In 1988, the Iowa Caucuses as a faithful predictor told us that Democratic Congressman Richard Gephardt would be facing off against Republican Senator Bob Dole . Neither got their party’s nomination. In 1992, Paul Tsongas won the Democratic Party’s New Hampshire Primary, only to eventually throw his support behind Governor Bill Clinton. In 1996, Pat Buchanan won the New Hampshire primary, only to lose the nomination.
So why are we so caught up in these early battle ground areas when they are not always a barometer of what is to come? It must be the money.
The media makes some of these candidacies, like that of Ron Paul, into more than they really are. Sure, Ron Paul shoots from the hip, because he can. You know why? He has no chance of winning.
Bachmann is more of a possibility, but when was the last time a member of the House of Representatives was elected president? Try 1881 and James Garfield. Garfield was chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, while Bachmann does not hold such a lofty post in the House. Garfield also hailed from the important state of Ohio, while Bachmann comes from Minnesota – a state she would probably not even win as a presidential candidate.
Here’s more food for thought: Michele Bachmann being in this race actually helps Mitt Romney. Huh? Four years ago, Romney was standing next to liberal Republicans John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, so he had to paint himself as a conservative, which he is really not.
Now, he stands on a debate stage next to Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum, and Herman Cain. Now, Romney can be who he really is, which is more of a center-right Republican. And this time, Romney will win the nomination. Will he get the fundraising money that comes from winning Iowa? No, but guess what? The words “worry,” “money,” and “Mitt Romney” are rarely in the same sentence and for good reason.
Mitt Romney’s challenge is to get beyond the early primaries and caucuses. If he can remain competitive by the time the candidates get to Michigan, Wisconsin, and other states, he will win the GOP nomination. This entire hubbub about Iowa is fun for us politicos, but my life experience tells me that it is not very telling as to who will go further or who will be successful nationally.
The General Accountability Office (GAO) is the federal office that analyzes costs of programs and budgets. Recently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) stated that private screeners were 13 percent more costly than federal screeners.
The screeners have come under scrutiny because many people think they are a little too much of an invasion of privacy and are too revealing. After a re-analysis, the TSA has said that private screeners are only three percent more costly than the current federal mechanisms.
Traveling to the Caribbean recently, I was asked to stand in front of a scanner. Never have I written about this issue because it seemed small, and now I know that it is small. The entire process of standing in front of these scanners takes less than 20 seconds most of the time.
Whether airports choose a cheaper machine or not is also not a point of interest to me. In a best case scenario, the TSA might find dangerous materials on passengers. In a worst case scenario, it’s a little uncomfortable for all parties.