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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.


Iowa 2012 GOP Presidential Power Rankings: Remain seated until the ride comes to a full stop

By Staff report | 10.03.11 | 7:30 am

There is little doubt of the continued fluidity within the GOP field, and Iowa — as home to fiscal and social conservatives searching for an ideal candidate — remains one of the best places (if not the best) to ride the roller coaster of the 2012 Republican nomination and presidential election.

Our 14th edition of the GOP Power Rankings is compiled in the same way as our first was in March. We rely on the opinions and predictions of Iowans — academics, grassroots activists, political reporters and consultants. As part of the caucus process, these are the individuals most closely watching the candidates and their campaigns and they are best able to provide a snapshot in time based on volunteer excitement, Iowa appearances, grassroots support and state and national messaging. In short, the 2012 contest isn’t their first rodeo. So, even if not scientific, the Rankings have proven to be a valuable tool in determining trends within the presidential field.

For this particular edition, there are numerous trends emerging — so many, in fact, that it is difficult to make any broad statements of fact concerning the field. The candidate that was miles ahead weeks ago, is bottoming out. An old favorite appears to be renewing. Perhaps most importantly, a candidate that isn’t expected to take Iowa appears to be the most significant benefactor of the uncertainty.

So, if the caucuses were held today, this is the way the Power Rankings panelists think the night would end:

  1. Rick Perry — As was the case for our last edition, we must caution against too much being read into our top placement of the Texas governor. What the panelists see is soft support. That is support that seems ready to go elsewhere … if only such an elsewhere would actually materialize.

    “Perry came on to the scene strong, but has done absolutely nothing since that time to keep himself in the top slot — barely enough one-on-one or small group appearances, where he does do well, to keep him in the top tier,” a panelist notes.

    Another adds, “Perry’s debate performances have been dismal, and that’s probably the best that I can say about it. The campaign right now is level, like a playground teeter-totter, and can simply fall either way.”

    In the past, even as national polls barely registered the presidential aspirations of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the panelists were able to judge staff choices and ground game to keep him in their top three. Unfortunately, they are not seeing the necessary organization being built by Perry in the Hawkeye State. Without such a firm foundation, they surmise, the campaign simply cannot sustain a persistent onslaught of negative national polling and news stories.

    “Where is the Perry organization? Have you seen it? Have you felt it? I haven’t. It’s as if he wanted to come into the Iowa as ‘the chosen’ and ride through the caucuses on the belief that he was the guy who could rally all the facets of the GOP. Now that maybe his team has found that to be true, perhaps his Iowa activists will receive more than telephoned explanations of bad national performances. Maybe we’ll see a little retail politicking.”

  2. Ron Paul — While Perry barely maintains the top slot because his support is perceived as being soft, Paul remains in second for the opposite reason: a very firm core of support.

    “Is Dr. Paul the GOP’s guy? No, I still don’t think that’s the case. But what I do see is him being the only person in Iowa who has an existing base and who is rallying that base,” a panelist said.

    Another adds, “The increasing fracturing of the conservative base opens the door for Paul, who at this point is the only candidate who seems to have loyal supporters willing to vote for him no matter what.”

    As the panelists have previously noted, however, there seems to be little, if any, growth for Paul in Iowa.

    “[Paul] may gain a few folks who put emphasis on the fiscal issues. As usual, however, Paul’s positions on other issues will tend to drive the broader Republican base.

    “Paul called the recent killing of Anwar al-Awlaki an ‘assassination.’ Even though some might not be troubled by the use of that word, Paul certainly meant it in a negative way and it brought to mind his prior comments about how we (the U.S.) brought this on ourselves. Regardless of how Republicans feel about the manner in which al Awlaki met his death, not many beyond the libertarian base agree with Paul’s more isolationist rhetoric.”

    More troubling for Paul is the fact that while his campaign scored well in the Ames Straw Poll, it hasn’t performed to the same level in other straw polls that do not open voting to all individuals who attend. For instance, in Florida and Michigan the Paul campaign earned 10 and 8 percent, respectively.

    “If the caucuses are held in the middle of a blizzard, Paul’s supporters are faithful enough that they are going to be there. The same can’t be said generally of the other candidates’ supporters at this time. If the other supporters don’t show, Paul wins Iowa and wins big. But if he is forced to go toe-to-toe with others, he continues to garner his 15 percent, which isn’t enough to win on caucus night.”

