Bleeding Heartland is a community blog about Iowa politics: campaigns and elections, state government, social and environmental issues. Bleeding Heartland also weighs in on presidential policies and campaigns, federal legislation and what the Iowans in Congress are up to. Join our community, post your thoughts as comments or diaries, help keep our leaders honest and hold them accountable.
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.
Iowa is now one of six states where same-sex marriage is legal.
Congratulations to everyone who worked to bring marriage equality to New Hampshire. Today the state House passed a revised bill legalizing same-sex marriage, and Governor John Lynch signed it immediately. More details are all over the web, including at Pam's House Blend and Blue Hampshire.
Share your thoughts in this thread, and remember, Iowa got there first! Actually, "first" in the sense of third, after Massachusetts and Connecticut--but the important thing is, before New Hampshire!
The Senate confirmed Eric Holder as attorney general today by a vote of 75-21. Both Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley voted yes, as expected. I always thought Holder would be confirmed, but I am pleasantly surprised that he was approved by a larger majority than Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. I believe Holder will turn out to be one of President Barack Obama's better cabinet appointments.
For reasons I cannot fathom, Obama appears ready to appoint Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, a conservative Republican, as Secretary of Commerce. Chris Bowers concisely explains why this is an awful choice:
So, for some reason, in the wake of total Republican intransigence on the stimulus bill, the Obama administration will respond by putting a Republican in charge of one the federal departments overseeing the economy. Judd Gregg himself has said he will oppose the stimulus package. That is certainly an, um, interesting way for the Obama administration to incentivize Republican opposition. Oppose President Obama, and he will reward you by giving you a cabinet position.
Senate Republicans continue to hold up Hilda Solis's confirmation as Labor Secretary, and Obama responds by appointing Gregg to the cabinet?
Democrats won't even get a Senate seat out of the deal, because the Democratic governor of New Hampshire has promised to appoint a Republican to serve out Gregg's term. The only upside is that the appointee may be easier to beat in 2010 than longtime incumbent Gregg would have been. But that's not worth handing over control of the Commerce Department to a conservative, in my opinion.
All I can say is, Gregg better not screw around with the Census Bureau and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
I am surprised to hear that the Republican National Committee's Rules Committee has approved a proposed 2012 nominating calendar that would keep the Iowa caucuses first, followed by New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada:
I had assumed that the GOP establishment would have the knives out for Iowa, since Mike Huckabee's triumph here hurt establishment favorite Mitt Romney, while this year's nominee John McCain, another establishment favorite, finished a distant fourth place.
Keeping Iowa first is not a done deal:
The measure, which passed 28-12, must now be approved by the rules committee meeting in August, scheduled for the week before the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Finally, the measure must be approved by delegates to the convention.
Still, it's interesting that this calendar has support within the RNC rules committee for now.
Since Barack Obama seems very likely to become the Democratic nominee, I would assume that the Iowa caucuses are safe if he wins the general election. If he loses to McCain, however, I expect members of the Democratic National Committee to change the calendar. A lot of angry Democrats will blame Iowans for picking a loser again.
I am not convinced by all of the arguments in this diary, but it is a great piece of work. I have asked Silver Spring to cross-post here, so I can promote it to the front page. In the meantime, you all should head over to MyDD and read it for yourself.
I haven't yet had a chance to dig into the county-level results from Iowa, so I greatly appreciate this effort.
This kind of in-depth analysis sets the blogs apart from superficial mainstream media coverage.
Let's face it - a lot of what political reporters report on is mistakes.
Please, journalists, stop insulting our intelligence. I don't care if you think getting emotional is a mistake. It's ridiculous for you to ask other candidates to comment on Hillary's emotion. The only purpose of a question like that is to trick them into committing a gaffe.
None of this trivia has anything to do with who would be the best president. Try reporting on some issues for once.
John Edwards: Stayed strong and on message. Sided with Obama as a candidate for change, and put Clinton on the spot as the status quo candidate. He came off as articulate, clear, and as the viable alternative to a non-confrontational unity politician like Barack Obama.
