Will you please shut up about the caucuses?

Another four years, another orgy of over-coverage in Iowa, while all other news gets neglected.

Crosscut archive image.

Can you spot the 2008 Iowa caucus winner?

Another four years, another orgy of over-coverage in Iowa, while all other news gets neglected.

Consider two tallies in the wake of the Iowa Republican caucuses, one uncountable and the other pathetically small. The latter number: Between them, Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul, Perry, Romney, and Santorum received a total of 121,914 votes, .003 percent of the U.S. population.

Secondly, how many words of reportage, analysis, prediction, blather, speculation, ranting, raving, chin-stroking, and rote repetition have been expended over the caucuses in all the nation’s media and quasi-media for each one of those votes? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands?

And who save a few Corn Belt and Beltway political mavens will remember any of it after the next couple primaries, save that Romney won (with a grand eight votes over Santorum)? In any case, Iowa is some bellwether: Four years ago, Mike Huckabee won. Isn’t he the big guy who plays guitar?

There’s nothing to be done, to be sure, about the relentless touting of and lathering over the Iowa caucuses and, worse yet, the straw poll (which Michele “Remember Her?” Bachmann won). Pennant races are the mainstream media’s lifeblood, even when the contenders are as exciting as Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney. But I still admire a certain wise old political scientist who tries to ignore presidential campaigns until Labor Day — that’s Labor Day, election year — and laments the obsolescence of the summertime conventions that actually used to decide things.

Take the pledge if you want: I intend to listen to a lot more music and a lot less political news in the next few months.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Eric Scigliano

Eric Scigliano

Eric Scigliano's reporting on social and environmental issues for The Weekly (later Seattle Weekly) won Livingston, Kennedy, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and other honors. He has also written for Harper's, New Scientist, and many other publications. One of his books, Michelangelo's Mountain, was a finalist for the Washington Book Award. His other books include Puget SoundLove, War, and Circuses (aka Seeing the Elephant); and, with Curtis E. Ebbesmeyer, Flotsametrics.