Bob Vander Plaats' second annual Family Leadership Summit drew several hundred Iowans, a passel of political losers and a ton of media to Ames on Saturday --- an otherwise pleasant day on which the Iowa State Fair was in full swing just down the road.
And while it's tempting to dismiss this modest sideshow as inconsequential, that would be a little like sitting down to eat deep-fat-fried butter on a stick right next to a rattlesnake you've just stunned with the hoe. Plenty of poison left.
But Donald Trump. Really? Mr. Amorality. What was that all about? Rick Santorum? Logical choice, at least. Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz. Oh my.
Conservative Republicans and good Christians, we learned, still hate Obamacare, the IRS, homosexuals --- and Hillary Clinton. That's news?
Gov. Terry Branstad and his lieutenant, Kim Reynolds, were there after apparently having found Jesus, or at least the red, white and blue-wrapped version that votes Republican. Terry and Kim will need these guys when they run for re-election. Most likely they'd rather have been at the fair.
Plus the usual suspects, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, U.S. Rep. Steve King and a roll-call vote of glittering nation-wide wingnuttery.
There was nothing new, no positive proposals for moving America forward, no imagination, no innovation, no hope.
So when that old rattlesnake revives fully, most likely the only butts it's going to chomp into into will have "GOP" tattooed on them. But it never hurts to pay attention --- and to keep the hoe handy.