I n our nation's sometimes confusing presidential selection process, Iowans will have their say today on who the Republican nominee to face Democrat President Barack Obama next November should be.
That gets the caucus and primary season rolling, with New Hampshire's primary coming days from now and primaries in South Carolina and Florida following not long after.
The front-runners in the nationwide GOP contest -- former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- hope to do well in the early contests to build momentum.
It is anyone's guess who may win in Iowa, though, with Texas Congressman Ron Paul coming on strong in recent weeks. Romney is expected to win in New Hampshire, and Gingrich holds leads in South Carolina and Florida.
Critics of the Republican hopefuls point out that all of them have some political "baggage" that they will have to overcome in the primaries -- and that one of them ultimately will have to overcome in the general election against Obama.
But while we freely acknowledge that there is no George Washington nor Abraham Lincoln among the Republican candidates, we can state without reservation that any of the GOP hopefuls is leagues ahead of Obama in understanding how the economy works and in respecting the principles of limited, constitutional government.
By tomorrow, we should know whom the voters of Iowa prefer as their Republican standard-bearer against Obama. And in subsequent weeks we'll learn the same from other states. Once the GOP nominee is set, there is, of course, no guarantee that he will defeat Obama in November. But we may be assured that the nominee will present ideas and policies in refreshing contrast to those of the incumbent.