Change.

Change may be the theme of the results of the Iowa caucus. While they were leading the polls leading up to tonight’s Iowa caucus, I think many felt that the candidates that held the traditional “money and organization” lead in Iowa, namely Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton, would somehow pull out victories.

That did not happen. As Jason mentioned earlier, turnout on both sides was massive, but especially for the Democrats. Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee claimed emphatic victories in their respective party’s races.

Eight point victories for both candidates is an exclaimation point for both men; the polls were calling both races a statistical dead heat.

I also have to say both Obama and Huckabee nailed their victory speeches, giving really strong, positive, change-focused messages that seem to resonate with the voters right now.

What about the rest of the candidates?

Well, as previously posted, Democrats Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel have all dropped out. Dennis Kucinich will likely push on as he did in 2004. Bill Richardson will show up at New Hampshire, get crushed and drop out soon after.

John Edwards appears to have won second place by a hair (You know I was dieing to use that pun).

Which leaves Hillary stunned at third place. I believe the Democratic race may be done before even Tsunami Tuesday. Right now, conventional wisdom is that Obama takes the Iowa bump and wins New Hampshire. That sets him up to pull a John Kerry and sweep to the nomination. My prediction is if Obama wins in New Hampshire, he wins the nomination.

As clear as I see the Democratic side, I haven’t a clue as to what happens on the Republican side. I think the results of today muddle things.

I believe Romney is wounded badly. If he had lost in a close battle, it may have kept him afloat in New Hampshire, but getting blown out after spending millions in Iowa is not a good sign.

Huckabee won, but can he make any noise in New Hampshire (I doubt it), can he get the money and organization to compete for the nomination (possibly), and can he appeal to moderate Republicans (I have my doubts here as well)?

The Ron Paul surge did not occur, but he did register a respectable 10%. With his funding and positions, he can play a stronger role in New Hampshire.

Fred Thompson and John McCain are battling for third, but I think it is meaningless for Thompson. He’s a dead suit. McCain on the other hand, loves the fact that Romney got smacked in Iowa and hopes this works in favor in New Hampshire. Should McCain win in New Hampshire, it sets up as a showdown between him and Huckabee in South Carolina, similar to the McCain/Bush battle in 2000.

Whew. I need to take a deep breath.

In a nutshell, the Democratic side has cleared itself up, while the GOP side still remains very, very messy.

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