Lots of time to decide

Monday, October 8, 2007

It's still three months until the Iowa Caucuses, and our brethren in the national press corps are already anxiously seeking to anoint the nominees of the two parties. We have endured weeks of television commercials from the candidates with the most money and the convention wisdom is that there is very little consensus, which makes political pundits very unhappy.

The fact of the matter is that the races in both parties are still anyone's to win -- or lose -- it seems the national press corps are obsessed with someone losing as much as they are someone winning. Just a few short weeks ago, John McCain's obituary was being written. Now he is the comeback kid. Hillary Clinton is the presumptive winner of the Democratic nomination, months before a vote is cast.

Nationally, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll from last week showed a sizable chunk of Republicans, 22 percent, do not support the top candidates or fall into the undecided category. Among Democrats, 12 percent have not locked in on a person to back.

In politics, as is the case with most things in life, timing is everything. The Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary make candidates earn each and every vote. We Iowans are pretty savvy consumers, no matter what anyone says, and we check out the candidates. Some will change their minds several times before caucus night, so the polls at this point truly don't mean a thing.

The wonderful thing about the Iowa Caucuses is that the folks attending get to say who they think is best suited to be the next president. The television analysts don't get a say, the candidates don't get a say. It all boils down to a personal decision made by every person. If someone thinks Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich should be president, they should come out on caucus night and state their case. Who knows, if you believe in your candidate enough and are a good speaker, you might be able to sway enough of the other caucus attendees to your candidates.

To quote our current president, on caucus night, you get to be the decider. That is a precious and powerful gift. Don't give it away, or allow yourself to be a sheep following the pack.