Honk if you#8217;re tired of Iowa

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 4, 2008

For a moment the other day I thought I was living in the United States of Iowa.

In the past several weeks (or years as some might see it) the fine state of Iowa has dominated the news, with a photo of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton cuddling a cute Iowan baby to Republican presidential hopeful John McCain nuzzling…a Mr. Potato Head Doll.

Ah, yes, political campaigning. You can’t beat it…literally and unfortunately, especially in Iowa now days.

Thank you Iowa Caucuses for making us all squirm and shutter as we see each and every presidential candidate “working it” for a vote.

It’s like watching a bad fashion show where the models are elbowing each other out of the way for that lone spotlight. Where is the pepper spray when you need it, Miss Puerto Rico?

I’m not sure of what is more humorous about all this political hoopla: the fact that most people don’t know what a caucus is or the fact that for most of us Iowa…is Io-huh?

The caucus process differs between the Democrats and the Republicans…there’s a big surprise as they can never agree on anything.

On a typical caucus night a Democrat will find himself or herself at a church, school, farm house or any other assigned building in their precinct. Their head will be counted and off they will go to a wall or a corner of a room designated for the Democratic candidate of their choice.

If a Democrat’s favorite candidate doesn’t meet a 15 percent “threshold,” they don’t sweat it, as their vote will still count…but for a different candidate. In a second tally, supporters of candidates making up less than 15 percent of the vote in a particular precinct will have the option of making their vote count by voting for a &uot;viable&uot; candidate or one that got at least 15 percent of the vote on the first tally.

And don’t be fooled as “Billary,” Barack Obama and John Edwards will have their people in each precinct trying to persuade those who chose an “unviable” candidate to their side. It’s completely legal and totally 5th grade kick ball; “Oh, play on our team.”

While the Democrats are bumping into each other trying to get into a particular corner, the Republicans, on a typical caucus night, can be in bed at their normal time. No persuading or temptations, as Republicans vote via a secret ballot…no shocking fact there.

Yeah, it’s pretty interesting if you think of it, but then again it’s Iowa, the land of…the Hawkeyes?

Yep, North Carolina is filled with Tar Heels, Ohio with Buckeyes, New York with Yankees and Iowa with Hawkeyes.

What are Hawkeyes? Before you begin to conjure up images of an actual eye of a hawk, think about think about the book, “The Last of the Mohicans” in which a scout is named “Hawkeye.”

According to the official Iowa web site, that is where the nickname originated. The state is also known as “The Tall Corn State.”

While I have a billion remarks running in my head about Iowa…I have to give credit to Iowans, they have political pull. They’re a swing state and every politician looking to redecorate the White House knows it.

If an Iowan asked “Billary,” “Oprama” or any other candidate to stand on their heads and recite the Declaration of Independence…they’d suck it up and do it, suckers.

By the time this column is published the Iowan Caucuses will have passed and we all will begin to refer to Iowa as “one of them states up there” once again.

In the meantime I’ll prepare for that final Iowa overload.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.