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Saturday, January 10, 2004 ISSUE #305
 

Gephardt wins Iowa No-Till Farmer Caucus (sort of)

# 305, January 10, 2004

DES MOINES, Iowa: If you have been waiting apprehensively for Iowa to select your Democratic front runner for President, you can relax. It's over and decided.

I know, you're saying we're a week early, and some of you will insist on holding on to this news till next Monday night. But the results won't change none.

See, the No-Till Farmers of America met here in Des Moines this week, including a substantial number from Iowa, and a few from Europe. They spent the better part of four days learning all the newest techniques to grow bigger and better crops, how to spend less, and to keep their soil and fertilizer out of your streams and rivers and lakes. And they're doing a mighty fine job of it, too.

But last night at the annual banquet, we figured why not get a jump on the Iowa Caucuses. After all, we had a captive group bigger than most that will gather around the state in the various schoolrooms, church basements and machine sheds.

We allowed only authentic Iowans to vote, and while we had a lot of fun the voting and counting were done with fairness, accuracy and utmost decorum. Except, there was one rather raucous group of "outsiders", from the great state of Nebraska. They tried to field a Dark Horse candidate of their own but were promptly ruled out of order. We didn't want to give the Supreme Court an excuse to intervene. You can understand their frustration, being a next door neighbor and getting cut out of the fun every four years. But this field of Presidential contenders is already loaded down with about half dark horses already, so there'll be no more allowed.

Whereas in the past these Caucus affairs have been known to run on for three or four hours, by eliminating the speeches for nominating and seconding we cut the whole process down to seven minutes. We wanted to leave most of the evening for the fine inspirational speaker, Ron Gustafson from Omaha, and believe me he was worth it. Go hear him whenever you can.

When all the voting was done, Dick Gephardt got 37 percent of the votes cast for the nine candidates. Senator Kerry had 25 percent standing in his corner, and Senator Edwards and General Clark tied for third with 12 percent each.

You may wonder, where was Howard Dean? Well, he suffered perhaps the biggest blow, coming in tied for last place, with Al Sharpton and Joe Lieberman.

But really there was one bigger blow. After we had gone through all nine candidates we sensed a few farmers had not voted. So we announced a new category, "None of the Above". It was as if a wave had rushed through the banquet hall. Fully 65.5 percent of those Iowans stood, and many even cheered. So while Mr. Gephardt can smile a bit, the whole of the Democratic Party has reason to frown.

If you are wondering, was it fair to let all Iowa vote instead of only Democrats? Yes it was. See, Iowa is a bit peculiar when it comes to elections. They have two Senators, like all of us. And when Senator Grassley runs for re-election they are mainly Republican, and when Senator Harkin runs they are mainly Democrat. Since neither one of 'em is up for re-election in 2004, you might say Iowa is mainly... muddled. But by November it'll clear up.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"Democrats never agree on anything. That's why they're Democrats. If they could agree with each other, they would be Republicans." Saturday Evening Post, May 1, 1926

"Personally, I don't think the Democrats will enter anybody. If they are wise they will let it go by default. There is only one way to get even with [the President] now, and that is to leave him in there another term." WA #14, March 18, 1923


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