Bill Richardson: Didn't do anything good, didn't do anything bad. His one big flop was calling Russia the Soviet Union. But he's tired, just like the rest of the candidates. He's not going to be the nominee, but he isn't going to be left out of the race. He's clearly making the case as an experienced vice presidential candidate.
The people of New Hampshire: Compared to the Republican debate, the second half of the Democratic debate was quite engaging on the issues, on the race, and on substance. Clearly, there is a push for new policies and ideas in the Democratic party. We want real leaders who will talk clearly and our Democratic candidates are willing to do that. While looking exhausted when not answering, they were engaged when the camera was on them. New Hampshire has a tough choice ahead of them.
Barack Obama: He didn't shine like he could've as the front-runner, but Gibson made sure he got the first and last word. He seemed more tired and lackluster than he is on the stump, but that seems to have been the case for most of the debates he has been in.
Hillary Clinton: Her angry moment sure didn't help her (though it is quite clear she has the energy and is quite committed to the race) and Edwards' double-team with Obama against definitely portrayed her as the third wheel of a two-person race. She's falling fast in New Hampshire and needs to dump Mark Penn.
The Republicans: After watching most of their debate, I can't see how American or folks in New Hampshire would want their old grumpy grandpa or their sleazy corporate boss as president. Huckabee's the only one who looked presidential but his policy offerings have largely been substance-less. Bill Clinton had the advantage of being an intellectual and Rhodes Scholar to overcome the fact that he was really only the governor of Arkansas. Huckabee doesn't have that advantage.
Charlie Gibson (And his NH counterpart): Maybe it was just me, but his cynicism towards the Democrats in general seemed to make him look just as grumpy and frumpy as most of the Republicans in the hour and a half before the Democrats. I'm glad they challenged the Democrats but it seemed a bit harsh and a bit more than needed.
Feel free to call me out on these and offer your own thoughts and reactions. We all know I can be wrong from time to time. And if you're curious, Time's Mark Halperin offers his grades of the candidates here.
Greetings and Salutations, to Edwards supporters far and wide.
This Edition is dedicated to that exciting phenomenon called Momentum! The Big Mo.
All Candidates want it. Lately though it seems the fight and the message of John Edwards has captured it. So take a quick tour of all the hopeful signs that since the People are finally tuning in, that more and more People are connecting to what John Edwards is saying ...
I've noticed a lot of grumblings around "the Internets" lately, about all these "partisan" Candidate Diaries -- hogging the limited real estate of the Recommended List.
Out of respect to that Audience, those who have had their fill of Candidate News,
Here's the Executive Summary:
"Stuff happened in the Edwards Campaign."
And for the Edwards supporters, out there in audience, those who may be expecting a "little more detail" about your Candidate, continue reading please ... well because "Something IS happening in the Edwards Campaign ..."
"All the Democrats have good things about them," Peterson said in an interview, but "Edwards cleaned house in rural areas in 2003" because "he’s against corporate farms and for localized economies."
Here's a few more reasons from this "influential Iowa agriculture leader", Chris Petersen:
Chris Petersen, who is currently the president of the Iowa Farmers Union, endorsed the former North Carolina senator at a Friday rally in Nevada. ... Petersen said he picked Edwards because of his strong views on the enforcement of anti-trust laws and competition in the livestock industry.
A vocal critic of the agribusiness conglomerates that have rapidly changed the face of agriculture in the Midwest, Petersen said "it’s time we got some political courage and leadership" to solve those problems. ...
(2) Here is an interesting Edwards Headline:
Edwards Unveils Stimulus Plan To Strengthen Economy And Create New Jobs
Dec 22, 2007
On final day of the "Fighting for America's Voice" tour, Edwards urges Congress to pass $25 billion job creation plan
Lisbon, Iowa – On the final day of his "Fighting for America's Voice" tour, Senator John Edwards proposed an economic stimulus package to strengthen our economy and create new jobs. Edwards urged Congress to act immediately to pass at least a $25 billion jobs plan in early 2008 and be ready to pass $75 billion more if there is more evidence that we are entering a recession. Edwards believes that every American should have access to a good job and the chance to build a better life. ...
