The Other McCain

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

Destination Iowa: The Intersection of Preparation and Opportunity

Posted on | December 3, 2011 | 43 Comments

Rural intersection in Roland, Iowa, Aug. 6, 2011

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up . . .
Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 (KJV)

“There are many elaborate theories as to why American religion persists. The best answer is so obvious it’s easy to miss: The founding idea of America is a theological statement. Take away the Almighty and problems sprout like crabgrass.”
Jeremy Lott, “One Nation Under God”

Some people believe in luck but, although I seem to be on a losing streak lately, I don’t believe in luck. Nor do I believe in accidents. When a deer destroyed my KIA last year, the insurance company called it an “accident,” but surely there was some larger purpose served by that event, although the purpose is as unknown to me as it was to the deer.

Seemingly random things happen every day that are not really as random as they seem. Why do I wear a fedora? Because Pete Da Tech Guy wears fedoras. One day in January 2010, we were on our way to cover a Scott Brown campaign event and I picked up one of Pete’s spare fedoras on our way out the door of his house in Fitchburg, Mass.

How was it, that out of all the sofas in all of Massachusetts, I spent that week on Pete’s sofa in Fitchburg? How did I come to be Pete’s friend? See, it involved this guy named Charles Johnson — maybe you’ve heard of him — and on that day in September 2009 when I swore the war oath of Clan Cameron, it touched something in Pete’s soul.

Oh, did I say “soul”? Excuse my transgression of the separation of church and blog. I merely meant to say that my friendship with Pete was no more accidental than my acquiring a blog sidekick who plays the bagpipes and knows enough Gaelic to translate the war oath of Clan Cameron.

Luck? Accident? Nope. Don’t believe in that stuff. It was neither luck nor accident that accounts for these things, nor was it luck that brought me to the intersection of 100th Street and 570th Avenue that August afternoon in Iowa. My schedule in Iowa had certain fixed dates and locations, but on that Saturday I had nothing in particular on my schedule and so . . .

Perhaps 50 voters showed up Saturday for a campaign event held in a barn on a dirt road amid cornfields near Roland, about 20 miles north of Ames. While a few dozen voters isn’t much of a crowd by Republican presidential campaign standards, the audience inside the barn was enlarged — and enlivened — by the presence of scores of children, the offspring of several Christian homeschooling families in attendance. One family brought eight kids, another brought nine, and the hosts, Scott and Susan Hurd, have seven of their own, as did the guest from Pennsylvania whose “Road to Ames Barn Bash” was the occasion of this gathering.
Rick Santorum has been campaigning across the state for months and, as he told the voters (and their numerous children) during his speech in the barn, he has visited 51 cities in Iowa by now. . . .
The American Spectator, Aug. 8, 2011

If there was any special purpose to that trip, it was as a favor to my devoutly Catholic friend, Lisa Graas, whom I first knew as the Twitter phenomenon “PalinTwibe,” which she abandoned in 2010 when Sarah Palin endorsed Rand Paul in the Kentucky Senate GOP primary where Lisa (a Kentuckian) favored another candidate.

Thursday, Sarah Palin praised Rick Santorum. Friday, Lisa got a phone call from Rick Santorum. Saturday, Herman Cain quit the race.

Coincidence. Accident. Luck. Like an earthquake in Vanuatu.

One month from now, I plan to be in Iowa, reporting the results of the Republican caucuses. And I’m asking readers to contribute to the Shoe Leather Fund to get me there — $10, $20, $50, whatever you can afford.

My plan is to leave on Dec. 26, the day after Christmas, so you’ll have a full week of on-the-scene campaign coverage. I’ll cover all the candidates, but you guys know I’m a hopeless sucker for dark horses, long shots, underdogs and lost causes.

On this day, a month before the Iowa caucuses, what cause seems more hopelessly lost than Rick Santorum‘s campaign? He’s been stuck in single digits in all the polls. Nobody thinks he has a chance.

