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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

US History of Exclusion and Deportation

Donald Trump has shaken the news media with his suggestion that we should bar Muslims from coming to the United States. Here is a short history. This does not include the discrimination against every new wave of immigrants.
US History

1882. The Chinese Exclusion Act signed by US President Chester Arthur May 6, 1882 not repealed until repealed by the Magnuson Act on December 17, 1943.

1942. Japanese internment. President Roosevelt ordered the Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II Executive Order 9066. Feb 19, 1942.

1936. Rejecting Jewish refugees fleeing Germany from Nazi Germany. July 1938, a poll by Fortune magazine fewer than 5 percent of Americans supported raising the quotas for political refugees mostly Jews. 67% said "we should try to keep them out."

1954. Deporting Mexicans by Pres. Eisenhower in the “Operation Wetback” Bracero program. 

2015. On December 7, Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump suggests that no Muslims should be allowed into the United States.

 Don't be surprised at Trump's suggestion. It has its roots in many previous American policies. In times of panic and crisis (we are in such a moment now) people always become fearful of foreigners even if it is irrational and Constitutionally illegal. 
We should also be aware that anti immigration politicians have been gaining ground in Europe especially France where Marine Le Pen and her National Front Party may win the next election. The right is also growing in other European countries. 

AND, France, the cradle of democracy is closing three mosques! (USA Today: "French authorities announced Wednesday they  shut down three mosques for an alleged "pattern of radicalization.") 

Monday, December 07, 2015

Cruz Carpetbaggers Coming to Iowa From Texas?

Headline: Cruz campaign rents Des Moines apartments

"The Ted Cruz campaign is renting apartments in Des Moines to house volunteers it is importing from outside of Iowa ahead of the Feb. 1 caucuses. Called a ..." 

So, it says 500 volunteers from Texas will come to Iowa and work for Cruz.

"Iowa HATES carpetbaggers, Steffen" texted my friend a prominent, smart ,Republican campaign expert. "The question is, he doesn't have enough actual "real" Iowans to canvass and campaign for him?" queried a Republican legislator who was a great student of mine at ISU about 16 years ago. "Stef, this is an easy bulls eye for Marco Rubio or Trump because "busing in people to Iowa" is the WORST thing a candidate can do - remember the Ames Straw Poll!? LOL!" - Hmm I agree.

I texted back, "of course some of these people running against Cruz don't know Iowa politics and political culture enough to understand the implications of this new development. SO they may not see the strategic opportunity. Rubio needs to hire IOWANS, get yard signs out, distribute bumper stickers, and do face to face with ORDINARY Iowans."

Also it's shocking that Trump has not asked Cruz for his actual official, government birth certificate. That will be an endless drip drip, drip because Cruz will NOT make it public - it's a CANADIAN birth certificate!

Steffen Schmidt
University Professor of Political Science Iowa State

Sent from my iPad SynkLink via my iPhone Free Caucuses short course. Join me. Last one rolls out in January just before the caucuses. Fasten your seat belts!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

An Armed Planned Parenthood?

After the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting there is now serious consideration given to training and arming Planned Parenthood workers.

The NRA always says gun free zones alike schools are the target of choice of shooters because they know there is no risk to them. Planned Parenthood, a very liberal group most of whose members are anti gun and unarmed is the perfect target.

I heard today that they are actually now planning to train key front line employees in the use of firearms, issue them body armor and high powered weapons. They have decided that police protection comes too late and they are a bulls eye for anti abortion activists as well as persons like the Colorado shooter who, as others have done before with PP, take matters into their own hands.

Liberals are opposed to the NRA and guns. In the United States that means they are the best target because, as I said there is no risk. The Colorado shooting may be the straw that breaks the camel's back on that questions. I can't imagine heavily armed liberals. Maybe that's the problem.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Iowa Presidential Caucuses: WHY is Donald Trump in Fourth Place in Iowa?

Iowa Presidential Caucuses: WHY is Donald Trump in Fourth Place in Iowa?: How Good are Political Polls in 2016? Steffen Schmidt Modern polling has move from the telephone to the Internet...

WHY is Donald Trump in Fourth Place in Iowa?

How Good are Political Polls in 2016?
Steffen Schmidt

Modern polling has move from the telephone to the Internet.

The reason is that many people no longer have telephones. The second is that even when called on their landline or cell phones, a huge percentage (as high as 80% and above) are no longer willing to answer polls.

