john muriello is a dear old friend and also a long time iowa city, iowa resident ("i teach voice at the u of iowa. been here ten years. it's a nice place to live, believe it or not.")
shortly before the iowa caucuses, i asked john for a few impressions of the presidential race.
TC: what's your take on the caucus process.
JM: the caucuses are a great idea and process because they're as grass roots as you can get - people gathering in a room, talking ideas, issues, duking it out, then choosing a candidate. the democratic process involves more of that than does the republican, which is more like a secret ballot thing after only some brief stump speeches by candidate representatives. but the people that show up for the caucuses are generally fired up about politics. as fired up as an iowan can get.
TC: will you participate? have you before?
JM: i couldn't go this year, because I was at a rehearsal (crap), but i did the last two. the 2004 caucus was really good, by the way, exciting, empowering. all about defeating the current moron in office, in spite of the dismally disappointing outcome.
TC: are the caucuses a big deal in your world?
JM: it is a big deal among my friends and colleagues. people are quietly passionate about the process, and understandably passionate about change in our government.
TC: have you been to hear any of the candidates speak?
JM: i didn't hear any candidates speak, which is sort of damning on my part, since they seemed to come through iowa city a lot. a lot. in the past several months.
TC: what's your view of the "momentum" heading out of iowa?
JM: momentum. who knows. iowa is a sort of island, and the country is diverse enough that at least the democratic candidate is up for grabs, and will be for a while. i have to say i like obama a lot, and i like his upbeat message of change - how that will pan out in details remains to be seen. hillary would be both a formidable and viscious opponent to whatever republican they come up with, and potentially a divisive figure on the whole political front, since the republicans hate her so much.