Punxsutawney Phil Carries Iowa

corn-rocket-2The news industry, cable news in particular, is having a protracted campaigngasm, unable to spare a thought for anything but presidential politics. I hate it that Rachel Maddow, once my favorite, has lost her perspective on the larger world, but she’s hardly the only talking head obsessing over the horse race.

Do the Iowa caucuses mean anything, or is kissing that state’s rural ass every four years a reflex, something we do for reasons lost to history? In 1992, Democrat Tom Harkin won an overwhelming Iowa victory over Bill Clinton. In 2008, among Iowa Republicans, Mike Huckabee (to whom good riddance, by the way) came in first. I would have said no, but when I Google “states that matter in presidential elections,” there’s Iowa, right up there with Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada (why those particular states matter is beyond me, but I’m sure Rachel Maddow can and will explain at length, night after night over the coming weeks and months).

I don’t know if Ted Cruz’s victory last night will hold up. I keep thinking Marco Rubio, who came in a strong third, will be the eventual GOP nominee, but don’t hold me to it. The big news, to me, was the 50/50 finish between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Sure, Hillary won by a decimal point, but Bernie could just as well have claimed victory. Who’s to say, this early in the race, who the Democratic nominee will be?

Tell you what, though … Bernie Sander’s negatives, those troublesome aspects of his past that have been largely ignored so far by Hillary Clinton and the media? We’re going to start hearing about them now.

I’ve started work on the book. That’s all it is so far, “the book.” It may turn out to be a memoir. It may turn out to be the introduction to a collection of Air-Minded articles. Last week I met an old friend, a published writer with several novels to his credit. He wants to help, and has given me some good advice. One of the things he says disturbs me: a manuscript must have two spaces between sentences.

Over the past two or three years I’ve taught myself to use a single space after a period (it’s true: if you look in the archives, you’ll see I used to be a double-spacer). Every source I turn to says double spacing after periods is a quaint artifact of the typewriter era. But my friend submits manuscripts on a regular basis, and moreover sells them, and I have to believe what he says. I must unlearn my modern ways!

Polly thinks her interviews in Scottsdale went well; she expects to hear one way or another this Friday. Our fingers, crossed for months now, are beginning to cramp. Baby boomer parents know what we’re going through … a lot of them, anyway.

The same folks who want to keep Harry Potter books out of public school libraries tell me Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, predicting an early spring.

© 2016, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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