greatly

As far as the Establishment goes a big Ted Cruz win means decision time. It’s all in to stop him, but to who, Trump, Rubio or Bush? If the Cruz win comes with a Trump collapse then suddenly the the old rules apply again and Bush rises from the grave as Stacy McCain fears.

If TED CRUZ wins by a little (my best guess):

Then all the conventional wisdom that the pundits have talked about continues, Trump in this case likely does well enough to ensure a NH win (unless he collapses then Rubio become the Stop Ted Establishment fan.

All the Ted Cruz wins by a lot scenario’s above apply to a lesser degree including the panic. It also gives the GOP establishment a little time to put off their decision as to what to do.

If Trump comes a close second expect him to be like the US Army after Kasserine, someone who learns a lot from an initial defeat. He will go after Cruz like there is no tomorrow.

If Donald Trump wins by a little

Then NH is his, Cruz might settle to 3rd or 4th there and it sets him up well for continued success. In one respect a close win is best for Trump as it confers the victory he needs with the lessons that a close call can teach.

Cruz will be pilloried by the MSM for losing in this case in an attempt to write him off (it will fail) and it might tempt some campaigns that should end to continue at least to NH or SC) It will also give new hope to Christie and Carson and be a boon to Rubio. If somehow Rubio finishes 2nd to Trump (very unlikely) then he will become the defacto GOP Trump alternative

If Donald Trump wins by a lot

The whole game is blown up. NH is his, Nevada is likely his and the Bush SC plan is in deep trouble. Ted Cruz holds on in the south & will need to rally there. NH becomes a fight for 2nd place but the GOP establishment might just decide that they had better hit the Trump Bandwagon NOW rather than later, unless Rubio comes 2nd & then they might decide to go that way.

It’s possible that this helps Bush the most since with Cruz disposed of he has the biggest donor network to actually compete.

This is the only Scenario where I see either Huckabee or Santorum getting to NH

Final thought: If any candidate other than Trump, Cruz or Rubio finish in the top 3 THAT becomes the subhead in the GOP no matter what the result. If it’s an establishment guy NH goes completely insane.

Note: If suggestions that Carson is thinking of dropping that have just been reported, all bets are off.

Democrats:

If Bernie Sanders wins by a lot:
The Trump explosion squared. DNC panic and the Biden & Bloomberg stuff goes into overdrive. Both the “stop Bernie” and the “Replace Hillary NOW!” plans go into full swing and the Clintons find themselves fighting for their political lives. At this point the black community will have to choose a side. The Clintons will tell them to name their price and pay it, but they might just see what the Replace Hillary Now and Bernie camps might offer for their support.

It’s possible that the Obama administration and the Clinton’s go into mutually assured destruction mode. That all depends on what threats get made by the Clinton’s or the Administration in an attempt to either force them to back her or pressure her to leave. MSN in full panic mode.

If Bernie Sanders wins by a little (my best guess)

The slow Clinton bleed continues and all the tough decisions that a big Bernie win would force are delayed. Again Clinton appeals to the minority community to be her firewall post NH but minor defections continue. The DNC decides to sweat it out for NH in the hopes that Hillary can recover post NH. The whispers of indictment continue but aren’t enough to go anywhere yet. It’s all wait and see.

If Hillary wins by a little.

Most of the DNC panic dissipates, suddenly Biden & Bloomberg are silent. Nothing from Justice but the infighting in the FBI over the rule of law continues but is suppressed by Obama. In many ways this is the optimum result for the left because it solves problems without forcing their hand totally. The one danger for the DNC is if there is any sign of a “dirty tricks”, then the Democrat activist revolt will make Chicago 1968 look like a Victorian Picnic.

If Hillary wins by a lot:

It’s all over, no indictments, Justice covers for her and the FBI is caught between outrage and resignation. The press goes all in to cover for her and turns all it’s attention to destroying Trump or Cruz.

Final thought. The MSM goal is to advance whatever scenario helps elect Hillary to the White House and destroys first Ted Cruz than the GOP. If you keep that in mind in the coverage of Iowa over the next 24 hours, then you will not be surprised.

