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Sunday, March 08, 2015

The REAL significance of the caucuses

A light bulb went off over my head this weekend.

The Iowa Agricultural Presidential Summit was a bold event with an estimated 250 media reporters and bloggers. That's as many as come to the Hawkeye State on caucus night! Unfortunately the event was overshadowed by the Hillary Clinton e mail story and by the anniversary of the Selma march which sucked up a lot of the news coverage.

Twenty four hours after the Summit it was fading. The news cycle shelf life is so short!

No Democratic Presidential contenders showed up.

Ted Cruz was resplendent in his HUGE cowboy boots which overwhelmed him because the camera angle for most shots was low and the boots grabbed my attention. Cruz's position on government programs such as the blended fuel standards - the Renewable Fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel that are mixed in with the petroleum products. He opposes big government and feels market forces should dictate the success of wind and biofuels.

Governor Scott Walker got good vibes but I didn't quite understand what his position is on government programs sustaining ethanol, biofuels, and wind energy. I think he's opposed.

Mike Huckabee used humor to hide his position opposing government subsidies for wind and ethanol by saying that "eternal life" should only be for people and dogs. In other words not for wind and ethanol. They should die? I think.

I'm not sure how Republican caucus participants in February of 2016 are going to use the results of the Ag Summit in their decision of whom to support.There was no real scorecard although the Des Moines register did a fabulous job reporting. And as one Republican consultant told me on Saturday night, "The answers were often convoluted and weasel talk."

I've carefully scrutinized as much of the response to the summit as I could and here is my conclusion. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush got more attention and positive coverage than any of the other contenders.

Bush was the star of new Third District Republican Congressman David Young fundraiser. Young is a close protegee of Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. By my calculation that means that Young and Grassley are sending out an early signal about their support for Bush. You don't have an event such as this fundraiser at such a visible moment and so early unless you are sending a strong message.

The national news media correctly pointed out that the conservative wing of the GOP does not favor or like Bush because of the "family dynasty" and because Bush supports immigration "reform" (read decriminalizing illegals who came to the US as young children) and because Bush supports Common Core education standards (or something like that controlled at the state level which he stressed in Iowa.) But Bush is still likely to capture the establishment Republicans.

Let me give you the new insight we reached at the Iowa Association of Political Scientists held at Drake University on March 6 as the Ag Summit wrapped up.
 
Our panel discussion consisted of Dennis Goldford and Rachel Caufield of Drake University, myself, and Kelli Brown, Content Strategist, Digital and Multimedia, The Des Moines Register. As we explored the intricacies of the caucuses, a light bulb went off over my head. 

I suddenly realized that the Iowa caucuses are so important because they set off early political events such as Congressman Steve King's Freedom Summit, Rastetter's Agriculture Summit, followed by a number of other political events including more summits and the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll which would not exist if it were not for the Iowa caucuses. 

There are NO sequences of events like this in other states. The Iowa presidential caucuses are a catalyst for so many other interesting and useful presidential selection activities. That alone makes the caucuses irreplaceable.

NOW it's time for you to reserve a space in my short, fun, and FREE Internet class on the caucuses that launches in September.  Go here - reserve your spot:







1 comment:

Bruce Nesmith said...

Do Cruz, Walker, Huckabee et al. extend the market-based logic of their opposition to alternative fuels subsidies as far as commodity support programs?