  3. Mitt Romney — Its been said that roughly 60 percent of the Iowa GOP is social or religious conservative, and that this demographic has historically found the former Massachusetts governor unappealing as a Republican presidential nominee.

    What 2012 is showing, however, is that when religious and social conservatives are fractured, an opening exists for Romney — even when he is not actively campaigning in the state.

    “Iowans may have ‘new eyes’ for Romney, but he’ll have a tough time winning over the more conservative (and often more fervent) voters here. He’ll, of course, have to spend more time in the state before the caucus, whenever those will be, to stay at the top. But for now he tops the list, simply because the other candidates’ stars seem to be fading and Chris Christie keeps saying ‘no.’”

    The most interesting thing about U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann‘s message of “don’t settle,” is that it is already a well-kept campaign chant among Iowa’s most conservative Republicans.

    “There is no one candidate that the social conservatives find appealing enough to embrace and unify around. That candidate doesn’t exist right now. And, more to the point, that candidate was never going to be Bachmann for the simple fact that she is female — something that the most orthodox find objectionable in a president. … What comes of the GOP’s social conservatives not settling is a widespread base that benefits only those candidates that are generally found exceptionally unappealing to those voters. Specifically, a common decision to not ‘settle’ benefits Romney, especially here in Iowa.”

    While this is a common thread of agreement by our panelists, it is not an unanimous sentiment.

    “Romney doesn’t have the organization in place to capitalize in IA on the concerns being shown regarding Perry or Bachmann.”

    “Regardless of what the polls say, Willard is damaged goods in Iowa, and given his lack of presence in the state he clearly knows that.”

  4. Michele Bachmann — The campaign for the Minnesota congresswoman is on a downward spiral in Iowa, but continues to hang on by the thread of smart organization.

    “Here we are, only a few weeks removed from a truly impressive performance in Ames, and it is all but forgotten. Michele Bachmann was always going to push against those who want ‘electability’ in their final choice, but now she seems to be pushing against everything and everyone else too. I don’t see a current scenario where she places better than third. … I’ll also predict that if her staff and volunteers don’t do something fairly quick, she’s going to land behind former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum on caucus night. Yes, it has gotten that bad for her.”

    Going into the Ames Straw Poll, our panelists were in nearly unanimous agreement that Bachmann was the person to beat. And, since many expected her to walk away from Ames as the front-runner in Iowa, many were expecting that she would continue to gain momentum throughout the fall and into the winter.

    The panelists are also firmly grounded in reality and, as such, understood there would be bumps in the campaign — Perry being one of many. But through the rankings and the comments, it was clear that Bachmann was a candidate they believed would continue to pull support as a result of her consistent conservative messaging and her networking of other social conservatives.

    While many are at a loss to explain exactly why they have now soured on Bachmann as a front-runner, it has become clear that many no longer view her as being among the top-tier candidates in Iowa. As of this edition, none of the panelists placed her in their top slot. More to the point, less than 15 percent of our group put her in the top three.

    “[T]urnout on caucus night is critical and she will have more staff and volunteers making turnout calls than Romney’s people will. Bachmann has started to argue that caucus-goers need not ‘settle,’ meaning that they need not select a moderate candidate because the media believes that person has a better chance against Obama. This is basically a swipe at Romney, but it’s also a way for her to argue that she’s not too conservative. If this argument doesn’t resonate or she continues to fade, then we might see her supporters begin to look elsewhere, such as Cain or Santorum.”

  5. Herman Cain — The Atlanta businessman appears to be a reluctant, but nonetheless bright spot for Republicans as the rest of the nation begins to take notice of him and his supporters begin a revitalization effort in the Hawkeye State.

    “The week before the straw poll, I would have said that Herman Cain was a no-go, but now I’m not so sure. I’m seeing some real excitement among those who supported him earlier in the cycle. It’s still not looking like an easy victory for Cain in Iowa, but the expectations are so low that even a third place finish would be a big boost.”

    “I think there are a large group of activists who are ‘Anybody But Romney’ voters. They continue to look to unite behind a legitimate conservative contender. Herman Cain has enough current buzz to seize [my] second position.”

