Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Caucus Thursday


Four years ago, a friend and I were in Des Moines, working as caucus volunteers for a presidential candidate. It was freezing. Icy cold. We knocked on doors. We hung campaign literature on doorknobs already thick with paper. We talked to voters. We drove one of them who needed a ride to his caucus.

Our candidate lost, and that was crushing, but it was fascinating to watch the nutty process up close.

Please vote wisely, Iowa. The rest of us are counting on you, whether we want to, or not.

52 comments:

Nancy P said...

Okay, so I'm not entirely avoiding all politics. :) What a crazy way to pick a president!

Good morning, everybody. Even if I am saying that at 11:40 at night.

AndiF said...

I'm sure that Beth will be relieved that there's no one here beating me up.

I've been to Iowa several times -- it barely has any people. Why are we letting a state where a "big town" consists of a grain elevator, two churches, and a restaurant called the Chat n' Chew play such a big role in picking the president?

GhostFolk.com said...

Yup, the caucus is a strange animal. In my more vibrant youth, I caucused in Wyandootte County for Jesse Jackson. Your really do just go into a building somewhere and stand in groups.

The groups look at each other. Some people move. But the real play is talking the groups that don't have enough caucus members to get a "electoral unit" to join your group instead of another one.

We got the Gary Hart folks to join our group and Jackson won our caucus. Poor Gary Hart folks, btw.

Later that year, Wyandotte was the only Kansas County that Reagan didn't carry. In the general election. I kept thinking maybe he noticed. Somehow, I doubt it. :-)

Why are we letting a state where a "big town" consists of a grain elevator, two churches, and a restaurant called the Chat n' Chew play such a big role in picking the president?

Because it's easy to spell?

GhostFolk.com said...

Oil rigs wrecked by Katrina, Kelly and Far, is terrific setting for something. Maybe sci-fi speculative fiction stuff would be cool.

I kind of wonder if some inter-planetary attack might not be detoured or delayed by weather.

I got the coastal cat sketched through and it went well. Thank you, everyone! Everything you said was just what I needed. :-)

I also managed to work through a Stuttering Cat story. I have 25 sketched through now for the proposal. I may just stop.

I started with 32 second-reader (the bride) approved story ideas, got down to 28, and I am looking hard at the final three.

One is about drowning cats. I mean, cats that drowned. I so dislike the topic, though the story is a good one, that I think I'll ax it. Okay, cats, you can go now. Audition canceled.

Meanwhile I am reading endlessly about cats. Did you know that all calico cats are female? (Okay with one oddball chromosone mixed up that occurs once in 3,000 births and the resulting cat is not really a tom, but a extra chromo combo -- Tom & Queen.)

Queen Tom. Hmmm.

Beth said...

LOL, andi!

I'm very apolitical, so just stopped by to wave. Will lurk from the sidelines. And maybe learn something!

AndiF said...

Glenn Miller was born in Clarinda, Iowa and there's a festival there every year to celebrate his birth (while he probably celebrated every birthday that he wasn't there).

... just wanted to make sure Beth learned something. ;)

Beth said...

Thanks Andi - always watching out for me!

Now I can go back to bed. I've learned my one thing for the day. And it didn't hurt at all...

:-)

katiebird said...

Good Morning. I'm very nervous about the power we've given to Iowa. It's funny how it could all be over after tonight.

We're just a scream away....

Beth said...

Hi kb - are you feeling better?

katiebird said...

Good Morning Beth -- No not really. I'm up more as a test. I've got a piercing earache

(AND I forgot to say good morning to anyone. That's not a good sign.)

Good Morning Nancy, Andi & Ghost!

Also, I dumped an entire glass of water all over the back of my headboard. I still haven't done anything with that. I just left it in the dark.

Beth said...

I'm sorry. Maybe you should go back to bed...I don't have any cures for earaches. :-(

Take care of yourself...

katiebird said...

Thanks Beth. Mister poured some stuff into it. But that didn't help. I haven't been to work since Friday (we got a LONG holiday) and I really think I have to at least TRY to work this morning.

AndiF said...

Gah, kb. There's nothing worse than an earache. You shouldn't go to work, you should go to the doctor (says the mother hen).

katiebird said...

(ALWAYS listen to your mother!)

I'm listening, really. This is day 3 and it's only getting worse. So I'm REALLY listening.

AndiF said...

Good, MH is glad that you're listening but she wants you to listen AND call the doctor's office as soon as it opens.

katiebird said...

I'm actually VERY lucky. My Doc-Office has it's very own walk-in clinic and I don't have to call anyone. I just have to wait for 9am when they open.....

By the way, I've been taking Mucinex hoping it would help my ear drain. But, it hasn't done a thing.

Family Man said...

Good morning everyone.

KB I hope your ear gets to feeling better, and I agree with Andi. Go see a doctor.

It's very cold here today. I'm debating on whether to get back under the covers.

katiebird said...

Ah, the cold. We've got 16 degrees here (a little warmer than yesterday) and THAT doesn't make me want to go anywhere.

Hmmm. Maybe I could go to bed for a while THEN go to the doctor when the sun's up and it's warmer?

