Iowa: Much Ado About Nothing

I recall a puzzling poem that we were asked to read in one of my college English courses.  After all of the years between, I still have no idea what the writer, William Carlos Williams was attempting to say:

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

Yes, of course it does. But who besides Mr. Williams cares?

Which brings me to that over-rated event this evening in the state of Iowa. The caucuses. Actually I thought that the Caucuses were in Asia, but with global warming in full swing, they may have slid westward.

For the past x-number of weeks, all of the political pundits have been centered in that odd state on the edge of the Great Plains. Three million people, 91% white. Interestingly, although the state is named after an Indian tribe, only 4/10 of 1% of its citizens are Native Americans. [link] The whitest state west of the Mississippi.  So how could the voters of Iowa be a key indicator of the political mood of the nation?

So much depends…

And they are a very Christian lot. Evangelical too boot. Church attendance in Iowa rivals that of the Bible Belt in the South.

There is no city in Iowa even close to a million; the top 3 cities do not add up to a half-million people.

It is estimated that perhaps 140,000 Iowans will participate in the caucus process this evening. That’s 4.7% of the population of the state.

Extending the mathematics a bit further, when the polls show that the top candidate at 23%, this number represents only 32,000 people [if a record 140k show up]. Thirty-two thousand people.

That’s about how many people showed up in Port Clinton, Ohio to watch the Walleye drop on New Year’s Eve.

so much depends…

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24 thoughts on “Iowa: Much Ado About Nothing

  1. I agree, so why waste time posting on this insignificant trivia?

    Instead, why don’t you post on the Marcy Kaptur passed National Defense
    Reorganization Act of $662 Billion which Obama signed the other day
    with provisions curtailing the liberties and freedoms of all United States citizens by allowing the military to arrest citizens and to hold them without
    judicial hearings and of even spiriting citizens away to foreign prisons?

  2. First off, UTF, why don’t you post your take on the National Defense Reorganization Act? Please try to include the political gymnastics in the editing of the version of the bill which was signed. The machinations of the Republican controlled congress? The idiotic obstructionist brinkmanship we have to deal with daily in this dysfunctional government, I would love to hear you deconstruct the process which led to the passage and enactment of this bill and how the administration signed it with caveats.
    The poem? interesting that I just recently heard it recited by James Brolin in the 2010 Woody Allen film, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger. What does it mean? You have to put the poem in the context of it’s time. Mr. Williams was an American Transcendental Realist….he wrote like Charles Sheeler painted. In other words, he was attempting and succeeded to take the mundane world we we see and live in and give the simple reality another level. Like Charles Sheeler could paint the Rouge River Ford Motor plants or Grain Elevators in Cairo, Illinois and make them transcendent. It is the spiritual, the other reality beyond the simple veil of perception, This is not religion in any traditional sense, this is the simple depiction of the real world we live in and the ability to stand back and look at it and see the absolute beauty and perfection of the moment.
    Here is Williams own explanation of the inspiration for the poem:
    “It sprang from affection for an old Negro named Marshall. He had been a fisherman, caught porgies off Gloucester. He used to tell me how he had to work in the hold in freezing weather, standing ankle deep in cracked ice packing down the fish. He said he didn’t feel cold. He never felt cold in his life until just recently. I liked that man, and his son Milton almost as much. In his back yard I saw the red wheelbarrow surrounded by the white chickens. I suppose my affection for the old man somehow got into the writing.”
    But, it is interesting on another level all together that this piece of Simple American Transcendental Realism was the inspiration for Mudrakes attempt to find any meaning or substance in the Iowa Caucus. Where as Williams piece tried to transcend simple reality, make us see the simple eternal beauty of the present moment, the Iowa debacle shows us the unreality, the true ugliness of manufactured, totally phony moment. Like the banality of American Phony Media Reality Television, it is about nothing that has anything to do with reality. Like Bristol Palins flash in the pan book, it’s a fantasy that appeals to Americans shopping late at night at a walmart, buying tubs of maple bacon flavored fried corn puffs…it’s like a fairy tale on crystal methedrine….fun while it last but then you feel like shit for a week.

