The Iowa Caucus is a Farce

I’m sure many of my Drake University friends will skewer me for this post, but it needs to be said.  At least on the Republican side, the Iowa Caucus is a farce, has been for some time, and we ought to find another state that can do a better job of handling the responsibility of selecting a credible nominee.  Consider the following: currently projects Ron Paul as the clear favorite to win the Iowa Caucus in 2 weeks.  That’s right… Iowa Republicans appear poised to give their nod to a man who openly states he believes America is largely responsible for 9/11.

-The result of Mike Huckabee winning in 2008 was not much better.  Huckabee’s poll number skyrocked as he centered his campaign almost entirely on his Christian faith and ridiculing Mormonism.  So much for Article VI.  Who really cares about the Constitution anyway?

-Speaking of religious influence, two influential Iowa Christian leaders in Iowa endorsed Rick Santorum today.  Great, fair enough.  But both endorsements came with odd follow-ups.  One of them said they endorsed Mr. Santorum because “He meets and exceeds the Biblical qualifications”.  I have no idea what that means or how it could be squared with Article VI of the Constitution.  (Note: I do have a contact who knows this person and told me they will ask him what he means by this statement…. if I get a response, I will post it here in its entirety).  The other Santorum endorser, former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, actually called Michelle Bachmann and asked her to drop out of the race and join him in endorsiing Santorum.  Let’s look at the facts here…. according to realclearpolitics, there have been 40 polls of the Iowa caucus, and not a single one had Santorum outpolling Bachmann, yet Vander Plaast had the chutzpah to ask the candidate who has consistently been trouncing his preferred candidate to get out.  Wow.

I could go on, but I’m getting tired.  The bottom line is that no state is perfect, but if Iowa is going to keep embarrassing the party, why should the party continue to protect their first in the nation status?



  1. Ryan – your first statement regarding Ron Paul is flat out wrong. In fact, what Ron Paul said is covered exactly in the 9/11 Commission Report created by our own government.

    Saying that Ron Paul blames America for 9/11 (which he has never actually done) is like saying that the Police, when investigating a murder, blame the victim when the look for a motive for the crime.

    And if one person murders someone because they found out that person was sleeping with their wife, we don’t excuse the murder. However, sleeping with someone else’s wife is still wrong.

    What Ron Paul has said is that we’ve pissed off a lot of people with our foreign policy. This is something that is echoed in the 9/11 Commission report. He never said that this foreign policy justified 9/11. But it doesn’t change the fact that our foreign policy over the years has pissed off a lot of people.

  2. And one more question. If Ron Paul blames America for 9/11, then why did he vote to invade Afghanistan after 9/11?

  3. Read his statement in the link I quoted above:

    “Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda have been explicit — they have been explicit, and they wrote and said that we attacked America because you had bases on our holy land in Saudi Arabia, you do not give Palestinians fair treatment, and you have been bombing…. I’m trying to get you to understand what the motive was behind the bombing, at the same time we had been bombing and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis for 10 years.” – Ron Paul

    Paul is saying a couple laughable things here:

    1) That Osama and al Queda’s statements for their motives can be trusted (whereas ours cannot).

    2) That we brought 9/11 on ourselves… that “America’s chickens came home to roost” to paraphrase another well known anti-American figure.

    He has lots of great things to say on economic affairs, but on his views of America and foreign policy, there is little difference between Ron Paul and the most extreme figures on the left such as the late Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky. There’s a reason he didn’t win a single Republican caucus or primary in 2008… he takes a view 180 degrees opposite of the Republican position on many of the most critical issues of the day. If such a naive man wins the Iowa caucus this time around, that does not reflect well at all on Iowa.

  4. The 9-11 Commission Report said almost the identical things regarding Osama’s motives and the attackers motives for the WTC attack. Did the 9-11 Commission members blame America too?

  5. I haven’t read the 9/11 report, so I cannot speak to that. What I can say is that anything or anyone that attributes the chief cause of 9/11 to American actions rather than to evil Islamic extremists is in error.

