Caucuses are fun. The one at my precinct was somewhat chaotic. Too many people crammed into too little space. I want the system to continue but I would like to see some reforms. The Republicans in Iowa do a straight up vote at their caucus and each candidate gets credit for however many votes they get. I think the Democrats need to do something similar.
As it was, Kucinich, Dodd, Richardson, Biden and Gore (hey, I know he wasn't running, but 2 people showed up in my precinct to caucus for him) all had people who wanted to vote for them but they didn't get any credit for that. Their supporters either switched to other candidates (most of them went for Obama but Hillary got some Kucinich and Biden lovers). Nobody showed up for Gravel.
Ron Paul's mission to recruit Democrats to switch parties backfired - one guy thought Paul was a Democrat and showed up at our caucus to vote for him. He was standing next to Hillary's group and I was hoping they would inadvertently count him as one of ours but they didn't.
According to kausfiles, Hillary is probably happy Edwards finished second and she came in a close third:
Had she finished second, Edwards might have fallen out of the race, leaving her to face Obama one-on-one, a confrontation she'd almost certainly lose right now. If she could subsidize Edwards' campaign at this point, she probably would.
I've been trying to find an article I read recently online. It was written by a reporter who was covering the Iowa campaign. He said that conventional wisdom among journalists is that one reason Hillary gets roughed up by the press is because her campaign staffers are arrogant and unfriendly to reporters.
My own and my friend's experience with one of her staffers makes me believe that. One of the stunts they pulled: They bought sandwiches and other snacks for us to serve at our precinct, as a way to persuade people to stand up for Hillary and to keep our people happy during the realignment before the final count. (As it was, a lot of people from all three viable groups wandered out for a smoke and a potty break and we had to round them up.)
The Hillary staffer told us not to tell our precinct chairman - who was supporting Obama - that we were bringing food. They didn't want Obama's people to run out and get their own. When we brought the food in, the chairman's people told us we weren't allowed to serve food until the caucus was over. We had to put it in the back in the kitchen.
And we knew that was going to happen - everything has to be cleared with the chairman and in the past, our precinct never allowed campaigns to serve food or drinks during the caucus. We told the staffers that when they tried to get us to bake cookies for the caucus. They went out and bought stuff because we said we wouldn't.
I don't know what happened to the food. We hope someone brought it out for the county Democrats' party that was held at the same site right after the caucus. By that time, we were so exhausted we didn't care.
It's only one example of the time, money and other resources that were wasted because Hillary's professional campaign staff from out of state wouldn't listen to the locals.
Another example: The campaign was notified there would be a planning meeting for our precinct a few days before the caucus. The campaign was supposed to notify my friend to attend. Instead, they sent one of their staffers. It left us in the dark about some things we should have known ahead of time. There were some subtle advantages given to Obama that we could have stopped if my friend had been at that meeting.
Our precinct chairman, co-chairman, and secretary were all caucusing for Obama. They were very slick about a few things they were doing and we didn't catch on until it was too late.
But I don't think their tricks really changed the outcome. The most experienced and connected politicos in our precinct were for Obama - and they beat us fair and square.