Open thread: Raucous caucus!

Iowans are en route to their precinct meetings as we speak. Things get going in earnest at 7:30 p.m. ET, as the Democratic assemblies are called to order, and then the hard business begins at eight. The GOP should be done within the hour, although tabulation may take awhile; the Democrats could be at it for hours beyond that given the vagaries of their “viability” system. Let the Des Moines Register explain it all to you in handy dandy graphic form.

Precinct results will be posted at the Republican and Democratic state party websites but you’re probably better off with Drudge or the Register if you can’t wait for me to update. Naturally the cable news nets are going wall to wall; if you prefer your coverage unadulterated, C-SPAN and C-SPAN2 are all over it. I’ll probably stick with this thread for awhile and then break off into separate posts as big news happens. Check back for updates, and of course feel free to share info in the comments.

As one prominent Republican put it, it’s in “the hands of the good Lord and the people of Iowa now.” No, it wasn’t Huck.

Update (Bryan): I’ve been looking for an appropriate place to post this and inflict our readership with what can only be described as the Hillacackle Funk. Blame me for posting it here, and blame SeeDubya for producing it in the first place.

Update: Mary Katharine likes Obama and, per her Townhall pedigree, Romney to win. Plus, a surprising third for Fred!

Update: “I say this with all compassion, and I say this with love and respect for all of you who support Huckabee. But how dare you compare Mike Huckabee to Ronald Reagan. That is simply intellectually vapid, and it’s grasping at straws.”

Update: On MSNBC, Pat Buchanan asks whether Obama would be a serious contender if he wasn’t black.

Update: Hope for Fredheads?

Update: With just five of 1781 precincts reporting, Silky leads. There are reports in the comments of huge turnout among Democrats, at least, which probably bodes well for Obama.

Update: The state Democratic website is loading like a dream, replete with auto-refresh. The GOP site won’t load at all. Wonderful.

Politico’s posting the results via auto-refresh on its own homepage. One percent of the precincts are reporting.

Update: Lots of reports of heavy turnout, pointing towards big nights for Huck and the Messiah. Maybe a very big night for the Messiah, in fact.

Update: If exit polls are notoriously unreliable, entrance polls must be that much more so. Or so we can hope.

Update: With slightly more than 10% of the Democratic precincts reporting, here’s how it looks:

Senator John Edwards : 34.24%
Senator Hillary Clinton : 32.12%
Senator Barack Obama : 30.28%

Update (Bryan): I have to say that so far Politico’s front-page numbers are totally useless. They still have Romney at 0% with 7% precincts reporting, for starters.

Update: NBC’s early results are in line with the entrance polls — Huck’s up.

Update: Turnout is massive; ABC says Obama’s people are starting to wonder about a romp. Rudy, meanwhile, appears to be headed for sixth place.

Update: “Registration at one precinct at the museum was approaching 40 percent before the cut-off. That would be four times the amount the Democratic precinct chairman was expecting.”

Update (bp): I drew the short straw so I’m watching MSNBC. Chris Matthews just made a half interesting point. After all the expectations, Hillary could still win by a point and still “lose” as long as Edwards and Obama tie for second.

Update: Only 15% reporting, but Fox has seen enough — they’re calling it for Huck.

Update: With a little more than 33% of precincts in:

Senator Barack Obama : 33.30%
Senator John Edwards : 32.12%
Senator Hillary Clinton : 31.80%

Update: Half the precincts are in but she’s still just two points off the pace.

Update: The Times says Polk County is neck and neck despite having been expected to break hard for Hillary.

Update: The Clinton legacy hangs by a thread — NBC says it’s Obama’s night.

Update: Don’t look now but with about 85% in, the Glacier is seven points back and fading.

Update: With 78% reporting, Fred’s just a shade behind McCain, both with 13%. Hmmm.