Seems like everything on Iowa was said by the pundits last night as they waited out the final tally. Perhaps what remains is some context as the candidates move to New Hampshire.
The Republican race is now down to 5 ½ as Bachmann drops out and Perry reassesses his reassessment. Huntsman is making his stand now in an admittedly friendlier environment for him than was Iowa, but if he flattens out he may be packing soon as well. The world is prepared for the nastiest Gingrich possible as he must pull out the stops or drag himself south to South Carolina and Florida speaking largely to himself. Paul did not stop Romney or even Santorum and may be in the race in body, but may truly be preparing for an Independent Party run, should Romney clean up in January.
The most interesting fact is not only Santorum’s near defeat of Romney but the shoestrings plus old-fashioned shoe leather and limited ads campaign he waged. The media is now Santorum’s ally as his race in Iowa was the story and is what is being heard, and not Romney’s 8 vote victory (which ought to be read as the front runner was rejected by almost three-fourths of the voters.) It is never the expected that generates press excitement; so too with the public. What was and is being heard in New Hampshire and throughout the country is that Santorum may indeed be the conservative option in 2012.
For pro-Israel Republicans, the so-called “bad guy” Ron Paul is very much still alive, although Gingrich pledges to take him on in the New Hampshire debates concerning his stance on foreign policy in general and Israel, as Gingrich also seeks to derail Romney on his “moderation”. JTA reports that Santorum may now benefit from significant Jewish financial support as well, despite his extremely conservative positions on social issues.