Iowa. Flashlight of my life, heating blanket of my loins. My sin, my soil. I-o-wa. The breath of the larynx lilting high over the tongue, to drop at three, low in exhalation. I. O. Wa. It was I, just I, in the morning, teaching twenty and two in the brick. It was not adaptable beyond this point by paraphrase of Nabokov.

What could Iowa have in store for us this time? 2016 is still over two years away. Could it be moving the Iowa Caucus even earlier than the already ridiculous 10 months before the election it already sits at?

Not quite. This is about the 2014 Iowa Senate race to replace Senator Tom Harkin. But the Republican hopefuls (the Democrats have already selected their candidate, Representative Bruce Braley) would like to set the tone for what it takes for a Republican to run in Iowa.

Republican hopefuls Joni Ernst, Sam Clovis, and Matt Whitaker all answered a question about their criteria for confirming federal judges with various appeals to the Bible. Judges must be "people of faith" with "a Biblical view of justice," according to Whitaker, for one .

Somehow I imagine they'd balk if you proposed we confirm judges only if they're conversant in surah and would interpret the law with a Qur'anic worldview. Perhaps call you a traitor.

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It's pandering. It's going to play well to the audience they had. That's the Republican base in Iowa. But if they're running this hard toward the base this early in the cycle of a midterm Senate race, I think it's indicative of something. In the past six presidential elections, Iowa has gone for the Democratic candidate five times (2004 saw George Bush take the state by two-thirds of a percentage of the vote,double the margin Al Gore won by in 2000). Republicans in Iowa have been running hard to the base trying to get Iowa, and it has not been working very well.

Maybe instead of trying to court the likes of Steve King, who are already going to vote Republican no matter what and need no convincing, the Republican party should try to appeal to voters who aren't Republicans. It wouldn't be hard. You'd just have to sound not completely off your rocker. With Steve King and Chuck Grassley still kicking around, though, somehow I doubt that.

Well, Iowa goes first in the nation for presidential primaries and caucuses. I guess it's kind of good - the candidates get to air their crazy out early so we all know well in advance. Remember 2012: Rick Santorum won the caucus, and Ron Paul walked off with most of the delegates. So tone set. Can't wait to see what fresh hell is visited upon us in 2015 and 2016.