Yet again John Edwards is Leading with very specific comprehensive plans, to deal with REAL Problems faced by REAL Americans! One of those REAL Americans was there to speak up for Edwards' Plan today:
About Doug Bishop:
Today, Edwards will be joined on the tour by Doug Bishop who, in September 2004, was among the first wave of employees to be laid off at the Maytag plant in Newton, Iowa. ... Edwards is running for president to make sure the voices of hard-working Americans like Doug get heard in Washington.
John Edwards - Introduction by Doug Bishop - Newton, Iowa
"The American Dream is being taken away slowly, and surely, by some powerful people, who have No Respect for the American Workers in this country. ... People like my grandfather, and hundreds before him, and hundreds after him, they didn't strive to be rich. They didn't strive to work their way through the Company and become the CEO ... at Maytag he was chasing the American Dream, and he was allowed to finish that out. ... As of yesterday, I had several relatives and neighbors who had that Dream taken away from them. ... It's happening all across this Country. We have tried, and tried, tried to get these unabated Trade Agreements -- which are robbing Americans of their Livelihoods -- stopped! ... and most importantly, and this is something I'll never forget, he grabbed my 7 year old son by the hand, he dropped to one knee, and he looked him straight in the eye, and he said: 'I'm gonna keep fighting for your Daddy's Job, I promise you that.'
Two years later, a man of his word -- you know that stuff sticks with you -- ... with no media, no press, no big event, it was just one man being a good person. Two years later he sets up a meeting at the Maytag Plant after they announced the closing. ... He wanted to sit down with the People who were effected, in that Plant, that day. 'What are you going to do with your lives? What can I do to help? Where do we go from here?'
That's the kind of things we need in a Leader in this Country!
... I want a guy who's gonna sit down, and look a 7 year old kid in the eye, and tell him, 'I'm gonna fight for your Dad's Job'. That's what I want!"
You know, fighting for the dignity of the American Worker, and their families, is at the very core of what it means to be an American. Or at least it used to be ...
Franklin D. Roosevelt called for Four Freedoms ...
They were the basis of FDR's vision of Economic Fairness. Unfortunately, not all of these Freedom were fully incorporated in the New Deal legislation, that pulled the Country out of the Great Depression in the 1930's
Here are those 4 Principles:
FDR's Four Freedoms:
1. Freedom of speech and expression 2. Freedom of every person to worship in his own way 3. Freedom from want 4. Freedom from fear
A network of bloggers are carrying on with FDR's Vision today. And guess who they just Endorsed for their Candidate for President?
(3) Here is an interesting Edwards Headline:
Four Freedoms Announces Endorsement of John Edwards
WALTHAM, MA - December 20, 2007 - The influential non-partisan discussion board and blog ‘Four Freedoms’ (http://www.fourfreedomsblog.com/) announces its endorsement of John Edwards in the Democratic Primary.
Senator Edwards has been a longtime supporter of the downtrodden, from his early days as a litigator to his Senate track record. John Edwards dwells not on the past, but on the hope for the future, and is the only candidate that truly understands what is important to average Americans. ... The founders of Four Freedoms urge all true Americans and Patriots to vote for Senator Edwards, and calls upon citizens to cross party lines if necessary in order to advance Senator Edward’s campaign and restore hope, decency, and civility to the American Political Process, something that has been lacking for quite some time. Senator Edwards may not have all the answers, but he is our best hope for true change and progress towards what all Americas believe in...that is, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Now that's truly a New Deal Endorsement! That is quite the statement about exactly WHO is ready to Fight for US.
(4) Here is an interesting Edwards Headline:
Des Moines Register
Surgery gives man a chance to speak his mind
Dec 22, 2007
If you've been to a recent Edwards event in Iowa or watched television, odds are good you already know Lowe's story. He was born dirt-poor in Kentucky with a cleft palate. He moved to a mill town in the Appalachian Mountains and worked in coal mines for decades before an injury broke his back and put him on disability.
