After all the talk about the Iowa caucuses over the past several months (it was back in August that Bachmann won that early straw poll, right? Seems like forever ago), the outcome was ... kind of weird.
Romney won, pending recounts, by eight votes. In a way, that's a good sign for him, as he wasn't strongly competing there until the last week or so. But it was no ringing endorsement, either, with such a narrow margin.
Bachmann lost (finishing sixth of those actively competing), and bowed out of further proceedings. Perry also did poorly, and apparently surprised some of his campaign staff by staying in.
Santorum finishing second, and in such a close finish, would have been a huge surprise two weeks ago. But after a significant endorsement or two, and a strong showing in the last poll, it was only a small surprise. He was one, though, that I hadn't really paid any attention to, so now I've had to go find out his positions on a few things.
Mitt is expected to win by a huge margin in New Hampshire; we'll see if that plays out to script. But, either way, it gets interesting after that. I'm mostly curious to see what happens in South Carolina, where, it sounds like, everybody will be competing.
Plus, Newt said some fairly incendiary things (I know, not a surprise for him) about a scorched-earth attack coming against Romney. We'll have to see how that part plays out, and if it has any real effect. I guess he never got that Reagan message about not attacking fellow Republicans.
So, in the end, Iowa didn't really make anything clear (except that Romney isn't well liked, and that the shine was off Bachmann (unfortunate, that, as it would have been entertaining to see her stick around)). We'll just have to wait for the next couple of rounds of primaries to see if things become more clear.