Calm Down Already

Y’know, I’m having a hard time getting worked up over last night’s results, and the reason for that is, I have an extremely hard time taking the Iowa Caucuses seriously.

It’s amazing to me that almost all of the media refuses to point out a couple of salient facts at this point in every election cycle, namely that Iowa is a pretty weird state, and its freaky caucus system only enhances the weirdness. It’s a system that rewards extremes, and one that can be manipulated by small numbers of organized activists.

What happened on the Republican side last night is not terribly different from what happened in 1988, when Pat Robertson finished a strong second behind nearly-neighboring-stater Bob Dole (Bush 39 41 finished third). Like Robertson, Huckabee turned out enough of the local Baptists to swamp the tiny caucus turnout, and looked for a brief moment like a serious candidate–at least to people who were willing to ignore political reality.

This time around, Huckabee has the advantage of not being an outright weirdo like Robertson, and I’m sure that helped him… but c’mon. It’s Iowa. Ask President Gephart sometime about how much an Iowa win is actually worth.

Before everybody loses their minds and declares either theocracy or the death of the GOP, let’s see what happens in a few actual elections, m’kay?