Students gear up for Iowa. This is the article that made me lose my breakfast yesterday.
Their friends may be wrapping up their holiday break playing Wii video games, watching reruns of "Gossip Girl" or drinking too much mocha at local coffee shops.
But the students in an Ann Arbor high school class are packing for a whirlwind, firsthand look at presidential politics in Iowa.
As part of the Picking the President class at Ann Arbor Community High School, 24 students are to board a 6 a.m. flight to Des Moines on Wednesday.
After they land, they'll be working on the campaigns of their favorite candidate until the Iowa caucuses begin at 7 p.m. Thursday -- all while other students at the high school are off until next Sunday.
Humn, I wonder who their favorite candidates are? I'm sure it's a nice mix ...
"I really feel like we'll be making some changes," said Estelle Drent, a senior who, like most of her classmates, supports U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
Most of the students support abortion rights, abhor the war in Iraq and would like to see the United States regain its reputation around the world.
Color me shocked.
They read the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly and watch the Sunday morning news shows, recapping the week's events on the campaign trail at each Tuesday night class.
But, I'm SURE their teacher encourages them to read from a wider variety of news sources than that. I mean, after all a teacher is supposed expand their educational opportunities. Who is the teacher anyway? I'm sure he is unbiased.
And they, or their parents, are willing to pay the $260 needed for airfare, food and lodging. But many are planning to stay with Iowans willing to open their homes.
They use words like integrity, electability and vision.
Great. They sound like robots already.
And they respect the importance of Iowa's caucuses, knowing that the field of Democratic and Republican candidates will be whittled with the results of the first-in-the-nation caucuses.
"For each of the parties, there are only three tickets out of Iowa," Lansing political consultant Dan Pero told the class earlier this month.
Thirteen of the 24 students support Obama, calling him a fresh, exciting leader who would bring diversity and a more contemporary vision to the White House.
But, what about CHANGE. Will he bring change? I'm dying to know.
"I just don't want another old white person in there," said Erik Levinsohn, a 17-year-old senior. "This is going to be like a second Christmas for me. I'm totally geeked."
What was it that MLK said about judging people? I can't really remember...
Only one student -- Liz DeMonte, a 15-year-old sophomore -- supports a Republican (former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani). She considers herself a fiscal conservative, but a social liberal.
"I don't really like any of the other Republicans," she said. "None of them are pro-choice, and that's pretty important to me."
@@. I throw up my hands. Honestly, I'm just lost. One Republican out of 24 and she's pro-choice?
Just one student -- Mira Fishman, a 15-year-old sophomore, will campaign for Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.
"Women have been held back for so long. It's really important to break down those barriers," said Fishman, who also likes Clinton's position on health care, the environment and the war in Iraq.
Because NOTHING is more inspiring to young women than a femal erole model who got to where she is today because of her husband. And her husband's lover.
Five students like former Democratic Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, primarily, they said, because of his dedication to eradicating poverty in the United States.
Uhm ... good luck with that.
Four have chosen New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson because of his experience in the legislative and executive branches -- and for strategy.
"There's a distinct advantage of going with Richardson," said Lydia Austin, a 16-year-old junior. "With a smaller campaign, we can get much more involved and have a more integrated part in the campaign. I feel it's going to be a better experience."
This will be the second time the class has been offered by the Ann Arbor schools.
In 2004, Chuck Wilbur, a senior adviser to Gov. Jennifer Granholm, taught the class and took 13 students to New Hampshire to work in the days before that primary.
Word of mouth swelled the class to 24 students this year.
Tell me I'm not the only one who has a problem with this. Chuck is a Granholm appointee; her education policy advisor. And he's also a teacher in a class on the political process.
But, of course, can you think of a better way to make future Democrats?