Since a huge percentage of Americans have Internet access and are on the many social media as well as voluntarily answer online polls, Internet polling has become a significant and more relevant piece of the modern political polling.

Internet polling also allows for a much quicker cycle of tracking polls at lower cost.  For example, the Paris terrorist attack overnight required new polling on 2016 presidential contenders since it was probably a “game changer.”

Some of the best Internet polls actual use samples from panels of carefully screened respondents.

One very interesting development regards Donald Trump. Pollster
online polls favor one candidate. Ever since Mr. Trump rose in the polls, he has fared best in the online ones — sometimes by as much as 10 points better than live-interview telephone surveys conducted over the same period.
There are a number of possible explanations for Mr. Trump’s strength in online polling, which was first noted by Jonathan Robinson, an analyst for Catalist, a data firm associated with the Democratic Party.
One is that voters are likelier to acknowledge their support for Mr. Trump in an anonymous online survey than in an interview with a real person. Plenty of research suggests that the social acceptability of an opinion shapes the willingness of poll respondents to divulge it, and it’s imaginable that voters would be reluctant to acknowledge support for a controversial figure like Mr. Trump.”
In the Iowa State University "traditional" scientific poll Donald Trump comes in fourth after "Undecided." Ben Carson has support from 27.2 percent, Marco Rubio is second with 16.7 percent; undecided voters are third, making up 16.2 percent; and Donald Trump is fourth with only 14.7 percent

It is true that online polls under represent minorities and lower income and education voters. However these groups are also much less likely to vote so the accuracy of the Internet polls such as SurveyMonkey, Reuters/Ipsos, Morning Consult, YouGov/CBS News may be a life saver for the declining traditional polling by phone or with clipboards at the mall. 
Internet polling is still young and it will take several political cycles before the validity of these surveys is demonstrated. It will also take a few more years for the methodology and sampling algorithms to be refined. In the meantime we should watch polling results with care and be “critical consumers.” Remember that is a poll says 34% say they would support Donald Trump and 52% Hillary Clinton we cannot refute the validity of those polls until the caucuses results are in on the night of February 1. Also remember that surveys are most accurate minutes after they are completed. Most polls have a very short shelf life. 

Steffen Schmidt is University Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University and CEO of SEAS LLC Consulting.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Iowa Presidential Caucuses: Paris Terrorist Attack: A Game Changer for 2016 El...

Iowa Presidential Caucuses: Paris Terrorist Attack: A Game Changer for 2016 El...: Dr Steffen Schmidt: posted in Washington Post 

 The Paris massacre is a game changer for the Iowa caucuses and the 2016 US presidential e...

Paris Terrorist Attack: A Game Changer for 2016 Elections

Dr Steffen Schmidt: posted in Washington Post 

The Paris massacre is a game changer for the Iowa caucuses and the 2016 US presidential elections.

Cut the US federal budget? REALLY! And how the hell does the United States "arm up" and defend the democratic western world?

Rand Paul is finished. So is Bernie Sanders. The priorities have just totally changed.

All the issues will be inverted.

The Des Moines Presidential debate will be completely different today as a result of this terrorist attack. 

Who will benefit?

Hillary and one of the GOP hawks. Probably someone with some "real" experience.

This is the end of the 2016 debates and campaign "circus."

US presidential elections are not a clown act. They are also not a sermon.

I imagine that Carson, Firorina, and Trump will drop in the polls. NO ONE wants to turn over their lives and the security of their families to inexperienced people. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Biden (and Chafee) Are out of the race

Vice President Joseph Biden’s decision not to run for the White House is a game changer. His earlier unsuccessful attempts were in 1988 and 2008.

The Democratic field had been in suspended animation even while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders built their campaign and raised money.

However, lurking behind the two front-runners was Joe Biden. He has been sucking away 15 percent plus or minus and his approval rating was very high.

Speculation that he would wait until after the Benghazi hearings to see if Clinton would be badly damaged proved idle. He had agonized after the death of his son and did not want his family to be dragged through the grueling task of a campaign.

This is not the first time a powerful contender has agonized over running. As the New York Times reminded us, “Gov. Mario Cuomo of New York left a plane bound for New Hampshire idling on a tarmac in 1991 as he fretted over whether to run for president.”

The specter of Biden created several distractions to the entire 2015-16 race to the nomination.

