Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Friday, January 06, 2012

The 2012 Iowa Caucus - The Results

Tuesday, I put up a post with my look at the state of Iowa before the Republican caucuses. & I included my predictions. I got some things right, others wrong. Iowa isn't always easy to read, even for a lifelong Iowan.
I saw it as a tossup between Paul & Santorum with Romney coming in third. & after hearing WHO's Jan Mickelson on Laura Ingraham Tuesday I felt even more confident in my view. He predicted that Ron Paul would win. Well, I got 1 thing right, it was a tossup, literally. But between Romney & Santorum. As more returns came in the lead went back & forth between the 2. Finally at about 2:30 am today the smoke settled. Romney had 30,015 (24.55%) & Santorum had 30,007 (24.54%). Ron Paul Came in 3rd with 26,219 (21.45%) & Gingrich came in as expected in 4th place with 16,251 (13.29%) Perry came in 5th with 12,604 (10.31%) & Bachmann 6th with 6,073 (4.98%).
As I expected, Bachmann came in 6th.. That so-called huge undecided she kept talking about never materialized for her, or anyone else in the race. It was not surprizing that she announced Tuesday morning that she is out of the race.  OK, technically she has suspended her campaign. But I honestly cannot remember a suspended campaign that returned to being active.
I said Rick Perry had to break the 10% barrier to keep going past S. Carolina. As you can see he barely did that. At 1st it looked like he might drop out as well Wednesday. Then he announced it was full steam ahead for S. Carolina. But he also showed a huge sour grapes attitude towards Iowa. He said “(T)his is a quirky place, a quirky process to say the least.” & went on to add that self-proclaimed Democrats voted in Tuesday night’s contest, skewing the results. “And not that there aren’t real republicans here in Iowa but the fact it is was a pretty loosey-goosey process.”
Yes, some Democrats do show up. But I don't see that as a bad thing. Back in 1988 I was still a Democrat. I showed up for the Republican Caucus & switched back after the caucus. It wasn't until the early 90s I switched permanantly to the Republican party. I switched to be sure a strong Pro-life Republican won because I knew the Dems wouldn't have a Pro-lifer at the helm. (It was that fact that lead to the permanant switch.) Perry did as expected by most of the polls. & I don't see any proof that the ones that did show up this year did any skewing.
Perry is now putting all his eggs in the S Carolina basket. & if he doesn't do good there, that is it. Bluntly, I think he should drop out now like Bachmann did. All he is doing is keeping the conservative vote from coalescing & helping to ensure Romney gets the nomination. Something a lot of us aren't too comfortable with Romney because he is the Republican Establishment favorite. & as I said the other day, the Establishment seems to be out of touch with the rank & file.
Ron Paul came in 3rd when I expected a 1st or 2nd place showing. & as I pointed out, I wasn't the only 1 to expect him to do better than 3rd.  That he came in 3rd doesn't tell the whole story. When you look back to 4 years ago you see how much more his message is resonating now than then. He more than doubled the number of votes he going, going from 11,841 in 2008 to 26,219 this year. But what gets things across even more is when you compare the maps that show who won what counties in 2008 & 2012.  (Maps are from the Wikipedia articles)
In 2008 he won only 1 county, Jefferson.  This year he won 18 counties. & while some of them were the ones won by Huckabee in 2008 some went for Romney in 2008.  Romney won 24 counties in 2008. In 2012 he won 7 counties won by Huckabee in 2008. But he lost 14 of the counties he won in 2008 for a total of 17 counties. Not exactly a gain in popularity. This is even more evident when you realize he got 30,021 votes in 2008 & 6 less this year. If the story from Appanoose County is true, than maybe 26 less & a 2nd place finish making him a 2 time loser in Iowa. More on this later. But any way you look at it, Romney didn't do as stellar as expected. Some of his counties went to Paul, the rest to Santorum who won in 62 counties. Perry took 2 of the 2008 Huckabee counties.
It will be interesting to see how the Appanoose Co. story plays out. If what Edward True, of Moulton is right, then Romney didn't win. He may be wrong, but he may be right. & the way the Iowa GOP is handling the story isn't exactly going to give people confidence that they will ensure the right count. While they are right to say they won't give comments on possible discrepencies, the rest of their comments don't totally ring true.
Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn in a statement Thursday that said: “Out of respect to the candidates involved, party officials will not respond to every rumor, innuendo or allegation during the two week process."
OK, but they are responding to this one. According to the Des Moines Register  Republican Party of Iowa officials said  that they have talked with Appanoose County GOP officials. They added that they don’t have any reason to believe the final results in the county will change the outcome of Tuesday’s vote. Why did they seek assurance that the outcome won't change. They only thing they should have done is issued a statement calling on Appanoose officials to ensure that everything is handled in such a way to ensure that the correct results are reported & to do so in a way that was open & above board.
1 of the ways they can ensure that is to be sure the actual form that had to be filled out is released. As chair of my precinct I had to fill out & sign a form, along with the precinct secretary, with the final result of the ballot count. The ballots had to be turned in as well. So a public recount of the ballots might be in order as well. That is assuming they still exist.