People laughed at me when I spent months covering Herman Cain, but they stopped laughing when magic happened in Orlando:

What Herman Cain did in Orlando this weekend was both completely unexpected and entirely predictable. As late as Friday afternoon, none of the pundits expected the Atlanta businessman to win the Florida GOP’s “Presidency 5” straw poll. But if what it took to win was a dynamic speaker who could bring a roomful of grassroots Republicans to their feet, Cain’s victory was in some sense inevitable.
“Send Washington a message!” Cain thundered from the stage of the Orange County Convention Center, prompting one of seven standing ovations he received Saturday in his speech preceding the vote in which he stomped Texas Gov. Rick Perry so badly that the Republican front-runner may never recover.
Perry’s disastrous debate performance Thursday — in which he said opponents of college tuition subsidies for illegal immigrants “don’t have a heart” — was the precipitating event of Cain’s triumph. As the old saying goes, luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity, and Cain was perhaps uniquely prepared to take advantage of the opportunity Perry’s stumble presented. . . .
“Cain’s Magic Moment,” The American Spectator, Sept. 26, 2011

How quickly things can change, you see. And just as Cain’s years of experience as a public speaker was exactly the kind of preparation that made Orlando such a turning point, aren’t Rick Santorum’s months of grassroots campaigning exactly the kind of preparation needed to seize the opportunity in Iowa?

One month before Iowa, GOP field wide open
The Hill

You say it can’t be done? You say Rick Santorum can’t possibly win the Iowa caucuses? One month before Election Day in 2009, I had never even heard of a guy named Doug Hoffman, and by the time it was over, that geeky accountant had become “an electric symbol of conservatism.”

Some of my friends who spent months riding with me on the Cain Train may not be huge fans of Rick Santorum’s politics. And if you don’t want to take this ride, I’ll understand. But to me, the message and the mission are the same things that made NY-23 a national crusade: To wreck the plans of those GOP Establishment insiders who think they can shove their bogus sold-out candidates down our throats.

We must rally the people to a good man who stands firmly for what he believes to be Right and True. And those who complained constantly about Cain’s weaknesses must admit that Santorum is strong exactly where Cain was weak: Experience in office, a firm grasp of foreign policy details, and the kind of solid campaign structure needed to turn grassroots enthusiasm into votes on Election Day.

Rick Santorum is a different kind of candidate than Herman Cain, but I know him to be a good man. I’ve met his family. I’ve hung out with him when other reporters on the campaign trail were ignoring him. He actually bought me lunch once. And he inspired Lisa Graas to write something beautiful:

I may be a crippled and mentally broken single mom in poverty in the Appalachian foothills — a coal miner’s daughter — but to hold onto and speak up for what is true … that is the kind of person I have to be because, as noted, to do otherwise is death for me. Rick Santorum knows that about me, and that’s why he called this broken woman in Kentucky and said, “You’re an inspiration.” No matter how broken I may be, I will stand, and seeing that in the various people he meets in his travels is what keeps his hope for our country alive. I know that to be true about him.

Go read the whole thing. We can do this, people. Make it happen. Hit my tip jar to send me to Iowa. All aboard the Santorum Express!

UPDATE: This just in:

“Karen and I understand how trying national political campaigns are — not just on the candidates, but the candidate’s family. We respect Herman’s decision to suspend his campaign and trust that he made the best decision for his family. As we have for all our fellow candidates, we will continue to keep Herman and his entire family in our prayers.”
Rick Santorum

UPDATE II: Thanks to Joan in Georgia and Mike in New Hampshire (both Cainiacs, BTW) for hitting the tip jar. Here’s some groovy and hopeful music for you:

You know, I remember when Sarah said “no” and broke the hearts of the Palinistas. A lot of them ended up on the Cain Train. Now that’s gone off the rails and so here’s to hoping we can pull a shocking upset that will let the Establishment know that We the People are still willing to fight back.


43 Responses to “Destination Iowa: The Intersection of Preparation and Opportunity”

  1. richard mcenroe
    December 4th, 2011 @ 12:02 am

    I think there is more to be heard from Senator Santorum.

  2. Lisa Graas
    December 4th, 2011 @ 12:09 am

    I just hit the tip jar and encourage everyone else to do the same. Blessings, Stacy. Thank you.

  3. Dave C
    December 4th, 2011 @ 12:23 am

    Second look at Santorum. 