(Fyi the GOP goal is to destroy Ted Cruz so in that half of the coverage they and the MSM will be working together.

When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force

Newton’s 1st law of Motion

Lyndon Johnson’s loss had been due a political fluke. He had been beaten not by his opponent’s friends but by his opponent’s foes. 

Lyndon Johnson the Path to Power

A few days ago I saw a piece concerning Iowa that crunched the numbers in Iowa that suggest Donald Trump is going to have more trouble than he thinks in Iowa.

Really, so in order to justify Trump’s lead, somehow 50,000 more caucus attendees will have to show up and vote for Trump than have ever shown up before. Trump has 12 paid staffers in Iowa, led by Tana Goetz, a 48-year-old former runner up on “The Apprentice.” Wow, what raw horsepower.

He contrasts that to Ted Cruz:

Cruz has over 1,000 precinct chairs, a 240-plus person leadership team and over 5,000 volunteers in every one of Iowa’s 99 counties (all of which Cruz has pledged to visit before the caucuses, and it looks like he’ll make it happen). They’re led by seasoned professionals such as Jake Dagel, who was field director for Turning Point USA.

It’s a devastating  analysis but it overlooks one very important thing, and that’s strategic voting

While the GOP doesn’t have the same process as the dems who can, if the supporters of a candidate can’t get enough people to go with them to advance go with another candidate, it’s going to be very apparent very early if an attendee’s candidate has a shot in their district.

When that happens then it will be time for voters to decide:  “Do I stick with my guy or do I think strategically?”

Think if you are a Jeb Bush, or a Chris Christie, or a John Kasich guy.  Your man isn’t going to win Iowa, you likely won’t even finish in the top 3.  What is your game plan to win the nomination?

If you’re Jeb Bush guy, you need to be the last non-Trump man standing.  So you have to stop Ted Cruz.

If you’re Chris Christie or John Kasich you have to finish in the top 3 in NH, you aren’t likely to stop Donald Trump there so you have to stop Ted Cruz.

You’re Carly Fiorina, Trump is a perfect foil for your campaign, Ted Cruz is not so you have to stop Ted Cruz.

and it’s not just establishment types thinking this;

You’re a Mike Huckabee or a Rick Santorum supporter, your only prayer (assuming you have one) is to cancel out the one guy who has taken the votes you won with in 2008  & 2012 so that you can win in the south so you have to stop Ted Cruz.

You are Ben Carson voter, you know your man who has the potential to attract voters in the south who might normally not vote in a GOP primary but you have to get to those primaries with a campaign still alive so you have to stop Ted Cruz.

Your Rand Paul voter, you can’t allow libertarians to be looking for another principled alternative so you have to stop Ted Cruz.

The only candidate with a disincentive to this is Marco Rubio, the NYT not withstanding he needs to keep his guys in line to keep himself viable, a fight between him and Cruz diminishes his rivals and increases him, he needs is folks to boost his numbers at all costs.

Now you might say:  “But Datechguy Iowa is a big conservative state what makes you think there are enough establishment votes to save Iowa for Trump”

My answer.  Mitt lost Iowa by only 8 votes and those Mitt guys are all in for Bush  stopping Cruz.

Bottom line, with the exception of Marco Rubio every single other candidate has an incentive to stop Ted Cruz from winning Iowa, even if it gives the win to Trump.

Trump doesn’t need 50,000 extra voters to show up at the caucus to win, he simply needs enough voters to put the other candidates voters in a spot where they have a pragmatic choice between helping Trump win or helping letting Cruz win.

That is Donald Trump’s secret weapon and don’t think for one moment he doesn’t know it.

P.S.  You’ll not that I didn’t include Jim Gilmore with all due respect for the former gov of VA why would I?

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.

Yesterday the net was all a flutter with the latest Des Moines Register Poll showing that my man Ted Cruz is for the first time, in the lead in Iowa by a significant margin.

