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    No More Making Fun of the Iowa Straw Poll. Except This One Last Time

    Just got the news that Iowa has decided to dump their traditional GOP fundraiser, their presidential-hopeful-quasi-indicator-of-nothing, their old-fashioned, hilariously awful Iowa Barbecue and Straw Poll .  I thought I would be happy when they finally took my advice and got rid of that thing, but now I feel sad.  I've laughed so much over their shenanigans, I feel the way I do whenever a favorite comedy show bites the dust. Sad, but so glad for the memories.

    Here, then, is my memory of the 2011 Iowa Straw Poll festivities, first published the day after the Party's big party. 

    There will always be Iowa. . .


    Political Tiddly-Winks in Iowa.  The Corn Dog Won

    Good God and Lordy, people, is there anything more ludicrous on the political scene than what happens in Iowa whenever the Republicans don't have a Grand Poobah candidate for President?  This year it was a big barbecue in Ames where just under 17,000 people 16 1/2 years old and over got to pay their $30 to "vote" for a candidate and then party afterward.  Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul were the "winners".  And, not surprisingly, the emperor wore no clothes.

    The main function of the Iowa Straw Poll is to draw in money for the Republican Party and for the towns in Iowa that hold the straw polls.  That should be enough for those folks, but even given proof of the historical insignificance of the poll and it's non-role in the winning of presidencies, the press falls all over itself to turn it into something it's not now and never will be.  As a political forecaster, it's record is pitiful.  Rarely if ever does the Straw Poll winner win the Iowa Caucus, much less the presidency.  So let's just get over the "importance" of yesterday's vote in Ames, Iowa and have a little fun with it, okay?

    Andy Borowitz in the New Yorker:

    Calling the results of today’s Iowa straw poll “alarming,” Standard and Poor’s took the unprecedented action of downgrading Iowa’s IQ.

    While the effects of such an extraordinary measure are hard to predict, experts say the IQ downgrade could result in Iowans having difficulty completing sentences or operating a television remote.
    “This downgrade would be very upsetting to Republicans in Iowa,” said an S & P spokesman.  “Fortunately, there’s no way they’ll understand it.”

     At the Fairgrounds, where the Big Barbecue was going on, Ron Paul had something called the "Prosperity Playground", where you could slide down the "Sliding Dollar" slide and just be a kid again.

    Ujala Sehgal writes about it and more in this piece in the Atlantic.  Man, those kids had fun!

    The Ames Patch took to judging the candidates' tent sizes. (Link no longer available.)  Thaddeus McCotter's may have been the smallest, at an embarrassing 30x30 feet,  but Tim Pawlenty's took the prize as the largest, at 200 sq. ft. over Michele Bachmann's 10,000 foot air-conditioned whopper.

    I'm hearing rumors this morning that Pawlenty is already thinking of dropping out of the race, so I hope he had a great time there in Ames.  Something should come out of all that effort, at least. (News flash:  It's true.  Pawlenty has dropped out.  Of the entire presidential race! All because of the Iowa Straw Poll!  Am I going to have to rethink this whole thing?  Am I just not getting it??)

    Okay, I started this out absolutely refusing to even consider including that truly awful, truly obscene un-Photo-Shopped photo of Michele Bachmann deliriously munching a very long corn dog, but I changed my mind.  Here it is:

    (NoteChanged my mind again.  I couldn't do it.  It's here.  If you're interested.)

    And here's a bonus.  Marcus Bachmann with that same corn dog.  I WILL NOT comment.  No.  I mustn't.

    (NoteDitto the shot of her husband.  It's here.  Go for it.

    But I will say this:  What happens in Iowa should have the decency to stay in Iowa.  Really.


    (Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices)



    Yeah, goodbye old straw poll---hang on, have to kill a large red wasp---we hardly knew ye.

    My favorite was Perry strutting around and saying how the Texans would rough up old Ben Bernanke if he ever showed his face in the lone star state.

    While something around $500,000 for the party is nothing to sneeze at, it just takes about 16 wealthy individuals and multicandidate PACs to equal that amount. And then they can avoid people like Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann stealing the spotlight for awhile.

    Here's the hidden part: they've nationalized the primaries to the point that they've canceled a major party fundraiser in a swing state. 

    That money would have gone to the ground game in Iowa. And Super-PAC mega-donors don't generally care about building the ground game on the precinct level.

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