Well, it looks like there is no particular surprise with the New Hampshire results, at least with respect to Mitt Romney's victory. It appears that he is going to take about 37% of the vote and beat his closest competitor, Ron Paul, by about 13% of the vote. I'm watching his victory speech right now and thus far it is pretty well done. It's a fairly punchy attack on Obama, pretty crisply delivered (with the aid of a teleprompter of course), one that touches all of the hot buttons of the Republican electorate. (Of course it's replete with lies, including the ever-popular "apologizing for America," but that won't bother this electorate.) He has to be happy as well to be able to get this done by 8:40.
Ron Paul pulled an impressive 24% of the vote, which suggests to me that he is likely to continue on for quite some time through the primary season. He has a self-sustaining campaign and I think he enjoys making mischief and drawing attention. He can possibly grab some delegates and have a presence at the Convention. It will be interesting to see. His second place finish is a great help to Romney. It effectively precludes the emergence of a viable non-Romney in the field. (Listening to Paul talk about the Fed and monetary policy reminds one of what an utter wingnut he is -- Sullivan's continued boosting of his candidacy baffles me.)
Update: Sullivan does pose a worthwhile question regarding Paul's significant youth vote and its future place in the Republican Party. Here's my thought: it has no place in the Republican Party -- at least as presently constituted and as it is likely to remain for some time. The party of the neo-cons, the evangelicals, and other culture warriors, is not going to be receptive soil for the vast majority of these young voters. This is not a big tent party and the world view of the bulk of these voters doesn't strike me as congruent with the dominant voices within the GOP.
John Huntsman came in third with 17% of the vote. I think you will see some attempts by certain media members to give this result moe weight than it merits. Huntsman put all of his chips down in New Hampshire and he got half the vote that Romney got, and he got beaten pretty badly by Ron Paul. South Carolina will not be very hospitable ground for him. And with it, the Huntsman campaign will be over.
Gingrich and Santorum each pulled an insubstantial 10% of the vote. Done and done I think. South Carolina will be the last gasp of both as well. (Sullivan points out that the two Mormons garnered 61% of the Catholic vote, while the ostentatious Catholics Santorum and Gingrich got 21% of the Catholic vote -- a sign again, as Sullivan notes that the politics of these two is geared to the Vatican, not American Catholics.)
Rick Perry got less than 1% of the vote. What else do you need to say? Stick a fork in his ass, his head, or any other part of him, he, too, is finished. And what an embarrassment. A guy who was once the presumptive front runner -- admittedly in my eyes -- looks like he might not break 1,000 votes.
Looking at these vote totals, I am once again struck by how few Americans get to dictate the results in these nomination contests. Last week Romney won with 30,000 votes. This week he will probably grab about 75,000 votes (about the same vote that he got in 2008). So in other words, approximately 100,000 voters in two of the least diverse states in America will dictate the nominee for one of the two major parties. I still think a system of rotating, multistate, regional primaries might be a better approach.