04 January 2012

OF SISTERS, PICK UP TRUCKS AND DUFFY DAUGHERTY

Apparently, one of the delays in counting the last four percent of the caucus votes in Iowa was caused by a man who was driving his precinct’s count to the election center. The folks at Fox had a couple of laughs about it, but the mental picture stuck. The first question my wife asked me this morning was, “Did the guy in the truck get there?”

It was an interesting night. There were indeed clich├ęs spouted, and the focus immediately shifted to New Hampshire.

This morning, however, the Romney camp must be channeling the ghost of Hugh D. Daugherty. Duffy Daugherty was the first observer to note that “A tie is like kissing your sister.” Rick Santorum, who was polling miserably until the last week or so, came within eight votes of taking the lead. That is not the image that a candidate who consistently polled at 25 percent and won 25 percent should want to take into the next round.

The Iowa caucus goes into the record books and now it is on to the Granite State where Romney has nothing to gain and a lot to lose. If “Sis” gets another peck on the cheek, Romney could be in trouble.

What is absent from this process so far is any noticeable desire on the part of the people to ask for real debate. With the exception of Paul, whose ideas range from interesting to absolutely wacky, few of the candidates of either party are talking about any solution to the Nation's woes other than "elect or re-elect me."

I am particularly concerned that the Newt Gingrich we saw in Iowa was not Newt Gingrich, author and professor. He has good ideas, but the process we have developed does not want ideas. Ideas are dangerous because they don't fit into the few minutes allocated between commercial breaks. Cat fights and mud slinging make for easy headlines and ratings.

The American people have been turned into a race that despises real intellectual discourse and needs any discussion to come in 15 minute blocks. Read the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Today, Abe and Steve would have been back home in Illinois in a flash. And that is frightening.

It is time for candidates to get the courage to talk honestly with the American people rather than play it safe. As Duffy Daugherty also said, “When you are playing for the national championship, it's not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that.”

A NOTE FOR, AND WINK AND A HAT TIP TO, MY FRIEND JODY HARRINGTON: I tend to agree with your prayer "For those oppressed by sports analogies," although I allowed literary license to prevail in the last couple of blogs. I'll try to find a new angle. "It's more important than that."

1 comment:

Quotidian Grace said...

Actually, Mac, I thought your play-by-play parody of the Iowa caucus news coverage was very clever and suited the subject perfectly.