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Let’s see, the Des Moines Register is incredibly proud of what we’ve done (as am I). The headline reads “OBAMA, HUCKABEE WIN BIG FIRST TEST”, with large photos of the two top vote-getters, a story covering each party, and at the bottom David Yepsen shares his thoughts. Continuing the analysis and speculation (and spin) that will dog the news for the next few days.

The Wall Street Journal has its story along side the rest of the normal news of the day “Obama, Huckabee Win Iowa, Seize Momentum”. Great lead in: “Illinois Sen. Barack Obama defeated the Hillary Clinton machine in the Iowa presidential caucuses…”.

Now that the caucus is over, now that we’ve had RECORD… BIG RECORD participation in the process, all the weasel pundits come out and say “why is Iowa first?” “Iowa’s a non-event” “Fewer people in Iowa attended the caucus than live in [name your favorite big city], so why do we care?” “Who decided Iowa should go first” “Why not [name your state here]”. Geez, talk about insipid jealousy and pathetic spin. You’ve all had FOUR YEARS TO MOVE YOURS UP FRONT, WHY DIDN’T YOU DO IT?????

Sorry, I need to calm down. I just don’t understand how we can even give people the breathing air required to say some of the really stupid things I’m hearing. You can talk about all the reasons for or not for Iowa and New Hampshire holding up the front end of the process, Iowa is in the Heartland, etc., but to me, it all boils down to this: we’re the only ones (Iowa and New Hampshire) willing to put up with 6 or more months of listening to 15 or more candidates lie to us, cajole us, fill our mailboxes with lousy fliers, call our phones day and night and day and night, block traffic everywhere, get in our way while we do our Christmas shopping, listen to everyone tell us how nice they’re going to be during this campaign, then turn around and throw mud at the other candidates. Back and forth and back and forth. Then watching in disbelief as your neighbors actually support the candidate you think is the most ridiculous. The best part, during the late night analysis of the caucus, watching the obsolete commercials for candidates “when you caucus on January 3…”. I’m just glad the phone banks weren’t backed up.

And the poor people in my state who just can’t understand why Huckabee won and yet at the same time their precinct put a strongly conservative platform together (code for, “my neighbors got conned by Mike”)… but Iowans are too nice to say what they really mean, so they’re subtle about it. Or flaming angry because the MSM continue to push that we’re a bunch of bigoted Evangelicals that hate Mormons. “Why or why did we let Duncan Hunter slip through our fingers???”. Our local Conservative-Libertarian talk-show host Jan Mickelson said he had his vote buttoned down until yesterday morning when he interviewed Ron Paul and got a call from a person in Southern California who asked if Paul would order a North Korean ship boarded if we knew it had nukes being shipped to Iran? Paul gave his typical “won’t happen, and Iran wouldn’t dare use them on the US anyway, so no reason to worry” response. Jan said it well today “the American People only want to hear one answer to that question… there will be a gaping hole in the ocean where that ship once was”. You can listen to that show here.

No other states than Iowa or New Hampshire are willing and able to handle this heavy load of work, pain and responsibility. And frankly, I’d put 10 Iowans (5 Democrats and 5 Republicans) and their thoughtful consideration of so many different candidates and points of view up against 1,000 people from Chicago, New York City, Houston, San Diego, or Denver any day. People willing to sit in a room and talk for over an hour. And listen. And volunteer. And think for themselves. 12 of us in our precinct were willing to stand up, make some impromptu comments, and go through our own little weeding down to 7 delegates. Politely, kindly, respectfully. Those that were elected as delegates were no better than those that weren’t (and the latter were willing to be alternates). Now that I think about it, the people in my precinct behaved with greater grace and kindness than half of the presidential candidates, and most of the media. I’m a transplant, but I love Iowans, and I love how much they care about this process and its importance to the country.

The best part about the caucuses being over… my phone has not rung all day today. Nada. It is so nice to have the peace and quiet again!

So, thanks for the memories. And for me, a chance to participate further in the process. See how much more I can learn.

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