Well, the Iowa straw poll has come and gone. It wasn't exactly a big turnout event. More than sixteen thousand Iowans voted, more than four years ago but well short of the record of over 23,000 set in 1999.
It's already thinned the field by one--former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has ended his campaign. The winner, of course, was Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachman. This column wondered a few days ago whether she was real. She was. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich got just 385 votes; you have to wonder how long he'll stay in.
Mitt Romney, the alleged front-runner, finished sixth with 587 votes. He was behind both Texas Governor Rick Perry, a write-in, and former pizza magnate Herman Cain. Hmmmm…
The race goes on, of course. The real stuff in Iowa and New Hampshire starts early next year. Was the straw poll a straw in the wind? Maybe, yes; maybe; no. We'll see.
Morton is a retired political reporter who worked in Washington for CBS News from 1964-1993 and for CNN from 1993-2006. He attended his first political convention in 1960 and has been to most of them since then.