  6. Here was Mr. Hurley’s response about what the “Biblical mandate” he referenced consists of:

    “Exodus 18:21 is the clearest, most concise and specific candidate qualification passage for selecting civil magistrates. Other passages talk about general qualities like being called rather than self-promoting, listening to advisers, strong, decisive, fair (especially with the poor, but not perverting justice to favor the poor), and diligent (Prov. 12:24, Rom. 12).”

    This gives some color to what he had in mind, but it does not answer why he believes Santorum meets these criteria better than the other candidates. I will say I did like the point he made (clearly espoused in Exodus 23:3) about not favoring the poor. It is in style these days to see “justice” as whatever is best for the poor. This is of course just as much of an error as concluding whatever favors the rich is just. It is to the Bible’s credit that it clarifies this point which is so relevant to today.

  7. Randy in Richmond says:

    For these family values leaders to go from the scriptures to which you refer to naming a specific candidate is quite the leap. The point about the poor is well taken–and has nothing to do with Rick Santorum. Leaders that make these political choices public and try to back them with cherry-picked scripture verses do a disservive to their constituents over whom they might have some influence.

  8. Randy in Richmond says:

    Sure, the 911 Report points to the motivations of the hijackers, Osama bin Laden, and al Qaeda. I’m sure they did think and believe we derserved whatever terror they could spew on the United States. So what point is Paul trying to make ?

    And his assertion that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed by bombing during the sanctions and no-fly-zone years — please provide a credible link to authenticate this charge.

    Your use of the word “too” is extremely revealing.

  9. The point that Ron Paul, and many other Libertarians make, is that foreign policy is not just about making War.

    Our leaders are constantly fighting wars with other countries, and think that’s the only way engage in foreign policy. That not only includes actual wars with military action, but also trade wars.

    There is more than one way to spread freedom to other people. It’s harder, takes more patience, but does a better job… and that is through dialog, and open trade.

    When you try to spread freedom with bullets, the people you shoot at tend to dislike you, and you cause more chaos than you solve.

    For all the talk of wanting to spread freedom, and help nations become democratic, we end up making a lot of people hate us too. How does that help anyone?

  10. Imagine if China Occupied Texas

  11. That was rather awesome, Nick.

    Iraq seems happy to move into a civil Sunni v Shiite war without us there. Would we want them to intervene in a civil war of ours?

    I love Ross Perot’s statement on this one. Geraldine Brooks in Nine Parts of Desire

    “recounts watching King Hussein laughing out loud at Ross Perot on Larry King, when Perot challenged Bush Sr’s foreign policy. Perot gives an “account of the mysterious workings of Arab diplomacy…that the Arabs, left alone, would go inside some tent, rearrange the sand and come out with some deal Americans would never understand”.

    That has stuck with me since the day I read it. It’s their business, not ours.

  12. I agree completely Cindy. Especially when you consider that much of the Middle East is analogous to the Balkan states.

    In all our intelligence, we decided that the Balkans were best to be combined into one country called Yugoslavia that was made up of several cultures and groups that hated each other. When the Soviet Union dissolved, those groups fought each other for the land for a number of years.

    Much of the Middle East was organized in a similar manner… not for their benefit, but to make it convenient for us in the west. Thus you have countries that are made up of tribes and cultures that actually hate each other.

    Iraq would probably naturally split up into smaller countries, and some of those smaller countries would likely get absorbed by others were there is cultural similarity (meaning yes… Iran would suck up part of Iraq).

    But in the end, THAT would provide greater stability because you have more homogeneous populations who try to come up with a system of self rule, which is always easier than having heterogeneous populations doing it.

  13. Randy in Richmond says:

    I hear you. Maybe you could give a couple of examples of where freedom was spread solely through dialogue.

  14. As long as Iran buys into the “self rule” philosophy, anyway.

  15. I don’t know that I’d argue freedom is without warfare, but, it should be the decision of a people and not of their neighbors.

