Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry has been in Iowa covering the Republican and Democratic caucuses, which concluded on Monday night. Before he heads to New Hampshire, here is a look back at what Miami’s favorite funny man found surprising about Iowa.
1. Iowa has a number of cities boasting world-class urban amenities such as Starbucks and fully paved roads.
The largest city is Des Moines, which has tall buildings and expressways. It reminds me very much of my city, Miami, except that it’s 50 degrees colder here and the drivers do not deliberately try to kill you.
2. Des Moines — its name is French for “These Moines” — is rightly proud that it has shed its image as a dull, sleepy, squaresville burg;
it is now a “happening” place throbbing with activity and nightlife. Even as I type these words the Iowa Pork Congress is going on here at the Iowa Events Center, with a “Manure Applicator Training Session” scheduled Thursday.
3. The Greasewood Flats Club was filled with the usual crowd of Iowans saying “excuse me” a lot and offering each other their seats.
They are incredibly polite, these Iowans. If they ever come to Miami they will wind up naked in the gutter.
4. There was a good-sized crowd of Iowans packing the bar…
… and when Sen. Marco Rubio appeared they showed their enthusiasm Iowa-style, by which I mean they applauded politely. Some of them also went “Whoo!” In Miami, there would have been gunfire. It would have been positive, friendly, welcoming gunfire, but still.
5. The [Donald Trump] crowd was much more animated than at the Hillary [Clinton] event.
Also there was a far larger press corps, including many foreign press people who LOVE the Trump story because it confirms everything they believe about Americans.
6. Rubio’s big rival at the moment is [former Florida Governor] Jeb Bush.
They used to be friends, but now they hate each other, because they are both vying for the coveted role of Establishment Republican Who Will Probably Not Get Nominated.
7. This tendency toward wonkishness is Bush’s biggest weakness as a campaigner, although it could be useful in a medical emergency:
ANESTHESIOLOGIST: The gas isn’t working! The patient isn’t losing consciousness!
SURGEON: Quick! Get Jeb Bush in here to explain his five-point plan for stabilizing Medicare finances!
ATIENT: No! Just kill me!