January 2, 2008

Frigid forecast for Thursday must be making campaigns sweat

All the barrels of ink and mungogingdillions of electrons spilled this presidential primary season, the hundreds of millions raised and spent on armies of consultants and polls and marketing research and message crafting and everything else, all of it may be eclipsed by one single decidedly un-sexy factor; the weather.

Temps took a downhill plunge here over New Year's, and the weather service forecast for the Iowa Quad Cities and much of Iowa on Caucus day is for highs in the 20's with bone-numbing wind chills into the subzero range.

With Clinton depending on the elderly and the campaigns beyond neurotic in their quest to get everyone and then some more to caucus, the cold may play a larger role than anything their millions have bought.

The forecast isn't for just cold, it's predicting damn cold, which, as all of you know, is an entirely different matter, particularly for those in the post 40 or so demographic.

For most mid-westerners, cold is a minor annoyance. Mere cold doesn't really cause anyone to alter their plans. But damn cold, well, that changes things.

Older model cars are reluctant to start. You simply can't be outside too long at all. It requires a frustrating amount of extra time to don the required layers of insulation and to get everything covered but your eyeballs, which makes it hard to move, etc. etc. etc.

If it's just cold, you can even run out with a light coat on if you're not planning on standing outside for any length of time. But when it's damn cold, you actually have to dig out the heavy coat, wear some layers, maybe throw on a sweatshirt or sweater, and in extreme cases, even try to find gloves (where did I leave them last?)

In short, it makes things more time consuming, and much more of an effort all the way around.

Campaigns are fighting like mad to pierce potential voter's shield of apathy already. Even if the weather were balmy, the fact remains that an alarmingly slim fraction of eligible voters even bother to participate in the caucus process, a process which is by it's nature rather complex to comprehend at first glance, time consuming, and already intimidating to many.

Voters are already stocked with plenty of excuses for not bothering to participate, now it appears that Mother Nature is handing them one of the best of all...

It's too damn cold!

If I were a campaign operative, I'd be making plans for vats of hot chocolate, and maybe free parkas and mukluks. I'd also be looking into whether or not it was possible to rig up something like an airport skyway to a van.

Skyways are those hallways that allow passengers to board planes. They're able to expand and contract accordion-like in order to be positioned over the aircrafts entry doors.

The elderly often seem chilled if the temp dips below 85, inside or out and are often a tad chilly in environments that would make an iguana pass out. The thinking is that a lot of them won't want to brave the frigid conditions, even if it's only to get from the door of their homes to a waiting vehicle staffed by eager campaign droids playing kidnappers for a day.

So you pull up as close to the door as possible with a van which has been pre-heated to a near suffocating sub-tropical level, pull the heated walkway to the door, and voila! Mildred's comfy and may even remember who she's supposed to vote for once she's at the caucus site.

But in all seriousness, if the forecast holds up, it will be interesting to see if or how much it depresses turnout, which after all, is the sole reason for being for the Iowa campaigns.


At 1/03/2008 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As no one is commenting on this post, please allow me to change the subject.

Oil prices have just gone over $100-barrel. Soon, the cries will be heard from everyone about gas prices as they approach $4.00+++ a gallon.

When will reasonable people start a real dialogue on ANWR?

I know, oponents cry that there is not much oil there - hogwash. A 1987 Dept of Interior study suggested that there is a 95% chance of a 'super-field' with over 500-million barrels.

ANWR is a 19.6-million acre area - exploration is limited (by law) to a 2,000 acre area. To illistrate,


Find the 'X' - and that is the exploration area within ANWR.

Personally, I think that the spotted-owl, or whatever creature we are concerned about, can live within 19,600,000-acres, without 2,000 of those acres.

What is the environmentalists agenda - to drive us into being hostage to the Middle East?

At 1/03/2008 3:03 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

First, you don't get to change the subject at will. That's verbotten.

Secondly, why continue to look for every last drop of oil we can squeeze out of the ground at enormous cost?

Why not start a serious and massive effort to wean ourselves off of oil rather than looking for ever more remote and prisine places to suck it out of?

As to ANWR, even the most optimistic estimates say that all that effort and expense would only provide enough oil to accomodate demand for less than a year.

It's hardly going to be our salvation, and will only get us a few miles down the road.

At 1/03/2008 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea, you keep up the effort to 'wean us off oil' - that has gone a long way over the past 40-years, no?

Of course we need to try - but it's just not going to happen.

At 1/03/2008 10:04 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

It sure wont' with that "can't do" attitude. How inspiring.

And it will clearly take government mandates to get the ball rolling. Once there aren't oil industry lobbiests as president and vice-president, things might ease up. But until the oil industry isn't allowed to buy our goverment any longer, they'll be content to drive this country off a cliff to maintain their profits.

The people will eventually demand that we change over, and in the not too distant future.

It will be due to popular will, incredibly high oil prices, and the fact that money can be made from alternative energy that will drive the evolution.

At 1/04/2008 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Atta boy,Dope. Let's just get a 'can do attitude' and all will be better!

You gotta be kidding me!!!!!

