Posted on | December 21, 2011 | 19 Comments
“Some people claim that the ancient Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world in 2012. While I am generally skeptical toward such doomsday prophecies, recent events have undermined my habitual skepticism and filled me with foreboding premonitions. If 2012 doesn’t bring the end of the entire cosmos, there are those who say it is likely to destroy the Republican Party as we know it, and the first cataclysmic event is now less than two weeks away. . . .
“Pundits were thrown into a full-blown schizophrenic frenzy by the prospect that Texas Rep. Ron Paul might win the Iowa caucuses. Since late November, no poll has shown Paul worse than third place in Iowa. Two polls this week have Paul first, with Gingrich slipping to third behind Romney in one poll, and all the way to fourth place in another. According to some conservatives, a Paul victory in the Hawkeye State would be the worst thing to happen to the Republican Party since Lincoln’s assassination. It might even be a sign of the final apocalypse foretold by the ancient Mayan calendar.”
— Robert Stacy McCain, “Hawkeye Fever,” The American Spectator
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
— Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72
Apocalyptic prophecies are a dime a dozen these days and, thanks to Ben Bernanke’s inflationary policies at the Fed, a dime ain’t what it used to be. But we at least see the fulfillment of Thompson’s prophecy: The going in Iowa has become genuinely weird, and who is more prepared for that weirdness than a pro like me?
Five days from now — Dec. 26, the day after Christmas — I’ll fly into Cedar Rapids to try to get a handle on the campaign madness that is now, according to pundits, turning Iowa into a vast Midwestern insane asylum.
Here are some of the latest Hawkeye State headlines:
‘I’m for income inequality,’ Santorum says
— Des Moines Register
Vote 2012: Ron Paul Takes Lead
in KCRG/Gazette/ISU Poll
— KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids
Perry Dismisses Gingrich’s
Complaint of ‘Negative’ Campaigning
— New York Times
Santorum showing signs of life in Iowa
— The Hill
Newt Gingrich to gay Iowan: Vote for Obama
— Des Moines Register
Newt’s Campaign Comes Down To Earth As
Iowan Calls Him ‘F—king A—hole’ To His Face
— Talking Points Memo
Lots of Republicans have been calling Newt Gingrich that for years, but only in Iowa does an ordinary citizen get a chance to say it to his face.
Fear and loathing are rampaging out of control in the American Heartland, you see, and I’m just five days away from being right in the thick of it, thanks to readers who have contributed to the Shoe Leather Fund the past three days. Thanks are owed today to tip-jar hitters including Chris in South Dakota, Paolo in St. Petersburg, Buffy in Peachtree City, Michael in Texas, Peter in Spring Hill, Richard in New Jersey, Bill in Falls Church, Mike in El Segundo and my blog-buddy Jimmie Bise Jr.
Be assured of my gratitude, and my commitment to make this the best road-trip ever. And I’m sure some of you may wonder, “Can Stacy handle all that savage weirdness erupting in the Hawkeye State?”
Fret not, dear readers! No journalist in America is more capable of coping with this insanity. So far as I know, I’ll be the only political correspondent in Iowa who has ever combined psilocybin mushroom tea with Bolivian flake cocaine, an unfortunate collegiate experiment that led to a bizarre episode of acute psychosis.
Kids: Just Say No.
Drug freakouts might seem funny in retrospect, but they’re no fun at all when they’re happening inside your own head.
Nor do you ever want to deal with the “therapeutic” aftermath of such madness: Psychiatrists dosing you with Thorazine while trying to figure out exactly how and why you flipped out, when you are incapable of coherently explaining what happened.
And there is, of course, the dreadful possibility that you’ll end up permanently brain-fried like Gary Busey.
Such are the risks that no reputable journalism professor would recommend drug-induced psychosis as preparation for a career in the news business, but there are times when being certifiably crazy is actually advantageous, and this year’s Iowa caucuses look like a such an occasion.
It’s hard to imagine what I would have said in 1979 if someone had told me that in 2011 I’d be a freelance campaign correspondent for The American Spectator, preparing to fly to Iowa with my laptop computer — “What? Huh?” — dependent upon online contributions from readers of a “blog” to pay the travel expenses to Cedar Rapids where I’d be staying at the home of a Romanian immigrant I’d never met.
Indeed, who could have predicted in 1979 that a long-haired dopehead rock-and-roller would grow up to be a notorious right-winger, married with six kids?
That’s crazy, man.
And it’s nearly as crazy as the current political situation, with our Marxist president vacationing in Hawaii while pundits are predicting Ron Paul to win in Iowa, less than two weeks before the Jan. 3 caucuses.
Can I handle it? Hell, I’ve been training my whole life for it, because the road to Vanuatu runs right through Cedar Rapids. IYKWIMAITYD.
Hit the freaking tip jar — and please read the rest of my American Spectator column today about the looming Iowa apocalypse.
UPDATE: Our young commenter Jamie Timon, a high-school classmate of my daughter, suggests we have been bamboozled into posting a couple of misleading headlines. So, by way of fairness to a certain Republican presidential candidate I wouldn’t vote for if you put a gun to my head:
“But it’s all a lie. Gingrich never said he wanted gays to vote for Obama, or that he did not want to ‘engage gay Americans.’
“The video finally was released, and the question to Gingrich was ‘on this one specific issue’ of gay marriage.
“All Gingrich said was that if the single most important and determinative issue to a gay person was implementing gay marriage, then that person would be disappointed in Newt and probably should vote for Obama.”
— William Jacobson, Legal Insurrection, “Shock — Completely misleading story about Newt saying gays should vote for Obama”
“Tom Sorensen is just another abusive unhinged democrat.
“Don’t look for the media to touch this. They want you to believe that Republicans are cussing out Newt at his campaign stops.”
— Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit, “Confirmed: Unhinged Jerk Who Called Newt Gingrich a “F–king A–hole” at Grocery Store Is a Democrat”
So I guess the accurate headlines would read:
Gingrich Appeals for Gay Votes in Iowa;
Bipartisan Agreement That Newt Is ‘A–hole’
Your mileage may vary.