Change…The Siren Call of Iowa

Change, Change, Change seems to be the overwhelming call of Iowans.

Whether its Mike Huckabee or Barack Obama, voters overwhelmingly said they wanted change in Washington.

Huckabee won over Mitt Romney by a large margin, despite Romney’s “frontrunner” status and his spending $15 to every $1 Huckabee spent. Romney swarmed Iowa with tv ads, mailers, phone calls–he had quite the political machine. Yet he came in a distant second to Huckabee. The media plays up Huckabee’s Evangelical base–and they were important–but by no means were they the only reason for his win. Voter after voter, they all said, they wanted Change.

That and more was expressed on the Democrat side. Obama ran away with the vote, with 37% of the vote. The stunner–Hillary came in third. Edwards narrowly, but decisively, beat Hillary for second place. Andrea Mitchell, reporting from Hillary’s Iowa headquarters, said the party room resembled a “dirge” and that any enthusiasm was manufactured by a crowd made up almost wholly of union members. Mitchell said the room was empty until the cameras were about to turn on, then a crowd of mournful union members would file in and fill the room. But what a difference there was at Obama and Edwards headquarters–their rooms were filled with supporters, cheering and celebrating.

Even more interesting–in Iowa you can choose which party to vote with when you arrive at the caucuses. You have to be a registered voter, but you choose your party when you arrive. Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2 to 1 last night in this typically red state. There were nearly twice as many democrat voters as there were in 2004–and a large percentage of those new Democrats were the oh-so-important Independent voters and young voters. If that’s the case in a red state like Iowa, that does not bode well for the Republican party in November.

Even more–this was not about Iraq. This was a sense that people had had enough of politics as usual. Hillary and Romney were seen as the old guard–their messages of change just didn’t ring true. Obama, Edwards, Huckabee–their voters overwhelmingly said Change was the reason they chose them.

New Hampshire is five days away–I can’t wait to see what happens there!