Well, the good voters of IA have caucused, and have selected a moderate evangelical democrat from Hope Arkansas, and an even further left wing cipher.
Now, I generally like organic tradition, a la Russell Kirk. I also generally like heterogeneity and quirkiness. It is somewhat refreshing that rural Iowans and grumpy Granite Staters have such a large say in our electoral system, especially since so much of what goes on in this country seems predetermined in some well-funded conference room full of people mildly afraid and hugely disdainful of average Americans.
So from that perspective it is gratifying to find those candidates most obviously designed in those conference rooms– Romney and Clinton– dealt a demoralizing defeat by just those Americans over Swedish meatballs and warm cider in a hundred high school gyms and living rooms in the IA caucuses last night
Why, exactly, should the votes of a few hundred Iowans matter so much to the future of our country? One is reminded of the famous speech in the movie Bull Durham, which I’ve mentioned here before in a different context, about the difference in baseball between a career minor leaguer and hall of famer being one hit a week. Should the course of our country be based on such obviously fickle vicissitudes? A couple family crises and a broken-down bus on the way to a caucus site could have made all the difference last night for any number of candidates. Now we’re stuck with the withdrawal of Chris Dodd and Joe Biden!
It is well established on this site that I think it is an absurdity verging on a representative miscarriage that the people of Pennsylvania– and many other states– have little say in the presidential primary process. That miscarriage seems all the more obvious when the two winners out of IA are so similar, and so similarly wrong.
In purely parochial concerns, one of my commenters recently suggested GOP bigwig Bob Asher has been recently spotted genuflecting in Mitt Romney’s direction. Wouldn’t it be funny if such a consummate insider had to find a way to explain that away because his new favorite candidate never got a chance to even run in PA?
Finally, we should note in this space that last night’s result was pretty much ideal for Giuliani, given the fact that Team Rudy chose to skip IA altogether. Romney is dealt a huge defeat, and Thompson and McCain do OK, thereby keeping the field wide open. McCain appears poised to win NH. SC will be a scramble. Then FL comes around, where Rudy still polls on top.
It’s white knuckle time over at Team Rudy. Their “national strategy” is about to be tested. They’ve been quiet, letting the other candidates spend time, money, and moral capital over two early states with not many delegates at stake. They plan to plant their flag in FL, then roll up delegates in NJ, NY, CA, and IL on Tsunami Tuesday.
So they have to win FL. Then on Super Duper Tuesday, if they win MO, they will be in the cat bird seat. If the Feb. 5 results are more mixed, maybe we will get to cast a vote that matters here in PA. If Rudy can’t win FL, though, it’s looking like McCain or Huck. Who knows, though?