The big news in Iowa is not who won, Romney and Santorum, but rather it is who lost, Perry and Gingrich. Only Perry and Gingrich had any chance of beating Romney to the nomination, I believe. The rest are niche candidates that get their moments in the sun and fade quickly. Perry proved himself to be inadequate to the task, and Gingrich proved himself to be too burdened with his toxic and unreliable personality to be able to take it all the way to the nomination. Both will probably try to recover and will continue their doomed efforts, but I think it is over for them.
Another way of saying that is that the Tea Party is losing its death grip on the Republican Party.
More to the point, the Republican nominating process is pretty much over.
Of course, the world will step in and have something to say about who is our next president. Things will happen, and Obama and Romney will have to respond to those things. In 2008, Lehman Brothers went down and the country had to try desperately to keep our financial system and economy from collapsing. McCain and Obama each responded differently, with Obama looking like a calm head in the midst of a crisis, and McCain looked like a man who would panic and make things worse rather than better. I think that was a big factor in McCain's loss in 2008.
I still hope that Huntsman gets legs in New Hampshire and can overtake Romney, but that seems to be a very remote possibility. Huntsman is the only candidate talking about breaking up the too-big-to-fail, too-big-to-manage, too-big-to-regulate, too-big-to-rate financial institutions. And I think that is one of the biggest issues that faces us.
Another hope I have is that Americans Elect will succeed in their nominating process and produce a moderate, centrist candidate who can change the way we nominate our presidents by taking the process away from the extremists of both parties and creating a process that appeals to the independents, moderates, and centrists. It is more than time for pragmatic, problem solving leadership rather than presidents who are ideologues or captive to the ideological extremes of their parties.