Good news from Iowa

Although I’m shocked and rather disappointed at Dick Gephardt’s poor showing, I’m generally pleased with the results of Monday night’s Iowa caucuses.

(I’m sure Oliver Kamm will be popping the champagne cork at the news that Gephardt will be dropping out of the race.)

The good news is that two genuinely electable candidates– John Kerry and John Edwards– finished a close first and second. And, despite his huge campaign budget and thousands of out-of-state volunteers, it appears the unelectable Howard Dean wore out his welcome among Iowans.

Interestingly the exit polling revealed that only 17 percent of caucus-goers thought the war in Iraq or national security was the most important issue. More than three times as many were most concerned about Medicare and health care or jobs and the economy. And even among the 75 percent of caucus-goers who disapproved of the decision to go to war in Iraq, only 29 percent voted for the outspoken antiwar candidates, Dean and Dennis Kucinich.

Of course everything could change around next week in New Hampshire. But I’m feeling a lot better about the Democrats’ chances against George Bush than I did a couple of weeks ago.