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I watched the Iowa Democratic caucuses on C-SPAN last night, and so I must rant about the stupidity of the process: 400 Iowa Democrats wandering around a high-school cafeteria, harassing each other for two hours by repeating the same worn-out lines we’ve heard a million times before about each candidate. This frequently produced unintentionally hilarious scenes like the following, in which an Obama supporter tries to convince an undecided voter to join him by employing a familiar rebuttal to the charge that Obama is too inexperienced: Abraham Lincoln, he assured her, assumed the presidency with less experience than Obama has now.

“He got shot!” the undecided voter cried:

More broadly, the theme of the night seemed to be dog-eat-dog. Neither the Biden supporters nor the Dodd supporters could attract enough people to their corners to be “viable,” so the Richardson supporters — who were close to viable but not quite there — started going after them shamelessly. “Dodd’s a great guy,” said one to a dismayed Dodd fan, then without missing a beat: “Would you like to come over to our… to join us and talk about…” The Dodd supporters must have looked skeptical, because she added, “Yeah, I know. We should’ve brought treats.” She kept at it though, valiantly trying to sell several people on Richardson’s electability:

Despite these efforts, the Richardson people couldn’t muster the 15 percent of the crowd necessary for “viability” — mostly because every time they got close, these pushy Obama supporters would start hovering around and peeling people off. (In the clip below, you can hear one Obama supporter in the background shouting “Give us some! Give us some! Give us some!”) Supporters of the big three circled the dwindling crowd of Richardson supporters like vultures, looking to add to their ranks and possibly score an extra delegate:

Finally, after the conquered had been herded into one of the big threes’ camps, this caucus’s six delegates were awarded as follows: Three to Obama, two to Edwards, and one to Hillary Clinton. It appeared that the majority of the 60 or 70 people who wanted to vote for a minor candidate ended up siding with Obama; their candidates (Biden, Richardson) reportedly endorsed him as a second choice. As for the 90 percent of Iowans who skipped the caucuses this year, take it from me: You didn’t miss much.


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