Burt Prelutsky takes a look at a frustrating question much on everyone’s mind — what’s so special about Iowa and New Hampshire?
Don’t ask me. We should probably all be grateful that the first primary isn’t held in the city of Philadelphia (where in the last mayoral election the Republican whats-his-name got a full 17% of the vote).
It’s a ridiculous and artificial situation which Prelutsky analogizes to flipping a coin:

how was it decided that those two improbable states would be given so much importance? I understand that for reasons I can’t quite fathom they get to kick off the primary season, but so what? To me it makes about as much sense as inflating the importance of winning the coin toss at the start of a football game.

As to why, it does not seem to matter to anyone. Once such insane things have in place over a long period of time, so many people rely on them that they develop constitutencies which will defend them as pillars of our democracy. Even our very way of life. Why, I’m sure the argument could be made that Iowa and New Hampshire primaries are part of traditional American values!
Here here!
On another pet topic, Prelutsky asks another excellent question:

How is it that people who drive around with bumper stickers that read “War is Not the Answer” aren’t the least bit embarrassed to be seen in public?

I think they are as clueless as people who claim — like many of these letter writers in today’s Inquirer — to be “against violence” (but who scream and yell every time their favorite Eagles linebacker makes a good tackle).
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against violent contact sports. It’s just that I’m enough of a realist to agree with Orwell:

“Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words: it is war minus the shooting.”

Saying “war is not the answer” presupposes that we are not at war when we are. Moreover, the notion that all war is wrong means that it was wrong to go to war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, and it would have been wrong to stop the Rwandans from slaughtering each other. I think the slogan should be superimposed over the smokestacks of Auschwitz or something.
But, much as the “war is not the answer” people are lacking in common sense, they turn out and vote in the primaries. Even though they are what economists and statisticians would call “outliers,” under the primary system the outliers out-vote the people with common sense. Unfortunately, those who aren’t outliers (and who don’t sport inane bumperstickers) also tend not to drive to the primaries in outlier states.
Which is why, in the name of democracy, the rest of us are ruled by outliers in outlying areas.