Ten Days Before Iowa

by Ernest Istook

Note: The Iowa Caucuses will occur only ten days after Christmas. So, with apologies to "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement Moore":

'Twas ten days before Iowa as they sought the White House.
Every pollster was stirring, even polling each mouse;
The airwaves were filled with the candidates’ flairs,
In hopes nomination soon would be theirs.

The voters were nestled all snug in their beds,
While politics-free visions danced in their heads.
Iowa was due first, New Hampshire on tap
But for now they just wanted a Christmas Eve nap,

When there on the TV arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
The Internet was humming; talk radio was brash.
Mainstream media was spewing its usual trash.

I ignored for the moment the new-fallen snow
Since campaign advertising was a flashier show.
Then what to my tired eyes and ears did appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight candidates sincere.

All chasing the driver, so mired in the muck
I knew in a moment they were hounding the lame duck.
More eager than buzzards the candidates they came,
Pursued by reporters who called them by name:

"Now, Clinton! Now, Thompson! Now, Obama and Huckabee!On, Giuliani! On, Edwards! On McCain! And on Romney!”
To the top of the polls, then the bottom they’d fall!
Now bash away! Bash away! Bash away all!

Dumb questions were asked at a hurricane pace,
To be met with one-liners, and attacks face-to-face.
So up to the house-top the wild mob they flew,
With the sleigh full of promises, and whispering campaigns, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The comebacks and charges, till I’d had quite enough.
As I reached out my hand to turn off the sound,
Down the chimney the whole circus came with a bound.

They were all dressed in mud, from each head to each foot,
Reputations were tarnished with ashes and soot;
Old slogans and charges each flung in attacks
And they looked like some peddlers or maybe some hacks.

Their eyes—oh, how beady! Yet their dimples how merry!
Their cheeks were like roses; their smiles, they were scary.
They smelled like new plastic; they were made up with flair.
And one of them boasted four-hundred-dollar hair.

The stump of a lead one watched fall from his grip,
Another wore a halo, which started to slip.
One looked like a lawyer, as played on the telly.
One shook when she laughed, and denied she was smelly.

Two were movie star handsome, like they came off a shelf.
One was white-haired and somber, a non-jolly old elf.
The other kept saying he’d bring change to all
And each claimed that we should just ignore Ron Paul.

They spoke endless words, and they spun in their work:
Promised to fill every stocking; denied being a jerk.
Many voters decided that they’d just hold their nose
As to who’d get the nod. Then up the chimney all rose.

They sprang to private jets, ignoring Al Gore’s epistle.
They flew off to New Hampshire, showing toughness and gristle.
But I heard them exclaim, ere they flew out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all please vote right!"

--Ernest Istook is a former U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma, now a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a radio talk show host.


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