The Iowa Caucuses are silly (but we're all watching)


We all know (or we ought to) that Iowa is radically unrepresentative of the United States and that the Iowa Caucuses are a dumb barometer for choosing a president and that only really insane news media coverage has made this into such a big event. And this year it's a freak show, complete with Santorum Salad and a weird World War II reference and that creepy guy calling that deadly dull guy a liar and lots of other fun Republican tomfoolery.

But here's the question for those of us who don't vote in Iowa (and wouldn't be hanging out at a Republican caucus anyway): Is it better for one of the major-league wingnuts to win, or should we all hope that Mitt Romney, who is going to be the nominee anyway, comes out ahead and we can stop wasting our time talking about Michelle Bachman, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and that guy named Santorum?

Seriously: Is it better for the country to have the Republicans look even crazier than they really are, and have someone who's gone far off the deep end become the front-runner, and leave Obama looking like the only grownup in the race -- or is it better if Iowans dismiss the worst of the worst and go with someone who's just a typical opportunistic sack of shit but who once managed to run the liberal state of Massachussetts and probably wouldn't attempt to have half of San Francisco locked in prison on general principles?

I must admit, I'm tempted to root for the nutjobs.


Hahahahahaha! Oh man, I laughed for like ten minutes straight after reading this. This is comedy genius. Obama looking like a grownup? Bahahahahaha... Brilliant man, brilliant.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

It's actually a lot more typical than San Francisco. And it's in places like that that national elections are won. Maybe you should try and understand the 3,000 miles between here and NYC a little better?

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

Maybe you should consider the fact that Iowa has less than half the population of the Bay Area before you decide what a "typical" representation of the United States actually is.

Posted by Guessed on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

even a town of 5,000 people can be typical if it votes the way the nation votes.

If you truly believe that San Francisco is more typical than Des Moines, you need to get out more.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 12:23 am

The whole point of the electoral college (and more importantly, the Senate) is to draw influence away from the large population centers where the vast majority of Americans live. Of course a town in the corn belt is going to be more representative of the way the nation "votes" (if by votes you're referring to the actual process of making laws) because there are a half dozen states whose population is less than that of San Francisco and yet they each get two Senators to represent them. -- It's the fundamental flaw in our system of government.

Posted by Guessed on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 2:29 am

If it was a strict head count, politicians would only campaign in CA, NY, TX, FL and a few other large States.

The founding fathers were careful to ensure wehave checks and balances, and this was a nod to the diea that we are a federation of 50, and not one large mass like France.

And as noted, Iowa is far more representative of how the nation votes than SF.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 5:03 am

If we're a federation of 50 that means we're not one nation like you say we are. I agree, we're a very diverse country - especially in SF. :)

Iowa, however is 91% white and has no major cities. It doesn't take a genius to see that making such a state the threshing board every primary season causes serious distortions in voting.

The current system makes it so the 3,000 miles between CA and NY do behave like a single voting block that can easily dominate the Senate. There's no check to balance their backwardness and they survive fundamentally on farm subsidies. Now what European country does that sound like?

Posted by Guessed on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 11:31 am

All I said is that Iowa is closer to being "typical" US than SF, which is true. Tim doesn't believe that. He's wrong.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

If that's really the case then it makes the strongest argument for the abolition of the electoral campaign I've ever seen.

Posted by H. Monk-Brown CI on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

States like Iowa and Ohio can swing either way. It's the marginal States that hold the balance - CA and TX largely cancel each other out.

Iowa also punches above it's weight because it's the first to go. I like the fact that small states like IA and NH gets so much influence early on, else they'd be ignored.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 12:25 am

Maybe I need some help understanding what it is that we call "democracy?" What is the point of a representative system? What exactly does it "represent?" Dirt? Tracts of land? Or is it supposed to represent *people*?

If it's the former, then I can understand why our system is the way it is. But if in fact it's supposed to represent people (as in, human beings), then in a representative democracy one person gets one vote, and everybody's vote counts equally.

If that's not the case... well you can make all sorts of arguments why a system that gives the votes of a few thousand cowpokes in flyover country more weight than all of the people in say New York City put together is so awesome. If you think that's amazing and brilliant, well you certainly have a right to your opinion.

Just don't try to tell me that this is a democracy.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

You just love extolling its virtues.

Yeah, Texas and California "largely cancel each other out." Except that CA has nearly 20 more electoral votes than Texas.

Posted by H. Monk-Brown CI on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

Throw in Arkansas and Oaklahoma and ou're close enough for government work.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 05, 2012 @ 4:40 am
Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 5:20 am

to root for their cavalcade of Chris Daly's, after passing meaningless foreign policy resolutions, and then call the far right wingnuts?

Michelle Bachman is as rational as Chris Daly.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 10:19 am

You certainly echo his talking points.

Michele Bachmann thinks vaccines cause mental retardation, women should be submissive and god speaks through her husband, insinuates that Democratic presidents are responsible for swine flu, and we could wipe out unemployment if only we eliminated the minimum wage.

Chris Daly fought for increasing the minimum wage, getting people health care coverage and sick leave, and keeping developers in check.

Yes, I can see how they're totally the same thing! At least in Troll-world.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

I just read her wiki paid, she's as crazy as Daly.

I have relatives who live in SW Minnesota and laugh at how doctrinaire and stupid she is, thanks for the post.

Bachman is as crazy as Daly, glad you agree.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

,,imstead of bitching about us. We're some of the best educated people in the country. I also have to agree we are much more representative of the nation than San Francisco. Whatever our respective party is, we get to look at the contenders close up,,, and they have to look us in the eye. Besides, we can't figure why everyone thinks the caucuses are such a big deal. It isn't primary,,just a beauty contest.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 05, 2012 @ 1:40 am