Palin Makes a Mockery of Ames Straw Poll and I Love It!
For anyone that’s ever stumbled over here or caught wind of a T Christopher Republican Redefined Sarah Palin post, you probably know I’m not exactly a “fan” of the Former Alaska Governor. Call it a flaw (many have), call it a weakness (many have), call it something worse (many have), I just can’t find it in me to get on the Palin bandwagon. I appreciate her place in our Party and in the conservative movement as a whole. I agree with her on just about every issue. I’ll spare you the other side for now so don’t be clever and ask. Remember, this is supposed to be the most Pro-Palin post I’ve ever written?
Because of that, when I first heard the news that Sarah Palin was headed to Iowa this weekend… let’s just say I was less than enthused. Actually, there were more than a few ungentlemanly words that came to mind, but none are worth mentioning here. It seemed like more shameless spotlight grabbing aimed at maintaining a presence without actually making a commitment; and nothing more. She appeared to once again be demonstrating her seeming addiction to attention as if she was compelled to head to Iowa by a force beyond her control.
But then as my Friday attempts at following the happenings in Iowa turned into a Saturday overdose of the Hawkeye State, my feelings regarding Sarah Palin’s visit began to drastically change; and I do believe I’ve had a Palin revelation. Not a “Come to Jesus” moment, but an eye-opening experience nonetheless.
It became abundantly clear to me. She’s doing exactly what I want to do – give a big ole middle finger to the Iowa Caucus and everyone involved in this ridiculous straw poll. She said to hell with your $30 straw poll and your tailgating barbecue and bratwurst. I’m coming to town and you’re going to treat me to lunch – not the other way around. You want me to be your next president… show me why I’d want to do it. You came to see me. I didn’t come to see you. Okay maybe that last part was a little over the top, but I think you get the picture. She said no mas to this stupid “tradition.”
As I’ve said here before, I can’t think of a more convoluted system than that which is currently on display in Iowa. Campaigns pay tens of thousands of dollars for spots in and outside an arena; they bus “voters” into Ames; they feed them; they pick up the $30 tab or part of it; and then they ask them to cast a vote. Is that Democracy? Is that Republican-Democracy? How the hell could anyone call that a vote? That’s the gratuity for good service. That’s the thank you for the free tickets you gave to the guy that brought you to the ballgame. That’s the wedding gift you brought as payment for all the booze you drank at the reception.
If you ask me, it sounds a lot like Chicago around general election time – not a Republican caucus.
I’d say I mean no disrespect to Iowa, but I do believe that would be futile at this point. But who the hell really cares about Iowa? I know I don’t. At least not any more than I care about the other 49. If it weren’t for Congressman King, I probably couldn’t even name a member of their Republican delegation and I’m a right-wing blogger. Can you?
Didn’t think so.
And yet here we are – glued to our televisions eagerly awaiting the results of a straw poll that will tell us little more than whether or not a candidate’s campaign can get folks from Waterloo to make the journey to Ames to eat free hot dogs and cast a meaningless vote in return for all the spoils.
It’s ridiculous folks.
That brings me back to Sarah Palin – not a jab; just a segue…
Candidates have spent months in Iowa and millions of dollars preparing for today. They’ve knocked on doors, they’ve kissed babies, they’ve eaten really crappy chicken dinners from one side of Iowa to the other. They’ve done town-halls, they’ve done forums, they’ve done Q&A’s; and yet every single one of them would still get bumped from the chow line today in a heart beat if Sarah Palin said she wanted a cheeseburger or some potato salad.
When the members of the media rose from their beds this morning, the first question they had to ask was – Do we follow Palin or do we follow the actual candidates? Anyone wanna bet how long that “debate” lasted? How pissed were the folks that drew the short “straw” on that one? Follow a candidate and listen to another stump speech; or follow a rockstar and see her judge cattle looking like a million bucks, shuck corn in a little white t-shirt, or do whatever the hell it is she’s going to do for the day?
She’s throwing a wrench in the whole damn thing… and I love it.
You see, I generally find myself frustrated with Sarah Palin for a number of reasons; but none more than when she uses her celebrity to detract from real debates, from real issues, from genuine moments that could potentially change the trajectory of this great nation. I have long said, I either want her to join this race and add to the “conversation” or get the hell out and let the rest of them get down to the legitimate contest. I said it; I meant it; and I believed it. I still believe it.
That said, there is nothing legitimate about the sideshow currently underway in Iowa. It’s a three-ring circus of political gamesmanship that has nothing to do with representative government. It’s about the Iowa Caucus promoting the Iowa Caucus not for the purpose of narrowing the field or producing the best candidate for our Party, but for the sole purpose of exploiting the state’s “first in the nation” status. It’s shameful.
Because of that. I have never in my life appreciated or “liked” Sarah Palin more than I do today. I hope every word she utters in the Hawkeye State makes national news tonight and tomorrow. I hope she so drastically overshadows every candidate and the straw poll itself that they and it make the backpage and small script while Sarah Palin steals the headlines. I hope Fox News turns into Sarah Watch 24/7. I hope Sunday’s spin around the political circuit is devoted solely to the former governor. I hope the Straw Poll is but an afterthought to the circus Sarah Palin creates in Ames.
For a day, I am a Sarah Palin fan. Tomorrow, we’ll go back to wanting her “in or out.”
UPDATE: Opening was revised as two Palin-supporters felt the need to turn my Pro-Palin piece into a “Hey RINO – why don’t you like Sarah Palin” back-and-forth. Her day folks. Her day. Like I said, we can get to that tomorrow or thereafter.