Friday, January 04, 2008

Pretty Packages in Iowa

As a conservative I cannot be anything but disappointed in the results of Iowa yesterday. Sure the polls told us in advance what was likely to occur, but it always feels a bit different when speculation is replaced by grim reality--however grim the speculation may have been in the first place.

In some ways it is nice that the caucuses of Iowa hit so closely after Christmas, because we can see it juxtaposed to our recent memories of brightly colored bows affixed to splendidly wrapped gift boxes of varying size and color. Unfortunately, that three-pack of whitey-tighties boxed and fancily wrapped looks even better than Halo3 does in a stapled lunch sack. It seems to me that measuring candidates before the election is much like measuring gifts before Christmas morning--it is the presentation and not the substance that matters most.

Barak Obama is easily the most eloquent candidate in this election on the Democratic side. He won by a margin even greater than some polls projected. Make no mistake however, his message, regardless of deliverance, is little different than that of Clinton or Edwards for he, like the others, embraces the farthest reaching sorts of government intrusion into our lives without apology. He would surrender our hard fought gains against radical Islam (even while threatening to invade Pakistan.) Yet, his voice is pleasing to the ear--it is soothing in its command. In a different life he could be reading bestsellers in audio books with that voice of his. He simply is the better speaker.

Mike Huckabee is extremely fluid under duress on the Republican side. He has a quick wit and is as quick to smile. He is engaging and polite. Years behind the pulpit have given him extraordinary confidence in front of people, even if most of it was in front of those damn Baptists. Yet he is a socialist who would, it seems, love to see our country become a haven for all the world's downtrodden. If you liked George Bush's (43) domestic spending policies you are just going to love Mike Huckabee's. He hasn't the first clue about even making a cogent foreign policy argument, but who cares--he's an evangelical!

Iowa is proving that all that matters, at least at this early stage, is the packaging. Why wouldn't a conservative be disappointed when substance seems to mean so much less than brightly colored bows?

The sad thing about elections as opposed to unwrapping Christmas gifts is that with elections we are all forced to live with the same gift once the packaging is torn off, and I fear that my Halo3 will sadly become someone else's Fruit of the Looms.

Paul Mirengoff discusses the real loser of last night's caucus. It is me.

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