The biggest shock in Iowa

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The polls were wrong. But that wasn’t the biggest shock.

The big shock was  . . . who was that guy pretending to be Donald Trump?

Millions and millions of people waited to watch The Donald melt down after finishing second behind Ted Cruz.

But it didn’t happen. Instead, Trump managed to show humility and graciousness without giving up his signature bravado. Pretty brilliant. As Romney and Rove learned in 2012, though, air power will not win many races. You need boots on the ground. Cruz had them; Trump didn’t.

A bigger shock: Marco Rubio’s performance. And that’s bad news for both Cruz and Trump. Rubio stands to pick up the lion’s share of support from Kasich, Jeb!, Christie, and Fiorina as they drop. Add 60 percent of those supporters to Rubio’s numbers, and he’s the frontrunner. Plus, Rubio stands to win a lot of delegates in the deep blue states (California, New York, etc.).

Expect the establishment and the media to turn their fire toward Cruz.

But the biggest shock: Bernie Sanders might have driven a wooden stake into the heart of Countess Clinton and the Arkansas Vampire Gang. As I write, with 91 percent in, Hillary leads by 0.02.

Even if Hillary prevails, the margin of error will likely be less than 1%. She will do better on the delegate count, but with an indictment looming for mishandling top secret documents while Secretary of State (and repeatedly lying about it), Clinton is in serious trouble.

 

What if high turnout in Iowa means something else

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Reports on Twitter say turnout in Iowa very high.

Were this Colorado, high turnnout would mean something else, but it could mean something in Iowa that pundits didn’t expect.

This is nothing but my weird speculation, and I am the guy who apologized to Obama today. So consider the source.

The conventional wisdom is that high turnout favors Trump. That’s based on polling, of course, and turnout models. But turnout models have been wrong before.

It’s also possible that a dark horse like Rand Paul or Ben Carson has supporters who didn’t fit the traditional “likely caucuser” models.

Paul appeals to libertarian-ish folks, especially the young who might have a short voter history. (Not that that would stop the Cruz campaign from citing them with a voting violation.) Eighteen to 24-year-olds might be off the pollsters’ radars and turning out for Rand.

Ben Carson once did exceptionally well with conservative Christians. Again, it’s possible that hidden Christians are turning out for Carson the way the turned out for Santorum four years ago.

I have very few Iowa readers for some reason. Maybe it’s my opposition to ethanol subsidies and mandates. If you’re in Iowa and you’re a new caucaser, I’d love to hear your story in the comments. Please right because it will make us all smarter.

Do we owe Obama an apology?

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Imaginations can run wild in the affinity bubble.

I was in Washington, DC, over the weekend when it dawned on me that we on the right were probably wrong about Obama’s thirst for dictatorial power. Or maybe we were right, but seven years of near-dictatorial power have exhausted the would-be autocrat. He certain looks worn down, as this Time magazine side-by-side shows:

President Obama in 2009 and again in 2016

 

Remember when many of us believed that President Obama was planning something like a coup? That he’d find some excuse to remain in power even after losing an election or after running out of terms?

Well those theories look crazy now. That’s because the Obama administration demonstrated remarkable restraint handling that Oregon militia siege. For that matter, the Bundy Ranch standoff also discredited the our old theories.

Yes, I know that one militia member was killed, but the video shows police reasonably suspected he was reaching for a weapon. And I realize Obama’s use of executive orders break a basic rule of restraint. The Supreme Court may even overturn his immigration orders.

But the military junta some of us expected him to impose seems to be pure fiction at this point. At least, I certainly hope so. I hope we owe Obama an apology.

If anyone owes the President an apology, I am at the top of that list. Here are all my blog posts containing the word “dictator.” As you’ll see, most of them refer to Barack Obama.

But I am not alone.

I remember watching Glenn Beck’s evening show in 2009. Evening after evening Beck warned about the coming overthrow of the US government by Obama’s henchmen. He warned that the administration was looking for any excuse to slaughter Americans, confiscate guns, and impose martial law.

Those paranoid warnings–his, mine, others–look a little ridiculous now.

Maybe the Bundy Ranch episode was not the right excuse for a wannabe dictator to shoot some folks and impose military rule. There were many witnesses, including a friend of mine.

But this siege of the Oregon wildlife sanctuary is a different story. Unlike the Bundy Ranch where people simply responded to government provocations, in Oregon militants plotted and seized federal property. Leaving aside the need for the federal government to “own” all that land out west, the militia’s action was criminal on its face. Because so many conservatives immediately voiced opposition to the militia, and because of the refuge’s seclusion, this seems to be the perfect situation for a tyrant to go all Janet Reno.

And yet the federal agents show remarkable restraint and discipline.

The Oregon incident tells me a couple of things. First, I need to be far more critical when thinking about things I want to believe. Second, I owe Barack Obama an apology for my many posts and speeches inspired by a lack of critical thinking and over-reliance on the echo chamber of the affinity bubble.

I’ll throw in one more to remind myself: the things we’re afraid of are never as bad as we think they will be while we’re thinking about them. (And the good stuff is never as good as we thought it would be, either.)

Remember this lesson when you hear Glenn Beck and others warn about the coming of the next dictator. Especially if they get paid to scare people.