Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thinking About Tomorrow

(Tomorrow being the day of the Iowa caucus, if you're late to this post.)

I'm one of many people who think there's a lot wrong with starting the presidential primaries in two small, non-representative states. There is something good to be said about the opportunity for "retail politics," I think -- much as I dislike Mike Huckabee, he's an example of a less well-funded hopeful being able to compete, at least at the starting line. Nonetheless, the way these things get magnified by their coverage, the "momentum" factor grows all out of proportion to the number of people who get to vote this early. As a result, a ridiculously small group prunes the list of candidates from which the rest of us are left to choose.

But I didn't think it was as bad as this story about the exclusivity of the Iowa caucus suggests:

In 2000, the last year in which both parties held caucuses, 59,000 Democrats and 87,000 Republicans voted, in a state with 2.9 million people. In 2004, when the Republicans did not caucus, 124,000 people turned out for the Democratic caucuses.

Would that my vote counted that much.

Ah, well. Maybe someday.

In the meantime, here's a message from Pat Condell that I'd like to pass along to all of my Iowa readers registered to vote in the Republican caucus.

Thanks to PZ for introducing me to Pat.


Adam said...

There are literally no good Republican candidates. There is not a single one with which I don't have such serious ideological problems that they seem significantly better than Hil-dog.

I know people don't like Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton, and Clinton's head may explode if he's the first husband and has to keep it in his pants for another 8 years, but I think that's what I'm rooting for.

The Exterminator said...

The simplistic way the media treats the shenanigans in Iowa -- as if the collective caucuses were some sort of oracle -- is ridiculous. But it's also dangerous. In a non-idiot country, Iowa and New Hampshire couldn't be responsible for creating any "momentum." We'd all reason as you did: these are two small and non-representative states.

Unfortunately, we live in a nation where some amorphous, perceived "electability" is a more important qualification than knowledge, intelligence, rationality, scruples, political philosophy, and honesty. TV, pop magazines, and nonfiction best-sellers "tell" most of the unthinking ovine public whom to vote for.

That ignoramus Huckabee would be just a name to laugh about if the media hadn't propelled him into some "noteworthy" spot based on dubious polls. But, in my opinion, even considering him as a viable presidential candidate is a disaster for the country. As if we hadn't sunk low enough, Huckabee makes even G.W. Bush look like a goddamn genius. Only in a country as anti-intellectual as ours could either of those idiots be considered "men of the people." In most other places, the people would be insulted to think that.

bjkeefe said...


Really? Hillary in preference to the other Dems? Why, because she seems to you the most conservative, or the most competent, or what?


You're absolutely right about "electability." That meme makes me crazy. People should vote their consciences in the primaries -- it's a good way to send a message about what we want in future candidates, at least.

I also agree with your despair about the faux "man of the people" marketing tactic. I want my president to be someone better than me. Bartlet for America, I say.

I think Huckabee's close to flameout, but part of me wishes that weren't so, because he seems the easiest to defeat in the general election.