Watchdog Blog

Archive for the 'Iowa caucuses' Category

Herb Strentz: Iowa as the Center of the Political Universe

DES MOINES – Everyone wants a turn in the spotlight. Small states and smaller towns in particular position themselves as, say, the World’s Sock Capital (Fort Payne, AL), Artichoke Capital (Castroville, CA) Paddlefish Capital (Fort Thompson, SD). Indeed, you could excite spouse and family by saying next year’s vacation will be to world capitals. Even [...]

Herb Strentz: The Iowa GOP, Stuck on Its Caucuses

How appropriate! The Iowa Republican Party is among those finding a way to celebrate the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic. Yes, the Grand Old Party is hard at work — re-arranging the deck chairs of the Iowa caucus. A committee and three sub-committees want to fashion a guarantee — not that the caucus [...]

Herb Strentz: Write This Down: Reporters Aren’t Stenographers

DES MOINES – Given much of the presidential campaign news coverage, it is fair to wonder if most journalists are more like vampires than watchdogs, considering how the press and the vampires both shrink at the sign of the cross. That notion has been troubling me for more than two years now in the build [...]

Herb Strentz: Not Quite Done with Iowa, Where this GOP Mess Got Started

In the wake of the Florida primary, it may be timely to return to Iowa to provide context for the rancor and discord still besetting the Republican Party. In assaying the wreckage of the 2012 Iowa GOP caucus, you can conclude the obvious — that it was a fiasco. You also might wonder if that [...]

Herb Strentz: Will there be Iowa Democratic Caucuses Also? Yes, Teeny Ones.

DES MOINES – A friend in California asked about the ballyhooed Iowa Republican caucuses: “What do Democrats do on Tuesday?” A reasonable question. My answer: At my precinct more than 300 Democrats showed up for voting in the 2008 caucuses. In 2010 as I remember it, about a dozen were there, including several kids getting [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: The Underside of the Iowa Caucuses (One of Them, Anyway)

Mark Shields and David Brooks agreed the other evening on the PBS Newshour that the country was indebted to well-educated Iowans for their splendid show of citizenship in conscientiously attending campaign events and subjecting candidates to informed questioning. Shields and Brooks didn’t happen to wonder where these wonderful, public spirited, Iowans are when the caucuses [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: In Iowa, a Bitter Clash over Vivid Writing

As night follows day, Iowa’s precinct caucuses bring in their wake a raft of features about hard-working productive Iowa and its salt-of-the-earth citizens who welcome candidates into their homes with perceptive questions and thoughtful comments about affairs of the day. Perhaps as an antidote to such pap, University of Iowa journalism professor Stephen Bloom recently [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Debate Sponsors Flunk Fairness Test

Another debate, another round of Obama bashing. The audience barely had settled in their seats Dec. 10 when Newt Gingrich excoriated Obama for a jobs plan consisting of “higher taxes, more regulation, no American energy, and attack(ing) people who create jobs with class warfare.” I counted at least 25 separate assaults on Obama or his [...]

Herb Strentz: Looking for a Republican HHH, to Take on the Extremists in Iowa

Where is the like of Hubert Humphrey when the Republicans so desperately need him — particularly when it comes to the Iowa GOP caucuses? The late Democratic U.S. senator and vice president (1911-1978) came to mind because of the continuing failure of just about any Iowa Republican, save one or two maybe, to speak up [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Much Ado About Very Little in Iowa

Republican presidential candidates are flooding into Iowa attempting to reach and influence the tiny sliver of GOP voters who actually will express a candidate preference at the much-hyped Jan. 3 “first-in-the- nation” Iowa caucuses. If past experience is a guide, the press will go ga-ga over the event, but most Iowa Republicans will have nothing [...]