First, for the Democrats it delayed the decision by many powerful check writers. Their anxiety over Hillary Clinton’s email and Benghazi problems made them nervous and Biden seemed like a potential alternative. Now they can make those commitments to either Sanders or Clinton with most analysts giving the bulk of that new revenue stream to Clinton.

Second, the consolidation of voters in coming polls will strengthen the field for the Democrats. Here in Iowa I met literally hundreds of Democrats who were very interested in Biden and hoping he would run. Now they will need to pivot to one of the other candidates. Some may actually look at former Baltimore mayor and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. Most will distribute themselves between Clinton and Sanders.

Third, the Republicans are very disappointed. I spoke to and emailed with several of my best GOP connections and they were very excited about a Democratic Party split three ways. That would weaken the front-runners and to some extent pit Clinton and Biden against each other. Now the Democrats enjoy the advantage of a small field. Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee proved unprepared to run in the first Democratic debate and Webb has already dropped out.

Biden will certainly remain a source of irritation for Clinton especially on how to deal with the Republicans. Clinton called them the enemy in the Democratic debate perhaps as a joke but she has certainly been seen as the biggest target of Republicans. Biden thinks Democrats should work across the table with the opposition. There is also irritation over whether Biden supported the raid on Osama bin Laden or not which Hillary Clinton says she fully backed.

Overall the take away is that the Democratic campaigns will now be much more aerodynamic as it were with the turbulence of Biden removed from the flight path.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Is Bobby Jindal Viable?

I follow EVERY news story on election 2016. It is an amazing year and I get up at 4 a.m. every day so I can feed my horses and then get to work trolling the headlines. Iowa farm sunrises in October are FABULOUS so being up early is a real treat.

This week Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has caught my attention.

He is nowhere in the polls and has been part of the "Happy Hour" debate group, the kids at the little table with the happy meals while the adults eat from the regular menu.

Now all of a sudden I see articles that say Jindal is rising in the polls in Iowa. I hear Iowa Christian political leaders say that Jindal is the guy with God on his side so to speak because all of the "brand" of Jindal has been about religion. I see that the Des Moines register plans to "interview" him in their board room. So there is this rising attempt to divert our attention to Jindal from Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Rubio, and Cruz who are floating at the top of the polls.

HOWEVER, if you research Jindal you will find some information that raises serious doubts about Jindal and I'd kike to share those with you.
Headline: "So Long Bobby Jindal?The Louisiana governor is running out of money, and his presidential campaign might be running out of time."

More Headlines:
"Louisiana State Treasurer John N. Kennedy suggested that Gov. Bobby Jindal should return to Louisiana from his presidential campaigning in Iowa and make plans for budget adjustments now in order to avoid draconian cuts later in the budget year." Louisiana is more broke than the federal government.

From the Times-Picayune: "Eleven out of 15 GOP candidates raised more money than Jindal in the three-month period." Money is smart. They know a losing investment when they see it.

So, is Jindal a viable candidate for 2016? 

He may rise in the polls in Iowa where of 40% or so the GOP is very religious and very conservative his God-centered campaign may do well with them. However he is only at 4% in Iowa today. 

The second state in line for presidential candidates is New Hampshire the second least religious state in the nation. In new Hampshire Jindal is at 0.0% in the latest RCP aggregate poll! He scored 0% in the Gravis, CNN/WMUS, and NBC/WSJ polls. How can anyone look at those numbers and say that Jindal is viable with a straight face!

Jindal is at 0.6 percent nationally which is a ridiculous number and he will be eliminated from the "adult" debates unless he hits 2.5% nationally which is also ridiculously low.

At some point people need to face the political grim reaper and drop out. Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee need to drop out. Pataki and James Stuart "Jim" Gilmore III need to quit the race. The day is coming closer and closer when Jindal also needs to say goodby and find some honest work.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Donald Trump Says George W Bush was President When 9-11 Happened

The 2016 race to the White House is FABULOUS! 
Never have we had such tension, drama, excitement, odd and interesting candidates, and mud slinging with cruise missile intensity.

The latest is when Donald Trump said:
“When you talk about George Bush – I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

After the host pushed back on the charge, Trump doubled down: “He was president, OK? Blame him or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.
The best posting I’ve seen on Donald Trump’s comment that George W Bush was President when 9-11 happened is the following from the Washington Post:

Here is the brilliant and accurate Washington Post item no doubt posted by an intelligence officer:

“U.S. intelligence officials warned President Bush weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network might hijack American planes.

