Monday, August 13, 2007

In Defense of Iowa

James Lileks smacks down Professor Bainbridge and I'm inclined to agree with Lileks, but that might just be because he writes better. Or it might be that elitist snobs grate on my last Midwestern nerve. Here's the lovely retort:

Yes, they're all as dumb as sacks of soybeans. But Iowa is a lovely place, and as gratifying as it feels to micturate all over the central states, they have some good points. Now that the airplanes and the postal service have extended their reach to the inner reaches of the American continent, all manner of books and periodicals are available. The women are frequently seen in the smartest of smocks, and the men in the barber shops discourse on the latest advances in wireless telephony and moustache waxes. To the amazement of many visitors from Cali-fornia, large sections of the urban areas are not characterized by poverty and gang violence, the freeways move at a speed that many fear will bruise the internal organs, and houses of great size and comfort can be had for surprising sums of money. You can live here for $375,000.

Or, of course, you could move to San Jose, and live here for a little more. And you'd be near cutting-edge technology production, too.
And here's part of the pithy post that prompted it:
How is it that we persist in allowing these unrepresentative, yahoo infested, pissant states decide who gets to run for President? The notion that the Ames straw poll matters would be preposterous were it not so pernicious.
Yahoo infested? Surely the good Professor is ignoring Paris Hilton and Tom Cruise in his estimation of Californian superiority. Please. California is about to implode economically, debt-wise, the housing market will crash (again), the highways are choked, and at any moment the whole state could drop into the sea should Saint Andreas get moody. I'm not sure we want to rely on California to decide our fate.

What do you think? Would you prefer Iowans or Californians deciding your Presidential fate?
State Primaries should start in:
Iowa free polls


Bob said...

Regarding the poll, I would have liked "none of the above" as an option.

We seem to be able to run a general election on the same day nationwide*, why not do the same with the presidential primary?
Let the states (actually the political parties in each state) decide how to allocate delegates (winner take all, proportional, etc) and make the conventions mean something again.

*yes, I realize some Floridians were overwhelmed by that 1950s technology, the punch card in the 2000 election.

Melissa Clouthier said...


I thought of a third choice, like the one you mention, but that's not likely to happen. I was also thinking of putting a write-in state and people would inevitably nominate their own state.

It seems that the East and West Coast states increasingly resent being "held back" by the "hayseeds" in middle America. That's the reason they would also like to abolish the Electoral College or sell votes or trade votes. A pure Democracy would consolidate the power of the biggest states.

But the Founders imagined just this possibility which is why the Electoral College exists. And while Prof Bainbridge is sick of stoopid middle states and extols the virtues of his wine and food, he would be wise to remember that the agriculture of California comes courtesy the water from the middle states and the energy to keep their over-populated cities running comes from Texas.

We are a United States relying on one another. Truly, the only state that could be self-sufficient is Texas--the only state with its own energy grid and those nasty refineries California refuses to build. So all the yammering about the idjits in middle America should stop. California would suffer the most were it be severed from America.

An Iowan vote matters as much as a Californian vote. And babbling about diversity is just so much identity politics.

Anonymous said...

The thing that is humorous to me is this: if you think Iowa is a poor representation of "America," then don't campaign there. Save you money until you get to the "important" states. It is the Party that decides that the Presidential Candidate must be chosen so early. If the Democrats had been more patient 4 years ago they might have made a better decision and picked Edwards over Kerry. If they had, they probably would have won in 04'. Of course then they would have lost in 06'...


Anonymous said...

I clicked "Iowa" and I'm from California! After 50 years in this granola bowl (fruits, nuts, and flakes), the last fingers I'd want in the pie would be Californian!