Hermits Rock

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Five candidates and two surrogates (Forest Whitaker for Obama; Beau Bridges Biden for his father) and somewhat less than 2,000 others attended the Johnson County Democratic Party Picnic last night. I’ll narrate and try to make sense of the evening later, but for now, a few haikus to mark what I observed:

City councilor served
pasta. Skeptically, she said,
“They call it pesto.”

I pass John Edwards
on the way into the barn.
Damn, is he handsome.

A good populist
approaches a stage from the
crowd as Edwards did.

It is no good to
be small and so far away
from everything.

Would Bill Richardson
be less boring if he had
wolves gnawing his feet?

Dear Chris Dodd staffer:
High heels and a Blackberry
don’t help you fit in.

Forest Whitaker
gives a good speech! Obama
should be proud of him.

“H-I, H-I-L…
Hillary, you’re all I need!”
Chant! Burned into brain!

“How did the photos
turn out?” “They are all blurry
and ill focused.” “Noooooooooooo!”

Like I said, I’ll try to narrate it later; meanwhile, enjoy Flickr user Chris JD Clark’s photo set documenting the evening.



I can’t believe I left George McGovern’s endorsement speech out of my haikus! For that, I offer one last, (almost) word-for-word from his introduction:

“I’d sure like to see
a black man in the White House,
but folks, ladies first!”

John Deeth for Iowa Independent summarizes the speeches. (I don’t think McGovern said “African American,” though.)

I’m not commenting as a protest against your state’s grossly disproportionate power over the electoral process.


For what? Favoring a more directly democratic process of candidate selection? You’ve been too long on the Iowa teat, spoiled in your privilege.

For favoring states with more, and more colorful people than Iowa has. Some pursuant of justice you are, favoring the haves over the have nots in the pursuit of the myth of “directly democratic” elections. Haven’t you learned by now that things like that don’t exist in the U.S.?

But seriously, do you ever feel bad about your role in hurting America?

Not particularly, no. It’s not Iowa’s fault that America is so incredibly uncreative that it can’t figure out how to equalize the problems of the primary calendar. It’s beyond me why the states (especially the big ones) don’t push for later dates in the schedule, thereby introducing uncertainty not only into the electoral results but also the horse-race reporting. There are a lot of groups complicit in the current unctiousness of U.S. presidential campaigns, but Iowa doesn’t deserve more blame than anyone else, and at least the fact that we exist means that candidates are still required to do more than buy primetime ad space on TV.

Probably the best compromise to all the options (and much better than a popular-vote national primary) is to have regional primaries that rotate in order from election cycle to election cycle.

Searcy Arkansas
Political Science Prof
Grows jealous of Greg.