By Sylvia Gurinsky
After tonight, no doubt, the majority of Iowans will breathe a sigh of relief that they don't have to go through THAT again for another three-and-a-half years.
Regardless of the result, one thing is clear: The campaign leading up to tonight's caususes may not be the ugliest ever, but there is no glory about it.
That's because both the media and a number of the Republican presidential candidates did plenty of dumbing down and moving around on important policy issues.
With the exception of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, candidates in the category of "those who should know better" - namely former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich - have bent over backwards, forwards and sideways to appease right-wing voters in ways that compromise their views on issues.
Gingrich has so many positions on climate change that he may turn into a human weathervane. Romney - once the governor of the state with the best public television station (Boston's WGBH) in the country - reached the ludicrous last week with his wish to commercialize PBS. (A dishonorable mention goes to Romney's son Matt, who said his father would release his tax returns when President Barack Obama releases his birth certificate - a cheap shot, as well as undignified and probably not in the Mormon code of behavior).
As for the media, good luck getting anything from the Washington corps (That includes you Gwen Ifill and most of your "Washington Week" colleagues.) that's not their version of what ESPN does with the NFL playoff picture. Plenty about who's polling well, plenty about who wins and who doesn't. Almost nothing about what it means to the average voter.
Iowa residents and Americans in general have been insulted and trivialized. What they haven't gotten is any better idea of which of the Republicans might be best qualified for president.
Look out, Florida. They're heading here.