AndiF said...

Nuh uh, kb. Don't start making excuses to put off going.

Speaking of putting things off, time to "go" to work.

I hope the doc gives you something that makes feel better very soon.

Nancy P said...

Katiebird, we're all pushing you to the door of the clinic. Which opens in 25 minutes.

Nancy P said...

I just read that in Iowa a rural vote is weighted more than other votes. In other words, it's like getting more than one vote!

Good morning, andi, ghost, kb, beth, family man!

just a scream away

No kidding. As some of you know, I was in the room when Howard Dean screamed. It was NOTHING like it was portrayed by the media. Nothing. I cannot adequately describe the shock my friend and I felt when we left that rally--feeling hopeful, because he had given us hope--and turned on the motel television and saw how they were portraying it. Our jaws dropped. Literally. At that moment, we knew it was lost. Man, oh man, trust NOTHING they tell you.

maryb said...

Mornin' all. The best part of the Iowa caucuses is watching all the media from places other than the midwest try to describe Iowa. You'd think they'd never been anyplace cold or flat before.

Nancy P said...

lol, mb, and no kidding, although I will admit that my friend and I still marvel over how cold we were. Her, I can understand doing that, 'cause she lives in Berkeley, but me? I think it's cause we were outside so much trudging from closed door to closed door.
And as for the media, it is so like they're visiting a zoo.

Kelly McCullough said...

Morning all.

KB, add me to the list of folks gently nudging you toward the door and the doctor.

I may or may not drop in tomorrow, but after that I'll be off the net until the 15th when I get back from Kaui. So, if I don't see you all for a bit, have a lovely time.

Beth said...

Have a GREAT time, Kelly! Probably the only place in the US that's warm right now - we have 50, with 20-30 mph winds.

We'll look forward to hearing stories when you get back.

Nancy P said...

Oh, have a great time, Kelly! I've seen Kaui--briefly--and it's lovely. Of course. Green, green, green.

AndiF said...

Kelly,

Don't know if you've got all your plans made or if you've been beofre but just in case, here's don't miss list:

Koke'e State Park (many, many great hikes, beautiful views, amazing Alakai swamp)
Waimea Canyon
Boat Ride to view the Na Pali coast
Sunset at Polihale Beach
Jo Jo's Shaved Ice

FARfetched said...

Hey Andi, you have to admit, "a state where a 'big town' consists of a grain elevator, two churches, and a restaurant called the Chat n' Chew" can also describe large parts of Indiana. :-) I have a sister-in-law from Clayton IN, a town that fits that description pretty well.

BTW, Iowa Victory Gardener is getting a bit peeved over the hatin' on Iowa just now. He described the actual caucus process in an earlier post, and it seems fairly sensible to me. Worst case, there's a lot of groupthink going on, but there's a lot of that going on anyway. At least if you have a candidate that isn't going anywhere, you get a second choice.

Bleah. Enough politics. KB, did you get to the doctor? After you were bugging me to get my knee looked at? ;-) It was, according to Mrs. Fetched, *8* degrees this morning. That's about as cold as it ever got since we moved to FAR Manor three years ago. I used to go out and ski regularly when it was well below zero (F), but of course I had proper gear for those conditions.

Kelly, have a great time in Hawaii! Think about all of us who have bought your books and have thus indirectly contributed to your vacation....

maryb said...

I second everyone's orders to kb to go to the doctor.

Hey Andi, I saw that John Mellencamp was the headliner for Edwards last night in Iowa - he's an Indiana boy and knows cold and flat :)

I've actually been to Seymour IN - where he was born. How far from you is that?

Kelly have a great time in Hawaii. I'm jealous. But I didn't get as much snow and ice as you've had this winter already.

And Far is right - IVG did a GREAT summary of how the caucuses work.

Kelly McCullough said...

Thanks for all the good wishes folks.

Andi, We'll mostly be on the north shore in Hanalei and Princeville. Waimea canyon is fabulous, but we probably won't make it this time. We haven't been to Koke'e, or taken a boat ride along the Na Pali, though we've hiked parts of the Kalalau trail. Where's Polihale? Our sunset spot tends to be the cliffs above Hanalei, but I'm always open to new stuff. Jo Jo's Shaved Ice? Is that in Lihui?

AndiF said...

Mary, Seymour is about 30 miles to the southeast. Apparently Mellencamp got tired of flat 'cause he moved over to the hilly, wooded part of the state (he lives just outside of Bloomington).

Kelly, Polihale is on the far west side of the island -- it's the farthest west public beach in the United States. But to get to it from where you are you have to drive all the way round the island. Jo Jo's is in the town of Waimea, so you can stop there on the way to Polihale.

Koke'e is spectacular. Jim and I can't understand why it isn't a national park.

AndiF said...

Far, if Indiana had an outsized effect on the political process I'd include it in the comment. However, I'd expand it to include a propensity to name towns for foreign places we can't pronounce.

BTW, it isn't Iowa and their caucuses that piss me off -- it's the ridiculous process we've developed that practically guarantees that what we'll get is the best operatives, not the best candidates.

katiebird said...

