Tell me that Margaret Trudeau and Geraldo Rivera will co-anchor the 1980 conventions for ABC. Tell me that the Osmond Family is moving in next door, or that Margaret Thatcher has in her possession every Sonny Bono album ever made and relaxes by listening to them while in her own Jacuzzi. But don't tell me that I have to listen to 72 hours of uninterrupted hype just to find out who wins the Super Bowl and the Iowa delegate caucuses.
We know what awaits us on Super Bowl XIV. At least four different individuals broadcasting, "It's not the winner's share of the gate receipts that motivates the players. It's the [championship] ring that nobody can ever take away from you." (No one mentions that it would take a serious kleptomania and a terminal death wish to try and separate Mean Joe Greene from his jewelry.) Of course, "Everybody will be playing 'hurt' today," because, as we will learn, "there is, for both of these teams, no tomorrow."
But for anyone with a passing interest in who is president of the United States, "tomorrow" will mean Monday and the Iowa delegate caucuses. If the past is any guide, by Sunday night Super Bowl XIV will have its one winner; by Tuesday morning, the Iowa caucuses will have many.
DES MOINES, JAN. 22
The Winning Strategist for the candidate who actually did lead the field on Monday :
"Iowa is a political microcosm of the nation. Like America, Iowa is middle-of-the-road; one Democratic senator, one Republican senator -- three Democrats in Congress, three Republicans. If the boss can win here, he can win anywhere."
The Spokesman of candidate who expected to win and who finished badly :
"We said at the outset that we were in this thing for the long haul. We will pick up some delegates as the process evolves. And that's the name of the game: delegates. Iowa has a grand total of 50 delegates out of 3,331 at the national convention.We're satisfied with our showing."
The Political Columnist, if Sen. Edward Kennedy upsets the polls and wins more delegates than President Carter :
"No longer will he be known as Teddy or Ted After tonight, after Iowa, he will be Edward Kennedy. Out of the twin shadows of brothers John and Robert, he emerged tonight in places like Fort Dodge, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids as his own man. The shakedown cruise is over. Edward Kennedy found both his stride and his voice here in America's heartland.
"Late last night, the Kennedy people refused to deny a report that their respected pollster Peter Hart had discovered that Iowans were skeptical of eloquence (equating it with glibness and insincerity) and that Kennedy masterfully feigned a stumbling, almost ungrammaical style in his Iowa appearances. The Carter camp, in shock and disarray, had no comment on this strategic coup by the well-oiled Kennedy machine. . ."
The Political Columnist if Jimmy Carter wins the Iowa delegate caucuses :
"Iowa in 1980 was for Jimmy Carter what West Virginia was, 20 years ago, for John Kennedy. The proposed grain embargo was certainly as heavy a political burden for the incumbent president here as John Kennedy's Catholicism was in the Mountaineer State in 1960. Like Kennedy before him, Carter met the issue head-on, challenging the voters to rise above narrow, parachial interest. And they did, yesterday in Waterloo, just as they had so many years ago in Wheeling.
"To compound the irony, Edward Kennedy unwittingly cast himself this time in the role of Hubert Humphrey: the liberal, promising and proposing, full of warmth and good cheer, but somehow just not quite presidential enough when measured against a former naval lieutenant. . . ."
The Reporter who called winners accurately in both Republican and Democratic delegate contest :
"Iowa, where the people take both their politics and their patriotism very seriously, met the candidates face-to-face and made their judgement. Away from all their media consultants and their prepared texts, the candidates confronted the Iowa voters. These Iowans are not easily fooled. Anyone who lives so close to the soil, to nature, learns a lot about judging a November sky and a presidential candidate. These are literate people, among the most literate in the world, and their decision, which will reverberate through the political world, should not be taken lightly. Because it was not lightly made. . . ."
The Syndicated Columnist whose two favorites ran out of the money :
"Iowa is not America in 1980. A state with more farms than blacks, it's the idealized place we all read about in Dick and Jane books. Everybody has a dog named Spot and nobody has either a pimple or an analyst. What can you say about a state without a good French restaurant and without a city as big as Witchita, Charlotte or Virginia Beach?
"This place -- this Currier and Ives gallery with zip codes -- is not where such an important process should begin. Iowa is unrepresentative. Only states with subways should have delegates to conventions anyway."
A Graduate of the Famous Announcer School, sometimes during the network reports on Iowa :
"Something is happening in this counctry. the precise form or shape cannot be made out; but when thousands of ordinary people get up from their dinner tables, bundle up against the frigid night air and trudge to the library or the church basement to discuss with friends and neighbors the direction of this country, then, then we can say with certainty that the Decade of Me is over."
Another Graduate of the Famous Announcers School, sometimes during the network reports on Iowa:
"What about the nine out of 10 Iowans who chose not be a part of this media circus? Who speaks for them? I'll tell you who goes to these caucuses: political groupies, single-issue voters, the malcontents and the sad people with nothing better to do. . . ."
THE question most frequently asked of the leading Iowa publishing and television personality if Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter win their respective caucuses :
"Just how important do you believe the Des Moines Register candidate debates were to the outcome, Mr. Gannon?"
WASHINGTON, JAN. 23 -- White House Press Secretary Jody Powell denied today that President Carter's impromptu helicopter flight to Camp David had anything to do with the fact that 1,654 Iowa families, persoanally invited by the president, arrived at the Executive Mansion this morning .
Come to think of it, the Super Bowl will be preferable: one winner and one loser, all over in three hours. No "better-than-we-expecteds" or third-place victories.