It’s coming down to the wire tonight in the Hawkeye State as the nation’s pre-eminent political bellwether absoposolutely crowns the very likely potential heir apparent to the Republican presidential nomination. (At least until next Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire.)
As they make their final swings through Iowa’s fabled Pizza Ranch outposts, the 2012 Republican hopefuls are finally pulling out the stylistic aces up their sleeves.
Here’s our take on the sprint to the finish (listed in descending order of ridiculousness):
Contender: Rick Santorum
Big guns: Google/sweater vests
The former Republican Senator from Pennsylvania is so excited about his eleventh-hour surge in the Midwest that he’s actually urging people to GOOGLE HIM (somewhere, Dan Savage is laughing his butt off). Not a bad plan — assuming everyone’s Internet search filters are set to “AMISH.” But the ultra-pious Pennsylvanian is hedging his bets by parading around in our favorite Iowan’s fashion accessory of choice: the sweater vest.
Contender: Next Gingrich
Big guns: fake humility/Callista Gingrich
The ex-Speaker from Georgia has all but conceded defeat in Iowa and appears to be placing his eggs in future polling baskets. Call us crazy, but trotting around your third wife/second mistress and claiming any semblance of credibility on the “family values” front seems absolutely insane.
Contender: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)
Big guns: Margaret Thatcher/the almighty
The pseudo-Sarah Palin has taken to name-checking another conservative lioness, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in the hopes of glomming onto any remaining ’80s-era grrrl power. When that doesn’t work, she LOVES to throw out how tight she is with J.C.
Contender: Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)
Big guns: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)/the apocalypse
Ron Paul has his son out there whipping up all the tea partyers he can. But his de facto running mate is the impending doom and gloom he has been preaching for the past several decades.
Contender: Mitt Romney
Big guns: Kim Kardashian jokes/veiled threats
The ultra-vanilla candidate most Republicans seem to find terribly unpalatable compared President Barack Obama’s job performance to the illusory marriage of a washed-up reality TV creation (*fingers crossed*). Ouch! Zing! But we were much more fascinated by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s pledge that if Iowans don’t hand Romney a victory, “I will be back — Jersey style.”
Contender: Jon Huntsman
Big guns: @Jon2012girls/Abby Huntsman. (‘Nuff said.)