Monday, January 07, 2008

The Iowa Caucus

I attended my local Republican Iowa Caucus. Like usual, I left pissed. First off, let me state for the record that I am a moderate who has only a mild tilt to the right. And yes I attend church regularly, but I consider my religion to be a thoughtful process and not a knee jerk reaction.

First off, they had us recite the Pledge of Allegiance. OK, I could live with that. Then they passed around a petition to have Judge Robert Hansen impeached due to decision he made to grant a divorce to a gay couple. They called his actions illegal. I found there assertions to be questionable. I also found the display to be hateful to people they don't understand. Maybe my perspective is skewed since I have a close friend that is gay. I did not sign it.

Then each candidate's representative was asked to speak on behalf of their candidate. I gave it a moment, to see if someone would speak. When none did, I spoke up.

I said that the last two election have been very divisive, splitting the country right down the middle. I also stated that I was supporting Giuliani, who I felt would be a healing candidate. Maybe the right and the left wouldn't be totally happy with him, but he was someone they could accept, while if a right wing candidate was selected we would have a repeat of our current situation.

Then a Huckabee supporter, stood up and said that the country needs moral leadership. He mentioned King David as an example and said he was supporting Huckabee. He tried to quote scripture and couldn't. He did mention that God often chooses the common men (like a shepherd) to be leaders.

I could have gone off on the King David comment, but chose not to. I did make one final statement though. They had mentioned that workers were needed to get out the final vote, since Democrats out number Republicans in our state. I added Most Americans are moderates in varying degrees and if we choose a right wing candidate again this time, we are taking a crap shoot and I believe we will lose it this time, while a moderate is a safer bet.

There were other statements for the other candidates also, but I could feel the force was against me. In the end I was the only vote for Giuliani, with about 6 votes going for Romney and the vast amount going for Huckabee.

Final thoughts:

It seems that the parties haven't learned anything from the previous election cycle and want to fight the same battle over. But I suspect the real problem is that Iowa holds a caucus, not a primary. Caucuses, require a commitment of several hours, while a Primary requires only 15 - 30 minutes. In a Primary, the voter goes and casts their vote and then they can follow up on the rest of their personal responsibilities. The upshot of all of this is that for a Caucus only the party activists show up and therefore extreme ends of each party are chosen. The Caucus is a quaint romantic notion of what politics should be like and not representative of our fast paced digital world and most Iowans bypass it. I had to use two hours of personal time to even attend. So a state of 3 million (Of which only a small minority vote at the caucus level) gets to skew the presidential election for a nation of 300 million, it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I would love to actually see, the Right wing nominate their candidate on the Republican side, the left wing nominate theirs on Democratic side and then a moderate run as an Independent and take the Presidency away from both of these two bozo parties. Within 3 to 4 election cycles after such an event we would see both parties sidelined as minority parties and a new center party would emerge. Then the two fringe parties would be pumping new ideas into the national debate and the center party could decide what is reasonable and what isn't.