Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, January 03, 2008


That's the message out of Iowa.

For the Dems: Anyone But Hillary
For the Republicans in NH and onward: Anyone But Huckabee


Dr. Strangelove said...

I am impressed by Obama's victory in Iowa. (CNN, ABC are now calling it.) A huge turnout; a huge result. And I ask myself: will his momentum carry him all the way to the nomination? I find myself reconsidering my support for Hillary... And I suspect there will be a great deal of soul-searching in the days to come for many Democrats.

I think "ABH" is a mis-reading of the election, LTG. I think Iowa's result shows positive approval for Obama, not negative aversion to Hillary. That is what has got my attention.

It is worth noting that Obama appears to have won a higher percentage of the Democratic vote than Huckabee won of the Republican vote, but the networks called Huckabee the winner far earlier. It took half the votes to be counted before Obama started to pull ahead. I wonder if it is a result of the caucus process on the Democratic side, where the larger caucuses took longer to report results--and those tended to be urban, Obama areas.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I flipped between the Democratic and Republican caucuses on C-SPAN1/2 and what a difference! The Republicans were all sitting down in rows, listening to stodgy speakers. Everyone was old and seemed very tired or bored. No one smiled. No one cheered.

The Democratic caucus was like a festival. The Democrats were happy, smiling, standing and milling about... They were talking to one another, trying to convince their neighbors to join them, and organizing themselves, raising their hands to be counted. There was cheering and chanting at times--I heard Obama and Hillary chanted in counterpoint, amid much good-natured laughter and applause. There were people of all ages, students and old folks, and lots of parents who brought their kids with them... It was so heartwarming.

The contrast between the two parties could not have been clearer. I watched the Iowa Democrats shown in Precinct 53 and thought: "Yes! This is MY party!" It made me proud to be an American--it really did. Iowa Democrats earned their first-in-the-nation status tonight.

And I could not help thinking: If these people picked Obama, then I need to give the man a long, serious look. I'm still supporting Hillary for now, but Iowa has pushed me right up against the fence. How the candidates react to Iowa, and how they move into the next few races, may well change my mind. We shall see!

Raised By Republicans said...

Dr. S. I need to tell you there is a HUGE difference between Hillary on TV and Hillary in person.

Obama has run a 100% positive campaign. Hilary has been desparetly trying to get people to believe that he's going negative against her but to no effect.

Iowa caucus goers are among the most educated, most informed voters in the country. I can say from watching my neighbors that people here really take it seriously. They see it as a solemn civic duty to go to the caucus and jocky and hustle for their favorite.

Californians are incapable of that. Simply incapable. They don't have the attention span.

Dr. Strangelove said...

"Californians are incapable of that... They don't have the attention span." I'm disappointed in that remark, RbR. You should know better.

If Californian voted first, if candidates spent hundreds of days campaigning across our state (instead of just flying in for fundraisers), and if candidates lavished a total of $300 per voter as in Iowa--you might find Californians were more interested and better informed.

Oh, and by the way, even with the remarkable turnout this year, caucus participants still represent only a small proportion of Iowa voters. My calculations put the figure at about 17% of eligible voters. It leads one to wonder how representative the results really are in Iowa.

USWest said...

Yes, out of line, RBR. You said that to be provocative. Bad, bad and very unfair.

I agree fully with Dr. S. Iowa voters aren't smarter than everyone else, anymore than are New Hampshire voters. They are just first and candidates practically moved to the state to campaign. Chris Dodd did. No one does that for California and we are the most populous state in the union. We provide the funding that makes Iowa and N.H campaigning possible. Candidates are scared to spend substantial time here because our voting population is very diverse, very geographically spread out, and numerous. It isn't California's voters who suffer short attention spans, its the candidates' lack of tolerance and money for the type of campaigning that a state like CA would require.

By the time we get our vote, half the candidates have dropped out and we are left to rubber stamp what "corn fed" "fly over" country has decided.

See, pay backs are a bitch, aren't they?

Raised By Republicans said...

Ah, pay back indeed. That's what's going on here. Californians live and breath self assured superiority over "look down" country. But the fact is that the very smallness you all so smuggly redicule makes Iowa different. It's cheaper to campaign.