    1. Microdot- I am always amazed at your comments. I really do appreciate that you take the time to post on this blog. You add a degree of depth that many of us miss.

      Thanks.

  3. hah, after spending 4 million dollars on tv ads, Mittens won Iowa by 14 votes! that is a hell of a lot of Cheetos….

    1. …and Rick Perry spent $500/vote there. Looks like he’s gonna saddle up his horse and trot back to Texas. I guess God didn’t think too much about the guy, even though Perry pimped Him at every opportunity.

  4. woops, the NYTimes says Mittens won by only 8 votes….but what is reality when the runner up was Santorum? Remember the last time…the winner was a guy named Huckabee.

  5. As you know, sometimes I watch FOX News just to see where some of that “stuff” comes from. Honest to God I heard a “FOX Political Analyst” say this: President Obama should stay out of the news because he’s just a distraction to the primary in Iowa.”

    In case there might be a less learned reader out there, I’ll explain the idiocy of that statement. Primary and/or Caucus elections are held in each state for each individual party planning to enter candidates the the November general election. Even though it is a given that President Obama will be the Democrat Presidential candidate in November, Iowa still holds Caucuses for ALL the parties including the Democrats. Having the sitting President and presidential candidate address the Caucus attendees by Internet is nothing out of the ordinary; not doing it would be considered strange.

    Unless of course, a person thought only the Republican Caucuses counted.

  6. No really, I’d like to extend my hearty congratulations to Mitt Romney for being liked by 8 more white folks than Rick Santorum. And FOX? Blaming Liberal controlled media for their lame candidates? I think I am beginning to understand how money is actually made from those spam emails you get regarding penis enlargement scams….Really, if there are any conservatives out there who want to buy some phony Viagra, I might have a deal for you if you give me your credit card info!

  7. No, really, I’d like to extend my hearty congratulations to Mittens for having 6 to 8 more white folks liking him than Santorum! Way to go, Mitt…..
    I saw this FOX thing today in which Peter Johnson Jr. blamed “the liberal controlled media” for the lame candidates the Republicans are trying to choose from. You would have to see it to believe it, but I came away with a greater understanding of how these email scams that sell bogus penis enlargement techniques actually make money…I didn’t understand it before, but now it makes all too much sense to me thanks to Mr. Johnson, Jr.

    1. Damn! I would have really enjoyed watching that. One of my college professors suggested I go into sociology because I was so interested in the subject. At that young age I was too interested in making money so I majored in accounting. I made enough money to retire really early so now I have lots of time to really enjoy my pursuit of sociology. Who would’ve guessed that Fox News would be such a good experimental source.

  8. Your political reporting rocks, baby!
    I said the same thing myself to my 76-year-old Aunt who was trying to figure out why Michelle Bachman was still in the race (and Perry still running commercials like he is hot on the trail of Obama), but you’ve said it much better.
    Kudos!
    S

  9. This question is just pure curiosity. Why do you guys spend so much time, talking about the Republican candidates? Unless I’m missing something, I don’t think anyone here will vote for any of them in 2012. So why spend so much time on the subject?

    1. Don’t even try to say watching them is not similar to attending a clown circus. Plus, isn’t it every American’s duty to understand where their fellow American is coming from? You mean you have never wondered where some of the outright lies being thrown around come from?

      I keep an unofficial score sheet of the most outrageous misinformation. Some comes from bloggers who are just parroting Fox News, some parrot even more questionable news sources and some bloggers just make up stuff if it supports their statements. Right now there’s a blogger who posted a video and then accused a person in the video of saying something that’s not even in the video – the blogger just made it up. Then he goes on to say it’s OK to bring a dead baby home to let the kids play with. Hey, I’m not creative enough make this stuff up!

  10. So why spend so much time on the subject?

    I guess it’s because of the adventure- sort of like skydiving! The thrill, the adrenaline peak! You know, whose parachute won’t open and how far will they fall.

    Spectator sports, really. Pick’n winners and losers. A cold Bud with your buddies, some hot wings, and a good belch!

    I’d say it’s the best thing until the professional mud wrestling season opens.

