As I think about it, the inability of the boobs who run the Iowa caucuses to declare reliably a winner until over two weeks after voting is not a small thing. Obviously, a couple of dozen votes one way or another is statistically insignificant, but then so, in Iowa, are the total votes: 121,000-and-something Iowans participated in the Republican caucuses and they have more say over the presidential nominating process than all 37 million Californians. So they could at least get it right, and in a timely manner.
The horse-race headlines matter. Just nine days ago, the bigfoot media line on primary night in the Granite State was that Mitt Romney was the first non-incumbent in the history of the planet to win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Wow! Unprecedented! One for the record books! Next question: Will the history-making and increasingly inevitable “Big Mo” Mitt make it three-in-a-row in the Palmetto State?
But this entire narrative rested on nothing more substantial than an incompetent count in a state where votes in eight precincts had gone missing. On the eve of South Carolina, it turns out that Mister Inevitable, Mister Run-The-Board, Mister Sweep-The-Nation has done no more than win one state in which he keeps a vacation home.
If I were Rick Santorum, I’d be feeling mighty irked by the two-week switcheroo. Had he been pronounced the winner of Iowa back when it mattered, who knows the difference it might have made to his fundraising, or to a meaningful surge in New Hampshire, or to the ability to buy airtime in Florida. What First World jurisdiction needs over a fortnight to count a hundred thousand votes?