The Iowa caucuses are today, and the media and the political blogosphere are in a predictable frenzy.
Me, personally? I'm finding it difficult to care very much. I will say this, though: it seems vaguely unjust that a tiny state like Iowa has such a huge impact on the entire presidential election process of 2008. Less than 1 million Iowans will actually "vote" in the caucuses. I also doubt that Iowa is an accurate representation of any piece of America as a whole other than Iowa.
Yes, yes, "all politics are local," after all. But, seriously, the media has hyped Iowa into a huge event, with all the pundits basically saying to the candidates, "If you won't do well in Iowa, your entire campaign is over." Sure, Iowa's the first real electoral test for the field of primary candidates, but I think it's a little overhyped.
Is this sort of thing actually good for the democratic process? I don't know. Then again, I'm not sure Super Tuesday is that great, either (much less Super Duper Tuesday this year, aka "the Tuesday That Ate America").
Anyway, time to talk a bit about the field. On the Democrat side, I see the contest as mainly between Hillary and Obama here (and everywhere). Obama seems cool, composed, elegant. He the young handsome new fellow looks very good indeed next to Hillary the raddled old harridan and Washington insider who's coasting on her husband's name, in my opinion. Besides, I wonder what perfume she could possibly be wearing that could cover up the stench of naked ambition and cold-eyed calculation. I don't like her. At all. The fact that she's a woman makes no difference to me. Edwards? He gives off the unmistakable smell of slick insincerity -- and designer hair-care products. Dennis Kucinich is a space alien from Alpha Centauri. Everybody else? Nowhere.
On the GOP side, I've had all I can take of Huckabee. He's not the right candidate, and the more I see, the less I like; this Gomer Pyle doppelganger does not have the right stuff to lead America. He's like the Mayor from the third season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Romney is like the GOP version of Edwards -- slick, so slick, but what lies beneath the pretty face and perfect composure? Is this guy better suited for the presidency or the job of a Madison Avenue ad exec? Too pretty -- the Stepford candidate! Giuliani -- what happened? He seems to have lost his footing a bit, and he's also the Man Who Isn't There. Ron Paul is a space alien from the Andromeda Galaxy. McCain's off in New Hampshire, but he's not the McCain of 2000, and he seems tired and pale. Thompson may be the only actual conservative in the entire field, but he seems to be invisible to the punditocracy.
OK, I'll update tonight with Iowa results.
UPDATE: CNN is projecting Huckabee as the GOP winner in Iowa. HUCKABEE? The Gomer Pyle, George Bailey mayor-of-Sunnydale Arkansas clown? This guy is not presidential material. Pffffft. Is it possible for me to have not only zero but negative respect for the Iowa caucuses? See Powerline too -- and here.