I think it goes without saying that one of the more irritating things to do in the morning is to clean out the crust that forms around your eyes at night. (What is the name for that stuff anyway?) However, as the start of the primary season approaches, reading morning campaign news can be far more irritating. Like this:
National security is still a leading concern for caucus-bound Iowa Republicans and health care is a premier issue for Democrats, a new Des Moines Register poll shows.
However, caucusgoers in both parties share a common thirst for more information on bread-and-butter topics like tax and trade policies and Social Security, according to the Iowa Poll taken last week.
"On all these major issues I wish (the presidential candidates) would come a little stronger with detailed facts," said Dubuque homemaker Annette Lucy, a Republican who took part in the poll of likely caucus participants.
OK, the public, which doesn't know jack about the candidate's plans even on issues like Iraq, thinks the candidate's haven't offered enough details? Really? People, it is called the Internet, and its called campaign websites, where most candidates have released plans of over five pages in length on over a dozen issues. At least a little more clarity is reached later in the article:
"I should do more research myself," said Lucy, a 43-year-old poll participant whose first choice for the Republican presidential nomination is former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson.
Do more research yourself--you think? Also, I guess this demand for more detail makes more sense when it is coming from a supporter of Fred Thompson, the vaguest, least detailed candidate in the entire field, whose candidacy stayed afloat for months precisely because it didn't offer any details.
It isn't just the voters, either. Candidates can be irritating, too:
John Edwards vowed Monday to include Republicans in his Cabinet if he's elected president.(…)
The North Carolina Democrat, who was speaking before a couple of hundred people at Hawkeye Community College, said his policy of encouraging dissent in the Cabinet would set him apart from the current president's practice. "We've seen what happens with Bush, who's surrounded himself with a bunch of 'yes people.' They all tell him how brave he is and how smart he is."
Democratic rival Bill Richardson also has said he would include Republicans in his Cabinet.
Earth to Richardson and Edwards: America is voting for Democrats in order to remove Republicans from powerful governmental positions, such as cabinet posts. And putting Republicans in your cabinet would not distinguish you from Bush, whose cabinet has quite a few Republicans. Having Republicans in the cabinet is part of the problem. At TPM Election Central, Eric Kleefeld muses that this pledge by Edwards "could help him appeal to more independent voters." I disagree. Given that Republicans have a favorable rating of 40% or lower in every poll not taken by Fox this year, and that about 30% of the country self-identifies as Republican, it strikes me that bowing to have Republicans in your cabinet is about the best way I can think of to not appeal to independent voters. This is like those pundits who, one year ago, mystifyingly took the only Congressional election in history where one party, Democrats, did not lose a single seat in either the House or Senate as a sign that America was demanding bi-partisanship. That strikes me as equivalent to concluding that the performance of the New England Patriots this year means that they are roughly evenly matched with the average NFL team.
And let's finish rinsing the crust out of our eyes with this lovely piece of insight from an Iowa pollster:
As we noted earlier today, the poll was conducted from November 6-18, which makes its results older than the four most recent surveys on our Iowa chart. However, according to ISU political science professor Jim McCormick, who directed the poll, "the biggest explanation for that is the volatility that still exists among those people who are likely to caucus." A better explanation is the poll itself, which is very different than other recent Iowa caucus surveys.(…)
The biggest difference involves the sample. It was drawn from the Iowa Secretary of State's list of registered voters, but unlike every other Iowa poll that I'm aware of, ISU sampled only registered Democrats and Republicans, excluding the 36% of Iowa voters with no party registration.
Here's why that omission is important: In the recent CBS/New York Times survey conducted in early November, registered independents were 19% of Democratic likely caucus goers and 13% of Republicans (and 19% of 2004 Democratic caucus goers, according to the network entrance poll).
The outlying Iowa St. poll entirely excluded self-identified Independents from the sample? WTF? No wonder the poll was so unfavorable toward Obama: it excluded one of his strongest demographics. Perhaps we should leave out other groups that make up one-fifth of the electorate in Iowa, but are favorable to either Edwards or Clinton, and see what happens to Iowa polls. How about we leave out women over the age of 60, and see what happens to Clinton's numbers? Or men who self-identify as moderate or conservative, and see what happens to Edwards's numbers? That makes sense to me.
Phew. It feels nice to get that stuff out of my eyes. Now, I'm ready to tackle the day.