The firebrand junior senator from Texas is backed by 31 percent of those likely to attend the Republican caucuses that start the presidential nomination season on Feb. 1. Trump is a distant second at 21 percent, up slightly from 19 percent in October, but below his peak of 23 percent in August.

More significant is this fact:

And there are signs Cruz may not have peaked in Iowa yet. Another 20 percent of likely caucusgoers say he’s their current second choice for president. Cruz hits 51 percent support when first- and second-choice interest is combined, again leading the field.

With Cruz’s popularity and his debate proficiency, “it’s certainly possible that he could win Iowa big — very big,” said Frank Luntz, a Nevada-based GOP focus group guru who follows the Iowa race closely.

Now as guy who endorsed Ted Cruz a couple of months ago I’m pleased by this, but as a baseball guy I know that it’s not who leads in the polls in December but who turns out on election day that matters. I’ve seen how Ted Cruz plays the game when he’s down in the polls now we’ll see how he does when he’s ahead.

I suspect he’s going to do fine for a couple of reasons.

First of all generally the thing that kills a new front runner is being attacked for the first time. Ted Cruz has spent almost his entire career being attacked, both from the left and the right the attention that comes from being attacked he’s been attacked for years.

Second of all he has been smart enough not to follow the MSM tide. When the rest of the field jumped when the MSM demanded they respond to Trump a particular way, Cruz declined.

Finally he has been playing the long game from the start as evidenced by this interview from August of this year

Of course past performance is not guarantee of future results but I think Ted is going to do just fine as long as he keeps playing his game. I think the biggest fear will be when the MSM & GOP pivot toward Donald Trump in order to stop Cruz.

Yes you read that right.

Anyways I’m going to enjoy this poll for now but I’m not going to blindly assume that it means that Cruz has a lock on the game, and I’m pleased to say, I strongly suspect neither will Ted Cruz.

That’s why I think he’s going to win.

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.

Rodham home,  Park Ridge, IL
Rodham home,
Park Ridge, IL

By John Ruberry

Yesterday in a speech given on New York City’s Roosevelt Island that was touted as Hillary Clinton’s official campaign launch, the former First Lady used personal stories about her mother, Dorothy Rodham, in an attempt to connect with ordinary Americans.

Didn’t she announce her intention to run for president in 2016 already?

She did.

HRC’s second presidential run has been an ethereal effort, dominated by sit-downs with pre-screened ordinary Americans and on occasional address where Clinton avoids questions from the media.

So it’s fitting that Hillary chose a small island that even New Yorkers rarely visit for yesterday’s speech. The exclamation point for this story is that Roosevelt Island was declared a no-fly zone during her visit. Did Clinton take questions after her speech? Of course not.

“No man is an island,” John Donne famously wrote over 200 years ago, but Hillary Clinton is.

As for her speech, understandably Hillary talked about Franklin D. Roosevelt, for whom the island is named, but at great length in her flat Chicago accent. Do Americans care much about a president who died two years before the 67 year-old candidate was born?

Iowa was cold to  Hillary in 2008
Iowa was cold to
Hillary in 2008

As for her mother, her struggles eased after she married Hugh Rodham, a successful business owner and a lifelong Republican. The Rodhams raised their family in Park Ridge, a wealthy Chicago suburb. This part of her family biography was not included in Saturday’s pep talk.

What’s next for the Hillary Clinton campaign? I’m not sure if the candidate and her handlers know for sure. Perhaps HRC hopes to coast through the Iowa Caucuses based on her name recognition and the strong possibility that she will be America’s first female president.

That was Clinton’s strategy in 2008–and it didn’t work out for her.

On the other hand, Hillary can always make a third campaign launch. Or a fourth.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Welcome to IowaBy John Ruberry

The world was poised to stop nearly two hours ago when Hillary Clinton was supposed to announce on social media that she is running for president again. Perhaps she is trying to emulate Barack Obama’s well-known tardiness.

Now I am hearing the announcement will coming later this afternoon. The plan after that, or so I hear, is that the former secretary of state will travel to Iowa to hobnob in the Hawkeye State, the site of the first caucuses in 2016.

