Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What He Said

Jonah Goldberg lays the wood to the asininity of the Iowa Caucuses in USA Today this morning:
The problem with this demographic critique is that you can make a similar complaint of any state. If New Mexico had been first in the nation since 1972, we'd all be familiar with the rich democratic traditions and civic-mindedness of New Mexicans. Journalists would tell war stories about Albuquerque instead of Des Moines. D.C. would be filled with generations of grizzled New Mexico veterans selling their contacts, e-mail lists and homespun insights into the unique contours of the New Mexican political landscape. Meanwhile, people would laugh at the very suggestion that Iowa — Iowa! — be given the pride of place in our precious electoral system.

The real problem with the Iowa caucuses is simply that they confer too much entrenched arbitrary power on one state in perpetuity. For instance, without the Iowa caucuses we would never have wasted billions of dollars on environmentally damaging and economically wasteful ethanol subsidies.

It's nice that Iowa is the Saudi Arabia of corn, but there's no reason for presidential aspirants to kowtow to Big Corn's interests every four years. Even worse, every politician who even fantasizes about sitting in the Oval Office pays obeisance to the preservation of government moonshine.

Read the whole thing. It ought to be required reading for the leadership of both parties.


  1. Still and all, it's nice not to have the big states like California, New York, Texas, and Florida deciding things over everyone else's heads. Can you imagine if California were the electoral pacesetter? The state where, if progg dreams came true, underage girls could get secret abortions, but couldn't get Happy Meals?

  2. If I had the magic primary wand, I'd pick a state like Missouri to start with (since just about everybody is represented there, and it's a 50/50 bellweather), and then set up a rotation so no one (or two, or three) states could monopolize the process they way Iowa and New Hampshire have.

    And I would make caucuses illegal, on the grounds that they are fundamentally un-democratic (small-d, of course).