    Perhaps the most difficult aspect of a Cain resurgence is that many in Iowa already believe they’ve given him an opportunity.

    “There is little chance Cain can win Iowa despite the positive publicity he has received as of late, because Iowans have already vetted him and moved on.”

    “I’m not convinced that Cain’s strong performance in Florida came at his own hands or by his own merit. It seems to me that those casting straw poll votes wanted to send a message, and they used Cain as their carrier. No doubt some will find that assessment harsh, but I don’t see Cain taking the GOP nomination. The best he can do here in Iowa is play spoiler, but sucking enough votes from others to allow someone like Romney through the gate.”

It is interesting to note that this edition of Power Rankings came at a time following tours of the state by both former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Santorum. Despite that fact, both men were largely ignored by the panelists.

While this is not necessarily unusual when using our last six months of rankings as a measure of what is normal, it still doesn’t bode well for either campaign.

In Iowa, just as in the other early states, some voters continue to remain on the sidelines as they await final, final, final decisions from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. For that reason alone, the field remains in somewhat of a holding pattern that won’t resolve until either Iowa caucus night or definitive answers are given.

Those hurt most by the waiting game are candidates like Santorum and Gingrich, who want to play in Iowa but are having difficulty getting the national attention of pundits and/or donors to launch a solid effort.

Finally, while Iowans have never been completely immune to national discussion, polls and other campaign flap that happens outside of the state’s boundaries, there appears to an abundance of perception being formed in the 2012 season that are at least loosely linked to outside influences. This can also be detrimental to candidates who are not receiving national attention, and those who are relying on their performance here in Iowa to be the largest determining factor on caucus night.

To put it another way, roughly 40 percent of our panelists mentioned Santorum’s campaign. Of that 40 percent, the vast majority (more than 70 percent) noted his national performances, not his grassroots campaigning in Iowa. During the past week, Santorum has been beating the bushes in small Iowa towns and, based on ground accounts, has been making notable headway among supporters.

It’s not shocking that Santorum’s ground game has gone unnoticed by the national media or those contacted for national polls. (For proof, compare the number of shocked Iowa faces to national faces on caucus night 2008 when Huckabee was announced.) It is quite unusual, however, for there to be little acknowledgement and praise among Iowa activists for a candidate who is obviously working hard in the state — especially in an election cycle that remains as open to a shake-up as this one seems to be.


  • salva

    I find it disturbing that the editor feels comfortable openly attacking Dr. Paul in an article that is supposed to highlight why they think he might do well, not why they disagree with him. why aren’t there also reasons given for Perry’s fall? no mention of his Mandate to vaccinate little girls? no mention of him calling republicans heartless for not wanting to give illegal aliens instate tuition….

    also for anyone interested WH spokesman said they had no evidence.

    • Anonymous

      I’m not really sure why the Paulites always feel like Ron Paul is being attacked.  His strengths are being highlighted too…and on a liberal news source website, things which may be a weakness to some Republicans (like his use of the term ‘assassination’) may well be appealing to mid-line independents and liberals.  Honestly, I think better of him after reading this article.

      It’s pretty damn unlikely that the Republicans won’t vote Republican, no matter which candidate gets selected.  Maybe you guys should consider the merits of an article that demonstrates he has attributes which will appeal to a more moderate audience, which is coincidentally the audience that typically visits this site, instead of lambasting it just because it rightly points out that Paul’s polling numbers are still low among  Republicans.  After all, we’re the voters who will be up for grabs.

      • Anonymous

        You know it’s funny.  It struck me when you mentioned his polling is (relatively speaking against some pretty unpalatable opponents) still low among Republicans.  I guess they’re not polling his supporters who are independents, libertarians and democrats who plan on registering Republican just for the primary and then switching back so they can vote for him under their normal registration in the general election.  You made my night.  Thank you.

        Now if we can find a way to get a media and establishment that don’t want him to win the election to poll people of ALL parties about the candidates, I think his numbers would be higher.  Ok, Paul supporters, we have a history of being innovative and creative.  Let’s figure out a way to make THAT happen!   

