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the race is a marathon, not a sprint

***
MOST VOTERS HAVE TUNNEL VISION, OR NO VISION,
BUT SOMEHOW THE SYSTEM WORKS - FOR A WHILE

It's called Populism - telling people what they want to hear. It's not new, it's not "change", and "the people" never "take back" their country. Unfortunately, political newcomers never understand it's gobbledygook, that differences of opinion are why we have different parties, and that ultimately it is they, not government, that have the greatest impact on their happiness and well-being. They don't know history and don't see things in context, and so they fall for the argument that their problems can be "fixed" if they just vote for the right person. They only permit government to be bigger, more powerful, and those that occupy the positions of power in the government and its bloated lumbering bureaucracy more secure.

And so, after nearly a year of campaigning already, with more media attention than the four previous presidential campaigns combined, the race really begins.

Some observations after reading news accounts and commentary in the blogosphere.

In Iowa, new caucus participants, primarily on the Democrat side, resulted in the heaviest turnout ever - 239,000 Democrats and approximately 120,000 Republicans. The media attention, the rock-star persona of Barack Obama (perhaps both pro and con), and possibly the divisive "Clinton effect", led to that heavy Democrat turnout. That and the fact that you had two huge political machines turning out the vote, of course, with fleets of cars to transport people and voluntary babysitters on call. It's nice to know where your donations are going, isn't it?

I understand that no one checks I.D.'s either, in true Democrat fashion. People can even register to vote at the door if they want to caucus. Who knows how many non-Iowans voted? Think not? Doesn't Obama hail from Cook County, Illinois? Ring a bell? Oh, well.

Edwards, who has been campaigning in Iowa ever since 2003 has to be disappointed at upstart Obama’s performance. His populist mantra, that we live under tyranny, his incessant spouting of horror stories of people losing health, life, property, and hope, all because big corporations are greedy and government isn’t big and intrusive enough, will always fall on welcoming ears. He will likely continue to drone until either Obama or Clinton pull away and it’s time to go back to private practice and start separating more hospitals and drug companies from their profits. Got to pay the heating bills for that 28,000 foot mansion you know. So much for the Two Americas argument, huh? God bless him.

Obama is at all times personable and gives a good speech. Change is the most overused and meaningless catchphrase in politics, however. Novice voters fall for it time and time again. The only change politicians like Clinton and Obama are really offering is a departure from the foundations upon which this nation has been built (the Constitution, limited government, hard work, individualism, freedom, free speech, compassion, and cooperation) into a socialist nanny state with even more government, bureaucracy, stricter regulations, more intrusion into our lives, and more restrictions on what we can say and do.

As for Hillary, she offers the same basic program, but is just so nasty and phony, and represents the "old guard", even to those younger voters who don't really remember what happened in the Clinton White House. Most of them have forgotten 9-11 or think we were attacked because of George Bush.

Remember, she was most likely no one's second choice too. In the Democrat Caucus rules, people whose choices don't get at least 15% of the vote have to choose another candidate. Clearly, most of those went to Obama and Edwards.

Oh, and don't fall for the Clinton post-caucus celebratory "we ... we ... we ... " spin. It's really "I ... I ... I ..." as we all know. She is devastated, angry, and ready to spit fire. Hide your ashtrays!

The Huckabee win is not surprising because Iowa has been only slightly more Democrat than Republican (a red state in 2004) and predominately evangelical on the Republican side. It goes to show that perception in voting usually outscores ideology and actual performance. Mike is an evangelical, former preacher, personable, a smooth talker, but he is certainly no classic conservative. The media love him because the media is liberal and wants to have a candidate like Huckabee run on the Republican side because he would be so easy for them to tear down.

“Poor” Mitt Romney spent several fortunes running as hard as he could but only garnered a few more voters than he might have had he not been so visible. Like it or not, most people in Iowa are not about to put a Mormon into office, with the possible exception of a choice between Romney or Hillary Clinton. Possibly.

McCain is another media darling because he’s basically a RINO and another liberal one. A genuine war hero and much admired, but too cranky when challenged or exposed, and too willing to compromise his ideals (such as they are) for political expediency. His total support of the Illegal Immigration Amnesty plan and later denial that he supported Amnesty dropped him from my radar. Apparently there are enough voters who only remember what they see on the evening news and do see him as a brave and honorable guy, and nice guy, so you can’t count him out.

Giuliani didn’t campaign and will probably catch up despite the media’s attempts to knock him down (he provides the greatest threat to the liberal/Democrat/media/political machine) although he is a liberal too. The only genuine consistently conservative candidates, in my opinion, are Duncan Hunter, who nobody knows, and Fred Thompson, who suffers because he won’t play the media game. Thompson is a no-nonsense guy, is grounded in the Constitution, actually knows his butt from a hole in the ground, but lives by the “take it or leave it” motto. He appears to lack drive, however, looks old on camera, unfortunately, and people are better at seeing and feeling than listening and understanding.

Oh, well … although the new progressive movement is based on the concept that “You reap what you sow” is a meaningless bumper sticker slogan, much like the “War on Terror“, which they are trying to convince people isn‘t real either, there are consequences to causes. You can’t reason with people who think emotionally, however, so you can only hope truth is revealed to them and that not too many people have to pay too big a price.

It’s democracy, and it does have its shortcoming. In the end, as more and more people choose to vote themselves their goodies from the public trough, it eventually can collapse under its own weight, so enjoy it while you can.

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