Sunday, August 12, 2007

Republicans in the Straw

Published: August 11, 2007


Happy Iowa Straw Poll Day!

Today40,000 Republicans are expected to make a pilgrimage to a large tent in Ames, Iowa, where they will eat an enormous amount of free food and vote for a presidential candidate. Mitt Romney is going to serve barbecue, and one of his sons has just visited all 99 counties. I don’t think we need say more.

The Iowa Republicans are known for being socially conservative, and the candidates are dragging in every relative they can get their hands on to demonstrate their familial credentials. “Mom and Dad will be up on Saturday,” promised Senator Sam Brownback, possibly embarrassed that he had come to the Iowa State Fair armed with only one daughter. Romney moves around with so many photogenic sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren that they look like one of those singing families that were so popular in the ’70s.

(“Now here’s the Romneys with their No. 1 hit, “I Woke Up in Cedar Rapids This Morning.”)

Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but all the divorced candidates have taken a pass on the straw poll. The rest have been fighting over who opposes abortion the most. (There are eight Republicans campaigning here, and if you can name them all you need to re-examine your priorities.)

As a result, we have not devoted nearly enough attention to interesting moments like the time Romney equated service in the military with son Josh’s ordeal driving the Mitt Mobile around Iowa all summer long.

On the plus side, some of the more hopeless candidates might give up if they do badly here, and stop cluttering up the debates. Supporters of Tommy Thompson have reportedly been warned that Thompson will commit political hari-kari if they fail to turn out in droves. It’s hard to imagine they’ve been empowered by the way the campaign refers to them as S.O.T.T.’s.

It’s tough getting even Iowans to focus on the 2008 presidential race in August of 2007. When Brownback took his turn at the traditional Iowa Fair Soapbox Address the other day, only a handful of people were prepared to sit on picturesque bales of hay in the hot sun and listen. “Just let me conclude by saying this is a wonderful nation,” he said before wandering off past the X-Treme French Fries booth.

The Iowa State Fair is not actually about politics so much as about finding new things to deep-fry. (Twinkies! Candy bars! Pork-chop-on-a-stick!) This is why Michael Bloomberg is never going to be president. Midwestern fairgoers could never relate to a man who believes all fast food should come with a calorie count.

While Brownback was speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of about 20, the line of people waiting to see Harry Potter carved in butter snaked around the Agriculture Building. Since the statue itself is behind glass for climate-control reasons, the scene strongly resembled the viewing of the Pietà in the Vatican.

Harry, pointing his buttery wand toward the flower-arranging competition, was surrounded by toads and potion bottles and, of course, the traditional Butter Cow which has to be there whether it really fits the theme or not. This was all the work of Sarah Doyle Pratt, a 30-year-old elementary school teacher, who apprenticed under the legendary Norma “Duffy” Lyon, creator of the never-to-be-forgotten all-butter Last Supper.

Truly, if you are into art forms based on dairy products, you have to go to Iowa. The year Hillary Clinton first ran for Senate, the state of New York suffered a deep humiliation when half the world went traipsing through the fair in Syracuse and all we had to offer was a butter sculpture of a refrigerator.

All the other states are wildly jealous of the fact that the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary come first and get so much attention. Florida has been particularly whiney, which is really like the kid with all the toys howling because he sees another child with a rather attractive piece of string. But everybody is shoving their way to the front, putting us in deep jeopardy of an Iowa Christmas Caucus.

Instead of fighting about who gets to actually vote first, perhaps the states could just supercede the straw poll by producing their own meaningless exercises in summertime fund-raising and attention-getting. Personally, I’m only in Iowa for the butter sculpture, and I’d be happy to be diverted if, say, Arkansas challenged its voters to pile up watermelons for their favorite Republican, or Kansas did a Candidate Winnowing. Winners will be judged on originality and public participation.

Extra points for carving things out of local produce.


Anonymous said...

cheap wedding gowns,
discount bridal gowns,
China wedding dresses,
discount designer wedding dresses,
China wedding online store,
plus size wedding dresses,
cheap informal wedding dresses,
junior bridesmaid dresses,
cheap bridesmaid dresses,
maternity bridesmaid dresses,
discount flower girl gowns,
cheap prom dresses,
party dresses,
evening dresses,
mother of the bride dresses,
special occasion dresses,
cheap quinceanera dresses,
hot red wedding dresses

Anonymous said...

Replica Handbags
Fake Handbags
Knockoff Handbags

Replica Louis Vuitton Handbags
Replica Gucci Handbags
Replica Chanel Handbags
Prada Handbags
Replica Fendi Handbags
Replica Dolce Gabbana Handbags
Replica Chloe Handbags
Replica Jimmy Choo Handbags
Replica Thomas Wylde Handbags
Replica MiuMiu Handbags

Replica Balenciaga Handbags
Replica Coach Handbags
Replica Lancel Handbags
Replica Hermes Handbags
Replica Marc Jacobs Handbags
Replica Anya Hindmarch Handbags
Replica YSL Handbags
Replica Mulberry Handbags
Replica Givenchy Handbags
Replica Valentino Handbags
Replica Versace Handbags
Replica Cartier Handbags
Replica Marni Handbags
Replica Bottega Veneta Handbags
Replica Loewe Handbags
Replica Kooba Handbags

Replica Bally Handbags
Replica Burberry Handbags
Replica Christian Dior Handbags
Replica Juicy Couture Handbags
Replica Ferragamo Handbags
Replica Celine Handbags

Anonymous said...

nick hotel
price of hotel
hotel deals in puerto rico
express flight booking
hotel louvre
budget hotel deals
online b & b reservations
seedy wind and pension
claret hotel
b & b booking web sites
vacation homes quarters
bed booking india
catalina island hotel prices
adaptation in
taj inn booking
voucher housing
pensione hotel
name your own hotel sacrifice
on the loose shipping discounts
province discernment travelling
cheap los angeles hotels
reviews of airlines
online bevy of quail booking
sabbatical house accommodation

Anonymous said...

online casino slots bonus deposit
new high tech online casinos
caesar casino hotel lake tahoe
joint venture online casino concepts
online casinos e-gold deposit
opening machines free
casino online poker slot
online free casino monoply slots
ebon jack headers
New online casino bonus
usa legal online casino
just california pool numbers
online casinos e-gold deposit
free online poker crown casino
bingo card maker
online casino free play bonus
casino poker blacjack online
ca wonderful lotto plus
casino fortune online room
gambling tax
mass millions lottery numbers
best online casino no deposit
online casinos no deosit
floridalottery analysis
online casino stops update
No deposit sign bonus online casino
pai gow poker en ligne
free spin online casino
illegal online gambling
european blackjack
free gambling cash
casinos gambling online gaming slots
harrah's hotel casino las vegas

Anonymous said...

coupon code carnival casino
internet casino
governor of poker descargar
be occupied casino games no money
enfranchise chips no place casino
the mars volta roulette dares
free essential casinos
play glee casino
vegas slot clubs
no consign casino largesse
top casinos rtg
2005 internet gambling laws seeing montana
electronic casino one lives stress games
wyndham alternative casino rehashing
secrets betting exchanges
casino rete
peak online casinos
unmistakable betting calculator
software maturity casino
why casino gambling misbehaving
free wonderful bowl betting odds
assignment machine casino portion
all cool cat casino no deposit bonus codes
tombola buddy
usa players casino promotions
casino gaming paraphernalia wheel money
fixed odd financial betting sites
slots casino gambling gambing racino
best casino benefit sports betting
winning eleven 8 ps2 unlock player names