There's a sense history was made Thursday in Iowa's presidential caucuses, something meaningful that may telegraph a significant shift in American politics.
We're not referring directly to the novelty of a black, Sen. Barack Obama, winning an election and surging to the national lead on the Democratic side. Obama's larger-than-expected victory didn't come because Iowans thought it was keen to vote for a black man. Nor are we talking about former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's Republican caucus victory, seemingly with little more than homespun humor. Huckabee didn't triumph simply because he's funny.
Rather, as polar opposites politically, each man campaigned on the politics of what is possible, idealism and pragmatism, inclusive leadership that resonated across Iowa's frozen flatlands in a way that might not guarantee ultimate victory but surely will frame the rest of the '08 primary campaign and perhaps campaigns to come.
Neither race is over. The primary process is prism-like; there isn't a single view but multiple colors and shades depending on the angle. New Hampshire's primary Tuesday will offer a different view.
Iowa did give both races their first real definition. Obama won with 38 percent of the vote by pulling in new, younger voters. The number of caucus-goers reportedly doubled over 2004.