Political junkie

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As much as I’ve written in the past about how the media puts way too much focus on the Iowa caucuses, sure enough I’ve pretty much braced myself to watch MSNBC from right now until whenever I go to bed. (I’m getting too old to try to outlast the coverage, especially since the results will likely be nebulous into daybreak.) I guess I just like to fixate on the mechanics of things like this. I don’t watch college football, and I’m fairly uninterested in the NFL (at least until the Bengals get their act together again), but I absolutely love watching the NFL Draft in the spring even when I hardly know what is going on. I’ve always compared the NFL Draft to a giant 32-person game of chess, and I guess that I’m getting a similar vibe right now off of the Iowa caucuses. This is about as close to the machinations of Big Two politics as I care to get — I dislike all the spinning and such intensely — but watching them unfold is strangely intriguing. At least I know a lot more about the candidates here than I do about the players in the football drafts.

Keith Olbermann’s been talking a lot these past couple of nights about Dennis Kucinich asking his Iowa caucus-goers to go for Barack Obama as a second choice, just as Kucinich asked them to go for John Edwards in 2004. I remember when that happened in 2004, though, and there are a couple of important things that Olbermann hasn’t mentioned about 2004. First of all, in 2004 Kucinich was campaigning a lot more in Iowa than he did in this campaign; I don’t think Kucinich is even in Iowa right now. I think his campaign is putting much more emphasis on New Hampshire, which is kind of logical given that the "15% threshold" rule in Iowa really works against the second-tier candidates. Secondly, Kucinich’s agreement with Edwards was reciprocal, and really helped both candidates out a lot; Kucinich placed way better in Iowa than anyone thought he would, and Kucinich’s support may have helped Edwards leap above Howard Dean to second place. I haven’t heard of a reciprocal agreement between Kucinich and Obama this year, but then again I doubt there will be any precincts where Obama will drop below threshold. I kind of wonder if Kucinich may be angling for the vice-presidential nomination, since he’s closer to Obama ideologically than the other candidates.

This brings up an interesting point, because one of the things I need to do over the next couple of weeks is to research the current crop of candidates for the Green Party nomination. From a glance, though, it looks like Cynthia McKinney may be the frontrunner at this point, and, well, I don’t get a good vibe off of her. Between some of the things she did while a member of Congress and her strange switch to the Green Party just before announcing her candidacy, I just don’t feel like she’s the person the Greens should be nominating. I’ve still got an uneasy feeling about Obama as well, but if I were forced to choose between Obama/Kucinich and McKinney/someone else, I think I would vote for Obama. I’m hoping that this doesn’t happen, though, and that someone I feel easier about voting for captures the Green Party nomination. Where’s Ralph Nader when you need him?

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