Right now the Democrats are all about Iowa.
And right now the Gang of 500 is all about Clinton, Obama, Clinton, Obama, Clinton, Obama, Clinton, Obama, Clint...
Wait, what's that?
John Edwards has got what?
Iowa's first lady has decided to back Johnny?
Cue the "John Edwards has proved, yet again, that Iowa is a 3-person race" chatter.
Wait 24 hours.
And then watch as the Gang of 500 goes back to Clinton, Obama, Clinton, Obama, Clinton, Obama.
It's all fairly silly. But that's not our point.
Our point is that Edwards can just as easily win Iowa as can Clinton or Obama. This has always been true. And it should remain true up until January 3rd. No matter what the Gang of 500 is pontificating about at any particular time.
Let's assume (while trying not to make an ass out of u or me) that Edwards does win Iowa.
New Hampshire is 5 days later. Where Edwards has lagged in the polls, about 15 points off front-runner Clinton.
Now we would argue, having spent the last 14 months on the ground in New Hampshire, that Edwards has lagged behind Clinton and Obama in the Granite State not because he hasn't put in the time in New Hampshire or built the organization, but because Clinton and Obama have sucked up all (most) of the available political oxygen.
Clinton and Obama, at this time, are just "shinier" to New Hampshire voters. Which definitely counts. Until it doesn't.
So back to our "Edwards wins Iowa" assumption.
That's a pretty shine producing move on Edwards part. And a pretty un-shining move on Clinton and Obama's part.
Especially after all the Clinton, Obama, Clinton, Obama talk.
So, on the night of January 3rd, newly shiny Edwards gets on a plane for New Hampshire.
And, when Edwards lands in Manchester, he lands in the open arms of a political organization that is ready, willing and able to capitalize on their guy's new found shininess.
That counts. And that counts big time.
In fact, it counts (in our very humble opinion) right around 15 points.
So if Iowa is a 3-person race, which it most certainly is, New Hampshire is a 3-person race as well.
At least until January 3rd.