On Friday, Fergus Cullen, a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party wrote an article in the Union Leader which basically said what we've all been thinking: Iowa Republicans are currently driving their party off a cliff and are hurting our entire state by marginializing our caucus system.
This article, "So long Iowa, it was nice knowing ya," is a must read for everyone who has been watching with dred as social conservatives pushed out fiscal conservatives, and presidential candidates began to "reevaluate" their early state strategy.
Here are some of the important excerpts:
Two conditions make the early states in the presidential nominating process work. First, all candidates must believe they have an equal opportunity to succeed. They might not be happy with the outcome — most of them lose, after all — but they all have to feel like they had their shot and were given a fair hearing by voters. Second, the electorates have to be broadly representative of the party as a whole. This gives a win meaning and legitimacy.
The Iowa caucus may once have met those conditions for Republicans, but today it does not. Iowa Republicans have marginalized themselves to the point where competing in Iowa has become optional.
… This week came another troubling sign that Iowa Republicans are outside the party mainstream: a birther epidemic. A Public Policy Polling survey found that 48 percent of Iowa Republicans don’t believe President Obama was born in the United States, and another 26 percent said they weren’t sure if he was or if he wasn’t. It’s hard to talk about real issues when three quarters of the audience wears tin foil hats.
…Iowa Republicans didn’t set out to marginalize themselves, but it’s happened — to New Hampshire’s benefit. With several major candidates likely to bypass Iowa, and the odds rising that Iowa’s skewed caucus electorate could support candidates with limited general election appeal, the likelihood of New Hampshire being called upon to make a correction grow.
Currently, reporters in Iowa continue to ignore the harm that far-right Republicans are doing to our state with their social litmus tests. We’ve seen a few bold Republicans like Doug Gross and Kevin Hall speak out publicly, but they are few and far between.