Views on politics and current events

Friday, January 04, 2008

Random Thoughts On The Iowa Caucuses

After spending the previous evening watching the beginning of Campaign '08, I'm going to be a real wet blanket and ask "What the hell's the big whoopin' deal?"

First, the Iowa Caucus system itself. Perhaps we need a politician to be resurrected from the 19th century to explain it, because that's the kind of system it appears to be. Just a few tidbits about this caucus-come-fiasco:

* How in hell does an Iowan become a caucus participant? Register? Beg? Steal? Visit The Great Ear Of Corn in the Holy of Holies Corn Field to be anointed? All I've heard is that to become a caucus participant (caucuser?) ain't easy. 'Natch.

* People have to travel to the their caucus location.

* There are actually two caucuses (is the plural for caucus like the plural for cactus? Cacti, Cauci?) one for Democrats and one for Republicans. Each one is run differently than the other, just for the fun of it.

* A candidate needs 15% of the total votes for their votes to 'count'.

* If the candidate does not get 15%, they can 'give' their votes to someone else. Wait a minute, if that's the case, their votes do count. Just not for them. Sorry for the confusion.

* There are people standing in the corner of the room, trying to 'lure' people to their choice of candidate. What do they use for bait? Booze? Drugs? Money? A night on the town? A lollipop?

* Delegates that are elected (I think (?) there are delegates elected) are not obligated or bound to their candidate.

* There are Super Delegates. What makes them Super? Damned if I know.

* The population of the state of Iowa is right around 3 million people, with about 2.1 million registered to vote. There was an incredible amount of hooplah about how many caucus participants there were. About 210,000, last I heard. So all of the fireworks from politicians and the media because 10% of the citizens of Iowa participated? In a system that is not easy to participate in. In an antiquated system that gets a lot of publicity for being the 'first' caucus or primary, but in reality is mostly a revenue producer for the state of Iowa.

Iowa, like most of the rest of the states in this country is in pretty bad economic shape. If politicians want to go there and blow millions on a campaign, I'll not begrudge Iowa reaping a little monetary gain. But give me a break. You'd think the results were astounding, revelatory, incredible, or whatever other inane superlative the media mouth-jockeys said last night.

To be sure, the results are interesting, and I'm still thinking about all of them. But an earth-shaking thunder clap calling for change? Hardly. More like a fart from a tired old mouse in the corner. Nothing personal, my friends in Iowa, but I think your caucus system needs overhauled.

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