And Iowa, as it was in 2008, could be a stumbling block for Clinton. The Hillary apparatus blamed her third place finish on the lack of a ground-level network from Bill Clinton’s first run for the presidency in 1992. Native son Tom Harkin also ran and essentially swept the caucuses and went on to be ignored by voters everywhere else. The candidates who bested her in ’08, Barack Obama and John Edwards, were complete nobodies in 1992–and future president was less than a year out of law school in the winter of ’92. Yes, Obama was from neighboring Illinois, but HRC was born in Chicago and grew up two suburbs west of where I live in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Perhaps Hillary was the problem.

Retail politics, that is, up close campaigning with small groups of people, is what distinguishes the Iowa Caucuses from most other presidential contests. And Hillary Clinton sucks at it. This morning the NationalJournal’s Ron Fournier remarked on CNN that Iowans “have some doubts about her ability and her willingness to do the kind of retail politics that you have there.”

Guttenberg, Iowa
Blogger at Guttenberg, IA

Meanwhile potential candidates Jim Webb, a former Virginia senator, and Martin O’Malley, a former Maryland governor–if they decide to run–will be able to more effectively rub shoulders with Hawkeye State Democrats. But can they raise money?

And does Hillary Clinton even like Iowa? According to John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s Game Change, she doesn’t. Of the Iowa Caucuses system, she said, “This is so stupid.” She even complained about Iowa’s hotels and looked for reasons to stay elsewhere during the campaign.

In the beginning of the 1962 film The Music Man, which was set 50 years earlier, Harold Hill asks an Iowa passerby where he can find a decent inn, “Try the Palmer House in Chicago,” he snapped back.

Will Hillary accept that advice?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

My Couch Stacy McCain’s future bed in Fitchburg 12:12 AM

I’m looking at the screen and seeing a difference of under 50 votes between Rick ($500,000 spent in Iowa) Santorum and Mitt (10 Million spent in Iowa) Romney. (Those figures per MSNBC) Rick Santorum gives begins his speech as we wait to find out who will actually win in Iowa.

For the last several days we have been told that no matter what happens in Iowa Mitt Romney wins if he finishes 1st to 3rd. (and as I’m typing he has taken a 41 vote lead with 2% left to report.) To call it a Pyrrhic victory if he manages to win it will be an understatement.

Mitt Romney has every possible advantage, 4 years of campaigning, a huge war chest, the backing of the GOP establishment and the aura of inevitability and yet, in the state of Iowa after 4 years of campaigning he can’t break 25% of the vote.

One of the arguments that the Romney people are constantly making is he is the most electable, let me tell you what Iowa tells me, Electable my ***!

A lot of this is his own fault, he base strategy of “ignoring” Iowa was a sound one. As long as the perception was he was only tangentially playing in Iowa (no matter how false it was) a finish in the top 3 would have been spun as a victory doing better than expected, however once Gingrich began his freefall Romney figured he would go in for the kill. This was the only strategic mistake he has made since the start of the campaign.

Instead he went in strong and as I type trails by 5 votes. This is what 10 million dollars buys you? A dead heat with a man who had no money to speak of?

Even worse news for the Romney campaign than the Santorum surge were the speeches by Gingrich and Perry.

Gingrich indicated from his speech that he will be on the offensive, and Perry suggested that he might cut his losses. That combination along with Michelle Bachmann’s horrible finish means disaster for Romney.

One of the reasons why Romney has not spent time courting conservatives is they he understands that they aren’t interested in him, as long as Perry, Bachmann and Santorum were dividing the conservative vote, Romney could cruise to victory after victory with 25-30% racking up wins to create the aura of invincibility.

With Bachmann and perhaps Perry out that is a pool of conservatives who are tailor-made for Rick Santorum over Mitt Romney.

Add to that a Newt Gingrich who blames Romney for his collapse. If Newt decides to go after Romney in retaliation, and I suspect he will this adds up to the perfect storm.