Additionally, a spokeswoman with the Iowa Republican Party said that True is not a precinct captain  & he is not a county chairperson so he has no business talking about election results. True, he isn't the county chair or precinct captain, but why so testy about him raising what may be a valid concern? Why doesn't he have any business raising concerns unless there is something you don't want to get out? Are they saying only the Iowa GOP establishment, not the rank & file can talk about the results?
Like True, I hope this is an honest mistake. & if it is these things happen. If the count was off then Santorum won by 12 instead of losing by 8. This is still a statistical tie, esp when it comes to allocating delegates. Iowa is no longer winner take all. This year the delegates will be apportioned.
But by the way they are handling it, the Iowa GOP is ensuring that they will alienate not reassure many people who already feel the state leadership is just as out of touch as the National party leadership/establishment.
& as I said Tuesday, a lot of us see Romney as the GOP Establishment choice. & that if he gets it, a lot of the Tea Party & social conservatives won't give him the support he needs during the campaign. It is clear that the enthusiasm for him isn't there. Given what he & his SuperPAC buddies spent, he should have won big, even with Santorum's late surge. He didn't. As a column @ JoeMiller.US points out "75% of Republican voters in poll after poll across the nation are simply not interested in Mitt Romney. Those Republicans want a different candidate, and one with a more conservative record."  75%, just like in Iowa.
1 of the things that comes up a lot is Iowa doesn't reflect the Nation & doesn't deserve to be 1st.  Instead it seems to be that Iowa does a pretty good job of reflecting the country. & especially where the Republican Party is really at these days. & it isn't with the establishment pick. & McCain's endorsement Wednesday isn't going to help Romney any more than Bob Dole's did. In huge part because both Dole & McCain have the "establishment" connection. Dole & McCain are nice guys, but they were not the best choices in '96 or '08. In 1996 I supported Alan Keyes (ditto in 2000). In 2008 I started out with Brownback & after he got out went to Paul.
I am not saying this is the best solution, but Wednesday's Laura Ingraham show had her run an idea by Gingrich that has been gaining some ground, that Gingrich & Santorum form a stop Romney alliance. She has since suggested Perry join as well. She is right in saying Ron Paul won't join. & he shouldn't. He is doing what he needs to to ensure his voice is heard at the convention as it is. But the conservative bunch isn't. I know that there is no such thing as the perfect, or even near ideal "Reagan" conservative out there. & Gingrich is no where near my top. but Santorum is. & I could vote for him without holding my nose, like I would have to for Romney. I am not in the mood to repeat doing that like I did in "08. (I highly recommend reading the entire piece by Laura on the alliance as it makes many good points & I won't have to repeat them all here.)
Before I go on to take a look at how things went Tuesday nite at my site & the rest of DBQ I have to make 1 comment. It dawned on me that in a sense not much has changed with me from my youth in the 60s. I'm still fighting the establishment. Back then it was for different reasons, mostly just because. But these days I have some solid reasons, the biggest of which is Pro-life, closely followed by wanting to restore the USA to its Constitutional roots.
Now to DBQ.
When I came here in 73 to go to college, DBQ was a strong union/Democratic party stronghold, in that order. The 1st precinct caucus I attended where I could vote was in 1976. At the county convention I had my 1st run in with the "I'm personally opposed to abortion but I can't impose my morality" BS. From a Franciscan nun of course, who later showed her hypocricy time after time by publicly protesting that war was immoral & should be stopped. She was willing to impose her morality about war, but the murder of untold innocent babies was different. Eventually I left the Democratic party for the Republican party. Pro-life was the main reason, but there were other things as well. I hadn't really changed, but the Democratic party had drifted so far to the left & I couldn't fit it. & while I am a Republican, I am not tied to the party, but my issues. Life comes 1st & formost.
Anyhow, when I 1st came to Republican caucuses, there was 1 site for the entire city of DBQ & the Democrats were still holding theirs at individual sites for most precincts. This year the Republicans had 3 sites for the city & surrounding area, a 4th for the western part of the county. The Democrats had 4 sites for DBQ (2 of which included a few rural precincts) & 1 for the western part of the county. There are 2 reasons for the decline of the Dems. 1st of all, a decline in union membership that ensured that people would stay Democratic. 2ndly, a lot of people have left the Dems because of Pro-life issues.
The site for my precinct (4) was at the DBQ Co Fairgrounds Ballroom. It was SRO, literally. Something that was repeated at the other sites. Dyersville was packed as well. But he fairgrounds drew the largest turnout. & we had reporters from WMTV - 15 Madison there as well. I was working check in. The process was simple. If you were registered you went to the table with the list of Repulicans from that precinct. We had people with precinct finders for those who didn't know. If you were on the list for that precinct, you signed in & got a ballot. Those who weren't registered, or were regesterd Dem or Ind had to go to a seperate table to get a voter registration form & fill it out. They then returned to the proper precinct & turned it in for a ballot. (These forms will be sent on the the County Auditor.) After that you went to the section of the ballroom for your precinct.
