Thursday, January 03, 2008

Tonight's the Night

January 3, 2007, 4:00 p.m.; January 4, 2007, 6:30 a.m.; January 5, 2007, 4:40 p.m.

[Jan. 5] Presidential candidates' race update: Romney wins Wyoming (7 of first 10 delegates). Mead Gruver (AP), "Romney Wins Wyoming Caucuses," Washington Post, January 5, 2007, 5:04 p.m. (ET).


To borrow the punch line from a really bad (and irrelevant) joke . . .

"Tonight's the Night"

Today [Jan. 3] I awoke to a BBC radio report of the Iowa caucus process, along with a reporter's comment to me later in the day that there are journalists from 30-40 countries covering the political events in my little state of Iowa as they travel about in press busses.

Moreover, "today" began yesterday noon -- with the final countdown Iowa City appearances of Democratic candidates Obama, Edwards, Richardson, and this morning, Dodd (plus a couple we didn't attend).

Pictures from each of those four events, plus many more from throughout 2007, can be found on my Picasa Web site.

Elsewhere on this blog, linked from the lefthand column of this blog entry, as well as available from searches of the blog entries throughout 2007, deal with politics in general and the caucus process in particular.

My wife and I will be working this evening as Johnson County Democrats' co-chairs of one of Iowa's 1700-plus precincts: Iowa City 3. We're off now to set up the venue -- a ballroom at the University of Iowa students' Memorial Union.

Once those events are wrapped up, and I'm back home, I may add a bit of a report to this blog entry.


Too late last night; here's the update.

Mary ran the meeting; 208 showed up (we were expecting 60-100). It was the same all across Iowa, roughly a doubling of the caucus turnout in 2004. Our precinct's 6 delegates split 3 for Obama, 2 for Richardson, 1 for Edwards. Clinton was not, as we say in caucus speak: "viable."

My own read of the statewide outcome -- like that of many commentators and the candidates themselves -- is that voters, at least in Iowa, were expressing a general sentiment more than a precisely analyzed and articulated preference for individual candidates (though there was a good measure of that as well) when they, literally, "stood" for their choice at the caucus. They're frustrated and hurting -- with Bush, with the Democrats failure to do anything meaningful about Bush and his war, with the perpetuation of corporate control of Washington constantly putting profits over people, with the bickering. For many caucus goers (I'm guessing) Obama and Huckabee simply represented the closest trees to take that lightning strike -- creditable alternatives to an unacceptable status quo. (Note that Edwards, who has been hammering a message consistent with this spirit, came in a good second.)

Clearly Clinton and Romney were the very big losers of the evening -- which is not to say, with their money, they can't make up some of that in the primaries to come.

I've added three photos to the Picasa photo site showing the orderly phase of the evening (the chair bringing us to order, and two presenters on behalf of candidates), and the size of the group in the IMU ballroom. The "caucus chaos" that followed would have been hard to capture in a still photo -- and virtually impossible given my other obligations at that time.

For some reason unexplained the Des Moines Register has removed its video of Senator Obama's Iowa Caucus Victory Speech of January 3rd -- said by many commentators to be one of the most impressive victory speeches of the last 50 years. Here it is from YouTube, so you can watch and judge for yourself:

If you never saw it, or would like a reminder, here are Part One and Part Two of his speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

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Anonymous said...

We saw corruption in action at our precinct Democratic caucus. The Chairman did not open the county committee positions to anyone.

After the caucus goers left, the Chairman and his buddy opened up Committee on Committees and Platform Committee positions to the 6 people left. The Chairman NEVER opened up the Johnson County Central Committee to the caucus, thus assuring themselves of continuing membership. I bet they filled in their names on the forms to the JoCo Central Committee.

That is cronyism, that is corruption, and that is why this entire system stinks.

Back room, secret deals.

Anonymous said...

Here is what that jerk over at State 29 said about John McCain:
Of course, McCain was also the Manchester Union-Leader's pick.

I can't see how any Republican worth their salt would pick that corrupt, vain, illegal-loving, First Amendment-screwing, angry arrogant asshole lifer from Arizona.

If the North Vietnamese wanted to inflict torture upon America, they did so by allowing McCain to live. That's for sure"

That is one of the most ignorant, stupid comments I have ever seen. Incredibly insensitive.