Mitt is going to win NH Big but Santorum is going to end up at least 4th (Paul and Huntsman boosted by the independents and liberals) and if Perry and Bachmann are gone before we get to the south Santorum has every possibility of beating Romney like a drum, particularly since his victories will bring the funds needed to compete which will produce more victories and generate more funds.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if Romney is the nominee I will have no problem voting for him over Obama, but lets ask the question: If you are a GOP candidate running for congress against Obamacare do you really want the author of Romneycare at the top of your ticket? Do you want to be asked why you support the author of Romneycare while running against Obamacare? I don’t think so.

Romney has one easy win ahead of him in NH, but after that he’s going to have a fight on his hands and Rick Santorum is going to be the man to give it to him. Or as Stacy McCain would put it, Vanuatu here I come!

Update: Can’t spell at 1 a.m. fixed title

Update 2: how contrived is Romney? After dissing Santorum’s victory Erick Erickson revealed that after Santorum’s speech Romney’s guys took down the teleprompter and he gave a speech he gave earlier today, for God’s sake it sounds like Obama lite without the Greek columns.

Update 3: Ali’s tweet says it all:

Mitt Romney spent 4 years and millions of dollars to lose six votes. And this guy is supposed to be electable?

Update 4: Instalanche Thanks glenn and an important update that people should note:

South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Tuesday accused Republican Mitt Romney of shifting to the extreme Right to try to win the Iowa caucuses.

Sounding a Democratic theme for this election year, Wasserman Schultz said Romney’s attempts to pander to conservatives will come back to haunt.

“Over the last year, Romney has scrambled to get to the right of Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum – and in a state with some of the most stalwart conservatives in the Republican nominating process,” Wasserman Schultz said at a press conference. “Romney’s showing can be attributed to his right-wing vision for America.”

and here is the “moderate voice“:

The unrelenting extremism of the Iowa field, from the candidates’ absurd stands on issues that matter to middle class voters to an oblique racism when it comes to Obama himself has forced Romney to tack ever harder to the right. It will take the biggest flip-flop of them all for Romney to reposition himself as a moderate and not the sell-out that he has become if he gets the nomination because otherwise he doesn’t stand a chance.

and That is the key comment, no matter who the GOP nominates the democrats will paint him as a “right wing extremest racist” So why nominate a person that is going to run off the conservative vote the GOP needs to win?

And PLEASE don’t give me the “anti-Gay” stuff with Santorum, not only is it false, but the extreme left will play Romney’s Mormonism as anti-gay against him huge.

I still think Romney would beat Obama, but I’d feel a lot more comfortable about 2012 with Santorum at the top than him.

Update 5: Bachmann has decided to go but Perry has sent out a tweet indicating he has decided to stay . This is a big boost for Romney for several reasons:

1. It keeps the division of the Tea party vote, particularly in the south so Romney can win southern states with 30% of the vote.

2. Perry will be going after Santorum with reckless abandon allowing Romney’s hands to remain clean as Santorum is savaged

3. It keeps Santorum from becoming the official “anti-Romney

With Bachmann out Perry rises to my 2nd choice with Gingrich 3rd but

OK we’ve gone through months of debate and speculation today we find out exactly what the people in Iowa think.

The polls suggest a good finish for my candidate and I’d love to predict a win for him, but I would not be surprised if he finished anywhere in the top 3.

What will happen? At the risk of looking a fool here is what I think:

1. Paul: I think Ron Paul’s time has actually come, his message of fiscal conservatism has been a “voice crying out in the wilderness” has now moved into the mainstream, and he has built an organization for a decade and this is paying off now. No amount of bad weather will slow them down. I don’t care much for his message of 1930’s isolationism but there are those who do. I don’t think the newsletters will hurt him as much as his son the senator will help him in this state and no matter what you think of him nobody can doubt he means what he says.

2. Romney: A caucus is all about organization and Romney has the organization in spades. His campaign is well-funded and organized and with a large payroll. Like Ron Paul his people are going to show but for a different reason. When all is said and done and the candidates are gone the Romney organization will be in a position to reward friends and oppose foes. It’s like having a Union steward making sure that members show up to an event, or else. Romney is playing a game of attrition and Iowa is step one. It will all be a question on how his finish is spun and believe me his team spin for any finish has already been written.