At 7 pm people were still coming in. But the caucus started. The 1st halk fhour was set aside for speakers for the candidates. By about 7:20 the last people had signed in. & when the speakers ended I was able to wend my way to the area for Precinct 4. Since I was the temporary chair, it couldn't start without me. I had all the materials. Another fact of life at caucuses is that the temporary chair almost always becomes permanant chair. Usually because he or she is the 1 who knows what has to happen. Not surprizingly, some (most) people just wanted to vote & leave. But the permanant chair & secretary had to be elected. Yup, I became permanat chair. After the secretary was elected & the Lincoln Bag (aka the 5 buck bag) was passed arround, the voting could begin. I had several people gather the ballots. then we counted them out loud with those who opted to stay watching. Once the count was done we had a form to fill out & sign. Then the results were passed on to be added to the rest of the county results. Romney got 27 votes, followed by Paul with 19, Santorum with 17, Gingrich got 10.
Romney did end up winning the county with Ron Paul 2nd, Santorum 3rd & Gingrich 4th. Romney does have a strong following in DBQ so it wasn't surprizing. Nor was Paul's 2nd place finish. At 1 of the other sites someone wrote in a vote for Obama. There's always 1 in every crowd.
Of course, since a huge number of people came only to vote, things thinned down a bit. But not enough to keep me from having to turn arround & speak loudly. There were 3 other things to be done. 1 was to elect 2 committee persons & 2 alternates to the Central Committee. FYI: I opted to be an alternate this time arround. The 2nd was to elect delegates to the County Convention on 10 March. Yes, I am a delegate. The 3rd was to submit possible planks for the county platform committee to look at & meld into a proposed set of planks for the county convention. There were some Pro-life planks as well as some on the Fed, the Constitution & taxes from Ron Paul supporters along with a few others.
By the time it was over in my precinct it was about 8:45 pm. We were 1 of the last to wrap up. I stayed a bit to talk to some of the others there. When I got home, I was relieved to be done with it for another year. & the last 2 days have been amazingly quite as the number of phone calls has dropped to almost 0. The calm before November.
What will happen from here is hard to say. If Santorum can make a dent in Romney's lead in New Hampshire it could hurt Romney's aura of inevitability, esp if Romney then does bad in S. Carolina. Conservatives have to take a hard look at who will best carry their message & coalesce arround him. IMHO it is Santorum who is the best bet. At the least it will, along with Ron Paul's supporters, ensure that our voices are heard & that we have a place at the table if Romney should win. & if not, then the Republican establishment just might find out Romney isn't going to beat Obama. Something that must NOT happen. But, as I said the other day, something that the Establishment doesn't seem to be getting in their rush to maintain power at all costs.
the same could be said about the potential error in the Iowa Caucus results. Should it turn out to be a mistake, it happenned. Given everything that was going on, etc, it is a wonder more mistakes haven't happenned over the years. So 1 happenned this time arround. Yes, some will use it to justify their wanting to get rid of Iowa as the starting gate. But, this will be a cover for the reality that Iowa for the most part is the average American, not the establishment or elite. & if it should turn out that there was an error & the Iowa GOP was more concerned about appearances than accuracy, they they will be the reason we deserve to lose it.
At this point certain things need to be kept in persepective. Yes, we need to get Obama out of the White House. But we need to be sure there is someone in there that will fight for the unborn & the Culture of Life. This is not merely about gaining power. Esp if it means totally selling out our values. The end does not justify the means. I am aware that we may not get everything. But if we don't have strong Pro-life, Pro-Constitution Republicans in Congress as well as the White House than it isn't much different than with Obama in for 4 more years. I don't say this to be discouraging. But to encourage those who are Pro-life, social conservatives to fight for the right person to get in because of how high the stakes are. Of course, we must undergird, as always, our efforts with prayer.
We have to face facts that Obama is working hard to turn this country into his version of the USSR or Nazi Germany. & both parties in Congress have helped him out with the law he recently signed allowing the president to hold anyone he deams a terrorist, even a US citizen who is considered a terror suspect, to be detained indefinitely in military custody. Despite protests to the contrary, we need to remember that the Obama administration buys into the Abortion industry designation of Pro-lifers as domestic terrorists. When I heard that Obama said "I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," I asked myself why do I feel like I am in Pre-WWII Germany & it is Hitler making the promise he would later break.
I hope he is telling the truth. But that law should never have been signed, no matter what else was in the defense bill. I hope the courts throw it out ASAP.
That aside, this si another reason why it isn't just about power, it is about the right people being elected. & why we MUST pray, pray PRAY!!!!!

For more about the results see also:
Des Moines Resgister Iowa Caucus 2012
CR Gazette coverage
 Gazette Map with details of each county results

Videos from WMTV-15:
6 pm live report: At this point I am behind the screen behind the Christmas tree signing people in.
For some reason I can't get the video to embed for the 6 pm story so here is the link.

10 pm report: At 1:10 in you can see the area to the right of the screen where precinct 4 was located. At this point people were still signing in & it was just as she describes. At 3:07 you can see the tally board for our site.


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