On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.

In a memo from the Phoenix FBI to headquarters, the agents recommended an urgent nationwide review of flight schools "for any information that supports Phoenix's suspicions" of a terrorist connection. The memo reportedly cited Osama bin Laden by name.
And the C.I.A. repeated the warnings in the briefs that followed.

Could the 9/11 attack have been stopped, had the Bush team reacted with urgency to the warnings contained in all of those daily briefs?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

High Taxes and High Prosperity

The grueling debate about taxes seems to be ignoring the historical record.

The greatest period of American prosperity which was after WWII top marginal  taxes for really rich people was:
(1951), 91.0% income above $1,766,108

(1961) 91.0% income above $3,071,492

(1976) 70.0% for income above $807,009
And the tax loopholes for the rich were very minimal so revenue could actually flow to the many important projects and functions that were the underpinning of the general prosperity.

In that period the United States built roads, bridges, a great military, fabulous education system, great universities, funded medical and science research which resulted in historic breakthroughs, and NASA went to the moon.

American companies flourished and inventions, patents, and great new products were the envy of the world. 

American workers made good wages and good products. People had pensions and most jobs came with benefits.

YOU decide what all this means.

I for one conclude that high taxes didn't hurt the rich, they were still very rich. I was going to the university in 1964-68 in New York City and believe me the brownstones and penthouses on the toniest streets in the Big Apple were FABULOUS. The Hamptons were alive with the rich and famous. I've never seen more limousines and fancy-dressed doormen. The Four Season's was always overbooked and who could afford those great meals and wines!

High taxes did not discourage investment and the creation of industries and jobs. In fact, it was the zenith of American prosperity. So why are we not looking back at that "golden age."

That was before "free trade" agreements and super sophisticated schemes for hiding corporate and private income in offshore companies and numbered accounts in Ireland and the Cayman Islands? There were few to no "hedge funds" and much less predatory manipulation of capital.

A few super rich do not a prosperous nation make. And in elections huge money was much less influential while today we see headlines in the New York Times such as, "From Only 158 Families, Half the Cash for 2016 Race." (

And it should be clear that during these glorious years there was very little accusation that all of this was "socialism" and Republicans as well as Democrats supported this model of governance.

YOU can research income taxes at the official web site:

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Ch 5 WOI Analysis

Stay tuned to my more frequent analysis for the new channel 5 WOI TV political analyses and programs. We will be covering the debates and the interesting struggle to find a Speaker of the House.

Friday, October 09, 2015

"Moderate, Democratic Forces."

Here is our history on all of this: 

President Jimmy Carter. "Let's support the moderates in Iran now that the Shah has left."
President Carter, WHAT moderates are those?

President W. Bush, "Iraq will be a shining example of democracy now that Saddam is gone and it will pread throughout the Middle East (to more or less paraphrase.)" President Bush, how'd that "spreading democracy" work out?

President Barack Obama, "We are supporting the democratic forces aligned against dictator Gaddafi in Libya and giving them NATO and US air cover."
President Obama, WHAT democratic forces in Libya are those?

President Barack Obama
, "Let's support, train, and arm the moderate democratic forces in Syria."
President Obama, WHAT moderate democratic forces are those?

Maybe the US needs to be pragmatic and ally itself with forces that have a realistic chance of actually winning and gaining power. In very violent countries moderate and "nice" political forces stand NO chance. Just look at the Weimar Republic in Germany.

Remember what FDR said about Somoza in Nicaragua, "He's a bastard but he's OUR bastard?"

The world is a sorry and violent place.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Politics and Neurons

Sunday, September 27, 2015
Politics and Neurons

From the Ames Tribune
Posted September 26, 2015
Steffen Schmidt: Neurons and politics
By Steffen Schmidt

A neuron is “… an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information through electrical and chemical signals.”

When we analyze political behavior we inevitable veer into the notion that people select from among alternatives and make conscious, self-aware, rational choices.

A recent MIT study instead suggest that, “We are creatures of habit, nearly mindlessly executing routine after routine. Some habits we feel good about; others, less so. Habits are … thought to be driven by reward-seeking mechanisms that are built into the brain. This study is the first to show that cost considerations are wired into the learning of habits.”

In other words people subconsciously take actions that they believe are cost effective.

We can argue that politics, like neurons, is also an “excitable process” that transmits information.

Just observe the 2016 race to the White House and you will at the very least see the “excitable” part.

