No, I didn’t attend my local and very neighborly caucus this past Saturday. I had a most neighborly reason for not going. I was nursing a head cold and decided to practice what I preach about people with colds staying the hell at home and not going out there as contagious vectors. (A reader informs me that lots of folks in Japan these days take the neighborly step of wearing surgeon’s masks over their mugs if they’re sick and have to go out in public. A fairly civilized practice, yes?)
Honestly, I was disappointed we had a caucus instead of a primary. I’d rather sign in, vote, and get outta there in three to five minutes. To be sure, there were undoubtedly a whole lot of folks who found the caucus process refreshing, spirited and an overall positive interaction. I’m also sure a whole lot of folks found their caucus experience to be one that can be nicely summed up by the letters CF. (Rhymes with Fuster Cluck.) Some of the folks I saw interviewed for TV appeared to be crabbily entrenched in that particular camp.
I was wondering why we were going the Iowa route, anyway. I suspected it had something to do with M-O-N-E-Y. I mean, I’m an American who’s been paying attention for a while. Generally, 99.9 percent of answers to questions involving the way things work involve that particular five-letter word. Then, I read Dennis Myers’ caucus cover story from our Jan. 10 issue and found that notion confirmed. Caucuses are paid for by the parties, primaries are paid for by the state. Considering the latest financial hardships in which Nevada now finds itself, it was certainly very polite for Nevadans to caucus this year.
But in the end, you can put me down in the “Caucuses Suck” column. I’m not so nostalgic for some community political buzz that I want to be hustled about candidates by an over-amped coffee klatch of verbose acolytes. I mean, really, what’s up with all the electioneering peer pressure? No thanks. (BTW, we’re not the only caucusing state. Seven of the 22 states picking delegates on what has now been dubbed “Tsunami Tuesday” will caucus, not vote).
I took that internet candidate match-up test, the one that asks your position on 25 issues, then matches your answers to the candidate most suited to you. I came out as more of a Kucinichian than I did an Obaman, an Edwardian or a Hillarian. And that made me wonder why America doesn’t warm up much to the man from Cleveland. The guy takes clear and decidedly progressive stances on key issues like corporate favoritism and health care and has shown a real willingness to present real solutions. And he’s gone absolutely nowhere in the last two election cycles. I can’t blame it all on the media; he has, after all, taken part in many debates. Does America view Dennis as a madman? Is that it? I view him as a mad man. Big difference. And a real plus in certain political contexts.