That other caucus state

Football Fetish Nation prepares for Freakout Finale! And so the stage is set—for El Niño to whizz mightily upon the NFL’s Golden Anniversary Shindig! This literally could be the case, as Stupor Bowl 50 achieves its climactic pinochle in the 49ers Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Sunday 2/7, and the early forecast is for—well, weather forecasts from two weeks away are about as accurate as the new year predictions from the Enquirer staff of crack psychics (ISIS Vampires to Attack Grammy Awards!! Space Aliens’ Great New Fat Burning Diet!!), so all storm talk at this point must be considered with multiple grains of salt, but it should at least be acknowledged there’s indeed a chance this year’s Superb Owl will get relentlessly rinsed by our moody, moist, tempestuous Boy.

My daughter, who drank the Orange Bronco Kool-Aid as a teen living in Littleton, wore her secret shirt for the championship game against the Patriots. It appears to have worked. An orange T-shirt with a pentagram enclosing the words, “Hail Patan!” it’s a powerful garment of dark powers that undoubtedly had something to do with Gostkowski pushing that PAT to the right.

So here we go. Iowa Iowa Iowa. All them fine folks get together to caucus on Monday Feb. 1, and this is usually where I fire up my predictable knee jerk blast about Iowa’s influence on the national political scene being way out of whack with the reality of a rather ordinary agricultural state that has a population of 3.1 million, about 1 percent of the country.

But I better just hold on a second. Because the truth is that Iowa, as it turns out, is far more important than my simplistic number-crunching would indicate. In fact, Iowa could show tabloid psychics a thing or two about prognostication.

For behold, Iowans have, in their last five Democratic caucuses, picked the eventual nominee. Yep, beginning with Bill Clinton in ’96 (granted, an easy call, since Bubba was an unopposed incumbent) and then choosing Gore, Kerry, Obama, and Obama (another incumbent no-brainer). But still, not bad. In fact, downright perfect.

Iowans have a little more trouble with the elephant people (who doesn’t?). They started out hot in ’96, picking Bob Dole, and then scored with Dubya in ’00, Dub again in ’04 (again, incumbent no-brainer) and then smashed into a big speed bump in ’08 with Yuckabee and another blooper in ’12 with Santorum, and there’s not much more to say about that, other than if Iowa Repubs this year slam into speed bumps like those last two they’re gonna leave a big gooey mess all over the highway.

But still, when all is said and done, Iowans have gone 8 for 10 on the nominee scoreboard since ’96, a record that any football bettor/tabloid psychic would kill for. That may at least partly explain why so much attention is now being lavished upon the place by candidates, who must want some of that Iowa mystery mojo to get things rolling.