Lowe never had surgery to fix that cleft palate because he could not afford health insurance.
And for the first 50 years of his life, Lowe could hardly speak. He was an incomprehensible mumbleruntil about a year ago when a doctor donated cleft-palate surgery and, literally, gave Lowe a voice. ...
Now, Lowe has become a metaphor for the stated goal of Edwards' campaign:to give a voice to the voiceless.
"I had an emotional reaction listening to his story," Edwards said Friday in an interview. "I had a sense of outrage that somebody had lived for 50 years in America not able to speak because they had no health care. How could my country let people like James down like that?"
Edwards invited Lowe to the microphone, hugged him, and then Lowe spoke for about 45 seconds.
"He cares about people like me and you all," Lowe said in his Southern accent that's tinged with a speech impediment.
Then he pointed at Edwards and said, "This man is number one man for president." ... Best of all, Lowe said, he has the guts to stand up in front of hundreds of people - and he's got the voice so he can say something.
That is how the flame of Outrage is lit:
[John Edwards meets James Lowe]
And well, for some people, that flame never does go out, until Justice has been done ... and until, what was wrong, is set right again.
(5) Here is a heart-wrenching Edwards Headline:
Edwards Mailer In Iowa Touts His Trial Lawyer Representation Of Injured Girl
By Greg Sargent - Dec 21, 2007
"John Edwards gave our Family hope ... And then he walked into that courtroom and gave that irresponsible company hell."
Sandy Lakey Introduces John Edwards, West Des Moines, Iowa
"I know John because, he saved our daughters life ...
[the unthinkable happens to their family]
... so we began talking to attorneys, which was a new experience for us. I was in such a haze of grief, shock, and exhaustion, that little of what anyone said penetrated my fog. The only words I wanted to hear were: 'I can help Valerie'.
And then we met John Edwards. When he held my hands and looked in my eyes, I saw the compassion, honesty, and integrity that is John Edwards. When he said the magic words I wanted to hear, I knew in my heart, that THIS Man would Fight as hard for Valerie, as if she were his OWN Daughter.
Because of John, I began to feel Hope.
We quickly realized John Edwards wasn't just Valerie's attorney -- He was her Champion.
John Edwards took on the irresponsible manufacturer of the defective product that had caused Valerie's injury. And we learned she wasn't the FIRST Child to be maimed, or even killed by this Companies absolute indifference!
Even worse the company knew their product was defective, but hid the truth. John exposed their negligence, and Won Justice for Valerie.
John Edwards gave us hope in our darkest hours. He ensured that Valerie's Medical Expenses would be taken care of for the rest of her life. And he helped change the ways companies do business, to make swimming pools safer for children. ...
Recently she told me, that she occasionally feels happy. That's not something I thought I'd ever hear her say because her life hasn't been easy. She's suffered through horrors, that NO ONE should have to deal with, especially a child. She lives with pain everyday, and probably will for the rest of her life. But she's strong, and with the help of people like John Edwards, she HAS survived.
She is here with me today to show her support, and love, for John Edwards. We believe that John has the intelligence, the determination, will power, integrity, and above all, the heart, to be a great leader to all of us in the United States.
We are honored to know him, and feel privileged to be here today. He talks about the heroes that he has met in his life, and during his campaign travels. But to us, He is the Hero! Thank you John."
WOW! That's what it means, to fight for the "little guy". That's the same way John Edwards will fight for US, if we have the "same determination", to help send him to the White House. If we do, Edwards will give Voice again, to us -- the forgotten American People!
PORTSMOUTH — Wooing 700 voters at the Frank Jones Center on Wednesday, presidential candidate John Edwards pitched his plans for health care, warfare and education with a live rock 'n' roll sound track, a whiff of Hollywood and an endorsement from a local nuclear submarine welder.
Wrapping their endorsements for Edwards around a four-song set, Grammy-winning musicians Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne were introduced by actor Peter Coyote.
