The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Iowa Notebook: Romney Coming to Town; Pawlenty and the ‘Plausible Chance’ Trick

Posted on | August 10, 2011 | 22 Comments

Mitt Romney will be the featured guest at a “Road to the White House Republican House Party” in Des Moines this evening. That starts at 5 p.m. and then at 7 p.m. Tim Pawlenty has a rally in Ames. It’s a 45-minute drive from Des Moines to Ames, so as long as I leave the Romney event by 6, I’ll have plenty of time to get to the Pawlenty event. So those are my campaign events for today. ABC News notes Romney’s long absence from Iowa:

Romney has not spent the summer attending an endless series of campaign events like many of his fellow contenders (he’s been concentrating on fundraising) and he’s taken heat for staying a little too above-the-fray on important national issues. (He didn’t take a position on the debt ceiling deal, for example, until the last-minute.)
He’s also largely avoided the highways and dusty country roads of Iowa that candidates like Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain have been crisscrossing for weeks. Romney’s last visit to Iowa was in May.

If you want know why Americans hate journalists, look no further than this story by Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman in Politico:

He’s spent a seven-figure sum and the bulk of his time on the campaign trail courting the Iowa grassroots. Operatives call his expansive Iowa organization the best in the state.
As the only mainstream Republican candidate actively competing in the Ames straw poll — thanks to Mitt Romney’s decision to skip the event and Rick Perry’s presidential race slow-walk—Tim Pawlenty may never have a better opportunity to break through in the 2012 campaign than this Saturday.
With so much firepower behind Pawlenty and so few candidates who have a plausible chance at coming out ahead, Hawkeye State politicos say Ames will be a potentially campaign-changing test of the Minnesotan’s strength.
But if Pawlenty fails to deliver, it will be a grim — and possibly fatal — omen for his underfunded presidential bid.

Who anointed Burns and Haberman with the authority to declare which Republicans are “mainstream” and “have a plausible chance”? Is it their place to decide that, e.g., Michele Bachmann is not a “mainstream Republican” and therefore doesn’t “have plausible chance”? There will be many thousands of Iowa Republicans at the Ames Straw Poll who will cast their ballots for candidates who evidently don’t merit the “mainstream” sobriquet which Burns and Haberman consider themselves uniquely fit to bestow.

And this “plausible chance” trick would not be nearly so insulting if we didn’t know in our hearts — and we do know it, don’t we? — that both Burns and Haberman (like practically everyone else at Politico) voted for Obama in 2008 and intend to vote for Obama again in 2012, so that we have partisan Democrats telling us which Republicans are “mainstream” and “plausible.” Meanwhile, here’s the lead of my latest column:

DES MOINES — Tim Albrecht likes to tell a joke about an Iowa Republican being asked whether he’s going to support a certain presidential candidate in the Ames Straw Poll. “I don’t know,” the Iowan replies. “I’ve only met him twice.”
The joke by Albrecht, spokesman for the state’s popular Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, refers to how accustomed Iowans are to being personally solicited for their support in this state whose first-in-the-nation caucuses have long been a crucial proving ground for presidential candidates. While most Americans go their entire lives without ever meeting a serious candidate for the nation’s highest office, campaigning here is a face-to-face business where voters expect to shake hands and talk directly with those who seek their votes.
That tradition of old-fashioned politicking is what the Ames Straw Poll is all about, which explains why some Iowa Republicans seem a bit miffed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s long-rumored entry into the 2012 presidential field. Last week I began calling him the “Phantom Menace” of Iowa because, like the sinister Sith of the “Star Wars” series, he seems omnipresent even though he is far away.  Ads promoting Perry’s candidacy have been running in fairly heavy rotation on Iowa TV recently, and his shadow campaign has been soliciting write-in votes for Saturday’s straw poll. However, the governor himself hasn’t yet stumped here, while the other GOP candidates have been frenetically crisscrossing the state imploring Iowans to “join me here in Ames,” as Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann says in  her own TV ads. . . .

Read the rest at The American Spectator. And while I make no claim to rate as a “mainstream Republican” on the Burns-Haberman Scale, I think there is a “plausible chance” you’ll hit the tip jar.

Just as a final note: I’m meeting today with Will Upton of Americans for Tax Reform, who flew into Des Moines today to attend a Wednesday morning meeting of Iowa conservative leaders. Will called me after he landed at the Des Moines Airport and reports that Mitt Romney was on his American Eagle commuter flight into town: “He was in coach with the rest of us!”

Oh — and Ladd Ehlinger Jr. is coming to town to meet with a potential client.



22 Responses to “Iowa Notebook: Romney Coming to Town; Pawlenty and the ‘Plausible Chance’ Trick”

  1. On The Ground In Iowa « Mangy Redbone Hound
    August 10th, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

    […] Stacy McCain continues his reporting on the Republican contenders in Iowa here and at the American Spectator.  Check it out if you want to understand what’s happening […]

  2. Joe
    August 10th, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

    There is a bear in the woods…  Or on the prairie as the case may be. 

  3. DaveO
    August 10th, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

    “mainstream Republican” = even Obama can beat him/her with 20% unemployment, China owning California, and Senator McCain pulling him/her aside for a lecture on party loyalty.

  4. Adjoran
    August 10th, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

    Albrecht’s joke is a direct rip-off of an old New Hampshire joke.  Iowa was never important, their caucuses aren’t a primary so aren’t a real gauge of the voters’ feelings, and aren’t even binding for a majority of the state’s delegates.

    But that was before Jimmy Carter, who also gave us the Department of Education, the Iranian theocracy, and so many other things which damaged our Republic.

    Since then, the Iowa Caucuses have served as the guarantor of ADM, ConAgra, and other Big Ag and millionaire corn moguls’ subsidies from the American taxpayer.

