Unless you live under a rock in a Unibomber shack, you know that the Iowa caucuses are on January 3rd. My parents live in Iowa, so I was there for five days for Christmas. During this time of the political calendar, entering Iowa from Illinois on I-80 is like entering a different world. You can't listen to radio, television, or read mail without being flooded with political "messages."
In the Sunday Des Moines Register, there was a map of all of the hot eateries or bars frequented by the campaign workers and candidates. There is much talk in my parents' neighborhood about which restaurant Hillary and Bill ate at the last time they were both in town. Morning Newscasts begin with a daily schedule for each major candidate in Iowa - 8:30 am: Sioux City. 10:00 am: Council Bluffs. Noon: Boone. 2:30 pm: Madrid. Evening newscasts begin with an accounting of how the major candidates spent their day. And so on, and so on.
The weather was bad over the weekend in Iowa and the big news was who still attended their scheduled appearances. Actually, the only one who didn't even try to make his appearances was Fred Thompson, who cancelled everything. I don't think he has a chance of winning Iowa now. Iowans don't like wimps who can't handle a little snow.
On Monday, Christmas Eve, I was alone in the house and the phone rang:
Hillary: Hi! This is Hillary Clinton. Bill and I are calling to wish you and your family a joyous holiday season and hope you have a Happy New Year. In this time of family and giving, I would like to . . . .
Me: Click. (I like Hillary, but I just didn't have time to listen to the spiel. It's like preaching to the choir.)
When my parents got home, my dad asked if there had been any calls:
Dad: Did we get any calls?
Me: Yeah. Hillary Clinton called.
Dad: Oh, yeah? What did she have to say?
Me: Just wishing us a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Dad: Well, that was nice. She calls almost every day now. There were three messages from her on our machine when we came home from Thanksgiving. We also got a couple of cards from her and Barak in the mail today. We haven't heard from John Edwards yet, but I am sure we will.
Ah, the peculiar life of Iowans during caucus season.
Statistical inference and the morning weight room
17 hours ago