Iowa’s caucuses: the Special Olympics of politics
The great state of Iowa has a history of cultivating its topsoil for a harvest of winners the rest of the country may enjoy. Glenn Miller. Buffalo Bill Cody. George Reeves. Herbert Hoover. James Tiberius Kirk. As a side note, this may be the first time in history the word “enjoy” has been linked to Herbert Hoover.
The recent raucous caucus process is a perfect example of the Hawkeye State’s peculiar propensity for propagating the propitious. It is the Special Olympics of politics. “Thanks for playing our game. Here’s a bunch of trophies. We think everybody’s a winner.”
After the smoke cleared, small, medium and large sized winners littered the ground like mushroom spores on cowpies after a spring rain. Just eating at a Pizza Ranch was a qualification to be presented with a medal.
Of course the foremost winners were Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton because they won and that’s what winners do. But Marco Rubio was also a winner because he exceeded expectations, which in politics is considered a win. Then after the results were announced, he gave a victory speech even though he came in third, also indicative of a winner.
Donald Trump was a winner because, as he informs us over and over, Donald Trump is a winner, but he was also a loser because, he didn’t win. Hillary Clinton too was a loser because she didn’t win by enough, making Bernie Sanders a winner, even though he lost. Still with me?
Chris Christie didn’t try to win, and didn’t, so he’s a big winner, with an emphasis on the adjective. Jim Gilmore was the slimmest of winners because he got twelve, count em, twelve votes; only twelve more than either you or I got and we didn’t even go to Iowa. Making us winners for not spending the month of January wandering around coffee shops drinking decaf.
Cubans won. Canadians won. Cuban-Canadians won. Corinthians won. Ethanol, pork tenderloins, the New York Daily News and Chris Matthews won. “Your thoughts.” Glenn Beck was a winner for hanging out with the guy who really did win. Sarah Palin, no, sorry, still not a winner, but she’s got her one winning attitude, you betcha.
Caucus-goers won by exercising their electoral muscles. John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson won by being participants in a grand American tradition. Carly Fiorina claimed to have come in a strong seventh, which makes her a winner for even imagining such a concept.
Martin O’Malley, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum are all huge winners because they can go home and don’t have to do this anymore. But the biggest winners may be the people of Iowa since the political ads have disappeared from their radios and they can find out what their pork futures are again. And the people of New Hampshire are winners-in-waiting as the circus camps out in their yard.
One big problem: in order to spread that much winning around, sometimes its strength is diluted. Like a single scoop of peanut butter for an entire loaf of bread. Meaning that Ted Cruz should take the momentum of his win and run fast and hard, because the last 2 Republican caucus winners came in 9th & 11th this time around. Winners still, but what you call very thin wins.
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