Avuncular former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack is dropping out of the Democrats' presidential race. This is actually news, and not because Vilsack was the lone Democrat (or, hell, Republican) who favored dramatic Social Security reform. With him out, there's no favorite son spoiling the Iowa caucuses, preventing county chairs from endorsing Hillary or Obama or John Edwards' hair. And Vilsack, who sat Buddha-like through the 2004 caucuses, can swing support to his favorite candidate. So a 2008 race that was already in early overdrive just went into super-early uber-overdrive. As the Hotline puts it:
Iowa Democrats: no longer can you hide behind Gov. Vilsack as a reason for not taking Sen. Hillary Clinton's phone call. No more excuses.
I'm not sure if Iowa has a GOP kingmaker anymore, after the party was shellacked in the 2006 elections.