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Good news and bad from Iowa

[1]Not that anyone needs to be reminded, but the American process for selecting presidential nominees is nuts. The notion that a few thousand troubled and disaffected ultra-rightists — people so far gone that a big chunk of them actually voted for a truly disturbed theocrat like Rick Santorum [2] — are capable of winnowing the field 10 months before the election is beyond amazing. 

For North Carolinians, the crazy, “front-leaded” primary  calendar is a particular drag since it almost always assures that their choices will be greatly reduced, if not nonexistent come the first week of May.

For progressives, last night’s Iowa caucuses provided a mixture of good and bad news. The bad news is that it looks like we will soon be deprived of the laughs we have enjoyed at the expense of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, both of whom seem likely to join the pizza guy on the sideline very shortly. Guys: it was fun while it lasted.

The best news can be found in the strong performances of Santorum and Ron Paul. Few things can help more effectively awaken the American public to just how truly loony the national GOP has become than to be forced to confront these strange men and their bizarre views and pasts on a more regular basis. Good news is also to gleaned from the latest, roller coaster dip of Newt Gingrich — America’s most unlikeable political personality.

Ultimately, of course, all of this appears to be mostly mere prelude to the inevitable nomination of Willard Romney this summer. Common sense tells us that Romney is likely to be a sort of Bob Dole figure — the establishment Republican who gets rewarded with the nomination as, in effect, ” the next guy in line,” but who never poses a real and serious threat to the incumbent President.

Of course, common sense doesn’t always hold in these matters and November is a long way off.  Lots of good, bad and mixed news surely lies ahead. Stay tuned and hang in there.