Every once in a while I like to opine on national politics for no particular reason other than it's fun and I have absolutely no responsibilities as far as national elections go..
Just so we are clear, I am supporting Mitt Romney - want to be transparent as possible (although I am intrigued by Jon Huntsman).
There is no doubt about it, Rick Santorum had a great night. With little resources and with a lot of gumption he was able to come within 8 votes of a victory over Romney and the fact that he was able to come so close is a testament to his hard work leading up to the caucuses.
So, what now?
Santorum has about 36 hours to try and cobble together a national campaign strategy before the Romney camp drops an A-bomb on his head. This an almost impossible feat, but, it can be done with a little luck.
The debates this weekend in New Hampshire will be critical for Santorum. He has not performed particularly well in the previous debates but nobody noticed, now, all eyes will be on him.
Romney did what he had to do. He won. A win is a win is a win. 8 votes or 8,000 Romney pulled it out in the end.
Originally, the Romney camp was not going to play at all in Iowa, when they saw he was within striking distance, he joined the fray. If the Romney camp is guilty of anything, they raised expectations way to high for Iowa.
New Hampshire is Romney's firewall, with a strong organization (frankly the Romney camp is the best campaign organization I have ever been around) and a strong lead in the polls, Romney should be in good shape next Tuesday.
A strong win in New Hampshire will help build Mittmentum as the campaign moves through the southern states.
Ron Paul had a rough night, he finished a relatively close third, but he did not meet expectations in the event. Iowa caucuses are driven by evangelicals, and social conservatives. Independents are allowed to vote in the caucuses. The entrance polling showed that Paul got his people out, there just wasn't enough of them to win.
This will be the high water mark for the Paul campaign.
So now on to New Hampshire..
Boy, that was fun..
PS. Hearing Bachmann and Perry will be dropping out in the next 24 hours..