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Monday, January 07, 2008

Hello fromo Iowa (part three)

As the nation gears up to see what N.H. has in store for us, I couldn't help but try to pull some attention back to Iowa. Although I gave you a taste of what the caucus was like from my relatively juvenile point of view, I thought my parents would provide an interesting take on the caucus that often isn’t available in the blogosphere (my parents are decidedly not bloggers). Since they are semi-retired, I was able to rope them in. Their thoughts are below:

Thoughts from my dad:
"I’ve always been an independent—although most often voting Republican rather than Democrat—so spent a lot of time reading about and listening to the candidates from both parties. With growing concern about Iraq and Pakistan and many foreign/energy relations issues, I joined my wife and daughters in supporting the Democrats—making that decision in the last 1-2 weeks.

With so many candidates and platform topics, I observed more of a ‘go with the crowd’ mentality this year versus prior presidential election years. For that reason, to aide me in my ‘winnowing many down to few’ process, I consulted a ‘selection quiz’ on the internet developed by Minnesota Public Radio. By spending just a few minutes answering 14 questions on 14 different platform issues (Iraq, taxes, abortion, immigration, stem cell research, gay marriage, line item veto, energy, death penalty, gun control, education, social security, healthcare, and environment ), the quiz helped me more easily identify those candidates more in alignment with my views.

As to the caucus itself, because of the level of dissatisfaction with our current administration and the number of highly qualified candidates, turn-out was substantially greater than prior caucuses and more than the caucus leadership was ready & equipped to handle. With initial support for 6 of the democratic candidates, ‘politicking’ and arm twisting eventually narrowed the field to 4, with a few of the 1st time caucus going becoming disillusioned with not being able to stick with your original preference and leaving the caucus rather than switching support to another.

The caucus process is more intimidating than the normal ‘closed curtain’ voting process. This creates a more knowledgeable voting public because you want to know so you can influence and defend. Unfortunately this also means that many do not participate..."

Thoughts from my mom:
"In person I found Hillary Clinton to be a surprise. She was warm and very, very informed on every issue and questions brought to her. She treated the audience as intelligent and informed citizens. She was friendly and easy with the crowd as she walk around shaking hands

I also was impressed with Obama’s speech making. He too is smart and ready. However, I didn’t find his demeanor with the crowd afterwards as comfortable and he didn’t stop to talk as much as he may have earlier in his campaign. He appeals to a b ig crowd and does it so well. I saw him several times and always in a big room where some of the other candidates were comfortable at small restaurants, and the like. It is just style each finds comfortable for him/her.

Last night was the caucus and I went to find twice to three times more people there than what was expected. Due to numbers it was chaos at first. I started at Richardson’s table but had to move to a viable candidate for delegates. I just couldn’t figure out who I wanted to get behind liking them all. Finally, I went with Hillary Clinton because I want a woman to be taken seriously for the top job in this country when she is as prepared and capable as this candidate. Early in this campaign I still want the country to know that I woman is a real possibility for this job and I am not ready to concede that it won’t happen.

However, all this said, I am a fan of Barak Obama and think he has had the best people on his team imaginable. They called daily, canvassed our home, kept on top of things very professionally. They did a terrific job. They also have a very strong candidate to promote and I feel happy that he did so well last night. His speech following the win was so strong that how can he be denied."

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