THE PLANK JANUARY 2, 2008
As much as I enjoy dumping on Iowa, it's clear that the entire primary system is out of whack. States keep pushing their dates forward. Primary voters are winding up disenfranchised because their party leaders break The Rules about which states can and must go first. Both the electorate and the candidates have vanishingly little time to process the results of one state's voting before the next is upon them. At this rate, the entire primary season will soon be reduced to a two-week period some time around Kwanzaa.
But you already know this is a problem. Indeed, deep-down, everyone not named David Yepsen knows this is a problem. And most sensible political pros I know (i.e., those who don't live in Iowa) think a national lottery is a better way to go. But for some reason, this idea hasn't taken hold. So I'm thinking a more creative, more inspirational alternative is called for.
Now, a civic-minded gimmick like, say, assigning primary dates based partially on states' voter turnout in the previous election is an option. But, let's face it, that won't make for dramatic YouTube footage. So maybe we should go more in the direction of a "Dancing with the Stars" showdown among party leaders? Think the cha-cha is only for girlie men and
'>Tucker Carlson? Fine. How about drag racing? Paint-ball? Quail hunting? (Maybe best to confine something like that to the Republicans.) Karaoke? Air guitar?!
You think I'm joking. But is asking state party officials to don spandex and lip sync the latest Kelly Clarkson tune really so much more absurd than the current circus? I think not. And to ease the sting of having his home state consigned to the political anonymity it deserves, I'm happy to let Yepsen judge the proceedings.