Politicians and the media rest on the premise that voters are well informed, knowledgeable, smart/intelligent, analytical, responsible citizens and comparative in their choices of candidates or political parties.

I won’t trot out all the evidence that these may be rebuttable presumptions, in other words, assumptions that are taken to be correct unless someone comes forward to contest them and prove otherwise.

Example: “Innocent until proven guilty.”

There is lots of research that people are not well informed about most of the very complex economic, social, moral, and foreign policy issues facing the America.

In fact, a large percentage of people cannot point to where they live when shown a map of the United States.

Research shows that a substantial number of voters select candidates by their name.

In some places, if your name is Kennedy people will vote for you just for the name. On the other hand, in other parts of the nation, that name is the kiss of death, regardless of the candidate’s position on issues.

If we are indeed creatures of habit on many day-to-day activities as the MIT research demonstrates, we should consider the possibility that people also choose their candidates for president by responding to the firing of neurons.

In fact, when people are interviewed in focus groups or at political events they often say they support a candidate because he is “strong,” “seems like a good leader,” or “looks presidential.” One woman at the Iowa State Fair said, “I just like Trump.”

While the mainstream media rarely talks about it, some candidates just don’t look presidential by some generic, often subliminal, and probably “patterned” standard.

Think of the 2016 contenders. Do any of them seem not presidential?

We have a long way to go in the field of biopolitics which is associated with the work of Michel Foucault and his seminal lecture series at the Collège de France from 1970-84. Another new and cutting edge area of research is “Biological Political Science” as well as studies of genes and politics, which is also called “genopolitics.”

John R. Hibbing, the Foundation Regents Professor of Political Science and Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln argues that, “Biology, not genetics alone, is the key and it is now possible to measure politically relevant biological predispositions with physiological, endocrinological, cognitive, and neuroscience techniques.”

I realize I’m stretching the credulity of many of you reading this, but please keep an open mind. Political scientists are pushing the envelope on understanding political behavior. Hibbing’s essay, “Why biology belongs in the study of politics” in the Washington Post is well worth a read.

What is the take away? Politics is not all that meets the eye. Some political behavior is hidden down in the neurons.

How else to explain the Donald Trump phenomenon?

Steffen Schmidt is a professor of political science at Iowa State University

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Poor Carly Fiorina -

Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina says she rose from being a secretary to a business woman at Lucent Technologies and then CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HP).

My students listened to her here in Iowa and they thought she came from a very poor family and maybe even a single mother!
BUT, her dad was well educated, successful, and wealthy. His name was Joseph Tyree Sneed, III. He was professor at Cornell Law School from 1957 to 1962, Stanford Law School from 1962 to 1971, Duke University School of Law from 1971 to 1973, where he was Dean. Then he was a Republican U.S. Deputy Attorney General and a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for nearly 35 years. 

She was actually born with a silver spoon in her mouth. 

In her first corporate job at Lucent things went very badly as the following observation by Rattner suggests. 
"Soon after she left, Lucent veered off a cliff, and while she was never the chief executive, part of the company’s collapse stemmed from overly aggressive sales and loans to financially shaky customers made under her supervision."
Steven Rattner has written,
"Investors were so down on her that H.P.’s shares jumped by almost 7 percent on the day of her firing. And in ensuing years, she appeared on several “worst C.E.O.” lists, including those of CBS News and USA Today.
In 2009, Portfolio magazine ranked her the 19th worst C.E.O. of all time and described her as a “consummate self-promoter” who was “busy pontificating on the lecture circuit and posing for magazine covers while her company floundered.”

And most voters have never heard this. Donald Trump's criticism of her was diminished by his snarky comment about her face. 

Rattner continues, "She banked $21 million in severance payments as part of the more than $100 million in compensation she received during what one critic called her “destructive reign of terror” (which included pushing for H.P. to acquire five corporate jets.)"

Almost no one from her corporate life comes to her defense. She has not had a full-time private sector job since 2005. The buzz is that no one wants to hire her. 

Then there is the latest information about her support for and contributions to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and other liberal Democrats well narrated by Jeffrey Lord a former Reagan White House political director - See more at:
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director, - See more at:
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director, - See more at:

Surprisingly the media has handled her with silk gloves. When she's interviewed or stories are written about her the details of this sketchy record and also the allegations about her personality are not mentioned. 

That's quite a disservice to Iowa and American voters.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What happened to Scott Walker?