  4. Anonymous
    December 4th, 2011 @ 12:28 am

    When I go, I go all-in.

  5. Adjoran
    December 4th, 2011 @ 12:40 am

    The race is certainly still wide open.  Gingrich’s surge has been similar to that of Perry and Cain before him in that it came out of almost nowhere, and cannot be nearly as deep as it is broad.  He will return to earth as conservatives gather around the holiday fires and relate the old war stories of how Gingrich screwed us over and twisted the knife.  John McCain had nothing on Newt.

    Add to this Iowan’s well-earned reputation for wanting to put a thumb in the eye of the pundits, pollsters, and conventional wisdom, and there is almost no result out of Iowa which I could say is a true surprise.  Except for a Huntsman win, and then I would know I was just dreaming anyway.

  6. james lagnese
    December 4th, 2011 @ 12:47 am

    If you want to talk Dominionism, talk to Steve Deace. Shoot, I expect these people belief that our founders were dominionists too, which is horse shit. 

    Anyway, we have the political field we do and no one is going to jump in at the last minute and save us. All I hope is that Newt doesn’t go anywhere and suffers the same proctological exam Cain got. He won’t pass too. 

  7. Joe
    December 4th, 2011 @ 1:10 am

    And you stay loyal to them, even when their underlings dis you and treat you poorly. 

    Good luck God speed to Rick Santorum.  I do not see him winning the nomination, but I could see him influencing the process.  And who knows he might surprise us. 

  8. Joe
    December 4th, 2011 @ 1:15 am

    Off topic, but the Europeans do not want to be outdone by North Dakota and shale gas in the Northeast United States.  They have their own energy source. 

  9. CO
    December 4th, 2011 @ 1:19 am

    Rick Santorum, Rick Santorum, ah yes,  a man of the Party;
    Backed Arlen Specter against Pat Toomey he did, very dependable he is.

  10. Mike Rogers
    December 4th, 2011 @ 1:31 am

    A good man indeed, and I wouldn’t mind a bit if he were the nominee.
    One thing has bothered me a bit, whee he acted petulantly in the debates if he wasn’t getting enough questions.
    On the other hand, compared to Mittens’ supercilious attitude on stage and his thin-skinned behavior wit Brett Baier, Rick Santorum looks pretty darned good.
    One other who has been badly undeserved by the national media and even the national blogs, is Buddy Roemer, a truly decent man, who as a democratic congressman was a thorn in Tip O’Neil’s side, and as a Republican governor of LA, tackled corruption head on.
    Tonight I had the privilege of hosting a house party for Gov Roemer, and he mpressed the guests a great deal.
    Please look for video on tomorrow, after it’s been uploaded.

  11. Dianna Deeley
    December 4th, 2011 @ 1:32 am

    Noted. Let me sleep on it. It’s ridiculous to find not-quite 11 pm really late, but I don’t make financial decisions while weary past thought.

  12. Mike Rogers
    December 4th, 2011 @ 1:37 am

    Me, too. God speed to Iowa, and don’t forget your standing invite to stay with us for the NH primary.

  13. PokerKnave
    December 4th, 2011 @ 2:15 am


  14. Tennwriter
    December 4th, 2011 @ 2:42 am

    It would be outstanding to get Rick Santorum,  but I see the same thing I saw with Sarah.  She was supposed to be hard-core right wing to listen to folk, but I read her first book, and see a center right person.  Same with Rick.

    I still liked Sarah (a lot!) but unless you’re a hardcore liberal, these are not people to be frightened of.  They’re  fairly ordinary in their views.  If, as one person I knew, you think of the New York Times as a right-wing newspaper, then yeah, be afraid, be very afraid.  🙂

  15. Why Rick Santorum Called Me Yesterday « Catholic Bandita
    December 4th, 2011 @ 7:44 am

    […] UPDATE: Rick Santorum tweeted this. Linked by The Other McCain. […]

  16. Anonymous
    December 4th, 2011 @ 7:50 am

    I dropped a couple (4) dimes on you.  You’ll know who it was by the “Shoe-leather fund. Go do the voodoo that you do so well!” purpose.   You are at your finest in the field.

