Love him or not, Mike Huckabee was handed a clear and decisive win tonight in the Iowa caucus, and the voters likely handed Romney his return trip tickets.
Mike Huckabee was outspent 15-1 in Iowa by Mitt Romney, but commanded the Caucus with nothing more than grassroots organization... And he did not eek out a win, it was (at 85% reporting) nearly a ten point lead. The people of Iowa want a change in the Republican Party!
What kind of a change are they looking for? Perhaps the actual embodiment of a Compassionate Conservative... and with compassion, intelligence and articulation... something noticeably missing from our current compassionate conservative.
When Huckabee began his campaign, he was the "also ran with a funny name". Tonight, the inevitability that there is going to be a change in the GOP is clear. Politics for Republicans has changed... we are a party of the people, and we are living in a populist movement where we demand compassion and concern for our fellow man!
But did Huckabee really deal a death blow to Romney. Yes.
Romney not only lost, but lost badly. All the money he has spent on staffers, ads, organization, did not play a role, because the message was not accepted by the voters.
And this will resonate throughout the other states. Had this been closer, and not such a commanding loss, it would not have hurt so badly... but this was a potentially fatal blow.
Now, in the matter of a few short days, the voters of New Hampshire will gather, and likely do it behind John McCain. A Romney loss in NH will leave him with Michigan, where he is currently tied with Mike Huckabee (who now has the Big Mo' on his side - and is being seen as a viable candidate). A poor showing in Michigan, or even a close first or second to Huckabee will be all his campaign can handle. Mike Huckabee has the lead in SC, and is running statistically tied for first in Florida. That is all AFTER the boom, and the inevitable attacks. The Romney loss tonight will not go well in the other states leading up to Super Tuesday... where Rudy and Huckabee are poised to make out well, as well as McCain (pending a win in NH).
Congratulations to Mike Huckabee. And congratulations to the compassionate conservative movement.