Tuesday, January 03, 2012

How To Properly Interpret The Iowa Caucuses

There is no more over-hyped event in presidential politics than this non-binding caucus.  Unless it is the Ames straw poll, which led to the dropout of Tim Pawlenty and Thaddeus McCotter.  Either of which would have been the hot "not-Romney" right now, if they had the guts not to be intimidated by a "straw poll" months before the actual caucus.

But there is no real reason for the over-hyped importance of this one political event, save that it is the first of the season, and it gives the media something to pontificate over for months before and weeks afterwards.  Think of baseball, and the overwhelming focus put on opening day, with gallons of ink spilled prognostication the teams fortunes based on 1/162nd of the regular season?  To wit:

Over the last 25 years, skipping 1994, the eventual World Series winners have a cumulative opening day record of 14 wins and 11 loses.

Five of the last seven World Series winners
[up until 2009 - ed.] lost on opening day. The exceptions are the 2005 Chicago White Sox and 2006 St. Louis Cardinals.

Need more?

In the National League, the New York Mets have enjoyed the most success over the years at that first home game, according to the Baseball Almanac . With a record of 29-19, the Mets have the best Opening Day winning percentage, followed by the Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs. That's right, the Cubs have won 56.7 percent of their 134 Opening Days...

And can I take a quick shot at Iowa, while I'm at it? Just flipping over the golden-brown pancake of rural picture-perfection to show the side that's a bit...burnt.  Matt Labash over at The Daily Caller:

...we continue this charade every four years, why? So that we can pretend as though Iowa is the rural, Platonic ideal of America, when its hype isn’t even accurately representative of itself, according to my Wikipedia sources. While reporters are fond of interviewing salt-of the-earth farmers over Iowa’s bevy of meth dealers or government employees (the latter of which account for 10.4 percent of their economy), over 60 percent of Iowa’s population now lives in urban areas, and only 3.5 percent of its gross domestic product is attributable to the production of raw agricultural goods. Meanwhile, less than one percent of the tallgrass prairie that formerly covered the state remains intact. The better to plant more corn to suck up ethanol subsidies (one third of Iowa’s corn is consumed by ethanol production), subsidies which until recently being allowed to expire, were a $5-billion-a-year-racket that caused corn prices to surge as much as 17 percent for the rest of us. Thanks, Hawkeye State!

Hmmm...maybe that explains some of the media's infatuation with a state they'd normally mocked with weary sighs and well-practiced affectations?

They don't really still vote like this, do they?  Do they??

But maybe there is some good that comes out of the Iowa caucuses. If you are yellow-bellied enough to quit after a tough loss on Opening Day, if that's all you got, well... certainly you don't have what it takes to be president of the United States. Come to think of it, even the aforementioned Pawlenty and McCotter, two men who I admired, don't deserve to be here today. If you quit during warmups....

So when interpreting the results, here's what to look for: Not the "winners", not the "losers", but the quitters. Wave your white hanky at them, and be glad to be rid of them, for if they can't move past Iowa and the false importance the media puts on this contrived event, they were never presidential timber anyway.

Let's see who can do a gut-check, and still move forward, in this year unlike any other. Rick Perry, I'm looking at you...

No comments: