All the Media Wanted For Christmas Was To Tell Iowa How To Vote
While Iowans were trying to forget about politics and enjoy Christmas, writes Bob Owens, reporters and pundits were working hard to influence the opinions of caucus-goers so they can package the 2008 presidential contest into tidy horse-races.
December 27, 2007 - 1:00 am
All they want for Christmas is to help you decide your vote… and no, I’m not just talking about the politicians.
Roughly a week out from the Iowa caucuses, Mike Allen of The Politico points to the observation of an unnamed political operative who contends that the January 3rd caucus is actually the second Iowa caucus, and that the first Iowa caucus took place as families came together to celebrate Christmas.
If folks were chatting about the presidential race in Oregon, where Playbook spent Christmas, you can be sure they were talking about it from Ackley, Iowa to Zearing, Iowa, and at every Eagle Grove, Mason City and Sergeant Bluff in between.
Though not an Iowan, I doubt that most normal families in that state spent an inordinate amount of time discussing politics as their families came together on Christmas. Catching up with family and friends and exchanging presents would seem to be the order of the day, not debating Mike Huckabee’s support of a 23% sales tax, or whether Hillary Clinton’s eight years as First Lady counts as political experience.
Santa Claus and Jesus Christ probably factored into the day a bit more than Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.
At the Newton, Iowa home of Chaz Allen, Newton’s politically-independent mayor, CNN”s Dana Bash reports that the Democratic and Republican hopefuls have kept up a deluge of mailers and phone calls during the holiday season, intending to influence a tight caucus race up until the very end. Like most of us, Allen ignored the politicians to focus on the holiday.
Taken together, these stories seem to indicate that the undecided voters who may determine the winners of a neck and neck Iowa caucus were beyond the reach of the campaigners, at least temporarily, over the holidays. Iowa residents seem more interested in spending time with family members, enjoying their Christmas presents and perhaps hitting stores in search of after-holiday bargains.
Pundits in the chattering classes, however, have been doing their best to shape the opinions of Iowa caucus-goers. That politics are but one facet of normal people’s lives doesn’t seem to sit well with those in media enclaves who would hope to guide our nation’s political future, perhaps by whittling down the field.
With Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a statistical dead-heat, the New York Times spent the day after Christmas criticizing the John Edwards campaign for the candidate’s chronic lateness to campaign events. Citing a specific campaign event in Manchester, Iowa from earlier in December to which Edwards was 45 minutes late–the Julie Bosman article doesn’t state when precisely the event occurred–the article hammers home the fact that Edwards is routinely late to campaign events. This prompted at least one liberal blog to label the article “a hit piece on Edwards.” That Edwards (23.5%) is running a reasonably close third to Clinton (29.2%) and Obama (27.3%) didn’t make it into Bosman’s article.
The New York Daily News features a missive today from Helen Kennedy titled “Fred Thompson’s upbeat in Iowa.” The article itself is anything but upbeat, noting that, “Barring a dramatic rebound, Thompson will soon have all the time in the world to go fishing.” The article is the third in a week hammering Thompson, an odd target for attack considering Thompson’s current fourth place showing. Could his standing as the most conservative of the Republican nominees be at least part of the reason for the increased scrutiny?
Time is winding down before the January 3 Iowa caucus, and writers based in New York have taken it upon themselves to separate the wheat from the chaff for the simple country folk of Iowa, narrowing the field to a pair of Republican candidates (Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee) and a pair of Democratic candidates (Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama).
How very thoughtful of them.
The fact that Iowans are quite capable of making up their own minds without guidance from New York, Washington, or Los Angeles never seemed to enter their consciousness.
Bob Owens has been covering the Beauchamp Scandal for PJ Media and the Confederate Yankee.