Clinton in Iowa

Hillary Clinton is staffing up in preparation to deliver a knockout punch to Obama in Iowa. She’s got only the slimmest of leads there, and with the funky caucus math, it’s anybody’s game.

This comes via Mickey Kaus, who argues that Hillary needs Obama and Edwards to both stay in the race through Iowa and prevent a solid anti-Hillary bloc from emerging.

I think this could cut both ways. In 2004, of course, Dean and Gephardt destroyed each other in Iowa and allowed Kerry and Edwards to slide into the #1 and #2 slots. Much of that, I seem to recall, involved a last-minute deal where Dean’s people shifted en masse to Edwards in precincts where Dean didn’t have the minimum 15% (like I said, funky math). So clearly Obama and Edwards are each hoping that the other guy will try and knock off Hillary, allowing them to coast to the top without going negative.

Alternatively, both Edwards and Obama could stay in the race long enough to prevent a single alternative to Clinton from emerging. In this strategy, Clinon wins by a hair in Iowa, wins New Hampshire, and then Edwards blocks Obama from winning South Carolina, and both guys eventually flame out after Super Tuesday. In other words, Edwards becomes this year’s Wes Clark.

Of course, I posted this on Daily Kos a few months ago and was roundly ridiculed, so what the hell do I know?