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Iowa Caucus Result: Not-Mitt Wins

Romney wins Iowa by 8 votes. He got 25 percent of the vote. Which means GOP voters want anyone other than Romney by a margin of 3-1.

THE FALLOUT BEGINS: Michelle Bachman calls it a day, although she’s late to her own press conference.

THE KNIVES COME OUT FOR SANTORUM: As they would for any GOP candidate. But Santorum is going to be called out on things that, while annoying to libertarians, aren’t necessarily turnoffs for conservatives or independents. The same is not true for Ron Paul.

Sgt. York, Meet CPO Kyle

Chris Kyle, aka “The Legend,” aka “Al-Shaitan Ramadi” (the Devil of Ramadi), America’s greatest living sniper, with 160 confirmed kills.

The son of a Sunday-school teacher and a church deacon, Kyle credits a higher authority for his longest kill.

From 2,100 yards away from a village just outside of Sadr City in 2008, he spied a man aiming a rocket launcher at an Army convoy and squeezed off one shot from his .338 Lapua Magnum rifle.

Dead. From more than a mile away.

“God blew that bullet and hit him,” he said.

Jeff Goldstein Explains Ron Paul

Get out of my head, man:

Of course, Paul is a disaster as a candidate, and his ties with various unsavory types less careful about expressing their bigotry than he has been would sink him in a general election. But he does come across onstage as anti-establishment — while not carrying the “baggage” of faith that many conservative / classical liberal / libertarian types seem so much to distrust in their prospective candidates (at least, if the candidates gives the impression that s/he believes the tenets of that faith and might actually hew to them) — and this appeals to many of those who are fed-up with a business-as-usual government they can’t seem to change, even after sending an unmistakable message via the ballot box that it is significant change they desire and demand.

Hence, Ron Paul. The ultimate protest vote from those who reject big government and Wall Street crony capitalism; from those who want significant spending cuts and the elimination of vast swathes of governmental “oversight”; and for those who are put off by the caricature of social conservatism that both the GOP moderates and Democrats have spent years creating and institutionalizing.

Sometimes a single issue dominates an election enough to turn down the volume on things that would normally be disqualifying in a candidate. I think Ron Paul’s supporters hope that his ne plus ultra Tea Partyishness will cause voters to overlook that unsavoriness. “He has leftish suppoters! Occupiers!” they think.

They’re wrong. The Occupy crowd is nowhere near as significant in the voting bloc as they would like to be, and I doubt very much if they’re really going to ever actually vote for Paul. Right now the media is playing a classic rope-a-dope; ignoring Paul’s past during the primaries only to unload it during the general.

Not that it matters. No one whose foreign policy matches up with George McGovern is going to get the nomination anyway. The GOP makes room for everyone except doves.

All is not Well Behind the Ayatollah’s Robes

Michael Ledeen reminds us that the Iranian regime is weaker than it seems:

This debacle coincides with an amazing confession of weakness from the highest level of the regime:  Ali Saeedi is the supreme leader’s representative to the Revolutionary Guards, and since Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei commands the Guards, Saeedi’s words are authoritative.  Asked why Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi–the two Green Movement leaders who have been held in isolation for more than ten months—Saeedi publicly stated that it can’t be done, because the two have such powerful support. The opposition leaders can’t be prosecuted, he said,  “because they have supporters and followers” as well as “a few turban-heads [clerics] who continue to back elements within the sedition.”

This is a key development. When the regime can no longer destroy its enemies for fear of public backlash, it has effectively lost initiative. The question of why our President, who committed bombs to the destruction of Khadaffi, has not done more to remove the greater foe hangs in the air.

Of course, if Obama really is hoping for a nice quick war sometime this year to plump his electoral chances, we may soon find out.

Complicating Just-War Theory

At Catholibertarian: Do the elements added by the U.S. bishops in 1983 to traditional just war criteria help in determining whether a particular war is just?.

I always took the requirement of “a probability of success” to mean that there was a serious and thoughtful plan, in line with other principles, to bring about success quickly. I don’t take it to mean an impossible prescience of what is going to happen. As Hitler put it, going to war is walking into a dark room.

But read the whole thing.

Alan Colmes Loosens His Filter

Rick Santorum’s Catholicism runs to the fervent, and can discompose people whose faith is nominative at best. As one who believes in charity as a divine command, I’m going to offer that as an explanation for Alan Colmes’ cheap shot about Santorum bringing his dead son home in 1996 before taking him to the funeral home. (h/t: Memeorandum). In all likelihood, Colmes simply experienced a visceral reaction to the oddness of treating a dead child like a member of the family, if only to say good-bye.

There is nothing specifically Catholic about saying good-bye to a dead baby, but it comes from the wellspring of Santorum’s faith. A dead child is still, however briefly, a child, a son, a brother. Santorum will always be that child’s father, and he believes implicitly that, should he attain Paradise, his dead son will be there, welcoming him.

Inasmuch as our society regards the dead as waste, to be disposed of with a minimum of fuss, what Santorum did was odd. But I get it. And, after a moments, reflection, Colmes did as well: hence his apology. It would have been better had he reflected for a moment before naming him some kind of a religious nut, but I do not expect such from TV ideologues. In many ways, the Church of Rome is still an alien faith here.