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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

John Deeth Blog: The Caucuses' Greatest Hits: The 1976-2004 Boxed Set

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
This is my first attempt at an ongoing series about the Iowa caucuses. The idea is mostly to focus on the kind of stuff the locals know but the national folks miss. This first time, though, my in-state perspective is just in the anecdotes. First question: Do the caucuses REALLY matter? How important are they in terms of overall impact on the nominating contest, the presidency, and history? Here's a look back, categorized and countdown formatted (with apologies to Casey Kasem)....
Not Worth The Airfare To Waterloo
13. 1984 and 2004 Republican. ... 12. 1996 Democratic. ... 11. 1992 Republican. ...
Ultimately Irrelevant
10. 1992 Democratic. Hometown boy Tom Harkin runs and wins big, though not as big as it looks (that'll be a later discussion). ... In the end, Iowa kept first place after `92 only because Harkin jumped on the winner's bandwagon while the other rivals couldn't hide their obvious contempt for Clinton. ... 9. 2000 Both. ...
Secondary event in nomination contest
8. 1980 Democratic. ... 7. 1996 Republican. ... 6. 1988 Democratic. ...
Significant event in nomination contest
5. 1988 Republican. Pat Robertson pushes Bush Sr. into third place. Robertson was insignificant thereafter, but the blow made Bush go on a fight of his life attack against Bob Dole in New Hampshire. ... 4. 1984 Democratic.
Decisive event in nomination contest
3. 2004 Democratic. Nothing that happened after Iowa mattered nearly as much as what happened in Iowa. ...
Made History
2. 1976 Democratic. This one made both Jimmy Carter and the reputation of the caucuses themselves. Carter didn't actually win this, you know. He was second to Uncommitted. ... 1. 1980 Republican.

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