Gypped in ’92

Late in my high school years I became quite the political junkie; that is when I started to realize that there were real issues behind all the political slogans and rhetoric and whatnot. This was around 1986 to 1988, and I graduated in 1989. And when I was looking into college, I eventually narrowed my choices to a school in Iowa and one in Ohio. One small factor that led me to choose the school in Iowa was that I’d be in college during the next round of Iowa caucuses, in 1992. This prospect excited me deeply; I’d have a front-row seat for the official beginning of an election cycle. No, this was not the deciding factor — not even close — but it was in the back of my mind.

But when 1992 finally rolled around, something strange happened to the caucuses: Iowa’s own Senator, Tom Harkin, decided to run for the Democratic nomination. (Since President Bush the Elder was running as an incumbent, the Republican caucuses were pretty much a “rubber-stamp” affair.) Harkin’s candidacy pretty much let the air out of the excitement that should have surrounded Iowa; the favored son won the caucuses, and nobody much paid attention to Iowa. Everything, instead, focused on New Hampshire. So I got gypped.

I’ve been remembering all of this in the course of watching the current round of Iowa caucuses reach a fevered pitch, what with something like six candidates all within four percentage points of each other and so on. So, you students of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa had better be enjoying this! You turkeys got my caucuses!

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