Iowa: Where do things go from here?

Dodd out. Biden out. Richardson the gaffe machine is still in, but he’s angling for a VP slot anyway. In the Democrat primary, the most experienced guys mattered the least and Iowa just set that in stone. Democrats, at least in Iowa, do not care about job experience. They just want their vote to make them feel good.

Edwards is running on fumes but not quite done. Hillary is no longer inevitable, and she’s swooning. Obama jumps out to the early lead and congratulations to him for that. His win represents something genuinely new and is the first sign of the end of the Clinton era. Hopefully he’ll get to savor his historic victory for a day or two before the Clinton ex machina tries to mow him down. He’s facing them alone now. The next week or two could go like this for Obambi.

On the GOP side, Huckabee has the win and congratulations to him for that, but he has little organization outside Iowa yet. He will, soon. They’re already putting one together and they do have cash on hand. Everyone else is still in it but Romney took the most damage by far. He spent the most and had the best machine but still took a beating. But he’s not finished. Iowa killed off two Democrats but kept several Republicans alive and Mitt is one of them. New Hampshire allows a little more latitude for contrasty ads and campaigns, so the gloves can come off there in a way that they couldn’t in Iowa. But Huckabee has Ed Rollins to be his attack dog; Romney will have to do his attacking himself. That favors Huckabee. McCain still has a fighting chance, and Rudy is still in it. Fred needs to get going or get out.

It’s not over on either side. Obama and Huckabee are both front runners as well as rabbits now. Everyone is going to try to hunt them down.

And there are debates this weekend, before New Hampshire. Highest of high stakes.