You should have seen what I wrote originally. Swear words were involved. Anyway, Iowa's worried that it may not have the influence that it once had over the Republican primaries:
On the surface, Iowa’s Republican presidential caucuses seem healthier than ever: would-be candidates are flocking here mere months after the last White House race ended, drawing sizable crowds and ample news coverage. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania were in this central Iowa college town for a Christian conservative conference this month, and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has come to the state twice since May.
But Iowa’s political leaders, always looking ahead to the next campaign, worry that looks can be deceiving and that the prized role of the Republican caucuses is in jeopardy.
Of course, the NYT gets it precisely backward: they think that Iowa's travails are, wait for it, wait for it... due to the conservatives taking over the nomination process! In reality, what propels a lot of national Republican disgust towards the Iowa caucuses is the way that they require Republican candidates to pretend that propping up fuel ethanol production is not a poor-person-killing abomination before the Lord, if said candidates want to compete in that state. That would be bad enough, except that Iowa has also turned out for the Democrat in the last two elections, and the last three out of four. It's bad enough that we have to betray good, conservative free-market principles; it's kind of infuriating that we don't even get good value for our souls.
Look, I understand that agricultural issues - particularly corn - are big in Iowa; and that ethanol thus looms large there. But it's a filthy business, encouraging food insecurity for the sake of pandering to liberal environmentalists who openly and proudly hate us. We're wasting money and wasting lives. It was not enough to kill the tax credits - although that was certainly welcome - in 2011; we need to burn out the artificially-imposed demand for ethanol*, root and branch.
And if Iowa doesn't want to hear that, well. The Iowa Republican party has a problem, then.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: I will concede that killing the Ames Straw Poll would be a good idea; it has devolved from a net positive to the GOP (party atmosphere, free PR) to a net negative (money sink for candidates, absolutely zero predictive power, easy to scam). I suspect that we will still be stuck with it for some yet, though.
*Ignore the nonsense about a gas tax, there. Personally, I'm kind of fond of being rich, and living in a rich society. Not every person is, though.