During the months leading up to last night's Iowa Caucus the state and its citizens were, as always, saturated with media attention and the love and affection of the candidates - a mega dose this year, as there were a good dozen candidates going a-wooing - as they crisscrossed and re-crisscrossed Iowa, singing the praises of its residents and showering them with gemütlichkeit and God's blessing.
Then there was last night, the night of the Caucus itself. I can't imagine being an Iowan and not participating in one's local caucus, the Democrats, as I understand it, meeting in schools, halls, even homes to politic and hash out amongst themselves who to vote for, while the Republicans, well nobody really knows what they do as they have some sort of secret ballot process, but it still sounds like fun.
Then there's the morning after, the day-long reading of the runes among the media, pollsters and political junkies as to the significance of the outcome of the Iowa Caucus, though by dawn's early light this morning the candidates and their entourage were long gone, hurrying off the next well-loved state - New Hampshire - and the Iowans went back to being just Iowans, maybe feeling just a tad of post-Caucus let-down, though knowing that they'll always be important every four years for that one moment in time.
But if the Iowa Hawkeyes have seen the denoument of their chapter in the 2016 election saga, after July and the Democratic and Republican conventions we Ohio Buckeyes will come into our ascendancy. This is because, as everyone knows, during a presidential election Ohio is the state to win, the premier bell weather among the swing states. As Ohio goes, so goes the nation. Or so goes conventional wisdom and popular opinion. Especially here in Ohio.
And since we are the state to win, that makes us the state to court and spark. Soon we'll
be the darling of the media's attention and the candidates' love. During the presidential elections the candidates and their entourages practically pitch camp in Columbus, they're here so often.
Back in 2008 I got to hear Barack Obama speak in Columbus twice, Michelle Obama once, and if I'd been able to snag one of the limited number of tickets always required to get into a McCain rally, I'd have gone a time or two or three to listen to John McCain and his zany sidekick Sarah Palin.
People pour into Ohio from all over the country to hit the bricks for their candidate, sometimes from all over the world, even. When I campaigned for Obama in 2008 in the downtown Columbus headquarters there were several Canadians among the ranks and even three young men who'd flown across the pond from the UK to work on the Obama campaign. When I asked one of the Englishmen why it mattered so much to him a who won the American election he replied, "Oh, it's very important to us who wins this election. When America sneezes the UK catches a cold." And which was the most important state to win? Ohio, of course.
Oh, not really, of course. One state can't win a presidential election. But it's nice being treated for a while as if we can.