  11. JOB…why spend any time on them? This blog is about politics and society among other things, this is the subject, the predicate, the adverbs ect…
    Why do you spend so much time on your blog talking about Obama?
    Perhaps you find the scene is being created by conservative american politics a little embarrassing and perhaps we should avert our eyes? This is one of the most entertaining shows around and the implications of the possibilities are what are going to affect all of our lives. Why shouldn’t we discuss, expose, vent and try to explain what is happening in our world to each other?
    Careful, you don’t want to start sounding like a cop at a disaster scene doing crowd control…”nothing to look at folks, keep moving”….

  12. It will be good but excruciatingly boring for us progressives if these Republicans keep beating each other up all the way to the GOP convention!

  13. Mud- Nice answer, and pretty damn funny as well.

    Dottie, when did you start getting so serious? I was just curious. I’m actually trying to stay away from politics on my blog this year. I don’t see the point. If I do see something funny, or irritating, I’ll still post it. As far as Obama, it was because he is the President. No matter who the President is, or what political party they represent, they are going to be scrutinized.

  14. well, quite a few conservatives who have considered themselves pundits have expressed the idea that I might be bi polar…but of course, that is a but a lame cop out for the confusion I might have engendered by the simple fact that I will never be a predictable entity. like a fine cut gem, I have many facets, blinding insight, mind dulling idiocy, acute intelligence and tendency to pee in my own pants. In fact I could be a mirror like surface in which you might see your own self reflected…I am all of the above and much more. My wife thinks I am a great cook. I am currently trying to recreate our favorite carry out chinese dishes from NYC corner Take a ways here at the end of a rural lane in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in France….but tomorrow/ The neighbor might ask me to help him slaughter a pig and I can, have and am quite capable of doing that……for a self reference, check out the post I did called Who’ll Be the Next In Line…at the end there is a you tube thingie of my personal anthem…since 1966…the same damn song which I will never get tired of.

    1. like a fine cut gem, I have many facets…

      The reason, Microdot, that ‘they’ find you ‘odd’ is because they are, well, right-wing conservatives. Cement feet. Blinders. Stoic. The past is prologue to the future. That’s what it’s supposed to be. Don’t change.

      [have I covered it all??]

  15. In fact, here are the lyrics of my favorite all time song by Mr. Ray Davies circa 1966:
    I wont take all that they hand me down,
    And make out a smile, though I wear a frown,
    And I wont take it all lying down,
    cause once I get started I go to town.

    cause Im not like everybody else,
    Im not like everybody else,
    Im not like everybody else,
    Im not like everybody else.

    And I dont want to ball about like everybody else,
    And I dont want to live my life like everybody else,
    And I wont say that I feel fine like everybody else,
    cause Im not like everybody else,
    Im not like everybody else.

    But darling, you know that I love you true,
    Do anything that you want me to,
    Confess all my sins like you want me to,
    Theres one thing that I will say to you,
    Im not like everybody else,
    Im not like everybody else.

    Im not like everybody else,
    Im not like everybody else
    And I dont want to ball about like everybody else,
    And I dont want to live my life like everybody else,
    And I wont say that I feel fine like everybody else,
    cause Im not like everybody else,
    Im not like everybody else.

    Like everybody else,
    Like everybody else,
    Like everybody else,
    Like everybody else.

    If you all want me to settle down,
    Slow up and stop all my running round,
    Do everything like you want me to,
    Theres one thing that I will say to you,
    Im not like everybody else,
    Im not like everybody else.

    Im not like everybody else,
    Im not like everybody else.
    And I dont want to ball about like everybody else,
    And I dont want to live my life like everybody else,
    And I wont say that I feel fine like everybody else,
    cause Im not like everybody else,
    Im not like everybody else.

    Like everybody else (like everybody else),
    Like everybody else (like everybody else),
    Like everybody else (like everybody else),
    Like everybody else.

    1. Dottie- I would just like to tell you, that I don’t find you bi-polar, or crazy at all. Even though we might have some different views, I think we may have alot in common. I am glad I found you and your blog. What anyone else things of you personally, is their problem.

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