Muhamed Å aÃ¦irbey
Over the following few months we will ask Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey to provide us with his analysis regarding key caucus and primary election results. The FIRST race has just concluded. Review our Interview with Ambassador Sacirbey of December 28, 200: â€œWhat will 2008 Bring?â€
Bosnjaci.net: Who are the big winners in Iowa?
Ambassador Sacirbey: No one has yet won anything concrete, but the Iowa results now do have substantive expectations and do set new expectations. They also can be viewed as positive surprises or disappointments for each of the candidates.
On the Democratic side Sen. Barack Obama is the clear positive surprise and Sen. Hillary Clinton is the most disappointed. Sen. John Edwards did well, even battling Clinton for second, but his campaign may have needed more to be a real alternative to the other two. Gov Richardson may have enough to claim the 4th alternative, but that may mean little. Sen. Biden and Sen. Dodd have dropped out late tonight. Some other Democrats, as Congressman Kucinich, may continue to New Hampshire, but they needed a much bigger surprise in Iowa. They did not get it.
On the Republican side, the clear winner is Gov. Huckabee. The biggest disappointment is Gov. Romney, in view of his investment in Iowa. Mayor Gulliani did not really contest Iowa. Sen. McCain also waited for New Hampshire. The others are in real trouble except maybe for Ron Paul who still is very strong through his internet base.
Bosnjaci.net: What is the biggest surprise?
Ambassador Sacirbey: Sen. Obama has won in a mostly white state and where Bill Clinton, although he also did not win outright, started his winning move in 1992. Obama won among women as well. Sen. Clinton only was leading among voters of 65 and above.
Bosnjaci.net: There are many Bosniaks who live in Iowa. Did they have an effect?
Ambassador Sacirbey: They must have, but Iâ€™m not sure if they followed Obama or Clinton. Obamaâ€™s secret was that by definition he represents inclusion, and he has been the biggest advocate of change.
Clinton – Obama
Bosnjaci.net: On the Republican side?
Ambassador Sacirbey: Gov. Huckabee really has not been a surprise for the last few weeks. He has managed to galvanize the â€œreligious rightâ€ and come out as the front runner for that group. 60% of all the Republicans participating in the Iowa caucus pronounced themselves as born-again Christians.
Bosnjaci.net: What conclusions can we draw?
Ambassador Sacirbey: Still too early to declare any winner for either the Democratic or Republican nominations. However, we can draw some preliminary analysis:
1. Sen. Clinton is not unbeatable.
2. Because of the nature of how Iowa voters cast their preference in this caucus, it is clear that Sen. Clinton does not have support as a â€œsecondary choiceâ€. Dennis Kucinich advised his supporters to cast their â€œsecondary voteâ€ on behalf of Obama. It appears that many other supporters of Biden, Dodd, Richardson and even Edwards preferred Obama over Clinton. The theory that one either loves or does not at all care for Hillary Clinton seems to be gaining some credibility, right or wrong.
3. Clinton is seen as the choice of the establishment, while Obama and Edwards of change.
4. The Republicans will increasingly appeal to the religious right to counter Huckabeeâ€™s core.
5. If Republicans move further to the right because of Huckabeeâ€™s appeal, then this will give Democrats more room to maneuver and to more freely gain the center in the general election in November. This bodes well for any Democratic nominee, but particularly Obama or Edwards who may be seen as bit further left than Clinton.
Bosnjaci.net: Was tonight in Iowa important?
Ambassador Sacirbey: Yes, but much more for Democrats. The Republicans are still undefined in terms of momentum. On the other hand, Sen.Obama needed to prove that he could win, and he did under circumstances that experience, history and race did not favor him. Still, Sen. Clinton knows how to make the best of worst, and she still has the weight of money and the establishment behind her. Sen. Edwards, with his second place finish ahead of Clinton, could either make a strong surge or fall completely off as Obama fully replaces him in most peopleâ€™s mind as the alternative to Hillary.
The other important consideration may be as to whether the electoral upheaval may open the door for Mayor Bloomberg as an â€œindependentâ€ candidate.