  17. ThePaganTemple
    December 4th, 2011 @ 8:06 am

    Yeah, he’s so impressive he might manage to snag the nomination. For a third party run, that is. He’ll get all of half of one percent of the vote in the general election, which might be a very generous estimate.

  18. ThePaganTemple
    December 4th, 2011 @ 8:11 am

    Sarah Palin is a conservative, unless by center-right you mean she actually forced oil companies to pay the citizens of the state the money they owed them for plundering the natural resources which is owned by the state, otherwise known as the citizens, as opposed to padding the pockets of the bought and paid for mostly GOP Alaskan legislature. Newsflash, the minute being “conservative” becomes defined as bending over and taking it up the ass from big business, we’re in too much trouble to dig our way out of it.

  19. Anonymous
    December 4th, 2011 @ 8:13 am

    I know I’m not the only one who sees it pretty clear that there is no current candidate that the majority of the Republican party likes, much less the majority of the country.  I can’t say I’m a Santorum fan at all, but at least he is fairly consistent in his views.  Not sure he qualifies as an “outsider.”  That said, your support and loyalty are admirable Stacy.

  20. Jim Bummer
    December 4th, 2011 @ 8:52 am

    Maybe you can tell Santorum to stop coming across as an insufferable scold.

  21. spike
    December 4th, 2011 @ 9:03 am

    Can someone tell me why Santorom always seems to have a big chip on his shoulder?

  22. Jack Okie
    December 4th, 2011 @ 9:30 am

    In that early debate Santorum had an opportunity to say to Mitt’s face what he had been saying on the campaign trail.  He wimped out.  I’ll take Newt, thank you, with all his flaws, because he’s got  political skills, knowledge of DC and aggressiveness.

  23. Anonymous
    December 4th, 2011 @ 10:50 am

    And vice-versa. Thing to remember is that Big Business can’t be forced to operate anywhere the costs are too high.

  24. ThePaganTemple
    December 4th, 2011 @ 11:01 am

    That’s true, I agree with that. But that was not the case there. The people in Alaska were getting stiffed on the oil royalties they were legitimately owed. In the meantime, the companies in many cases didn’t even bother to do routine maintenance on their pipelines. It’s one thing to foster a business friendly environment, its something yet again to allow companies to run roughshod over everybody. Palin changed all that. There’s a reason her approval ratings were in the stratosphere for awhile, and also why she was detested by the Murkowski clique.

  25. Tennwriter
    December 4th, 2011 @ 11:20 am

    Not disagreeing one bit, PT. Fact is, I think a lot of Big Businessmen would be comfortable in a crony capitalist environment, and have natural left tendencies.  To put it more poetically, they believe in the Divine Right of Big Business to Make a Profit (even if the CEO is a lazy idiot).

    She was in her own words…if the people wanted to build something big, she was willing to do so, but it would have to be paid for….like with a new tax.

    Not unreasonable, but not exactly hardcore Rightwing either.  No, she’s a conservative, but she’s not really that hardnosed about it.

  26. SANTORUM EXPRESS SUNDAY: Criticizes Newt Gingrich During Appearance on ABC’s ‘This Week’ : The Other McCain
    December 4th, 2011 @ 11:21 am

    […] = 250; RECENTLY:Dec. 4: SANTORUM EXPRESS SUNDAY: Complete Iowa Tour ScheduleDec. 3: Destination Iowa: The Intersection of Preparation and OpportunityDec. 2: Santorum Praised by Sarah Palin on Fox; Endorsed by Key Iowa Evangelical PastorDec. 1: […]

  27. Pathfinder
    December 4th, 2011 @ 11:31 am

    I always considered that to be the hallmark of her conservative cred: she served the people, she did not kowtow to big business over the interests of the people (aka. supporting the individual’s rights over the collective overlord), and she took the stance that things had to be paid for and things needed to be, you know, conserved.

