With the beginning of an Olympic year, January also marks the beginning of a race of Marathon proportions, that for the US Presidency. Apart from the completely baffling system of caucuses and primaries, which only eventually result in who gets put on the ticket and a quite frankly punishing schedule for the candidates, it does make for some interesting viewing.
As an Australian from the other side of the Pacific, I am thankful that we aren't bombarded with the panoply of adverts on television which the American public faces every single day, but I still find the whole thing sort of amusing and watch it rather like one does a neutral Test Match (in cricket).
The 2012 Primary Schedule can be found here:
Of itself the results from Iowa don't really suggest much of themselves, other than that there still may be five candidates still left with a reasonable chance of picking up the Republican nomination.
A summary of the results is listed below:
24.5% - Mitt Romney (won by just 8 votes)
24.5% - Rick Santorum
21.5% - Ron Paul
13.3% - Newt Gingrich
10.3% - Rick Perry
00.6% - Jon Huntsman
You can basically assume that Perry is likely to do well in the southern states as he is the incumbent Governor of Texas. Gingrich will probably also expect to pick up a few states in the south, coming from Georgia.
I think that we can basically assume at this point that Jon Huntsman's race may as well be dead in the water. Intriguingly he's probably contributed to more of the American economy than any other single person in the past year in his role as the Ambassador to China but because he isn't and wasn't ever a sitting Senator or member of the House of Reps, that doesn't show up on his resume.
One state by itself is obviously way too early to call anything, so the next test is next Tuesday with the New Hampshire primaries. I find it surprising that there will be 30 candidates listed on the Republican ballot and wonder why that many of them think that they'd have any hope at all.
I am however prepared to make a rash prediction that at the end of the election cycle, we'll be left with Mitt Romney as the Republican hope for the presidency; running with Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Rubio sits firmly in the "Tea Party" and with the GOP moving steadily to the right anyway, I think he'd be the most palatable choice that the Republicans can muster for the Vice-Presidency.
I also think that it's pretty well a foregone conclusion that Obama will run again for the Democrats and that Hilary Clinton will be his running mate. Basically Hilary would replace Joe Biden, and he'd replace her as Secretary of State.
So that's with I think, Romney-Rubio vs Obama-Clinton in November.
Then there's always comic relief from Jimmy McMillan, self-proclaimed karate expert:
"Yes, the revolution is on. And Jimmy McMillan has to be the driver of this bus..."
From 49mins onwards...