Category Archives: mike huckabee

>REACT: Iowa caucuses are quaint, but un-American

>I almost made huge embarrassing blunder. Yes. It is true. I almost made a mistake … but only almost.

You see, I checked the Iowa returns on Google. I was stunned to “discover” that Barack Obama only got 4688 votes, while GOP winner, Michael Huckabee, got 40,000. Noting the apathy on the Democrat side, I hastily sent off letters-to-the-editor.

Then my brain kicked in. There is no way Obama could have gotten so few votes. The press kept talking about “record turnout.” Then I recalled that the Republicans and Democrats play a completely different game. The sensible GOP tells you the vote count, while the Dems have some convoluted formula to express the results in delegate count.

In my investigation, I also noted that there is another very telling difference in the Iowa caucus methodology. Republicans rely on a secret ballot – you know one of the most important and most basic of our essential freedoms as set forth in the Constitution by our really smart founders. Not so the donkey party. In the Democrat caucuses, every person has to publicly profess his or her choice. (This is the same concept that congressional Democrats support when they want to eliminate the secret ballot in union elections – a measure opposed by 9 out of 10 Americans.)

Now, I can go on and on about how publicly declared voting can subject the participants to intimidation and corruption, but go check out the opinions of the founders who put it into the Constitution. They are pretty articulate on the subject.

That is not the only un-American feature of the Iowa caucuses. Consider this. All the caucuses have to take place in a fixed two hours. Hardly enough opportunity for broad participation. There is no provision for absentee balloting, so travelers and all the Iowa troops overseas are disenfranchised. That’s right. The good soldiers, who arguably have the most at stake in terms of the presidential election, have no say in Iowa.

Even with a bumper crop of caucus participants, as was the case this year, the voting base is so small and so unrepresentative of the general population that the grandiose conclusions drawn from the results are mere ethereal hype. The Iowa caucus exists like the wizard in the Emerald City. Behind the big, bellowing voice we hear in the media is a very puny, and deeply flawed, institution. Put another way, Iowa is a very small tail wagging a very large dog.

Oh yeah. I had to sheepishly rescind my letter to the editor least my ignorance be too well publicized. You know, I do everything possible to keep it hidden.

>OBSERVATION: Iowa and New Hampshire (yawn)

>Well … finally we are in the home stretch of the Iowa caucuses, to be quickly followed by the New Hampshire primary. Like Paris Hilton, they seem to enjoy an enormous amount of publicity solely because they exist.

The “first in the nation” status gives them unique advantage. First, the start off position provides them with disproportionate publicity for many weeks leading up to the votes. Succeeding primaries have to wait to receive press attention until the results of earlier votes. In some cases, the national media spotlight does not hit a state until a week or two before the vote.

Secondly, they have an appearance of importance that is belied but hindsight. Rarely do the outcomes of these states provide any real insight or advantage to the future candidacy. In fact, they are venues in which the most obvious front runners do well or where the future losers seem to look like winners for a very short time. In either case, the impact of Iowa and New Hampshire on the race is dubious at best.

This may be due to the fact that, despite chest beating to the contrary, the folks in Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of the American fabric. For one thing, they don’t have any big city, urban citizens. Their “opinion” of the candidates does not carry much weight in the rest of the country. These two small states produce warm homilies and pretty imagery – classic Americana – but little political capital.

After all, what is the importance of a win in Iowa and New Hampshire if a candidate is going to take a drubbing in states like California, New York and Illinois? Conversely, what is the importance of a win in Iowa and New Hampshire if a candidate already is poised to carry states like California, New York and Illinois? We tend to give a lot of importance to Iowa and New Hampshire prior to the vote, and then completely ignore the results as the contest heads to the big delegate states.

Iowa and New Hampshire are like the coming attractions at the movies. No matter how interesting they try to make them, you’re glad when they are over and you can move on to the main feature.