A reminiscence from the Iowa Democrat caucuses of 2004

The Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses are taking place tonight.  This year, they're the only game in town, as President Trump is running virtually unopposed.  This is a repeat of 2004, because that is the last time when only the Democrat caucuses occurred.  I have an interesting caucus story from that night.

I'm what they used to call a "rock-ribbed Iowa Republican."  As such, I have never voted for a Democrat for federal office in my life.  So what was I doing there, at the Iowa Democrat caucuses of 2004?

It started at the Republican caucuses of 1980.  In my caucus hall, the monitor admonished us to be on our best behavior, because two Soviet journalists were present, making their notes on what they were observing of grassroots American democracy at work.  By 2004, I had a Russian-born wife, and, remembering the Republican monitor's admonition from 1980, I thought it would be nice to take her on a night on the town and have her observe a caucus.

The first problem was getting through the door.  I would have preferred a Republican caucus, but because George W. Bush was running as the unopposed incumbent, that left only the Democrats.  But the mayor of my town was reluctant to let me into his caucus, because he knew I was a Republican.  So I remonstrated with him: "Look. I know that this is your night, not mine.  So I won't do a thing.  I just want my wife, who is a Russian national, to observe what you're doing.  We won't say a word; we won't disrupt anything; we won't participate.  All we want to do is sit in a corner and observe."  The mayor liked me, because I had always been pleasant whenever dealing with him and his city council, so he let us in.

I started introducing my wife, making it clear that she was a Russian national who was there to observe.  Then a Democrat committeewoman somewhat dimwittedly asked me, "Is she a Democrat?"  How is a Russian national supposed to be a Democrat?

Now, I have always lived by the principle that whenever the comedy gods beckon, I can do naught but abet their will.  And here they were, offering me a golden opportunity on a platter.  When the Democrat committeewoman asked me whether my wife was a Democrat, I answered, "Well, no...but she was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union."

My wife overheard my remark and immediately felt chagrined and mortified.  I had just outed her as a communist spy!  And in the heartland of her former government's Main Enemy at that!  She left the caucus hall immediately.  And since I certainly had no business to conduct with Democrats, so did I.

The author is an Iowa truck driver known to some AT readers as Kzintosh.

The Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses are taking place tonight.  This year, they're the only game in town, as President Trump is running virtually unopposed.  This is a repeat of 2004, because that is the last time when only the Democrat caucuses occurred.  I have an interesting caucus story from that night.

I'm what they used to call a "rock-ribbed Iowa Republican."  As such, I have never voted for a Democrat for federal office in my life.  So what was I doing there, at the Iowa Democrat caucuses of 2004?

It started at the Republican caucuses of 1980.  In my caucus hall, the monitor admonished us to be on our best behavior, because two Soviet journalists were present, making their notes on what they were observing of grassroots American democracy at work.  By 2004, I had a Russian-born wife, and, remembering the Republican monitor's admonition from 1980, I thought it would be nice to take her on a night on the town and have her observe a caucus.

The first problem was getting through the door.  I would have preferred a Republican caucus, but because George W. Bush was running as the unopposed incumbent, that left only the Democrats.  But the mayor of my town was reluctant to let me into his caucus, because he knew I was a Republican.  So I remonstrated with him: "Look. I know that this is your night, not mine.  So I won't do a thing.  I just want my wife, who is a Russian national, to observe what you're doing.  We won't say a word; we won't disrupt anything; we won't participate.  All we want to do is sit in a corner and observe."  The mayor liked me, because I had always been pleasant whenever dealing with him and his city council, so he let us in.

I started introducing my wife, making it clear that she was a Russian national who was there to observe.  Then a Democrat committeewoman somewhat dimwittedly asked me, "Is she a Democrat?"  How is a Russian national supposed to be a Democrat?

Now, I have always lived by the principle that whenever the comedy gods beckon, I can do naught but abet their will.  And here they were, offering me a golden opportunity on a platter.  When the Democrat committeewoman asked me whether my wife was a Democrat, I answered, "Well, no...but she was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union."

My wife overheard my remark and immediately felt chagrined and mortified.  I had just outed her as a communist spy!  And in the heartland of her former government's Main Enemy at that!  She left the caucus hall immediately.  And since I certainly had no business to conduct with Democrats, so did I.

The author is an Iowa truck driver known to some AT readers as Kzintosh.