I can't think of a more appropriate way to begin the Republican caucus day in Iowa, than with Chris Matthews' closing segment of Hardball Monday night. This stinging rebuke should haunt Mitt Romney for years to come.
'"Let Me Finish" tonight with this", Matthews begins:
This Republican caucus in Iowa has the looks of a travesty, a victory of dollars over democracy, financial equity over equality.
Romney is destroying the only opponent he fears for the nomination, with the relentless wealth-driven advertising campaign the voter can only escape if he turns off his television set. He`s doing it without his fingerprints on the ads, without his face or his name attached to it. He`s doing it while he stands before crowds, reciting their verses from "America the Beautiful".
If there`s ever been a more cynical use of money and media, it is hard to recall it. And so, what exactly will Tuesday nights results mean, will they mean that Iowa likes Romney? Or will it say that the voters of Iowa have been used to destroy his most formidable national opponent?
What it looks like Iowa will say, in the headlines at least, is what it says often, that it likes the candidate who adheres most closely to the evangelical line. In this case, they have a perfect vessel, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. He`s pro-life, he educates his children at home, he`s opposed to same sex marriage. He is to the evangelicals and other Christian conservatives, one of them.
So, if Santorum gets up around the high 30s tomorrow night, that will be about right.