If you like politics or political theatre it's time now to refresh your memory by heading over to the Wiki entry on the Ames Straw Poll.
It's a fund raiser for the Iowa GOP, but for a a couple of days on either side of Aug. 13, the world's media will treat it like the Oracle of Delphi.
Some bulletins from the initial skirmishing:
Ron Paul shelled out $31,000 for the most expensive tent site outside Hilton Coliseum. It is the same ground Mitt Romney used to win the straw poll and then cleverly lose the caucus race four years ago.
A candidate who wanted to remain secret wadded all the stepins at the tent auction in state GOP headquarters. The other candidate representatives stalked out in protest, and Congressman Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan then agreed to lift his veil. (Editorial comment: I doubt keeping his candidacy secret will greatly challenge Mr. McCotter. Nevertheless, he is being added to your crucial TMR candidate list.)
It costs $30 to vote in the poll, plus money to get your people from Manly and Fertile* to Ames. The Paul campaign has offered fork over $20 of the poll tax and is running some buses from the outlying provinces to Ames. It's a big bet by Paul forces that he can show well enough that CNN quits calling him crazy.
*Real places, and we like remembering the headline in a weekly which said "Manly Man Marries Fertile Woman."