Posted February 1, 2016 on 7:49 pm | In the category Election, PBS NEWSHOUR, Politics, Press | by Jeff

Today is the official start of the long slog toward the election of a new leader of the Free World in – of all places, Iowa. Now I like corn as much as the next guy, and while I know it is absurd to be forcing ethanol into our gas tanks II am finding it difficult to get too worked up about a political process that rewards candidates’ ability to drive elderly Evangelicals to precinct meetings where they can discuss the second coming of the Lord with fellow believers. One measure of the relevance of the process is to look back 8 years when the Iowa Republicans put forth the Reverend Huckabee, following that four years later by putting forth Rick Santorum, a guy who lost his last election by 16 percentage points – perhaps a modern record.

Americans do many things well but running a national election in an intellectually stimulating and cost effective manner is not one of them. Thanks to the Supreme Court we now have campaigns awash in money – frequently from billionaires and huge corporations with very personal axes to grind. This year is no different except for Bernie sanders who seems to be scraping by on some $20Million raised from some 3 million individuals. And of course He! Trump is for now mostly spending only his own money, but being a billionaire makes that seem a bit unsightly.

With some ten months remaining in the process it is amusing, in a cynical kind of way to watch the press exude excitement over a primary process in Iowa that is rarely definitive and based largely on how many people each candidate can get rides to 1681 distinct locations in the state. Typically Republican turnout has run around 20% of registered voters; Democrats have had a slightly larger turnout. Soon the focus will turn from Iowa to New Hampshire where the process will be a more traditional primary election. Tonight the national media will be flooding us with results from a state that represents very little of the country’s diversity. diversity. Indeed tonight Judy Woodruff on the PBS Newshour gave us several minutes of political analysis from Evangelical Ministers who all seem to agree that Jesus should be picking the winners. I leave it to others to determine whether the tax-supported Public Broadcasting System should be going out of its way to seek religious analysis of political events. But for me, Judy Woodruff is, in this instance,  a disgrace to journalism who might seemingly consider a life in a convent. It is simply irresponsible to provide a national audience to a bunch of religious charlatans and present them as serious political analysts. It is about the  level we can expect from Woodruff who, on a good day, can find her way to ask the same question in three ways in the hope she gets – finally – the answer she wants.

Soon we will be on to New Hampshire. Fewer cows and Evangelicals, and not much of a corn field. But the horse race is on, the touts will be crying their picks and then we can sit back and wait nine months for the real thing. Too long, too tedious, too absurd.

And I resisted till now the reminder that the Junior Senator from Iowa made her bones by telling Iowa’s voters that she had an excellent record in the castration of hogs. I kid you not. Why didn’t Woodruff interview her?



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  1. Excellent analysis of the absurd situation in these “early” days of the 2016 national elections. Churchill (or someone) suggested that democracy was nowhere near perfect but the next best system was miles behind (I paraphrase liberally). I believe the positives are enormously exaggerated. I am watching CNN momentarily. These people are seriously excited. Despite their enthusiasm, the Iowa caucuses are virtually meaningless. These are the people who chose Huckabee and Santorum – Jaysus – what more is there to say?

    Comment by John — February 1, 2016 #

  2. What I am missing here is the news that the Canadian Cruz, born and bred in Calgary, the oil capital of North America, won this first minor scrimmage in the seemingly endless round of political Not-so-Super bowls that the US calls an election. Sharp Canuck journalists have noted that the winner has been using old stories told by the former mayor of Calgary and premier of Alberta, Ralph Klein, to give some humour to his deadly speeches. This is surely a positive step for him, and may allow him to trump his main rival, the garden-variety blowhard, who at least thunders originally and effectively to his admirers with his own weird material.

    Comment by Mary Backstayge — February 2, 2016 #

  3. The Canadian connection see,ms critical. Obviously Cruz is not really Canadian, seeing as how he is an arrogant, loathsome loudmouth. But in the event he found Canadian citizenship, then Canada needs to take him back. There is also the possibility that he is a mole placed in the u.s. By Canadian Big Oil to win the presidency and then build the pipeline to hell so that Alberta can regain its economic clout. As for his plagiarism, our jury is out on that but certainly he could have done better. His routine is old, tired and stale. Unlike He Trump! Who writes his own stuff and is o the way to winning the New Hampshire primary….

    Comment by Gunther Purdue — February 3, 2016 #

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