The Iowa caucuses are behind us, and Mitt Romney came out on top by 8 votes, the smallest margin in history. While many people are praising him as the victor, it's important to point out that the person he lost to by so few votes was Rick Santorum, a candidate who hadn't even appeared in most polls. In fact, that meteoric rise and unexpected come-from-behind second place finish is more indicative of a win for Santorum than one for Romney.
Still, Romney won. But keep in mind that this decision has no bearing on the outcome of the elections. No votes were cast that will eventually lead to a nomination. This is more like a trial run. In fact, based on historical evidence, this actually reduces Mitt's chances at the nomination. So, I think the real winner last night was Santorum.
Ron Paul stayed in his usual third-place slot throughout the night, and is still in it. Rick Perry is on his way home to reflect on his campaign, and Michelle Bachmann is defiant in her continuation of a campaign, despite coming in last. Gingrich, who came in fourth, is still plugging along as well, though I think he knows he's done as a top-tier candidate.
I'm glad the Iowa caucus is over, but I'm sad to say that it's just the beginning. The news cycle is going to be full of political antics for the next few months, and it's going to be a severe pain in the ass before this week is even over. So, buckle up and prepare for the long, drawn-out car crash that is the media's coverage of a presidential race.