And so, it’s come to this: people who eat fried butter on a stick decide the fate of the nation. Michele Bachmann, the winner of last week’s “straw poll” in Ames, Iowa emerges as the GOP presidential campaign frontrunner — and she did it by buying the votes. Ok, so she handed out $30 tickets to hear the Randy Travis concert to 6000 people, 4800 of whom voted for her. I’m wondering if the other 1200 who didn’t vote for Michele Bachmann in spite of taking her tickets were in the emergency room. Fried butter does have consequences!
We used to think it was weird that a few old white guys in powdered wigs made all the decisions for the good citizens of the United States. Now we let 16,000 people scarfing down fried twinkies and pork chops in remote fields of Iowa set the tone for who will govern more than 300 million citizens.
Oh, sure, we all know that the Iowa straw poll doesn’t mean a darn thing. Wink, wink!! The Iowa caucuses are the real deal! See a trend here? Then it’s off to another population center, New Hampshire. Many otherwise-serious politicians have died sobbing in snowdrifts.
Is this any way for this nation to choose its next president?
Even President Obama feels the need to take a break from the economic crisis and debt ceiling follies and war in Afghanistan and unrest in Europe and threats of cyberterrorism to hop a bus for the simpler days in Mayberry…er…Minnesota where he will talk to “real” Americans! What, are there no “real” Americans in his neighborhood? Maybe he should just hop the 80 bus and stop along North Capitol Street, maybe at the Florida Avenue intersection — that’s about as “real” as it gets!
Other nations are going up in flames but we’re just real glad the NFL strike is over so we can take out all of our existential angst on the Redskins. We understand quarterback controversies with far better insight than questions like whether Rick Perry or Mitt Romney look too much alike to be a real threat to the Tea Party insurgents. Come to think of it, there’s probably a lot of fried butter on those tailgates in Landover….
But seriously, folks, is this any way to pick a president? When will American voters grow up and demand something approximating seriousness of purpose and political philosophy — not mere ideology, but real political philosophy — when it comes to presidential elections? The sideshow that is the Ames straw poll may seem weird and funny until somebody gets into office.