  16. I think there are many places where we’ve seen the current type of foreign policy (threats of war combines with sanctions) be a complete failure:

    – Cuba. We’ve been isolating them economically for how long, and still no regime change. Really?
    – N. Korea. Ditto
    – Iraq. Billions of dollars spent, thousands of lives lost, billions of dollars in lost economic output through destruction of property. Still a horrible place to live.
    – Afghanistan. Might actually be worse than Iraq.
    – Iran. Pretty much the same as Cuba and N. Korea.

    Where has freedom been successful? Are there perfect examples? No. Are there examples better than the current set of situations above? How about China?

    If you transport yourself back about 40 years, one of the bravest diplomatic moves we made, that didn’t involve fighting a war was when Nixon went to China, and opened up that country to trade.

    It took a lot of diplomatic work. This was a country that were exchanging bullets with not two decades before during the Korean War. And we opened trade relations with them.

    What has been the result? Are they a bastion of Democratic perfection? Of course not. However, they are making slow progress in that direction. Their economy has flourished. People there actually have property rights (which for China is huge).

    No bullets. Mutual trade. Gradual transition which allows culture and institutions to catch up.

  17. Randy in Richmond says:

    Sounds good Nick, but you really have no examples of freedom spreading through dialogue. This isn’t the first time someone has suggested this. Remember when Obama was a candidate he said, “I would use direct diplomacy to constrain Iran’s role in Iraq, encouraging Iran to cooperate with the United States through non-military means.

    or here:

    How has that worked out ?

  18. So, Randy, what would you do?

  19. Randy in Richmond says:

    I never said I have the answer, but what Dr. Paul is proposing will not work, in my opinion. However, it should always be tried as part of the process, as it was in Iraq by the US and the UN for over 10 years. But it should not be the basis of our policy alone as Dr. Paul espouses.

    It may sound simplistic but I believe one can only negotiate from strength. Teddy Roosevelt said it clearly when he said “speak softly and carry a big stick”. President Obama said “if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”. Of course he was talking about Republicans but the theory is the same. President Reagan put it into practice as he held talks with Gorbachev while carrying the big stick. And Gorbachev was smart enough to know he was holding a losing hand. Quite frankly, Sadaam used this philosophy himself when he bragged about the WMD’s he had developed and when he prevented inspectors from visiting certain sites throughout Iraq. But his plan backfired because he really had no stick.

    Of course the big question is how big a stick and how long to talk? This can be debated till the cows come home. One thing is certain, our current President is whittling away at our stick and has exhibited little to no personal leadership skills, nor have the advisors around him, to come close to managing this issue.

  20. The problem Randy is that we have the strength and we’re not negotiating with it. We either say you do absolutely everything we tell you, or we bomb the crap out of you. That’s not negotiation, and the reality is that many of these regimes would rather fight it in those circumstances.

    And you’re right… I have no examples of a nirvana we all hold hands and miracles happen. So what? I can’t prove utopia?

    What I have given you plenty of examples of are failures of our current policy, and an example of diplomacy that worked *better* than what we’re currently doing.

    Is it perfect? No. But this is Earth, not Heaven. There is no perfect solution. But what we’re doing now doesn’t work at all. Iraq is chaos. Afghanistan is chaos. Cuba and N. Korea are starving. Iran isn’t going anywhere. Pakistan is about to turn into another Afghanistan.

    As for the Cold War and Reagan examples you cite… we negotiated with them. Hell.. we currently trade with them *now*.

  21. The best example of “peace through strength” was the Korean war. South Korea would be a concentration camp like their neighbors to the north but for the fact that we intervened. Freedom rather than tyranny was the result of us getting involved in a war where we had no real national interest other than a desire for a better world. Sometimes it takes force to make that happen… sucks, but it is the world we live in and we will be better of if we learn to deal with that fact rather than wish it wasn’t so.