Hi, I just got back from the doc. He gave me painkillers & anti-inflammatory. Amazing how painful it is -- but I guess it's not an infection.

Beth said...

Well, I'm glad you FINALLY went (tapping her foot a little), and that you know it's not an infection. Hopefully the drugs will help, and you'll feel well enough to watch Kansas play tonight.

Let us know how you feel!

Jen said...

Belated Happy New Year to everyone! I've been in hiding getting some much-needed down time ever since our company hit the skies.

Is anyone around our little familiar wing of the blogosphere live-blogging the big game in Iowa tonight?

KB, sure hope you're feeling better soonest, infection or no infection.

KMc, hope you have a safe & fun trip!

Oh, and what Andi said about the ridiculous process aspect of the caucus.

Beth said...

Hey Jen! Good to see you out and about. Hope you're feeling somewhat rested after the insanity of the holidays. And that Santa was good to you!

katiebird said...

(shaking head) I'm not the one here who doesn't go to the doctor (looking you-know-who straight in the eye)

The only reason, I hesitated was that it's been in the single digits & lower teens.

(Defensive?) Not Me.... :)

Beth said...

Wellllll......

Okay. Just as long as you went.

We Mother/Father Hens have to have SOMETHING to worry about!

:-)

You-know-who better NOT avoid doctor visits with US around!

katiebird said...

I LOVE having mother hens.... As someone with a mother who basically gave up the job when I was 14, having a house-full of mother (and father - FAR) hens makes me feel great!

I really appreciate everyone's good wishes and concerns.

(and now -- back to the couch & TV where I'm hoping someone will slip up and tell me the future. Will Edwards win Iowa?)

AndiF said...

kb, I hope the pills start working fast and you feel better soon.

Hi Jen!

Beth said...

I have to share something totally off-subject. I commented on a blog today that I lurk on daily. Some idiot said something nasty, but posted as anonymous. I made a comment that it was too bad he didn't have the (excuse me) balls to put his name on his nastygram. He came back with a really vicious reply.

I don't usually comment on any blogs but those of the Village, so it was kind of a wake-up call that this place is pretty unique. Even though I knew it already, it verified how lucky we are to have so many kind, supportive, wonderful people hanging out here. No nasty anons calling each other jerk-offs.

So BIG HUGS to each and every one of you for being as wonderful as you are!! {{{everybody!}}}

Nancy P said...

ever since our company hit the skies.

I to read that several times before I understood it, lol. "I didn't know J & E had a company," I thought. "Does she mean it hit the skids? Or it really took off?"

::knocking icicles off brain::

I don't know if anybody's liveblogging the Big Iowa Game tonight. This place will be open, even if I'm off at a friend's house flipping channels between football and Iowa.

Nancy P said...

Beth, it's a cruel world outside the Village! I'm so sorry you got nastied today. I blame his mother. :)

Nancy P said...

Cluck, cluck, Kb, get some rest, cluck, be well, cluck, cluck, Obama, cluck.

Nancy P said...

Yeah, regardless of Iowa or any other state, I think it's a nutty process. We absolutely wear these candidates out, spend so much money, yadda yadda.

Beth said...

Thanks, Nancy, but I just laughed. I'm practicing dealing with conflict. I figure strangers first, then eventually I'll grow a thick enough skin to deal with my Non-Blood Relative from Hell.

In the meantime, I'll be watching football tonight. Someone tell me what happened in Iowa in the morning.

Jen said...

Heh, Nancy, you know it occurred to me as soon as I posted that I'd made an atrociously unclear sentence. Sorry for the confusion, but I'm glad I could clear those icicles off for ya.

Beth, sorry someone was not only jerky to you but also a chickenshit about it. That's actually one of the bonuses of having one's own blog, I think -- if someone pushes too far you can just delete them for encroaching assholery. ;) Enjoy your game!

Beth said...

Assholery! My favorite word!

I guess I didn't need to stand up for Kristin (the blog owner), but like I said, I need practice dealing with conflict. A jerk stranger doesn't faze me. I bet his mother doesn't even like him. :-)

maryb said...

Hey Jen - I went to see Juno last weekend and during the movie I kept thinking that the main character kind of reminded me of someone, but I couldn't figure out who. I just figured out it was ... you. If you go see it or rent it when it comes out, tell me if you can imagine yourself saying any of those lines (of course you aren't a teenager and you aren't pregnant, but I'm sure you get the idea.)

Nancy P said...

Speaking of IVG, I found this from him over at Olivia's place:

if anyone is interested in seeing just how a caucus operates from start to finish, CSPAN1 is broadcasting one live from Des Moines tonight

Jen said...

Hey Maryb, I very much want to see that movie. The buzz around the writer has been interesting. I'll let you know what I think after I see it.

The Iowa pre-game show on my cable's C-SPAN is due to start in about an hour, I think. Very exciting!

Nancy P said...

"Iowa pre-game show"

lol, Jen. This is very funny.

I wonder if they'll have play-by-play announcers and "color" men. On CSpan? Maybe not. :)