"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


big games

Since two of my favorite sports (politics and the Orange Bowl) are on tonight, I've been flipping channels. Here's what we know: turnout was huge in Iowa, and Kansas is (so far) saving the Big XII from total BCS embarrassment this year. 218,000 Iowans went to the Democratic caucuses tonight (compare that to 125,000 in 2004). 60% of the 114,000 or so Republican caucus-goers described themselves as evanglical/born-again Christians. They propelled Huckabee to a win, with 34% to Romney's 25%. It was very surprising to me that it wasn't so close, but given the turnout issue, it wasn't really that surprising.

Obama beat Clinton, big-time. Right now, with 94% of precincts reporting, he's got 37% to Clinton's 30%. It's not a surprise that he won, but it is a bit surprising that he won so big. The big issue for Clinton is that she's tied with Edwards for the moment and may even come in a close third.

I watched a Des Moines caucus in real-time on CSPAN. It was amazing - I actually teared up a little - to watch people share their views and explain why they believed a candidate was worth supporting. As crazy as this method of choosing a candidate is, it made me wish that more Americans had the opportunity to directly engage in the political process. The fascinating thing about that particular caucus was the decisionmaking processes that went on by the supporters of non-viable candidates. Their debates had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton - it was all about whether to support Edwards or Obama. In the end, that caucus sent 3 delegates for Obama, 2 for Edwards, and 1 for Clinton.

My friend D-line calls elections for Fox News, and, as always, it was fun to spot him in the background of their coverage. He would probably caution us to take the caucus results with a grain of salt - there are still 30 more primaries and caucuses to go by February 5. No question there's a lot of politics still to be played. But this is an interesting start. Now if you'll excuse me, there's football on.


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