I suppose one wouldn’t be terribly surprised should it turn out they’re using actual straw. Given there seems to be some assumption that every additional mile one plunges into the deep woods of the hinterlands there is a corresponding quotient of authenticity earned, the winner  should be declared the national bird or flower, or perhaps receive the yearly Grant Wood Award for best impersonation of American Gothic.

My view of the deep woods is more along the cautionary lines of DELIVERANCE, meaning one can expect the likeliest result of venturing too deeply into the forest will be coming out with an unsought, but life-changing experience of intimacy. Honestly, I don’t even know if there are actual woods in Iowa, though I am aware there are pastures and fields of corn. Lots of corn.

Corn of course is the natural habitat of the Republican Party, whose bread and churned butter now is simulating identification with hard-working, down-to-earth, religiously devoted rural folks.  Tragic irony really is too innocuous a category for a situation in which the electoral support of the meek of the earth empowers the political party solely committed to the interests of the economically elite, the corporation and the financier. While it is a party whose political props run toward pick-up trucks and flannel shirts, its policies and its set of governmental priorities viciously belie the message of the semiotics.   

Of course, given Republicans’ inability to restrain themselves from expressing overt hostility toward virtually every demographic group except wealthy white folks and not too wealthy white folks living in said hinterlands, they damn well better pick up a lot of votes among white folks.

Preceding Saturday’s straw poll there is a debate tonight in Des Moines among the Republican candidates, a debate which I am only surmising will not create the sensation over at the Oxford Union that these Republicans are breathing down their neck. As events whose relative significance (emphasis on relative) is entirely media contrived go, this one ranks somewhere between a locally televised police chase and Donald’s Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice “presidential announcement”.

And then there are the Republican candidates. Who are these people? I mean, literally, who are they? Herman Cain? As far as I am able to determine his sole rationale for running for president, bringing as he does no political or governmental experience whatsoever, is that he amassed a fortune in the pizza business. And as far as I am likewise able to determine, having amassed a fortune in the pizza business is the only reason he is treated as a reasonably serious candidate.  Of course Alan Keyes, noteworthy only for remaining at all times one step ahead of a butterfly net was treated seriously too.

Speaking of butterfly nets, one really can’t say any more about Michele Bachmann herself, only that a political party in which she is wildly popular telegraphs something ferociously alarming about that political party.

Pawlenty sounds like the name of something you buy in a health food store. And as a presidential candidate he appears to just sit there on the shelf calculating the days left until his expiration date. Gingrich is sure to say something so nonsensically offensive as to cause Andrew Dice Clay to blush.

Romney is the original crash test dummy of politics, a manikin whose only discernible purpose it to absorb the damage of abuse from other candidates, Romney, depending on the time of day or the sun’s position in the sky having held virtually every position on the ideological spectrum.

All should tune in however, for there is guaranteed, absolutely guaranteed to be a whole lot of pickin’ and grinnin’… none of it remotely authentic.




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