(WARNING — May contain sarcasm, snark and arguments made with tongue firmly in cheek.)
So, clearly, we’re mad at Florida for moving its primary and screwing everything up.
Our caucuses might now crash the holidays. It’s a wonderful political life. Every time a bell rings, Herman Cain wins a precinct.
Oh, we’re plenty ticked. But I’m also secretly happy. And a little smug. Florida is totally jealous of us.
It’s sort of breathtaking. Florida’s all sunny and warm year-round with beautiful beaches and Disney World. Iowa is having a truly beautiful autumn, but we know it’s a setup. What’s next? Ice rain, for all we know.
Tourism-wise, we’re an acquired taste. We lack Disney. And citrus fruit. Not a spring break destination. “Dude, you headed for Fort Lauderdale?” “No man, we’re hittin’ the bridges of Madison County and the Loess Hills. Thirty-six degrees and slush, man.”
True, they have hurricanes. But we have tornadoes, blizzards, oh, yeah, and ice rain.
But what Florida wants is what we’ve got — early influence on the presidential nominating process. Never mind that it already has 29 fat electoral votes, once held an entire presidential election hostage, is a swing-state candidate magnet and essentially dictates that none of us ever gets to buy and smoke a legal Cuban cigar. Not enough, apparently.
In 2008, Florida budged ahead in the primary line and took out Rudy Giuliani. So it’s tasted raw power. Now, it’s back for more. No feeble threat of lost delegates or stern letters from what they call a “Reince Priebus” will stop it.
Who can blame Florida? States like Iowa are the political equivalent of big-time college football programs. We get all the attention, big bucks and top political talent. Cut your teeth in Iowa politics, and you just may end up in the big game. Every four years, Iowa and its early state mates host BCS vote bowls. Most years, for others, it’s the Insignificance Bowl, live on C-SPAN 5.
So Florida moved its Republican primary to Jan. 31, ahead of Iowa’s Feb. 6 caucuses and early contests in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. So now, everybody’s got to move earlier to stay first. Iowa will probably have to hold its primary right after New Year’s, perhaps even during the 12 days of Christmas.
On the 12th Day of Christmas, the Grand Old Party gave to me, a caucus date too earleeee.
11 Romneys flipping
10 Perrys slipping
9 Huntsmen missing
8 Bachmanns fading
6 Santorums Googled
Don’t Ignore Ron Paul
4 Christies skipping
3 Palin splits
2 Cain? Holy (Beep)
And a straw poll that meant less than we thought.
That’s certainly festive. But I’d rather not see Newt leap. I wish our caucuses could have stayed put.
Maybe it’s good for Rick Perry and bad for Mitt Romney, or is it vice versa? Or good for both? Maybe Cain will have it all wrapped up by Super Bowl Sunday. Who knows? But it also plays into Ron Paul’s argument that calendars and dates are a government infringement on our freedom. He supports holding the caucuses on the 114th of Paultember.
So why does Iowa have to be first? Why can’t Florida be first? I say it’s climate.
Sorry, sunshine, but presidential picking is a dish best served cold. Upper Midwest cold. When your extremities turn Coors-Light-mountain blue, you know it’s time to caucus.
A person can think very clearly when it’s frightfully frigid. Clears the mind. Focuses our thoughts on what really matters. Family. Home. Hearth. Heat. Heat. Heat. Snowblower gas. Milk. Bread. Eggs.
I think we make our worst decisions when it’s warm. See spring break. See Hawaiian shirts. See men in Speedos. See that box of 1,000 cheap icy pops bought in May, not even a quarter gone. See Michele Bachmann winning the Iowa Straw Poll.
The nation’s population has shifted south. And we’ve gone to Hades in a handbasket. Coincidence?
True, the Declaration of Independence was a July production. But I don’t see any Thomas Jeffersons around. Do you?
Warm sun, gentle breezes and rolling surf make us forget about the necessary virtues of austerity, consequences and cold, hard truths. The world is not all clinking Coronas and peel and eat shrimp, dammit. We’ve got a country to run. Put on some clothes.
So spots like Florida may be a fine place to prepare for baseball season. But it’s no place to prepare presidents. This is a job for northerners ensconced in winter’s harsh, icy wisdom, and a very thick layer of flannel. South Carolina and Nevada are also warmish, but they’ve been shrewdly content to let the snow shovelers in Iowa and New Hampshire take first crack.
So trust us, the frozen and landlocked, America. Look to the nation’s heart, not it’s tropical appendage.
Florida, tear down that early primary. And if you don’t, I’ll simply be forced to spend a week to 10 days covering your unsanctioned sunfast. Maybe in a flannel Speedo. And you can’t unsee that.