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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Pre-Chaos In Iowa

I’m blogging from the Polk County Convention Center, where the Results/Media center for the Iowa Caucuses has been established, and am getting used to the pre-chaos. Upon arriving in Des Moines earlier today, there were few if any signs that the whole hep political world was focused on this cold and windy city–other than, of course, the Ron Paul billboards and yard signs that you see across the country in that campaign’s odd tribute to the politics of the pre-electronic age.
Lunching with friends at Palmer’s, a popular near-downtown deli, I saw not a single political bumper sticker in the vast and packed parking lot. But sure enough, a bunch of cameras soon entered, and there amongst us was Ron Paul himself, surrounded by an entourage that appeared largely pre-voting age.
Here at the PCCC, I’ve seen Biden and Richardson wander in, presumably to do interviews, but the crowds are mainly media types warming up for the big event in a few hours. I saw one foreign TV reporter announce that there was a sense of electricity here in the convention center, which gave me a good laugh since I was at that moment searching in vain for a power outlet for my PC.
The few non-campaign-worker Iowans I’ve talked to since arriving have generally suggested that among Democrats, Edwards and Obama have had the Big Mo of late. But the more animated talk was about the ulltra-saturation level of ads and especially calls from all the campaigns. Politically-involved Iowans often approach Caucus Night with a mixed sense of relief and sadness, recognizing that the massive attention the state’s been receiving is about to evaporate for a long time. Today there doesn’t seem to be much sadness that the Circus is about to strike its tents and leave town.
If turnout tonight doesn’t meet the very high expectations most observers have set, I suspect campaign overkill may be to blame.
The closest I’ve come to an inside tip so far was from a local pol who noted that Obama is going to be holding his Caucus Night party at the same Hyvee Hall digs where Howard Dean’s infamous “Scream” took place four years ago. The acoustics, she said, are so atrocious there that Obama might be vulnerable to the same kind of incident if he tries to get heard in the room.
I’ll probably check in next from an actual precinct Caucus, assuming my wireless card cooperates.

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