On the front page of Monday’s Washington Post, political reporters Karen Tumulty and Philip Rucker insisted Iowa is too white and too “far right” to pick the Republican presidential nominee against Obama:
When the rest of the country is focusing on the economy, will Republicans in other states take their lead from the outcome of an eccentric process that has been dominated by social conservatives? And as the GOP looks to defeat an African American president who mobilized record numbers of young and minority voters four years ago, how relevant are the preferences of 200,000 or so caucusgoers in a rural state that is overwhelmingly white and significantly older than average?
Tumulty and Rucker don’t answer the obvious flaw in this quibble: in which primary state will the liberal media not antagonize the GOP primary electorate as too overwhelmingly white? South Carolina? They can’t argue New Hampshire isn’t overwhelmingly white – but liberals like that state’s distaste for social issues, and the open primary that favors the McCains.
Inside the paper, the Post underlined their thesis again, with the pull quote “To win in Iowa, you’ve got to go too far to the right, and it will hurt him in the national election.” The quote came from John Strong, a Romney fan from West Des Moines. Strong said Romney should not prioritize Iowa because of the “far-right influence here.”
Tumulty and Rucker underlined that “The overall direction of Republican politics in Iowa has swung rightward on social issues, even since the last presidential election. Conservatives were galvanized in part by a 2009 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage. They defeated three justices last year in retention elections.”
Did the Iowa GOP “swing right,” or did unelected judges go too far to the left? The Post will never acknowledge “extremism” in the defense of social liberalism – they won’t even call it social liberalism.
There’s no reason for voters in the other 49 states to feel Iowa’s anxiety over not “mattering” enough in the process. But the Post enjoyed the trash talk between Iowa and New Hampshire Republicans:
Most grating to Iowa Republicans have been the snide comments from their fellow early state, New Hampshire, which has a more conventional primary election.
In a recent column for the New Hampshire Union Leader that was reprinted in the Des Moines Register, former New Hampshire GOP chairman Fergus Cullen wrote that important issues don’t get debated in Iowa, because “three quarters of the audience wears tinfoil hats.”
The Post underlined that Republicans could change it up in Iowa – if the “right message” (moderation) wins.
GOP officials say that some of that potential for overturning the conventional wisdom exists on their side this time, if a candidate has the right message. Republican turnout in last year’s gubernatorial primary was almost 230,000, nearly double the number who participated in the presidential caucuses two years before. The winner was former governor Branstad, the establishment pick and the more moderate choice.