Press Release, Not embargoed. For  release Sept 23, 2015, 6:00 am Central Time

Iowa State University political science professor Steffen Schmidt, who leads a first-of-its kind free online course about the Iowa Caucuses, breaks down the factors that led the early favorite in Iowa to end his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has suddenly dropped out of the GOP race to the White House.


First and most important he “peaked” too early and in a deceptive venue. It was the first political event of the 2012 race to the nomination. Sponsored by Iowa Fourth District Republican Congressman Steve King and Citizens United, the Iowa Freedom Forum was held on January 24 in Des Moines. In front of a select crowd of conservative Republicans 23 Republican notables and most of the presidential contenders at the time got lots of national buzz. At the end of the day pundits and many Republican politicians declared Walker the winner.

BUT, it was a deceptively “friendly” crowd, he had not been tested in any national event, and no one questioned his very narrow experience in The Badger State.

Second, he has been inconsistent in his positions on issues. Waffling, flip flopping, and weaseling on issues is not a very strong selling point. His most egregious uncertainty about issues was on “birthright citizenship.” Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." He flipped, flopped, and flipped again on whether children born to those in the US illegally would be covered by this principle. In reality the US Supreme Court has never ruled on whether children of illegal residents in the US are entitled to this principle.

Third, he took a fateful trip to London to sell Wisconsin cheese. Problem is he got asked if he believes in evolution and he TOTALLY punted on that. He should have said, “NO, God created the heavens and Earth in six days and rested on the seventh. If you don’t like my answer you can shove it!” So he did not gain foreign policy experience on that trip he just got dissed.

Fourth, he was "invisible" in the two GOP debates. Everyone said that the few minutes of time he had evaporated and he seemed to shrink back into the wallpaper. There was also the question of energy. He had even less than Jeb Bush.

Fifth, I asked my students in a focus group what word came to mind when they see Walker in one of his many interviews on cable. The most frequent answer was "Goofy." The second was “Walmarter.” That is not a great concept! I was surprised because earlier Gov. Walker was seen as a nice Midwesterner.

Sixth, I talked to several GOP operatives, most of them former students of mine. Their answer was that many Republicans and conservatives had parents or grandparents who were union members in the meat packing plants in Iowa. They made good salaries and were able to raise a family, buy a home, take vacations. When the unions were busted wages plunged and mostly immigrants were hired. They DO NOT LIKE Walker's union bashing, which is, of course, his “brand” as governor of Wisconsin.  By the way, his implosion was also a bad hit to the Koch brothers political organization which had heavily backed him.

Walker’s supporters claim that it’s all Donald Trump’s fault. That seems unlikely because Walker went from top of the heap to last in a spilt second. Why didn’t he go from top to second, third or fourth? See analysis above.

When he quit the race he said it showed leadership. “Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.”

I guess that’s “leading from behind.”

Enrollment is still open for Iowa State's online course about the Iowa Caucuses. Visit to learn more and enroll.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Flood of Refugees: Again.

A massive wave of refugees is streaming into Europe, desperately fleeing war and brutality in Syria and other countries. There is a big debate about what to do, how to stop this, what the consequences will be for Germany and other nations.

On the Statue of Liberty there is a plaque which reads "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Often people in the US did not live up to the Statue Of Liberty's "Emma Lazarus' sonnet, New Colossus, which she wrote for a fundraiser auction to raise money for the pedestal upon which the Statue of Liberty now sits." 

They hated the Italians. 

They hated the Irish. 

They hated the Puerto Rican's.

"They" were all coming in, changing the culture, and "overwhelming" our nation. There was great fear of the massive wave of immigrants each time the wave crested.

We should remember that everyone running for president in 2015-16 came from somewhere else a few generations back willingly or enslaved. Their ancestors were greeted with as little enthusiasm as some of the European nations are expressing today. Yet, they became so successful they are fishing for the most powerful position on Earth (besides the Pope!) President of the United States.

Let's not forget that over 12 million people were processed at the immigration station on Ellis Island alone. And there were many other points of entry for different immigrant wave to the US.

Most of those immigrants made America FABULOUS! We wouldn't have blue jeans without Levy Strauss, helicopters without Igor Sikorsky, abstract expressionism Willem de Kooning the Dutch-born American painter, Albert Einstein, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Henry Kissinger, Eddie Van Halen who is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time. I could go on but you get the point.

