Muddle. That is what the Iowa caucuses produced last night. Indeed, the only thing that is really clear is that a majority of Republican voters really, really do not want to back Mitt Romney.
A plurality of the anti-Romney vote went to Rick Santorum, even though the typical Iowa voter knew next to nothing about him. On one of the channels, they had a Google executive who noted the steep increase in hits for Santorum in the past week, which only means that the voters learned about Santorum what Santorum wanted them to know. (They also learned about a very vulgar trick played on Santorum some years ago – do not google the man’s name with children in the room.) There were next to no anti-Santorum ads from the other candidates. And, it is still hard to imagine Santorum gaining traction because, among other things, he is kinda boring.
Ron Paul is sui generis and Iowa will likely prove to be his best showing. He has nowhere to go but it will be curious to see if any of the other candidates risk alienating his supporters by going after him. And, you can bet Team Obama will be looking to see if Paul’s supporters intend to sit on their hands come November.