Wednesday, January 4, 2012


In 2008 a freshman Illinois senator named Barack Obama vaulted from a political underdog to an overnight winner. He promoted a message and created an incredible campaign machine which surpassed two well known candidates to capture an Iowa caucus victory. The Iowa caucus became the foundation for the election of Barack Obama to the 44th presidency of the United States and last night three men are hoping for the same result in 2012.

The Iowa caucus is the initial voting in the presidential election primary process and the results were gratifying for two individuals – Mitt Romney & Rick Santorum. After more than 10 debates, numerous possible Republican candidates such as Palin & Trump and thousands of media coverage hours the race towards the presidency has officially begun. Last night proved to be most meaningful for Rick Santorum, who has emerged as a candidate with a message and supporters. The results from Iowa proved harmful for Michelle Bachmann, who won the Iowa straw polls less than six months ago but took the last place in caucus voting on Tuesday night, excluding John Huntsman who did not campaign in Iowa. Many people question whether Iowa is a fare litmus test of how the overall country feels about the various Republican candidates seeking the presidency. Last night Iowa proved to be an interesting study in how local politics can impact the national scene. The characters for last were a previously run presidential candidate from ’08, a candidate with a strong ground game and a candidate riding momentum. Two of these individuals nealry finished tied together, as the Iowa caucus winner was determined by eight votes, closest in state history.

Let’s take time to review:

-Negative Ads Work….just a few weeks ago Newt Gingrich was leading the pack of candidates, however after an assault of attack ads from a few candidates and a political super PAC. On last night Newt dropped to a fourth place result in Iowa. Get ready for Gingrich to launch back a litany of so-called 'truths' at Romney in New Hampshire and South Carolina, it could be his final attempt in winning the Republican nomination.

-Caucus Is A Different Form Of Voting……the best way to describe caucus voting is the song ‘Stand By Your Man’. You must attend a meeting, hear about all candidates and then make your choice. You attend a caucus site which may contain your neighbor, pastor and/or barber, so yes some political camps start urging friends to consider voting with them. A candidate, family member of candidate or high profile surrogate attends the caucus meetings to make a pitch right before the voting. Everybody and every vote counts in the Iowa caucuses.

-Evangelical versus Tea Party…..last night during the caucus we could have seen the transition of power inside the Republican party as the two hard core conservative sides fought for their respective choice. The evangelical base is rooted in faith, harsh stances on marriage-abortion-guns-fiscal operations. The tea party base is rooted in smaller government, state rights, no single leader and less red tape. The final voting result from Iowa indicates that neither dominated the voting and maybe the tea-party actually countered the evangelical base, each group splitting their votes mainly amongst Romney, Santorum & Paul. Does this mean that neither faction has the ability to deliver the nominee?

-Lessen The Field…..since Iowa represents the first primary and doesn’t demand significant amounts of money the field yields anyone and everyone. These various individuals make an attempt to create a national name, gain media exposure and sell books. Iowa may not determine the actual Republican nominee but it will address those who will not be the nominee. One of the toughest individual efforts is running for the presidency, ask those who teased but didn’t – Sarah Palin-Donald Trump-Hermain Cain-Chris Christie. Some candidates will start and prayerfully stop in Iowa, do you hear me Rep. Bachmann and Gov. Perry.

-Romney Or Bust…….it was thought prior to voting in Iowa that unless something dramatic happens the Republican presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, despite not being the hard core conservative-Christian that both the evangelicals & tea party truly desire, will win the nomination and face President Obama. WELL WAIT A MINUTE. Gingrich & Santorum may partner to create havoc for Romney through Super Tuesday. If Perry & Bachmann decide to back Huntsman or Santorum it could mean a fight that would keep Romney on the right side of political thought during the entire primary. And Mitt Romney will need to mantain Ron Paul and his supporters in the Republican tent to avoid a possible third-party candidacy in the general election.

-Obama On Point……if we have learned anything about President Barack Obama, he may be the best campaigner in presidential history. As he transitions into full time campaign mode against the Republican nominee, we will see glimpses of the Obama from 2008. As political pundits view the Republican field of candidates, a few say a sliver of the Obama of '08 is still ten times more effective than any current Republican candidate. Oh by the way, the Obama campaign was well organized in Iowa on last night, thanks to Donna Brazile for keeping us informed via social media.

So why is Iowa so important? Well, you could argue because it’s first or maybe because Iowa is geographically in the middle of the country - WRONG! The reason why Iowa is so vital to the presidential election process is because of the style of voting. As indicated earlier in this blog, caucus voting requires a loyalty beyond the normal voting process. Candidates must actually meet, greet, touch, talk and develop caucus goers if they are interested in winning. If Iowa was a primary, whoever spent the most money on media ads, social media and mailers would probably win.

Just a Sims thought – the average voter profile in Iowa is not truly reflective of our country so maybe it shouldn’t be first nor taken as a barometer for the thoughts of the country but rather for how Iowa feels in this presidential election season.

And I just want to say hello to some wonderful folk from and living in Waterloo, Iowa.
And now to New Hampshire we go!

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