With the Iowa Caucus about to begin, we are just hours away from the official launch of the critically important 2012 presidential electoral process.
About the only thing that is certain at this point is that the Iowa results, be what they may, will be spun six ways to Sunday by the campaigns, their supporters and the talking heads in the media.
In these analyses, motive will be long and truth hard to find as everyone tries to seize the momentum. Which is really about the only role Iowa plays as it is far from a microcosm of the American people and the caucus process itself is suspect in many ways.
As things stand, the odds makers say Mitt Romney will prevail with Ron Paul coming in a very close second, the results of which could easily flip flop. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will battle it out for third place, with Rick Perry potentially factoring in. It's very likely that Iowa will spell the end of Michele Bachmann's 2012 efforts and Jon Huntsman, who's putting all his eggs in a New Hampshire basket, will be an afterthought.
With the media being diligent in it's never ending quest to remove all obstacles to the progressive Shangri-la it so desires, a trend already beginning to play out is to cast the electoral results as the death knell of the tea party.
We will be told that this is supposed to be the year that the tea party picked the Republican presidential candidate, a 'great opportunity for conservatives to finally get a nominee without compromising'. And any success by Romney, Gingrich or even Ron Paul will be used as the measuring stick to point out the utter failure of this objective.
Newsflash... no it's not!
The success or failure of the tea party will be predicated on one fact and one fact alone, that being the fate of Barack Obama. Replacing the current occupant of the White House is the key aspiration of the tea party, a fact confirmed in a recent Rasmussen poll. Not to suggest that it doesn't matter which candidate accomplishes this, but it's not the driving factor.
Of course, politics being what it is, it will be confusing because at the same time the media is selling you on the impending doom of the tea party, the frontrunners will all be trying to convince us that they are the tea party candidate. Particularly Ron Paul.
News flash... no he's not!
Ron Paul will be the one candidate that will get an assist from the media in propagating the idea that he is the tea party choice because it serves their ultimate goal to associate the movement with some of his more quirky ideas. If successful in that endeavor, the media will then expose those ideas for what they see them as, 'killing two birds with one stone' if you will.
Additionally, any lack of success by Bachmann, Perry or Santorum will also be hung around the neck of the tea party, used by the media to highlight the inability of the movement to push the candidates that best represents it's values to the forefront. Particularly Bachmann, being Chair of the tea party caucus in Congress.
Newsflash... no it's not!
Since the historic success of it's early days when there was a laser focus on T.A.R.P., Stimulus I & II and ObamaCare, the tea party has become very fragmented and it's purpose waylaid by far too many self serving principles calling themselves 'leaders'. The one consistency that remains is the understanding of how damaging four more years of Obama can be. The realization that this man has emboldened the enemies, both foreign and domestic, of a free and prosperous America like no other.
In what may very well be the only remaining success of this great awakening known as the tea party, defeating Barack Obama in 2012 is job one and the average, everyday Americans who've always been the strength of the tea party are looking for that one candidate that can accomplish this, ideology aside.
Which explains why Bachmann, Perry and Santorum struggle to resonate more than they do - the perception being that they do not have what it takes to defeat Obama in the general election.
Some may call placing ideology aside selling out, capitulating or simply the maturation of the tea party toward the realities of politics, but I think it's indicative of something else all together. And that is, when it comes to defeating Barack Obama, failure is not an option.