  • Jersey Teapot-Party

    It is the social conservatives that are hurting the republican party.  as a staunch fiscal conservative, the more I hear from Perry, Bachmann, and the rest of the social conservatives, the more i consider flipping to the democrats side.  if the republicans can’t put fiscal responsibility in front of social values they won’t have a chance in the general election.   The social values conservatives (conservative socialists) that push their ideals on everyone else have hurt the republican party, by loosing out on gay and lesbian votes, minority votes, fiscally conservative votes, etc.   Social values are the same sort things that were used to keep blacks in slavery, non property owners from voting, blacks from voting, women from voting, it is bad politics and it is bad for the republican party.   Social values also fund the police state, military complex, foreign aid, etc.  Keep preaching those social values and watch the republican party crumble. 

  • sailing

    Every murderer has a motive, but that doesn’t make murder justified.  Ron Paul didn’t say the US brought this on ourselves. He says our foreign policy is counterproductive because it hands a motive to the bad guys to use to radicalize the population in countries where we have an unwanted presence.  The difference is between ‘motive’ and ‘justification’.  Still, if you know what motivates murderers you might not consider doing exactly that thing to be helpful in stopping murder.  Ron Paul just points out the incongruency of invading other countries BECAUSE of isolated terrorism rather than using the letters of marque he preferred and asked for to go after OBL within DAYS of 9/11.  Letters of marque limit the damage much more closely to those involved and MOTIVATE much smaller numbers of people against us.

    As a bonus, executing letters of marque also costs a heck of a lot less than war and rebuilding someone else’s country when we need to rebuild our own.

    With regards to the latest killing of an American citizen without any due process….. don’t you find it ironic that when they wanted to intercept the guy’s communications they had to get (and did easily get) a ruling by a FISA judge to do that — yet no impartial judicial review at all was involved when they decided to kill the man?

    If he’s guilty, surely a judge would issue an indictment. There was not even any charge.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed on both counts.  Guns a-blazing ‘justice’ may sell to some voters…but to those who like rule of law, it’s a bit terrifying how often our own government is willing to abandon it when it suits us.

    • metor

      And guess what Ron Paul didn’t even say it, he was quoting a CIA report on blow back but you know what happens to the bearer of bad news

  • Tammy Ruggles

    It’s obvious to everyone now that America is turning to Ron Paul as the Repub. choice. Obvious except to the media, of course. I’m switching parties to vote for him instead of Obama again, and I know many people like me who are doing this. I would prefer to see articles that accurately portray and explore Paul’s appeal, instead of articles that keep saying the same old tired thing, “But he doesn’t have a chance of winning.” Obviously he does.

    • Anonymous

      The article doesn’t claim he doesn’t stand a chance of winning.  It points out that he has a limited but very solid base, which is simultaneously more and less than other candidates have.  More, because that base seems unshifting and unshakable.  Less, because that base is not a majority.  But if the Republican Party continues to split itself apart, being the one candidate with firm footing might just do it.

  • Anonymous

    Paul needs to adopt more populist language to take his support to the next level:  the American people are FED up with the bailouts to big business and Big Banking hucksters!  

    There is a reason Paul opposed the bailouts:  it wasn’t fair to the American people.  Now, we are seeing a swelling of resentment among the American people against those who have bilked our wealth and continue to do so.  The system is set up against them.  

    The profits of corporations are privatized to the privileged few but the losses are socialized to the middle class, which keeps getting squeezed for more and more taxes and fees.

    There are ALOT of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats who would come onboard with Paul’s message of standing up for the average American. We are being led to slaughter by all these endless wars, handouts to corrupt dictators, and bailouts for bankster buddies that the establishment powers wish to force upon us, the American people.

    And now they can KILL you without due process for saying such things!


    • Anonymous

      You said there are a lot of folks who would come on board.  You’ll be happy to know I keep reading posts from Libs, Dems and Inds who are registering Republican to make sure he wins the primary so they can vote for him under their normal voter registration in the general election.  Same thing I did as an independent in 2008. 

      The article is correct that Paul supporters will show up in a blizzard for him.

  • Jennifer Hyatt

    Awesome!  We need to give Ron Paul a huge push if we are going to save our country….please all…go here and click attend and spread the word.!   It is a money bomb on Oct. 19th…This is THE grassroots event of the year.  We need all Ron Paul supporters to donate.  And spread the word…please!  If we make this huge enough, they will never black out Ron Paul’s name again!

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