Iowa is wondering if the caucuses will still hold the same oomph that they have delivered in the past. Sure they elevated Huckabee in 2008, but that wasn't enough to gain him the nomination. New Hampshire and South Carolina were more important for the nomination. Would Romney do better there this year? It's hard to say. Pawlenty is counting on doing well. If he does, pundits will dismiss that victory as just what he needed to do given that he comes from a neighboring state. Though if he does poorly, that could be a death blow to his candidacy. If Michelle Bachmann does well, does anyone think that she truly has a real shot at the nomination? The same thing goes for Herman Cain.
Iowa might be important enough to kill off some candidacies, but it may well not have the kingmaker role that it has claimed in the past. That would be a blessing. There is no reason that a state as unrepresentative as Iowa should have such a hold on our nation's politics. And its influence on ethanol policy is so pernicious. That is why it would be a blessing if Pawlenty did well in Iowa. It would be a very good thing if he demonstrated that a candidate could oppose ethanol subsidies in Iowa and still do well there.