  5. steve benton
    August 10th, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

    I’d be a lot more inclined to “hit the tip Jar” if you wouldn’t sell your ad space to socialists. I noticed the Rick Scott hit ad immediately, and it sticks out like a sore thumb.

  6. Adjoran
    August 10th, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

    If I’m not mistaken, the ads come from an ad service and while they may filter for conservative or liberal sites, it’s not a perfect system so you’ll see some ads that don’t fit get through.  Stacy doesn’t get to pick and choose.

  7. Adjoran
    August 10th, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

    In my anti-ethanol riff, I forgot the topic . . . to me, Romney is the one in an awkward position.  He’s close enough in polling to make a run at Iowa, but it’s a gamble for him.  If he wins or even comes close second, he would be sitting pretty for the nomination – the second tier would be heavily damaged, and he is strong in New Hampshire.  Tactically, it could be decisive.

    BUT if he competes strongly and finishes 3rd or lower, his brand is damaged and he might even have to fight to keep NH in line, the campaign would take on a whole new dynamic with SC and NV suddenly of more importance.

  8. DaveO
    August 10th, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

    I’d like to see how the candidates do in states that have a lot of electors. Iowa? New Hampshire? Their electors are afterthoughts, not election winners.

  9. Anonymous
    August 10th, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

    Um, American Eagle doesn’t HAVE a first class, does it?  It’s a commuter jet service…

  10. Donald Douglas
    August 10th, 2011 @ 8:01 pm
  11. Anonymous
    August 10th, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

    Google Adsense shows different ads depending on where you are, and they buy certain audiences. This being a political site, we get a lot of political ads. And because I’m logged on from an Iowa ISP, it’s showing me Bachmann and Ron Paul ads. If you’re in Florida, it may show you an ad targeted at Florida politics. But I don’t have anything to do with the ad selection.

  12. Anonymous
    August 10th, 2011 @ 9:02 pm

    Yeah, but at least Romney didn’t arrive on a private Gulfstream jet, while snacking on wagyu sliders and sipping Cristal champagne, which is how he would have arrived if he didn’t have to worry about how such an entrance might appear to pesky voters.

  13. Daily Olympics Scoreboard « Don Surber
    August 10th, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

    […] From Robert Stacy McCain: “If you want know why Americans hate journalists, look no further than this story by Alexander […]

  14. Anonymous
    August 10th, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

    You don’t see too many bears on the prairie. Too easy a target.

  15. Joe
    August 10th, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

    You don’t see Flipper out on the prairie too often either. 

  16. PhilipJames
    August 10th, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

    Well, well….  will there be some upset stomachs and migraines now…
    guess whose bus is pulling into the Iowa State Fair in the next day or so…  

    Dear SarahPAC Supporter,
    We are very happy to jump back on the bus for another leg of our “One
    Nation Tour”! We accept with gratefulness an invitation to meet folks
    at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines this week. The heartland is perfect
    territory for more of the One Nation Tour as we put forth efforts to
    revitalize the fundamental restoration of America by highlighting our
    nation’s heart, history, and founding principles.
    In a grossly weakened economy – especially when recovery is thwarted
    by today’s Obamanomics – prudent Americans make sensible decisions to
    live within their means. This includes seeking affordable participation
    in more community events, local patriotic parades, and traditional
    all-American venues like state fairs. State fairs hold a special place
    in our nation’s history and heritage, so my family is honored to
    highlight one of them on one stop along the One Nation Tour route –
    America’s historic Iowa State Fair! (I’m also excited to try some of
    that famous fried butter-on-a-stick, fried cheesecake-on-a-stick, fried
    twinkies, etc. I’ll enjoy them in honor of those who’d rather make us
    just “eat our peas”!)
    Unlike next week’s Obama Bus Tour, taxpayers aren’t funding our tour,
    which is why we so appreciate your support in allowing us to be out
    there on the open road to visit with you to highlight small towns,
    big-hearted people, and the important role they play in our most
    exceptional nation.
    You can participate with support for the “One Nation Tour” through and following virtually by bookmarking the SarahPAC website.
    We’ll have updates from the road as our Constitution-draped bus travels
    to shine a spotlight on more of our nation’s fine history. Watch this video and let the American road inspire you!
    Thank you for your continued support of SarahPAC. Let’s stay
    committed to the worthy cause – restoring all that is good and strong
    and free in America!
    Thank you sincerely,
    Sarah Palin

    Video in case link does not work:

    Ha Ha ….  Go get em, Sarah.

  17. Big GOP Debate Thursday Night | The Lonely Conservative
    August 10th, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

    […] later is the Iowa straw poll.  Stacy McCain has been all over Iowa covering the candidates events. Here’s his latest update from the campaign trail.Mitt Romney will be the featured guest at a “Road to the White House […]

  18. Mitt Romney Comes to Des Moines, Attracts Massive Media Coverage : The Other McCain
    August 10th, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

    […] deadline for Thursday’s American Spectator column. Please hit the tip jar.PREVIOUSLY:Aug. 10: Iowa Notebook: Romney Coming to Town; Pawlenty and the ‘Plausible Chance’ TrickAug. 9: Meanwhile, on the Cain Campaign …Aug. 9: Young Minions of the Sith Lord of Texas UPDATE: […]

  19. Anonymous
    August 11th, 2011 @ 2:16 am

    Actually, there’s some decent sushi places in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. 😉

  20. ThePaganTemple
    August 11th, 2011 @ 2:27 am

    Sarah Palin is the only person in the world capable of single-handedly winning the presidential election for the GOP and she doesn’t even have to run for the office to do it.

  21. Bob Belvedere
    August 11th, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

    But you do see Flip-Floppers!

  22. Bob Belvedere
    August 11th, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    Mormons don’t drink.