Iowa Will Be Over Soon, But Not Soon Enough

The constant drumbeat of not-really-news stories out of insignificant little Iowa will soon be behind us.

The constant drumbeat of not-really-news stories out of insignificant little Iowa will soon be behind us.

News broke late yesterday that yet another Not Romney, Rick Santorum, is surging in Iowa polls. That he’s a distant third even in Iowa, at 3.8 percent in the national polls,  and his campaign is widely considered a joke gets glossed over because of the historical fluke that Iowa gets to go first and national pundits are obligated to pretend that the caucuses matter. Except that, on the Republican side at least, they don’t because it’s just a test of who can bus in the most people.

The most amusing news is that someone named Kent Sorenson, who until last night was running Michele Bachmann’s inconsequential Iowa campaign, has jumped ship and is now supporting Ron Paul. This non-story is getting major play on the talking heads programs like Morning Joe even though Bachmann has been nothing more than a vanity candidate except for about seven minutes after the Iowa Straw Poll (she’s currently at 6.2 percent in the RealClearPolitics average) and Paul is simply an amusement because, well, it’s kind of funny and, again, it’s happening in Iowa.

It helps, of course, that it’s the holiday season and a very slow news period–especially since the major media outlets are operating with skeleton crews and not looking very hard to unearth stories.

The Caucuses will take place a mere five nights from now and we’ll have one or two days of chatter about what it all means and then, mercifully, we’ll move on. Granted, we’ll move to talk about another tiny, unrepresentative state, New Hampshire, which holds its First-In-The-Nation primary a week later. But at least it’ll be one that’s historically important to deciding the nomination.

After that, the race will begin in earnest as the calendar gives us South Carolina, Florida, and a whole flurry of more interesting contests over the next month. Ron Paul talk will then shift to speculation about a third party run and Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann will go back to being curiosities on Fox News.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Fiona says:

    I’m ready for this whole farce of a Republican primary season to be over.

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    I find clown shows entertaining.

  3. Hey Norm says:

    Clowns scare me…especially if there is a chance they’ll get near the nuclear football.
    Since I graduated from high school, and the country turned 200, the good Republicans of Iowa have only chosen one President…and the party jettisoned him after one term (because his economic policies began the longest period without a recession in recent history and evidently Republicans like recessions). So yeah…who cares???

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann will go back to being curiosities on Fox News.

    That is all they are now.

  5. Vast Variety says:

    James, I understand you don’t like that Iowa is the first Caucasus but you don’t have to talk about us as if we are some third world country. Can’t you write a blog post without being disparaging to an entire state?

  6. James Joyner says:

    @Vast Variety: Pretty much the only time Iowa makes the news is every four years when this farce is staged.

  7. Vast Variety says:

    @James Joyner: Again James, I understand you don’t like the system and you have every right to speak out against it, but that doesn’t mean you have to be rude to us. It isn’t the people of the state that created the system. It’s the state parties. You could at least narrow your target to the actual groups responsible instead of deriding the whole state.

  8. Ben Wolf says:

    It would be nice if the endless coverage of the election pre-game show would be over. I am so sick of hearing about what dumb thing ‘candidate x-y-z’ just said.