Saturday, August 13, 2011


Today is one of those days that American political watchers get all excited about. Today is the Iowa Straw Poll, a once-every-four-year tradition among Iowa's Republicans where campaigns round up supporters -- often paying for their tickets to get into the hall -- so they can have the privilege of voting for who they think should be the GOP's nominee for President of the United States. It's a pretty unusual setup and all it is is a glorified test of strength, nothing more. It's a test of campaign organization more than any other.

Still, it may produce a few casualties. Already we are hearing rumblings that former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's campaign could give up if they don't finish in the top three in this straw poll.

Anyway, it has so far been a lot of fun for the political people down there. Earlier this week the candidates held their big debate, and today is the big straw poll vote. Here's a story from CBS News about what's happening down there this week.

It sure looks like a political convention in there today. I'm listening to the candidates speak and they are saying a lot of bad things about Barack Obama and the Democrats' handing of the economy, health care and the rest of it.

It's believed the frontrunning candidates today are Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, both from neighbouring Minnesota. Also, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is also expected to get a lot of votes.

But it seems like the people who are expected to be the biggest players in the presidential race are a non-factor today. Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachussetts seems to be a non-factor in Iowa today -- he's on the ballot but not officially participating -- but he is still widely seen to be the front-runner in the presidential race. Also expected to be a game-changer was an announcement made today in South Carolina by the man now seen to be his potential biggest challenger: Texas governor Rick Perry, who announced he was a candidate for President today.

Perry is seen as a strong candidate because of how well Texas has done economically over the past while, despite the poor economic times sweeping the rest of the USA. Also, the religious folks like him. That is seen as trouble for Bachmann, who needs the Christian Conservatives and Tea Partiers in her corner in order to win.

Also interesting was where Perry made his announcement: South Carolina. I guess his campaign figures that Bachmann, from neighbouring Minnesota, may win in the first contest in Iowa while Romney from Massachusetts may win in neighbouring New Hampshire. So if Perry is going to even have a viable campaign he has to win the third state on the primary/caucus calendar to have any hope at all. Hence, his appearance today in South Carolina while everyone else was eating cotton candy at the Iowa State Fair. See, the Perry folks know what they were doing when they were choosing the spot to make their anneuncement.

More soon.

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