Also, it is a fact that Iowans are joiners in ways that Californians simply are not. I can tell you that having seen this up close the locals here really take this circus seriously. I can't imagine people in LA or San Francisco diverting themselves from their endless quest for being the hippest on the block to do it.

What we see in Iowa could probably happen in the Central Valley but then the rest of California looks down on them quite a bit too so that's kind of the exception that proves the rule. :-)

Dr. Strangelove said...

I admire the dedication of Iowan voters. But if given the same opportunities--the same attention from candidates and the media, the same time and money spent in their state, the same importance attached to their decisions--I think you might be pleasantly surprised, RbR, to see the results.

As it is, we Californians engage the only way we can: with money. Californians gave $50 million to Presidential campaigns last year, whereas Iowans donated only $737 thousand. A little math shows California contributed to the campaigns at a per capita rate six times that of Iowa, even though California's per capita GSP is only 25% higher.

We try.

USwest said...

And since most of the people in the Central Valley came from the Bay Area, I might question whether they so closely resemble Iowans. And a fair number of "Californians" came from Fly Over Country. RBR was a temporary resident of So Cal., so I don't think he can serve as an expert on the entire state. Sorry, RBR, but I resent the implication. People consistently look at Californians as lightweight ne'er-do-wells. And that is as insulting as "fly over" is for Iowa.

Then these same people copy California's lead in lawmaking. Interesting.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I doubt Iowans possess any special civic virtues not shared by other Americans in general. This year's Iowa caucuses were the Biggest Show in Town, hyped for more than a year. Of course everyone - especially the young- would want to go. And, let's face it, there's not a whole lot going on in rural Iowa on a Thursday night anyway. So the endless range of urban distractions were absent.

Of course, Iowa caucuses work because, as we see on TV, they are all English-speaking white people of roughly the same social class. California with its massive diversity would struggle even for a common language in caucusing. Such caucuses in CA would be a tool for white folks to exclude immigrants and non-whites from the political process. The primaries will draw a much larger % of the CA public than did the Iowa caucuses.

Raised By Republicans said...

Actually, I've lived in Californian longer than I've lived in any other state.

Iowans live in a different environment than Californians. They have several hours more of free time per week than Californians do because they don't have to commute. They have more TIME to devote to the town meetings and other campaign events where they see the Candidates up close. That's what I was refering to with my flip comment that Californians "don't have the attention span." Californians simply would not (as a group) devote the time and energy to following a campaign that the Iowa caucus goers (who are admittedly a minority) do.

Also, there are far fewer of them. The small population enables candidates to reach significant proportions of voters WITHOUT TV. They do it face to face. You get a completely different impression from a face to fact meeting than you get from a polished TV ad. Californians would be depending almost entirely on TV ads, TV and internet news coverage and other media that keep everything at arms length.

I'm a VERY politically engaged person. No less so when I lived in California. I even had a friend who personally knew my Congressional representative. My Congressional rep even had a temporary appointment at the university at which I was a student. But because she never showed up for her job and because of the way things are done in California, I never met or even had the chance to meet my Representative.

Since I've moved to Iowa I met my house rep 5 or 6 times in person.

Things are done differently here and it's not just about the money and the order of events.

If California were the first state, it would further the dominance of the smoke filled room boys. The Candidate with the most money soonest would win - period.

The Law Talking Guy said...

RBR writes, "If California were the first state, it would further the dominance of the smoke filled room boys. The Candidate with the most money soonest would win - period." I agree 100%, but that is because of the SIZE of the state, no the lack of civic virtue of its inhabitants or their innnate unwillingness to participate in caucuses.

Of course, California deserves a voice in choosing a president too. The president, after all, is the leader of far more Californians than Iowans or New Hampsterites.

I favor a system where the order of primaries and caucuses is picked at random, but with some guarantee that there will always be a couple small states very early on.

My questions: would Iowans still caucus with such verve if they do not get to go first, with the eyes of the country upon them? If Iowa were treated in the primary/caucus phase as it is in the general election: a small, largely ignored state? If not, that says something. If so, then there is no need for Iowa to go first...