Ten things to remember about the Iowa caucus.

These are as generic as I can make them.

  1. Politicians lie.  Let me repeat that.  Politicians lie.  Don’t be so upset about it: so do you.
  2. If the Iowa caucus was unimportant, people wouldn’t be obsessing over it.
  3. If the Iowa caucus was all-important, we’d have it in August and combine it with the nominating convention.
  4. When Candidate X’s supporter tells you that Candidate Y has a problem, s/he is not necessarily lying.  But, yeah, s/he is very likely being a jackass about it.
  5. Money, buzz, crowds, speeches, debates, polls, commercials, zingers, phone banks, ads, leaflets, and hand-knitted tea cozies with the candidate’s campaign logo on them are great… but not as great as winning the precinct votes.  Winning precincts is also the only metric that goes up on the scoreboard.
  6. When it comes to elections, the saying is inverted: defeat has a thousand fathers, victory is an orphan.
  7. Pollsters have reputations to protect, but they also know darn well that the acceptable margin of error in primary polling is larger than normal.  Trying to figure out whether it’s the former or the latter point that applies in any given case is one of the things that makes life interesting.
  8. Reagan’s fabled 11th Commandment does not include the clause “…so you must forgive an over-zealous supporter for being an jackass.” I mention this because many people seem to have that clause penciled in.
  9. The Republican party has a large contingent (but not as large as it might think) of people who will answer the question “What are you going to do, sit this one out?” with a flat “Yes” if you push them too hard.  If this happens, well, you were warned.
  10. I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who noted that the idea is not to pray that God be on your side; but rather that you pray for help for you to stay on His.

Moe Lane (crosspost)


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