And the WHY's behind the new ground swell of New Hampshire Excitement?
I Am A Patriotwith backing by Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne
Here is what a few of those New Hampshire citizens have to say about WHY they are NOW supporting John Edwards:
"Seeing John Edwards speak tonite, and you know just listening to him answer the questions -- and feeling the Energy in the Audience, in the crowd, he definitely has my Vote"
"I love how straightforward he is, but I think also, how brave he is."
"He's talking, he's talking ... fighting ... the big corporations -- Nobody else is saying that."
"I do feel like there is a lot of momentum going on, and I think that, John is going to take it over the top. And I think that he's gonna win this Election."
Hey, for you other New Hampshire citizens who have finally found your Candidate in Edwards, you too, can get involved to "help win this thing." Here's how:
For more voices from New Hampshire, their stories start here:
(7) Here is a different Edwards Headline (with the Media Reporting on the Blogs -- now that's a switch):
Blog House: Edwards remains a wild card as caucuses near
... The most surprising development is that Edwards, who's been consistently third in most Iowa polls, seems to have a little heat behind him. ...
And the WHY behind those blogs which are buzzing about Edwards?
"On Monday, the Edwards campaign recorded more e-mail sign-ups than almost any day in its history," Marc Ambinder (1) reported. "Over the weekend, the campaign was forced to add four new servers to handle all the Web traffic. Contributions are up online: Thursday and Friday, the two days after the debate, made for one of the highest 2-day totals they've seen in months."
In this race, Edwards could prove to be the tortoise and Clinton and Obama a pair of hares, according to David Mizner at MyDD (2). "It wasn't supposed to be this way, with Edwards still in the thick of the race. Clinton and Obama had planned to out-spend and out-celebrity him into oblivion. The best-laid plans."
So that's it for tonite's Roundup. Thanks for taking a few moments to reflect on the type of Leader, you would like to see running this country. I hope these "behind the news" snapshots, help give you some insight into the character, passion, and determination, that an Edwards Presidency would bring to Washington DC.
Most of these people Speaking out above, have given you a window into some of their reasons to "Why I'm with Edwards?"
SO, "WHY am I, with Edwards?"
Simply stated, out of all the Candidates running, John Edwards speaks out the most passionately, and clearly, and bravely, on nearly all of the Issues, that matter to me and my family!
And on top of that, in nearly every case, Edwards was the first one to take a bold stand, with thoughtful and detailed plans to the many problems this Country faces. "Fixing America" and "Restoring the American Dream", for ordinary hard-working Americans, is more than just talk with John Edwards -- it's the cause of his life!
Such a Fighter, for real Progressive Democratic Values, will get MY Vote, every time!
Please, Edwards supporters, take a few moments, to add a comment or two about, if you can, about"WHY you're with Edwards, too?"
(I'm sure there are still some undecideds out there, lurking, who would probably like to know. Thanks.)
With less than two weeks before the voting begins in Iowa and New Hampshire, John Edwards is delivering his closing argument to voters, something Edwards is well known for. As one of the top trial attorneys in the nation, Edwards is no stranger to taking on a fight and then driving it home, with a powerful closing argument.
The Edwards campaign is picking up steam, and a lot of people are noticing, even some of the Media. That Poll yesterday showing Edwards in the Lead in Iowa at 30%, certainly helped to get people talking. The Chris Matthews Interview with Edwards in New Hampshire was certainly a breath of fresh air too.
The [Congressional Budget Office] CBO's annual report on the budget outlook foresees a deficit of $400 billion this year. It also forecast a cumulative deficit of $1.3 trillion from 2005 to 2014, an increase of nearly 60% from the CBO's $861-billion estimate of just four months ago.
I love how the Edwards campaign is getting so bold and so...well...I guess it could be described as snarky. As others have said before me, the truth can never be an attack, but the truth can sure hurt. Here's another example.
Now John Edwards has asked Senator Clinton to answer 5 simple yes or no questions on Iraq. Should be easy, right? It also should be something a presidential candidate should be ready to do. Will she do it?