If the Europeans can figure out a way to welcome and integrate the new wave into their societies they too can reap huge benefits from such courageous people. In today's world almost no one is living where they are natives. Humans like birds are a constantly moving species. we need smart and bold policies to deal with that fact and make those movements come out well. 

See my column about Stefan Schmidt, my closes cousin and his life saving work rescuing drowning refugees in the Mediterranean.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Who is right about economy?

Reprinted from the Cedar Rapids Gazette
 SEPTEMBER 4, 2015 | 3:37 PM

by Steffen Schmidt

NOTE from author:  Let me share with you the several vicious and ignorant e mails I received from people who disagreed with me. I get that a lot when I write columns for the Cedar rapids Gazette, Des Moines Register, Ames Tribune, Carroll Daily Times Herald and other newspapers. Some of them are so threatening that law enforcement has actually advised me to have a permit and carry my own protection. Wow! We are living in a bilious and divided country. That's largely the fault of politicians and the brutal talk show radio.

MarketWatch reported this week that, “The U.S. economy looks much more vigorous in the second quarter than previously thought, as a report released Thursday showed businesses got off the sidelines and spent some money.” Economic growth was at 3.7 percent annual pace in the second quarter.

The Wall Street Journal reported, “The U.S. labor market continued its long march back from the recession with steady job gains in July.”

Cattle Network reported this week that, “The U.S. average retail price for regular gasoline decreased eight cents from the previous week to $2.64 per gallon on August 24, 2015, down 82 cents from the same time last year.” More importantly for farming and transportation, “diesel fuel decreased five cents from last week to $2.56 per gallon, down $1.26 per gallon from the same time a year ago.”

Nasdaq summarized the U.S. economy this way. “The latest U.S. numbers stand in stark contrast to much of the rest of the world, where growth has been dampened. Other recent readings suggest the U.S. economy is positioned to weather turbulence from overseas. Business investment in July posted its strongest gain in a year, jobless claims have held near 15-year lows through August, the housing market is by some measures back to pre-recession levels, and consumer confidence this month rose to its highest level since the start of the year.”

How many Americans are aware of all this good news?

The answer is almost none.


Because we are headed for a presidential election. Most of the candidates especially the Republicans, and most certainly Donald Trump, are terrorizing Americans with dire gloom and doom about the United States. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has said that the future of the U.S. is between the government and the private sector and government is bad.

The truth is that the federal government, state and local governments in partnership with the private sector have done a great job over the past eight years.

Low interest rates by the Federal Reserve made possible the recovery of the housing industry. Yet some want to shut down the Federal Reserve.

Smart energy policies as well as a surge in wind and solar power have made the United States energy self-sufficient as well as a net exporter of energy. Of course, low energy prices are a mixed blessing. Consumers and energy intensive industries such as trucking, farming, and airlines have greatly benefitted. Energy companies and countries highly dependent on energy exports (Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia, Iraq, Nigeria) are suffering and may become destabilized.

Some say we should be celebrating the success in bringing back the U.S. economy for which Democrats and Republicans can take credit we are spreading gloom and doom. They argue that attacks on Mexico, China and other trading partners by politicians are alarming because a return to protectionism in trade is a 100 percent guarantee for a serious recession or a depression.

But there are others with dark and pessimistic views about America none more than Robert Wiedemer the “Darth Vader” of economic forecasting. “In a recent interview for his book Aftershock, Wiedemer says, “The data is clear, 50 percent unemployment, a 90 percent stock market drop, and 100 percent annual inflation ... starting as soon as next year” according to Newsmax. No doubt the national debt, federal deficits, Social Security and Medicare solvency are troubling and persistent problems that need courageous attention.

Are you confused and wondering who’s right?

Therein lies the problem because even economists disagree.

In this upcoming election voters will need to decide whether they should dump the George W. Bush and Obama policies (that’s 16 years of consistency) or whether the nation should “stay the course” and we should not “rock the boat.”

It’s not an easy decision and all the shouting is not helping.

• Steffen Schmidt is professor of political science at Iowa State University. Comments:

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Friday, September 04, 2015

Donald Grump!

Best Sesame Street episode featuring the next President of the United States Donald Grump!

Do you remember this?

