In the first presidential primary of 2008, Iowans have sent a message to the MSM, their fellow Americans, and the candidates. That message: Don’t tell US who to vote for! We’ll make up our own minds, thank you.

For the last year, the MSM has been non-stop in promoting its version of the general election: Clinton vs. Guiliani. Sure, other candidates have gotten their face time and exposure, but by and large, ever since they announced their candidacies, Clinton and Guiliani have “been the ones to beat,” at least so far as the media has been concerned. In Iowa at least, the media and the people are not necessarily of the same mind.

Selecting Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee in their primary caucus, Iowa pushed Clinton into 3rd place on the Democrat side of things and Guiliani down to 6th, after Ron Paul even, on the Republican ticket. Perhaps the days of media crowned politicians may finally be coming to an end? Too early to tell, but the signs from Iowa are encouraging.

For Democrats, Iowans chose Obama with 38% of the votes, followed by Edwards with 30% and Hillary with 29%. Republicans gave Huckabee a similar margin with 34% of the votes over Romney’s 25% and McCain and Thompson tying with 13% each.

These returns hold some promise for me personally. Promise in that Americans are finally seeming to come out of their self-induced apathy and are taking an active role in their government. If the 2006 mid-term elections were meant to be a wake-up call to the GOP and the president, then 2008 may well be a wake-up call to all the politicians. Clearly voters are less than happy with the path taken by the Democratic majority in Congress, at least as unhappy as with the GOP led debacle of the last 6 years. Their demand for change has gone unheard and unmet by the politicians and this primary makes it more clear than ever that status quo doesn’t cut it anymore.

Clinton and Guiliani are of the same mold as all the leadership in place now. Obama, Edwards, Huckabee and Romney at least appear to Iowans to show promise of a new direction for America, and voters of both parties are grabbing at that chance.

I like Obama and Edwards, much more than I do Clinton. So from a liberal perspective, I agree with Iowans tonight. And while I think that Huckabee is too religiously oriented for my taste, the last time we had an Arkansan in the White House, things weren’t all that bad.

Of course, one primary does not make a nomination, but already Dodd and Biden are throwing in the towel, and more are sure to follow in the coming days and weeks. The battle is just beginning, and with New Hampshire just ahead, this thing is wide open. But I’m glad to see that the first official contest wasn’t a coronation of media frontrunners or politicians who think they are entitled to and deserve the top job just because “it’s their turn and they’ve earned it.”

(cross posted at Bring It On!)