Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa's time in the spotlight nearly over


I received a voice mail at work today from a salesman. He should have known better than to try to call an Iowa editor the day of the afternoon caucuses. Editors are little preoccupied right now. (The sales rep might be forgiven because he is based in Canada.)

Anyway, in 24 hours or so, the Iowa Caucuses will be history. There will be winners. There will be losers. There might even be a surprise. And then the candidates and accompanying media spotlight will turn elsewhere -- to New Hampshire and then the bushel of states conducting primaries Feb. 5.

Iowa catches heat from some media pundits and folks in other states because of all the attention this state receives. Critics point to the relatively low level of participation -- compared to a primary election, where the voter can be in and out in minutes or vote absentee, as opposed to the caucus, which requires several hours' commitment on a specific night.

While it is true that participation numbers are lower for a caucus than a primary, that does not necessarily mean that the quality of the decision-making is also lower. Indeed, many people who invest time in the caucus have also invested time attending candidate appearances and studying their positions.

So, win, lose or draw -- I believe Iowans have taken their responsibility seriously.

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