Monday, February 1, 2016

If Iowa reduces Republican mess, then caucuses will have served a purpose

I have a 13-year-old niece, Meira, who asked a question recently that I have to admit I couldn’t answer intelligently.

BUSH: Time for Jeb to quit?
“Why should we care about the Iowa caucuses?” she pondered. It seems her classes have discussed the way elections are held.

ALL I COULD do was babble some nonsense about Iowa being the beginning of the process of electing a president. How a candidate can get some early momentum if they don’t totally make fools of themselves during the caucuses to be held Monday and the first primary in New Hampshire scheduled for next week Tuesday.

Now I’m not about to go into a rant about how Iowa and New Hampshire aren’t the least bit worthy of having such influence. How those two states are truly insignificant enough to deserve being ignored in the mix of 50 states that will express their say in coming months about who the next president should be.

But what will we really gain from the 99 caucuses taking place across Iowa on Monday by which people will start picking the delegates who will gather at the Democratic and Republican conventions this summer to choose the actual nominees.

There is one way for Iowa, and New Hampshire for that matter, to earn their keep – so to speak – as significant states.

THE REPUBLICANS IN particular need to weed their way through all those would-be nominees and get the people who never had no chance no how to drop out.

Make them realize that if the bulk of the GOP partisans would rather take seriously people like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, that they really have no legitimate reason to think of themselves as presidential timber. At least not this year.

WALKER: Came to his senses long ago
People like current or former Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Rick Perry of Texas, George Pataki of New York already get significant respect from me politically because they came to the realization early on they ought to drop out of the process.

But people like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, corporate executive Carly Fiorina and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania (just to name a few) still have the dream.

THEY STILL HAVE the delusion that they will one day take the oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the U.S. Constitution, just before “Hail to the Chief” is played by the Marine Corps band.

TRUMP: Smaller field might make him legit
It is the fact that we still have a dozen Republicans seeking the nomination that real estate developer Donald Trump leads polls – even though the numbers show a majority of people questioned desperately want somebody, anybody, other than Trump to be the Republican nominee.

Perhaps if we get rid of all the “1 percenters” (those individuals who’d be lucky to take 1 percent of the vote if the election was held today), then we’d have a chance to see if Trump truly has the party’s support.

For all we know, he could wind up gaining the bulk of those people who had seriously wanted somebody else. It would help a potential Trump nomination gain a touch of legitimacy.

WHILE ALSO ERASING those people whose fantasies these days is that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will decide to get himself involved in the presidential race.

If Iowa can help reduce the slew of presidential dreamers, it would help bring a sense of sanity to the rest of the nation. It might help reduce the circus atmosphere touch.

Then again, any production that involves Trump or would-be Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders of Vermont (who likely can already count on a New Hampshire victory just because of his home state’s proximity) is going to border on the ridiculous.

Which may be the crucial fact that my 13-year-old niece has already figured out – nobody ever said she was a stupid little girl.


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