Thursday, May 17, 2007

Edwards and Romney are in the lead

By Michael J.W. Stickings

In Iowa.


It's still early -- although I do think the progressive Edwards has a good shot of winning Iowa and, with that victory, of building momentum against Clinton and Obama heading into New Hampshire, South Carolina, and the other early primaries. But it'll be awfully tough for him to pull ahead of those two celebrity (and celebrated) candidates.

What is interesting in the Zogby poll is the news that "Giuliani has slid substantially". So could Romney, who is rising rapidly in the Iowa polls, win? Well, sure. That is, if the love affair with Fred Thompson as the incarnation of Ronald Reagan doesn't materialize in terms of actual votes. Given that both Giuliani and McCain are deeply flawed candidates -- the former because he's a liberal with a complex personal life, however authoritarian overall, the latter because he's been way too much of a maverick and isn't trusted by his own party -- Romney could win both Iowa and New Hampshire, where he's also polling well, positioning himself as the sudden frontrunner. If that were to happen, and if Republicans have nowhere else to turn (and, more, if religious conservatives come to accept or at least put up with his Mormon faith), he could very well pull it off.

And -- you know what? -- an Edwards-Romney general election wouldn't be so bad. I don't think it'll happen, but weirder things have happened. I just can't think of any at the moment.

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