In Defense of IowaPosted 4 January 2012 by Wee Bey
Well, it looks like old Landslide Romney did it again. Eight fucking votes.
It took him four years, somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million and all the SuperPac money a nice Mormon guy can get dropped in his lap like gold plates from heaven, but he finally won the Iowa caucuses, though he stayed within the Duggar Margin of Error. That he won with nearly the same amount of votes as he got in losing badly to Mike Huckabee last time around seems uncharitable to mention. Then again, we’re uncharitable.
Now that the entire Beltway press corps has caught the 6 a.m. flight out of DSM, we’re about to be treated to a round of stories about how Iowa isn’t that important. It’s become the contrarian conventional wisdom to slag Iowa.
But I’d like to take a moment, while all the wags are on a whisper jet somewhere over Indiana, and praise the obscure corn farmers and window salesmen who get our presidential process started.
Sure, Iowa is lily-white, prone to cranky, crazy politics on the right flank and byzantine to an unseemly amount. Stipulated. But, having lived there for a few years, those people take their responsibility in this process seriously. And that’s more than I can say for most of what passes for a political press in this country.
As the effects of the Citizens United decision continue to corrode our elections process, here’s the most important thing about Iowa: You can’t buy it. Hillary Clinton couldn’t buy it four years ago, and Mitt Romney has bid and failed twice, now. Sure, Mittens was the nominal winner this time out, but that was because there were no better options, not because Iowans changed their mind about the man. One of my favorite Iowa stories from the 2008 caucuses came when some imprudent field staffer for Rudy Giuliani managed to piss off a longtime precinct captain. She lived on a farm, if memory serves — and even if she didn’t, it makes for a better story — and St. Rudy of the Rubble, who at the time led the national polls, had to get on a plane and fly from New York to meet with this woman, in her home. He had to sit there and drink her Sanka and apologize profusely. Cause Rudy needed votes, and no one went through this woman’s precinct without talking to her first.
Too much power for an Iowa farmwife? Maybe. Better than starting the process out in a state such as Virginia or Florida, somewhere with a much higher population that can be carpet-bombed from the airwaves into submission? Almost certainly.
As Charles Pierce points out over at Esquire, the Santorum Surge was no great victory for a post-Citizens United world. And Newt Gingrich might yet have his revenge for the flood of negative ads Romney’s money people sent his way. But from what I can tell, none of the other Republicans got past Romney in this caucus for a simple reason — none of them put in the work. Well, Ron Paul’s people probably did. But Ron Paul’s people are crazy. Which is sorta the definition of being a Ron Paul person.
Mitt Romney will trot out an endorsement from John McCain today, repaying a debt that’s been owed since Mittens dropped out the last time. And he’ll win New Hampshire. Then the hellscape that is sure to be South Carolina, where Newt Gingrich should make his last stand, can begin. But this thing is almost sure to be over by Super Tuesday, when Mitt can spread his money out like a drunk frat boy at the titty bar.
Still and all, those fine folks in Iowa have already told the world all it needs to know about this GOP race: Everyone wishes Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry would go back from whence they came. And no one’s really excited about voting for Mitt Romney. Just cause they’re from Iowa doesn’t make ‘em wrong.