First-time caucus goers could be the proverbial straw tonight in the Iowa contests. In the hot, tight, three-way fight for the top, caucus day breaks with Barack Obama holding rehearsals for the Democrats' weird stand-under-the-sign for your candidate routine, Hillary hiring baby-sitters, and John Edwards staying up for days like a frat boy.
It seems like everyone is terrified of the ghost of the Big Dean Caucus-tease of 2004. That's when the legions of new political enthusiasts (then mostly young 'uns) made a big hoopla about voting for Dean, calling themselves hardcore "Deaniacs," and then, um, it was kind of a lot of work to go out to the caucus, and, well, they didn't and Dean was dunzo.
Cut to 2008, and Obama rounding up his own army of first-time "change" voters, Hillary counting on her women over 45 to bravely step into their inaugural fray, and Edwards putting all of his campaign eggs in the rural basket, hoping that his populist message will drive Iowa farm folk out to their first caucus. According to a recent Des Moines Register poll, 72 percent of Obama's supporters are newbies, 58 percent of Hillary's are, as are 55 percent of Edwards'. Those Iowa-newbie numbers are no small potatoes — or ears of corn.