Nothing else at all happened yesterday as the world stopped and a smallish-midsized rural state without many delegates apportioned them to this summer’s nominating conventions for the two major parties’ 2008 presidential candidates.
The final tally:
(A few obvious notes: on the Dem side, Richardson, Biden, and Dodd all ran hard in Iowa, and have squat to show for it — so much for a fourth “dark horse” being propelled into the race. Dodd and Biden, in fact, dropped out of the race late last night. Among the top three, in the larger scheme of things Obama’s extra delegates over Clinton and Edwards are meaningless, and he is from one state over; this settled nothing.
The Dem caucuses attracted far more Iowans than the Republican side; of the latter, one poll showed 60% identified themselves as Christian evangelicals, which tells you all you need to know about the roots of Huckabee’s rise. Even though he didn’t campaign much there, Guiliani’s showing, for a candidate leading the pack in national polling most of the year, is shocking. And when will people start taking Ron Paul seriously? Exhibit A: This unbylined, condescending Seattle Times article, which fails to mention — as did the entire Times web site Iowa coverage — that Paul pulled 10%, only three percent behind McCain & Thompson, and instead seems shocked that Paul intends to “continue his presidential campaign into New Hampshire and other states.”)
Of course, because this is the first actual contest that counts for anything, after a full year of wall-to-wall polling and breathless analysis of candidates’ haircuts, church attendance, and tipping habits, this morning the Iowa caucuses are getting the sort of news treatment generally reserved for (other) great natural disasters. Savvy reporters are also already filing their what-did-it-all-mean stories and launching your next round of blanket coverage and pointless speculation, hosted for the next five days by New Hampshire.
Welcome to election 2008. It’s going to be like this, in greater and lesser amounts, for another 306 days.
While the earth did, in fact, stop on its axis yesterday, and all six billion of its people held their collective breaths, a few miscreants did generate other news this morning. Our Friendly Mr. Dictator, Pervez Musharraf, made the news (and doubtless lots of new friends) by essentially blaming Benazir Bhutto for her own death. And Rep. Jane Harman released a declassified letter showing that contrary to CIA public statements, the CIA planned to destroy their torture interrogation tapes two full years before they actually did so. Oh, and in a classic bury-outrageous-news-on-a-day-when-it-won’t-be-noticed move,
After a two-year investigation into the killings of up to 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq, the Marine Corps has decided that none of the Marines involved in the incident will be charged with murder.
Betcha Iraqis (who consider this case right up there with Abu Ghraib among American outrages) notice anyway. Way to win hearts and minds.
Locally, the P-I gives us “Leaky leaf blower leaves slippery slick on Green Lake path,” the sort of alliterative headline about a trivial story you’d expect in, say, the local Forks paper (no disrespect to Forks). Over at the Times, the breaking local scoop is even better: “A lone coyote was spotted roaming the south parking lot of Discovery Park Wednesday morning.”
(Someone should tell our friends in Bothell that coyotes have been sighted all over town for two full years now. For example, Danny Westneat wrote a column about it six months ago in the, um, Seattle Times. Which in turn followed this story from October 2006 in the, um, Seattle Times. And so on.)
Maybe the Iowa coverage isn’t so bad after all.