THE SUICIDE WATCH: IOWA 2020
I was not as excited about Ioway, as the natives pronounce it, as all my cable news networks were the past few weeks.
Come to think of it, I wasn’t excited about it in 2016, 2012, 2008, 2004 or 1824, whenever the Caucus began.
Whoever wins, it won’t matter. Ask Pastor Huckabee, who even with the Good Lord on his side in 2008 only got a job at Fox News out of it. That’s not fair: it also helped him sell a lot of cancer cure and diabetes nostrums, and earned him the coveted encomium TV snake oil sales man of the year.
God didn’t help Rick Santorum in 2012, either, even though he was the only candidate with a Latin name, his other qualification being wearing a sweater vest, like Perry Como did on his TV show (it made him look sincere). But it did get him elevated to the position of Trump Yes-Man-in-Chief on CNN’s talkathon news panels.
Basically, the format of the Caucus is like a Politburo meeting in the old days of limited democracy in the USSR. Like Leninist democracy, it’s based on the principle of democratic centralism, in which a smaller group chooses for a bigger group. For example, the Communist Party took care of Soviet elections: “Comrades! We have decided that you voted for Comrade Stalin!”
Actually, the Ioway Caucus is less democratic than the Politburo election since it disenfranchises so many eligible voters: People who work on Tuesday nights; folks who can’t afford a baby-sitter; those away fighting our country’s battles on foreign shores; citizens out-of-town on business, or afraid of the dark.
It always seemed to me that the Caucus is an institution born out of long Ioway winters. You have a lot of folks in isolated areas spending months cooped up in their dwellings with nothing to do but stare out of frosted windows at fields covered with snow and scarecrows. They need a reason to get out of the house before, or after, they go stir crazy.
All of this, of course, was before the excitement of binge viewing, reading Facebook posts, or going south for the winter with the money the government they are against gave them for not planting soybeans or sorghum. The whole thing is about the chance for Iowayans to see themselves on TV, listening to candidates who show up for a donut and a cup of Joe in every nook and cranny of the state, from Waterloo to Oskaloosa. Santorum hit all 99 counties in 2012, for all the good it did him.
Amy Klobuchar was the peripatetic leader in 2020, pressing the flesh in all 99 counties. one of the reasons I would be voting for her in a more open democratic election. That and her best- in- the-race casserole dish.
The Ioway Caucus gives candidates a chance to promise to maintain price supports on crops, which the rest of us will pay for the next four years. Has a single candidate advocated getting rid of farm subsidies this election? We’d save about $40 or $50 billion a year, enough to start repairing urban decay.
But there I go again, bringing up issues. The Caucus is about personalities, who can eat more corndogs, or shake hands better, or says he loves ethanol more than anything, except God.
Don’t get me wrong. For thinking folks, it’s still a lot better than going bowling, playing speed scrabble or chess.
Normally, I would feel bad about being the last of the pundits to throw his weight around in the voting in Ioway. Given the inability of the Democratic Party math-challenged geniuses to count the votes, and with new results coming in daily, it may still be timely for me to say I vote for Amy Klobuchar and her casserole.
The Dems picking a candidate to face Porky Pig in the great train wreck of November apparently has been like trying to find a needle in the haystack.
They have been committing suicide for the last six months as the grim political Jonestown show moves on to New Hampshire for the first real primary.
I can’t wait to find out how my favorite candidate, Amy K, does in a state where the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye. No, that’s Oklahoma. Sorry.
May the best casserole win.
Marvin Kitman, Fifth Columnist
Feb. 10, 2020