In searching for some uplifting take-away from last night's Iowa caucus results about the only thing remotely cheering is that, praise the Lord and pass the corn, it is over.
The run-up, the coverage, the post-vote analysis was and is dizzying in its volume and an excellent example of what's wrong with the 24-hour national news machine.
I understand that broadcast political coverage, like broadcast debates, is about entertainment more than news. I understand that the selection process for president mirrors TV reality shows. But it seems to me that journalists (at all levels) who preach the gospel of truth-seeking ought to spend more time practicing what they preach.
For example: the "winners" in Iowa, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, each got fewer votes than the population of Elk County in northwestern Pennsylvania; each got less than 25 percent of the total vote of 122,525 -- roughly, the number of people living in a Philadelphia neighorhood.
And this outcome is described as "stunning" and "jaw-dropping," especially as relates to Santorum. And it is presented as if this changes the race for the nomination.
The truth is this: there was never any doubt that Romney would be the GOP nominee. Republicans always pick the obvious guy: Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain. It is not a party that pushes the envelope.
The Santorum Iowa "surge" is a result of his hard on-the-ground work in a state where conservative, family-value voters prefer his faith-based worldview. It's a result of the fact he has been ignored until now and therefore free from attacks from opponents. And it is a result of the fact conservative evangelical Republicans don't like Romney, a Mormon.
The truth is Santorum's last election before Iowa resulted in Pennsylvania voters rejecting him by 17 percentage points, a blow-out in a state far more representative of America than Iowa. Santorum, in any race involving a diverse sample of voters, cannot win.
So. Romney=nominee. Santorum=done. Over-hyped Iowa caucus=over.