Here we go again, let's blame Bush. Great effort, however, Bill Clinton had the helm before Bush and nothing more was done by him.

But, let's all think positively and I am certain that it'll get better.

At 1/04/2008 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's think positively, and when the price of a gallon goes to $4.00, we can positively be pissed at being dependant upon Middle east oil because our moronic Democrat environmentalist whacko's are concerned with affecting .00005% of a 19+ million acre tract of ANWR.

At 1/04/2008 4:21 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


You're chock full of crap, as usual.

Thank God that Americans have traditionally not been as weak willed and defeatist as you are, or we'd be on par with Somalia about now.

So, the oil companies are just too powerful and no one should even try to wean us off our oil dependence, huh?

That's such a great attitude, it's a wonder none of the candidates have made it a major theme of their campaigns.

Reducing our dependence on oil is NOT some wishy-washy pipe dream, and to suggest so only shows your ignorance.

The fact remains that we will at some point in the future, and much sooner than most think, have no choice but to rely on other sources of energy besides oil.

Perhaps you subscribe to some wacked out armageddonist view of Christianity which believes that the world is going to end soon so we better chew up the earth and grab all we want with both hands without a moments thought as to the future?

How else could you explain such dismal pessimism and defeatism in the face of such a looming crisis?

Do you think there's an infinite supply of oil? Do you really think digging up Alaska is going to accomplish anything other than allowing us to drive to Burger King for another year or so?

And since you find it amusing that anyone would even suggest that we can and must do something to develop alternate sources of energy, just what is it you feel will happen?

Are you saying that we'll just continue to guzzle gas and oil like there's literally no tomorrow until suddenly it's gone?

Why are you convinced that nothing will ever be done?

You're content to continue funding terrorists and terror supporting governments by buying their oil? You're content to continue to keep ourselves in a position where these nations can blackmail us at any time by manipulating the supply of oil?

Why your particularly sour and pessimistic views on this issue?

At 1/04/2008 4:25 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 4:13

Don't look now but your illogical thinking is showing.

In one short comment you both lay out the reason we must wean ourselves off of oil, and then stupidly bash those who want to do just that!

And why stop at ANWR??

Would you then support drilling in the middle of your back yard once ANWR is depleated, which wouldn't be long.

Drilling in Yellowstone or Yosemite? Why not?

Cut down every last tree, dig up every last bit of coal, and suck up every last drop of oil, and then let those who come afterwards worry about it?

What an irresponsible and disgustingly selfish and short-sighted attitude.

At 1/05/2008 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Selfish and short-sighted, to

1. Drill for oil where there are no consequences (2,000 affected acres out of 19.6-MILLION acres), to

2. Reduce our dependancy on the Middle East oil, and

3. Control our own supply more and affect the price of oil more.

You are a freaking idiot!
"Selfish and short-sighted?"

At 1/05/2008 6:12 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Yeah Sparky,
Drilling in ANWR will solve ALL our energy problems. Talk about a moron.

It won't do a THING to affect our dependency on middle east oil, not one damn thing, and you know it.

All it will do is supply a relatively small amount of oil and make billions for a handful of people.

That's what's got your panties in a knot? You're just fighting mad that the oil boys can't make a few more billion dollars?

Weird indeed.

The fact remains that your precious ANWR drilling deal is a big nothing, not worth the destruction it would cause, and wouldn't help one whit with our reliance to mideast oil.

As a matter of fact, it would only create a false sense that there's plenty of oil, and therefore set back the effort to reduce oil consumption.

And you simply can not be so gullible, ignorant, misinformed, or a combination of the three to actually believe for a split second that drilling in that wildlife refuge would have any affect on the price of gas whatsoever.

C'mon... you're not that simple are you? You actually think they'll lower the cost of a gallon of gas just because they start sucking some more out of Alaska?

Get real.

Remember when gas first topped $3 and they said it was because of refineries damaged by Katrina? Remember how it never went down a penny once everything was back on line?

Remember when several oil corporations posted the highest profits in history shortly thereafter?

Once they have you paying through the nose for gas, these boys aren't going to lower the price for anything.

Unless of course it gets to the point where we seriously start using less oil, and competition from alternative sources of energy puts a pinch on their ability to charge essentially whatever they feel like.

Aren't you a bit ashamed to be so blatantly greedy and short-sighted that you'd rather continue to drive huge gas guzzling tanks and drag two tons of wasted space around with you every time you go to the grocery store, when you know that by doing so you're only helping bin Laden?

That sneering at any effort to move away from oil, rather than drilling for more, is irresponsible and silly?

If you were serious about moving away from our addiction to oil, you wouldn't be freaking out at the thought that there are millions of people who don't think drilling for a relatively small amount of oil in pristine arctic wilderness is a good idea.

Take a chill pill. No one's life will be affected if we don't drill ANWR, except some politicians and oil execs who will have to make due with a few less million dollars.

And you can bitch and moan all you like about "censorship", but I'm not going to continue this ridiculous argument. I've allowed you to make a fool of yourself a few times now, and that's enough, especially when it has nothing to do whatsoever with the topic of the post.

And don't forget to pack your long undies when you go up to Alaska to help get that oil you desperately want.


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