Opinion: Be Thankful for Iowa

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 09:39 AM

Republican presidential candidates at Fox News debate in Sioux City, Iowa. (Scott Olson)

It's one week from showtime - the January 3 Iowa Caucuses are almost here.

We are putting on our best faces, cleaning up the more than 1,700 caucus precinct sites, and getting ready for the national and global news media avalanche. Yes, we take politics seriously in Iowa. It’s a professional sport here, and nothing is more important than the presidential caucuses. We have saved the rest of you Americans the horrible job of winnowing the field of GOP Presidential candidates.

There have been others who decided that Iowa GOP voters are a bunch of rubes - sorry Donald Trump we know a New York celebrity when we see one. We loved you Herman Cain but we wanted to know you better, like we know our neighbors in small towns in Iowa and you didn’t pass the American Legion Hall sniff test for Commander in Chief.

We also test the managerial skills of folks who want to run the largest and most complex economy in the world. If you can’t time your spending for the long slog that’s a presidential race you probably can’t manage the federal government; sorry Tim Pawlenty, ya shoulda budgeted better. Remember, it’s about the long haul.

Iowa also is a test market for “market share.”  If you have three products that are very similar you’d better be better than the other two. Bachmann, Santorum, and Perry are selling the same basic flavor. It’s like three ice cream places on the same intersection. If only one of them were running, he or she could be in second place.  One of them could have offered the two others cabinet positions, Supreme Court appointments, juicy ambassadorships.

Oh yes and we tell the truth. Republicans are conservative. They are not “moderate.” So Iowa passes the reality check. Iowa Republicans are conservative. Iowa Democrats are also a great reality check for Democrats across the nation because in Iowa they are liberal.

One thing we in Iowa can’t control is the fact that so many Americans and Iowans are “No-Party” or independent. After all they are the crucial swing voters in American elections and they don’t play in the presidential selection process. We in Iowa can’t do anything about that.

So my question is this. Ya wanna have a national primary system where only candidates with hundreds of millions of dollars can run a successful campaign? If we scrap the Iowa/New Hampshire process that’s where we will end up.  

Steffen Schmidt is University Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University, Chief Political Correspondent of and has analyzed Presidential politics for 41 years.


More in:

Comments [4]


Something that not everyone knows. In order to get cheaper insurance is to request when getting
a quote if they would put up your insurance excess. This meands you'll pay should disaster strike and you need to make a claim for anything that is you fault but its great advice if you can avoid an accident.

Mar. 07 2013 08:20 AM
deborah Standard from astoria, ny

Rowney doesn't admit that he developed a very good healthcare plan in Mass. What reason other than wanting to get elected over acknowledging he created a positive policy as a governor. It speaks to me of lack of wisdom and courage. I am sure that if the Supreme Court made a different decision Rowney would be talking about his Mass
healthcare policy and use it against the President. Rowney speech was angry with meanness and lacking awareness that millions of his fellow citizens suffer due to lack of access to healthcare. He must have had that concept when he was leading Mass. Why not now?

Jun. 28 2012 01:09 PM
Gloria R from New York

There's a song the poem "Some Politician's" is based on called "The Politician's Polka. It's on track 12 of the CD
"Gennaro...from Cool to Hot"

itunes link:


Jan. 03 2012 05:09 AM
Gloria R from New York


SOME POLITICIANS dance around the issues,
Then they filibuster on the floor,
Jerk our tears, and then pass out the tissues,
Doublespeak until they really bore.

Some will sidestep any person's queries,
While they bob and weave at interviews.
All the media have to think up theories
Where they stand...we haven't any clues.

Some will do the Politicians' Polka,
As they stay in tune with greedy PACs;
Best foot forward, aim to please in public,
Fancy footwork's done behind our backs.

They will try to lead and we must follow
Though they sometimes don't make any sense.
And their talk is very often hollow...
Some of them can be so very dense.

As they dance around with great agility;
Their well-being is their only aim.
They are taking full responsibility
For what's done-but never any blame!

Some will tax away our hard-earned money,
As they're spinning facts to go their way;
And before their over-spending's done,
They might vote themselves a lot more pay.

Their hands are always out for contributions,
And on their hips awaiting the next set.
They must dodge the bumps of retribution;
Their tracks are covered... some are not caught yet!


copyright Rymar Publishing Co.

Dec. 28 2011 04:04 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About It's A Free Blog

Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a blog, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Supported by

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public.  Learn more at



Supported by