Jeez, I’m going to miss the Iowa straw poll. I mean, has there ever been a cheesier event in the history of American politics? I have such fond memories of this G.O.P. fundraiser–like the 2000 event, when the busloads of Steve Forbes “supporters” started rolling in: hundred of illegal immigrants culled from the local packing plants, given a ticket to ride and offered a free meal. (I was actually thrilled to see Bush beat Forbes that year, although I was glad to see those meatpackers treated to all that barbecue.) And the uh-oh moment in 1988 when hundreds of church buses, filled with Pat Robertson supporters, entered en masse. (Robertson finished ahead of Bush the Elder.)
But with McCain and Rudy not playing this time, the significance–and money raised for the Iowa GOP–will be diminished (no small thing, given the swingy nature of Iowa in the general election). I’d guess that the Rudy-McCain decision has made it easier Fred Thompson not to play, either. But I’ll still be there. After all, there’s the crucial Tommy Thompson-Mike Huckabee contest for who finishes second to Romney. You’re dying to read all about that, right?