Thursday, February 07, 2008

"The body politic": Some thoughts on caucusing

For those interested, I've posted my impressions of the caucus format (as I experienced it) at


Russell Arben Fox said...


Here's something that I just left over at your post:

The caucus format humanizes voting such that, while I was certainly happy with Obama's win, I neither gloated nor questioned the mental fitness of the Edwards and Richardson supporters. Instead, I admired them for feeling so strongly about their candidates. Seeing as most public political debate occurs these days online, anything that turns pixels into people has some value.

John, that is a profound and wise point. It can be taken in a couple of different ways, of course; one could argue, for instance, that a humanization of the political process and of one's political opponents reflects a consensual, but also somewhat aristocratic, ideal, an ideal of politics and elections as partaking of a kind of respectful gentility, something we lost a century ago in America, if not sooner. Now that we're stuck with competitive fights over money and power in our elections, maybe such an ideal is out of place. But let me admit instead to the argument for seeing your point in its best sense: that our politics ought to have more humanity and community and gentility to them; that maybe, if we all took it upon ourselves to do this sort of thing more often, we'd get better at it, and the stockyard element of it would fade away.

Anyway, it's not surprising that Obama does best in caucus-contests; whether I'm a true believer in it or not, that's the language he's speaking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. (And hey--we really ought to meet one of these days. Y'know--have caucus, as it were.)

John B. said...

Thanks for the kind words.

And yes to meeting soon. I'll be in touch.