I’m glad to read news that some Republican candidates, notably Mitt Romney, have decided to give the Iowa caucuses a pass. I’m beyond tired of the outsized influence the caucuses have had on the nominating process in both parties. The Republican side is nothing but a Family Council/American Family Association camp meeting. Why care? Because it can create the impression that religious extremism is mainstream thought and it can have a lingering and damaging influence on politics in general. The Democratic side, for that matter, is probably more liberal than the country as a whole.

Many Republicans are sneering at Romney for bypassing the Iowa straw poll (which in turn means reducing dramatically his expectations for the caucuses themselves, which Jon Huntsman says he may skip altogether). Romney learned his lesson in 2008. He knows you can win without Iowa. See Bill Clinton.