  28. Robert Stacy McCain or CNN/NYT: Your Choice | Daily Pundit
    December 4th, 2011 @ 11:32 am

    […] Stacy McCain or CNN/NYT: Your Choice Posted on December 4, 2011 8:32 am by Bill Quick Destination Iowa: The Intersection of Preparation and Opportunity : The Other McCain One month from now, I plan to be in Iowa, reporting the results of the Republican […]

  29. Pathfinder
    December 4th, 2011 @ 11:35 am

    Your choice, and he defintely does have those skills.  Problem is: will he put those skills to work for the benefit of the people/country or for the benefit of Newt and Newt’s buddies? 
    That’s the issue I have with him.  Well, that and sometimes being smart isn’t such a good thing if common sense isn’t attached to it (sorry, but the guy oftentimes strikes me as leap without looking first).

  30. Jack Okie
    December 4th, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

    Good question.  My response:

    1.  None of our apparent choices is without risk.
    2.  The more conservative a Congress we elect, the better we keep a President Gingrich on the reservation.

    Between Montgomery and Patton, I’ll take Patton every time.

  31. Jack Okie
    December 4th, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

    Not quite “Desperate times call for desperate measures”, but close.

  32. Susan
    December 4th, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

    Nice to see you on the Santorum page.  I also leaped from Cain to Santorum and not looking back!  

  33. Anonymous
    December 4th, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

    Well, that was quick, Stacy.  Herman who?

  34. ThePaganTemple
    December 4th, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

    You’re right, there’s a reason so many bankers and Wall Street types supported Obama, people like the Ogre From Omaha. A lot of big business get all kinds of breaks through loopholes and what not, and in the meantime they know they can pass on the overall cost of regulations while many of their competitors have to bite the bullet and struggle to get by. It’s bullshit.

  35. Bob Belvedere
    December 4th, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

    I’ve studied Georgie for years [how many can say they read The Patton Papers cover-to-cover] and I can tell you Newton Leroy Gingrich is no George S. Patton, Jr.  He’s more like George Custer.

    Mrs. Palin has more Patton in her than anyone.

  36. Bob Belvedere
    December 4th, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

    Stacy stuck with Cain until the [very] bitter end.  Such a charge is uncalled for.

  37. bradley
    December 4th, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

    And was thrown to the wolves by Arlen Spector and that self-same Party two years later. There’s a “teachable moment” there; not sure whether he learned it or not. Worth a deeper look, certainly.

  38. Anonymous
    December 4th, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

    I know. But Cain quit yesterday, and Stacy jumped on the Santorum Train yesterday. That IS rather quick, IMO. I know Stacy posted before why he liked Santorum, so I’m not surprised that’s who he wants to go with. And I know Cain’s people didn’t treat Stacy too well. I’m a little jarred about the speed of all this….

  39. SANTORUM EXPRESS SUNDAY: Conservative Gets Unexpected Endorsement by Tea Party Blogger : The Other McCain
    December 4th, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

    […] UPDATE: Complete Video AddedDec. 4: SANTORUM EXPRESS SUNDAY: Complete Iowa Tour ScheduleDec. 3: Destination Iowa: The Intersection of Preparation and OpportunityDec. 2: Santorum Praised by Sarah Palin on Fox; Endorsed by Key Iowa Evangelical PastorDec. 1: […]

  40. Cain Loss, Santorum Gain: Santorum Endorsed by Stacy McCain, Peter Ingemi « Catholic Bandita
    December 4th, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

    […] Stacy McCain: We must rally the people to a good man who stands firmly for what he believes to be Right and True. And those who complained constantly about Cain’s weaknesses must admit that Santorum is strong exactly where Cain was weak: Experience in office, a firm grasp of foreign policy details, and the kind of solid campaign structure needed to turn grassroots enthusiasm into votes on Election Day. […]

  41. Bob Belvedere
    December 5th, 2011 @ 8:54 am

    RSM:  Just lie here, Rick. I’ll take care of you now. I’m with you now. I’m with you.

  42. SANTORUM VOWS: ‘NO SURRENDER!’ : The Other McCain
    December 5th, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

    […] UPDATE: Complete Video AddedDec. 4: SANTORUM EXPRESS SUNDAY: Complete Iowa Tour ScheduleDec. 3: Destination Iowa: The Intersection of Preparation and OpportunityDec. 2: Santorum Praised by Sarah Palin on Fox; Endorsed by Key Iowa Evangelical PastorDec. 1: […]

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