SKIPPING IOWA….Just a quick note on this New York Times story saying that Lieberman and Clark are planning to skip Iowa: I think it’s a smart move, particularly for Clark. The retail politics required to do well in Iowa requires a ton of planning, and he’s just too late to get in the game. The money and energy spent there can be put to much better use elsewhere.

There’s also a broader level at which I think this is a good idea. The Iowa caucuses have gained more and more importance over the last couple of decades, to the point where I think their influence is now ludicrously outsized. It’s just one long pander to ethanol and farm state interests, and I think Democratic candidates often end up taking positions in a desperate effort to look good in Iowa that end up hurting them later on. It’s past time for Iowa to go back to being a nice kickoff, but not the center of attention for six months of campaigning.

(Of course, that might just be the bitter voice of a lifelong Californian who has never once voted in a primary that made a whit of difference. Maybe we should skip the fixed primary calendar entirely and rotate them so that everyone gets a chance to be first once in a while. Yeah, that’s the ticket!)

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