3. Santorum: He has risen at exactly the right time and if the surge continues he could finish higher. He has a strong record but also the wisdom that comes from defeat and seeing where the people are. His quiet old-fashioned campaign is naturally appealing and his surge is late enough that attacks on him not only won’t have time to get traction but the attacks of his dead child as they mocked his crying daughter six years ago are going to backfire spectacularly. As Stacy McCain notes:

Yeah, it’s her: The Santorum kid who gave me that quote was the same girl who cried so helplessly on national TV that night in 2006 during her dad’s concession speech. I’d forgotten all about that, until I saw the picture. Then I remembered how the video clip had been played over and over on the news, and also on late-night comedy shows while people mocked the way Sarah and her family cried. And I remembered my wife saying how bad she felt while watching that little girl, hugging her doll, and crying for the whole world to see.

Conservatives are in a fighting mood and the memory of late night liberal comics hitting Santorum’s little girl will get them rolling up their sleeves.

4. Gingrich: Newt remains a powerful symbol of GOP success, he has taken the second beating of this campaign and is still standing. He is the single best talker and debater in the party and his telephone town halls are not only creative but effective. People have hit him for saying “I’m not going to win” but I think this year speaking realistically pays off.

5. Perry: His best sound bite came 72 hours too late to make a difference but he still has money and is the sitting governor of a state that is doing great in a bad economy. His main problems are #1 The initial snub of Iowa, #2 Those awful debate performances #3 And the suspicion that he was behind attacks that finished Cain. Unlike other candidates a 5th place finish won’t harm him because as the Governor of Texas people will still need to be on his good side and he strikes me as a man who remembers who was with him and who was not.

6. Bachmann: She deserves better than this but the reality is she has crashed and burned since winning the NH debate several months ago and the defections of both her superpac and her lead man in Iowa are devastating. A break here or there and she and Rick Santorum would be in the opposite positions. I would not be surprised to see her on a Romney Ticket if he wins the nomination and I would approve of such a choice.

7. Huntsman: Only the most loyal Iowans will take time out from picking corn to choose this candidate but in fairness he hasn’t tried to attract them. The irony is if he didn’t come out of the box hitting conservatives he might have done a bit better.

The big question is: Will Bachmann drop out? I doubt it for two reasons:

1. There is a NH debate Saturday and she will want to use it as a last chance.

2. It is in Mitt Romney’s interest for her to still be in play till at least Florida, particularly if Santorum does very well so expect Romney’s people to make sure she has to money to maintain life support to take votes away from Perry and Santorum if he really grows.

The biggest winner of all? Cokie Roberts of ABC who predicted a Santorum win back in November.

Update: Eye of Polyphepus. puts Paul 3rd and bumps Romney and Santorum up a spot but agrees with me otherwise. The right sphere agrees with Polyphepus on the top 3 but Puts, perry 4th, Bachmann 5th Newt 6th and Huntsman last.

Update 2: Stacy McCain asks the $64,000 question at Hotair and the Spectator that will be repeated after tonight.

How can Gingrich and Perry’s advocates claim that they are credible alternatives to Romney, if they can’t even beat a low-budget underdog campaign like Santorum’s? And what does it say for the vaunted superiority of those other campaigns that they failed to realize Santorum was moving ahead here until it was too late for them to respond effectively?

The first requirement for electability is to win elections.

Update 3: The final stake through the heart for Bachmann comes from Sarah Palin:

“As for Michelle Bachmann. She has a lot to offer, also, but I don’t think it is her time this go around. And I believe that unless she, too, wants to spend her own money or borrowing money and perhaps go into debt. Which heaven forbid, you do that to your family? Perhaps she is one, too, who would start saying ‘supporters of mine, why don’t we coalesce around one of the other candidates and let’s move together as a team to get that right primary candidate chosen?'” Sarah Palin said on FOX News today.”