Iowa

If Iowa turns out like this:

(1) Ron Paul

(2) Romney

(3) Gingrich

(4) Everybody else

My intuition is that everybody else will be essentially ruled out, Gingrich will be mostly out of the running (but will not drop out), Paul will be decisively defeated in the later Republican primaries, and Romney wins  out.  (Apparently I'm not the only one with this point of view; see page 2 of this article from Politico:  "If Mitt finishes first or second, does it really matter?").  The Politico thinks Romney is in "striking distance" of winning outright, as well.   

If instead it is:

(1) Paul

(2) Gingrich

(3) Romney

(4) Everybody else

That is a more difficult case.  Or, really, any case where Gingrich comes out ahead of Romney (say, Gingrich 1, Romney 2; the Politico article mentioned earlier also noted that estimates of Paul strength may be too high).  But right now, Fox News seems to be suggesting that they believe it will be Paul, Romney, and then Gingrich.  CNN suggests the same thing, although the polling numbers they have must be within the margins of error: Paul 21%, Romney 20%, Gingrich 19%.  The poll reported in The Hill has Paul 24%, Romney 20%, and Gingrich at 13%

In any case, if Romney comes out ahead of Gingrich, he really will be happy to tell him his "humorous anecdote face to face."  It is also possible that Gingrich will be forced to admit that even those who go out under the slogan "victory or death" sometimes get death rather than victory. 

Lastly, the Iowa vote counting has been moved to an "undisclosed location" in the state, which means we've finally figured out where Dick Cheney was for all those years: Iowa.