Friday, August 10, 2007

Why Iowa Must not Change its Primary

I'm from Iowa, you think we like the candidates invading our state earlier and earlier every year? Well when it was President Bush or Al Gore visiting, we got a little excited about the pomp and circumstance, but hearing about Edwards' 12th visit or some hick from Arkansas or New Mexico visiting Des Moines, we really get peeved. Moving up Iowa's primary date will only make this worse, and here's why keeping it the same will make the process better.

South Carolina is just the latest of several key states that have moved up their presidential primaries. More and more states are moving their primaries to the beginning of the 2008 calendar year seeking to draw some of the attention from Iowa - it isn't working. The candidates are still focused on Iowa, and this is a good thing. Iowa represents main stream America and that's a good place to gauge how the contenders are doing. We have the two most separated senators but the state is pretty much evenly divided during presidential campaigns. We're good where we are because we're a moderate state but not beholden to any particular ideology.
The second reason we shouldn't move our primary is because other states will be too intimidated to move past us. There would be a huge uproar from any number of folks from the presidential candidates to interested parties in Iowa. This won't happen as long as Iowa stands strong. Instead, what is happening is a consolidation of the major primaries in just a few weeks. The process has something to gain from this, i.e. fewer stories with mentions of Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, Mike Gravel, and Tom Tancredo. The sooner those guys are eliminated, the sooner Mecca and Medina can rest safe, and parks everywhere will no longer feel humiliated.
I think its long past the days when we could hope campaigns would only last a year. Now, they begin as soon as that last ballot is cast in the midterm elections, and in some cases earlier. Until campaign finance laws are changed, candidates will be jumping the gun earlier and earlier every year. The only way to put a halt on this absurd process is to at least keep the primaries in same calendar year as the election. Knocking off people like Kucinich and Tancredo will allow the real candidates to have a better, more engaging debate about the relevant issues.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

How I kept British troops in Basra

Yesterday, I single-handedly changed America's relations with Great Britain. I was standing on the National Mall, as I often do on Monday afternoons reserving the field for the award-winning Harkin Heroe's softball team. Since a storm was brewing and the humidty induced sweat in my hair was being replaced by bountiful rain drops, I had to put Harry Potter away and find other means of entertainment. Thank God I had a soccer ball because that's what shaped everything.

Well unlike Mr. Bush, I knew that Gordon Brown wasn't a famous rugby star, though he did play in high school. And like every male with the slightest interest in sports born outside of North America, loves soccer. So I enter the story on Gordon Brown's historic first visit to the United States as PM. As I was practicing my Ronaldinho impression, Bush and Brown's motorcade drove by me on the mall. I saw Brown look right at me, and then turn to Bush and make a comment. I'm pretty sure this is what he said in his gruffy, Scottish accent:
"Damn, you eejits actually play football, what kind of pitch is that w/o goals."
"Damn straight we play football, the American way."
[mutters under his breath] "He really is as dumb as yer man said."
Still, this is my thought: Today, Brown announced that he would delay bringing troops home from Iraq. After seeing yours truly play the world's sport on the National Mall, a certain nostalgia came over Brown. America can't be all bad if we have youngsters playing soccer right here in our nation's capitol. I can't give up yet, no matter if the leader of the free world is a dimwit. I think the city of Basra owes me (and Brown) a thank you.