Thanks Susan for sharing this. "I guess Trump has always been this way" one of my followers wrote!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Iowa, China, and Scott Walker

Dear Gov Walker. You've said the US shouldn't receive China's President and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping. Did you know that he is a GREAT friend of Iowa and  

Did you know that the Governor's office has big pictures of Xi, of Iowa- China relations, and a trove of Chinese gifts to Iowa? Your comments about "dissing" Xi and his visit to the United States doesn't seem like the smartest move if you want to do well in the Iowa caucuses. 

By the way, doesn't Wisconsin to do want to do more business with China? Have those farm and industry executives in the Cheese States (that's what we call it down here in the Hawkeye State) not taken you, Governor Walker, to the woodshed on disrespecting China? I'm surprised.

And Donald Trump, YOU need to be very careful because the United States and China are now joined at the hip economically.  Do you know how many billions the Chinese have invested in govt bonds and in companies.? Do you know how many Chinese students are studying at American universities including Iowa State and the University of Iowa.? The answer is astonishingly high so we want China to succeed because their prosperity and ours are tightly interconnected. 

Trashing China may feel good and get some voter juices flowing but it's not a winning proposition for America or for November 2016.

Xi Jinping and Terry Branstad 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Song for the 2016 Elections

The Rolling Stones - "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

What song better underscores the dilemma of the Democratic And Republican race for the White House?

As in life, jobs, love, it looks like neither party is getting what it wants which is a strong, fabulous, clear front runner who will win the nomination and then go ahead and win the general election big.

But don't worry.  There will be a presidential election. Two people (or three) will emerge as the candidates. So while you can't always get what you want but if we try we will find "we will get what we need."

In life we get some sort of job (not the one we really want), someone to share life with, a car (but not the one we REALLY want). So why should politics be any different. 

Munch on that for a moment. 





Sunday, August 23, 2015

Piyush "Bobby" Jindal and "Big Government'

Louisiana Gov. Piyush "Bobby" Jindal says big government is bad; Govt and private sector are opposites.  He's running for president so let's try to keep him honest.

Then he should return to Iowa and American taxpayers the BILLIONS of dollars that were spent on Katrina. You remember the mess the mayor of New Orleans and the Gov. of the state made when that terrible killer hurricane hit. It was the US military and ultimately FEMA and other federal agencies that jumped in and saved the city.

I also ask Jindal to refund the billions of dollars being spent in Louisiana on flood control and coastal reconstruction. There is a massive project to try and fortify the coastal areas, divert the Mississippi river to build coastal lands and marshes as barriers to future storms.

And, while he's at it, Jindal should also send back all the other big government funds being funneled to Louisiana: the enormous amount of welfare money, Social Security payments, Medicare and Medicaid funding, Veterans Administration dollars, air traffic control system funds, federal highway spending, Dept of education money for schools, GPS services (run by the Air Force), the regulation of offshore drilling (think BP oil blowout) and weather service and NOAA budgets.

I am shocked that no one has dared to push back against the pure baloney people like Jindal are serving up about big government. In America prosperity is a partnership between the private sector and government at all levels. Without government, roads, infrastructure, law, the armed services, cyber defense, testing of drugs and toxic material, consumer product safety, and a myriad of other  programs Louisiana and the USA would be a third world country. 


Friday, August 21, 2015

Election 2016 = Rumble in the Jungle!

The 2016 election promises to become what I call a "Rumble in the Jungle!"

The problem is none of the GOP plans for 2016 are panning out.

1. Fewer debates so there would be less bloody in party bashing? Nope. Instead of debates which are far fewer that 2012 when there were 27 we now have "summits" and all sorts of other events which have erupted like wild mushrooms and given each contender a chance to draw blood.

2. Smaller field of candidates and get to 3 front runners quicker? Nope! There are 17 wannabes now when there were "only" 12 last time so the candidate "inflation" problem is much bigger this time. That means it will take longer to "winnow" the field.

3. More financial discipline? NO SIR! This season will be the most financially abundant of any election in American history. And, with so many PAC's and billionaires writing checks almost every candidate as someone's backing and therefore can stay in for the long run if they spend wisely.

4. And finally the arrival of the Political Gozilla Donald Trump has derailed the GOP strategy for a smooth 2016 contest. Reality TV is a brutal and nasty environment full of yelling, pushing, and shoving. The Apprentice is mild compared to some of the edgier shows but Trump is bringing the full force of that world of reality TV to politics. He seems to wants to say "You're Fired!" to each of his GOP contenders.

That's making 2016 an exciting, dramatic, sizzling hot and nasty political season.

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