Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I think Governor Ted Strickland nails it on Iowa...

While I of course understand the Hillary Clinton campaign may not want to publicly agree with some of the comments made by our Governor here in Ohio when it comes to Iowa:
In an interview with The Dispatch last week, Strickland said the Iowa caucuses make "no sense." He called the GOP and Democratic caucuses "hugely undemocratic," because the process "excludes so many people." Anyone who happens to be working or is sick or too old to get out for a few hours Thursday night won't be able to participate, Strickland said.

"I'd like to see both parties say, 'We're going to bring this to an end,' " Strickland said, adding that he has no problem with the New Hampshire primary Jan. 8, because "at least it's an election."

In reading the Daily Bellwether it appears others including USA Today are chiming in:
If it seems odd that candidates would spend months, and millions of dollars, in Iowa in pursuit of an electorate that would barely constitute a neighborhood in some large American cities, it should. Iowa is not tiny, 30th in population according to the Census, but its time-consuming caucus process means that only 8% of the state's population will participate.

The system is even more convoluted this year because Iowa moved up its caucus to Jan. 3 to stay ahead of other states that have moved up their primaries. That means that many would-be voters would have been away for the Christmas and New Year's holidays. It also means that millions of people across the nation who might have paid attention at a later date are tuned out now.

Call it what it is, a broken system, a system rigged to the benefit of early states such as Iowa that is further perverted by their efforts to maintain their advantage.

The impact of this can be measured on supermarket shelves and in profligate federal spending policies.

Because Iowa is a major corn producer, Iowans love the subsidies the federal government hands out to encourage production of ethanol, which is made from corn. Inevitably, the subsidies have created huge new demand for corn, pushing prices to record levels. This is great for Iowa and the rest of the Farm Belt, but everywhere else, people are paying heavily for the largesse. They pay first in taxes to support subsidies of $2 billion to $9 billion in recent years — and then again at the checkout counter. And all of this despite the fact that producing a gallon of ethanol requires more energy than the ethanol saves as a replacement for gasoline.

So, it may not be popular in Iowa to say the truth, but someone needs to start saying it...

3 comments:

Joseph said...

Don't forget PB- or Larry Sabato (aka “the best-known political analysts in the country”) who called the whole Iowa caucas thing "undemocratic”

sinsinyin said...

right

Scott G said...

I will start off by saying that I am from Iowa, but I don't have a problem with Iowa being first. I do have a problem with some subsidies and think that someone should say that they should be redone. Especially since a lot of farms are going the corporate route and the subsidies no longer support family farmers as much as they do wealthy business.

There are problems with Iowa, but no matter where you start, someone will be unhappy. The East and West Coasts don't understand the center. The South is different from the rest of the country. And Florida can't figure out how to use voting machines.

And Iowa is also one of those states that are always so close and can go either way. Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada, and a few other states are similar. Most, however, you can say before the election how they will go and it usually isn't all that close.