Happy Iowa day.

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

It’s the day of the Iowa caucuses, and as a designer who has been there (“on the scene! Live! With boots on the ground!”) to design two television stations over the years (I’ve been annoying Sammy with “that’s my eight! that’s my three! Those are my county outlines!” as we see an Iowa newscast or two on C-SPAN) I can verify the one tangible piece of reporting emerging from the Hawkeye state.

It’s damn cold there.

Heck, it was damn cold there last April, when I made a midnight run to pick up a denim jacket from a 24-hour Wal-Mart in Mason City just to keep from shivering in meetings.

Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess how the actual caucusosity will play out (at this moment), but folks seem to think there is a real role for retail politicking (as opposed to the tarmac-politicking that Tim Crouse delineated in 1972 and reporters have been re-characterizing since then.) But as New Hampshire proves, you can have small-scale retail politicking and then go and, like, y’know actually vote, like most of us do in the primaries.

One of my favorite Crouse-like moments of this campaign thus far, accurately capturing the cold, fatigue, and caffeine-craving is chronicled here at the CJR.

Why can’t we get together and come up with a system that assures we, the voters, of much more of a retail experience, where we might actually be able to go somewhere and hear he or she speak, no matter where we are?

It’s not like there hasn’t been a truckload of reports on how poorly this primary structure is gonna serve us this year. And Iowa just serves as this odd, frozen offbeat way to get the mania started.

Christopher Hitchens tells us that the caucuses are a sham, the Times says that they empower just a few people in a state that has just a few mostly white people, but most of the network news promos breathlessly say “the first votes are cast!” Well, yeah, if by ‘cast’ you mean people standing around in one corner…then another…then they’re lured over by the living room fireplace by warmth and cookies.

Brr. We went for a walk today to the park and it was substantially less windy and cold than yesterday, but I still got an Iowa flashback or two. Here! In Atlanta!