Presidential politics: Let the BS begin

The media is all gaga over the Iowa caucuses this evening. At least the media have done a pretty good job lately of explaining just what the hell a caucus is. That takes some doing, especially the Democratic version which is more like a cross between a country square dance and a tribal mating ritual practiced by the lost tribes of the Dog Islands. In reality, Dog Island is a Florida Gulf Coast barrier island and although it may have been inhabited as far back as 8,000 years ago it hasn’t been Metropolis as of late. And I don’t know if any tribes were lost there or even existed.

After (the caucus in) Iowa is over the pack o’ press will be heading for New Hampshire where they get to stand around in the snow and watch those presidential candidates who didn’t drop out — after getting beaten in Iowa like a rented mule — stand around outside factory gates and kiss factory workers or work the quaint little cafes shaking hands with babies. Or maybe I got that backwards. Oh well, who knows and who knows whether it all makes a difference. A lot of people put great stock in these early exercises in democracy, which are coincidentally the only places throughout the only presidential election process in which retail politics are actually practiced on the “neighbor grocery” level.

Of course, inevitably other localities across the nation seem to believe, like the editorial board of the Austin American Statesman, that much ado is made about quite a bit due to actions of a few corn farmers in Iowa. But one has to admit that the Statesman board like hundreds of similar newspaper executives and civic leaders across the country aren’t happy unless their city is the center of the universe. And in a big-picture type of sense they have a valid argument.

One would think a democracy would have more emphasis during the process of electing its leaders on bringing in as many folks as possible to do the “pre-pre-election” before the “pre-election” a.k.a. the party conventions. But nothing is perfect and that is perhaps more prevalent a phenomenon in politics than in any other facet of life with maybe the exception of picking a cellular phone company.

Frankly, I have felt disenfranchised during the last two elections as a voter in Texas. Of course, since I hold no sway over the idiots of the Supreme Court who elected Gee Dubya the first time, it would have made little difference in 2000. I honestly don’t know what the harm would be from a nationwide primary election, or just let matters be a free-for-all until the conventions, much like it was in the olden days. Why, nations with parliamentary forms of government can form a government upon the sneezing of a prime minister. And last but not least, the Electoral College? Give me a break. I would rather a president be picked on the basis of an arm wrestling, tomahawk-throwing or rail-splitting contest than under our system which waits patiently each four years for a royal screw-up every four years.

Oh, and while we are at it, I would like to see the presidential election season drastically shortened from just after the concession speech until the last lawyer figures out they can’t get an injunction to stop the results before going before our “college” of electors. In other words, the presidential election should be a sprint rather than a marathon. I mean, after all, it seems like we have fared just as well with accidental presidents than with those whose campaign took a geological epoch to transpire. (Just a firm opinion, Gee Dubya Bush was no accident. At least, not as a president.)

The reality is that no one of importance ever listens to me so nothing I said above will have any impact on the current state of the presidential electoral process. Knowing some of the bone-headed things I have done over my past half-century, you might decide upon closer examination that, like Martha Stewart so elegantly puts it: ” … is a good thing.”

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