National Politics - 2016

Rick Manning: Iowa Is “Up To The Task”

EARLY-VOTING STATE READY TO NARROW 2016 FIELD || By RICK MANNING  || The political party selection process gets a lot of criticism because of the disproportionate impact of the states of New Hampshire and Iowa on both the Republican and Democrat side.  After spending a Saturday in Iowa experiencing five…


|| By RICK MANNING  || The political party selection process gets a lot of criticism because of the disproportionate impact of the states of New Hampshire and Iowa on both the Republican and Democrat side.  After spending a Saturday in Iowa experiencing five different Republican presidential candidates over the course of six hours, I have to vehemently disagree.

Unlike the general election, where a vast majority of voters meet the candidates through campaign commercials, third party endorsements, and the news media; Iowa and New Hampshire, in particular, are unique.

Voters meet the candidates, usually on multiple occasions, and take their measure.  They see how they perform in front of a crowd, they speak with them one on one, and they ask hard questions to test their mettle.  You can submit a scripted video tape to events, but if you don’t show up and press the flesh too often, the people sour on you.  Caucus participants and primary voters take their responsibility to vet those who would be president seriously and ?study the issues facing the country in a focused manner.

The event that I was fortunate enough to be able to attend and participate in as a speaker, focused upon deep discussions of national security issues.  A crowd of approximately two hundred concerned Iowans paid rapt attention as a retired Vice Admiral spoke about the desperate shape of the U.S. Navy, and Middle East experts spoke about geopolitical danger and how President Obama’s failed policies contributed to it.  We learned that North Korea launched a satellite that orbited over the U.S. six times at the height of their nuclear saber rattling in 2013 and about the threat that a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse weapon poses to the very existence of the United States.

But most of all, these Iowans heard Ben Carson tell his compelling story and reveal a maturing candidate who was able to easily handle complex national security issues. They bantered with Bobby Jindal whose easy onstage presence and interpersonal skills contrast with the stiff State of the Union response that some still try to hang on him.  Donald Trump’s star power brightened the room as he offered a cautionary note about Muslim immigrant resettlement programs, and Rick Santorum showed why he won the Iowa caucuses four short years ago.

Later that evening, these same aspirants and others were on stage at multiple events around the state giving others a chance to observe and judge whether they are worthy to enter the White House as the 45th President.

Over the course of the next seven months, Iowans will be on a first-name basis with the various candidates as they decide who they are going to support hiring for the highest office in the land.

In New Hampshire, the same personal interview process occurs through a unique Yankee lens.  No-holds-barred questions are asked and answers scrutinized. Candidates who seek to duck with political hogwash get weeded out, and, through their primary results, recommendations are made to the rest of the nation.

The people of Iowa and New Hampshire have a huge responsibility between now and 2016 to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Given what I saw in Iowa, they are up to the task of narrowing the field of potential nominees to a manageable number so the rest of us can avoid sifting through twenty candidates, and instead will be able to focus on the reduced choices who survive the Iowa and New Hampshire gauntlet …

(To continue reading this column, click the link below …)

Rick Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government. Follow him on Twitter @RManning957.

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RogueElephant May 21, 2015 at 11:49 am

He left out the most important primary . Our “First in the South” SC Republican primary has , except for the 2012 debacle picked the eventual GOP candidate all the way back to Reagan. SC has made the difference on several occasions. The one I participated in was 2000 , when a bunch of crazy hillbillies from SC turned the tide and elected President Bush. Just once I would like to see SC get it’s just due for the great state we are.

Delusion much? May 21, 2015 at 11:57 am

Keep dreaming, fool. Keep dreaming…

vicupstate May 21, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Yeah, SC put Bush 43 in office, and Bush 41 too, actually. So all you RWNJs that bash them as not conservative enough or for raising taxes, can put the blame on yourselves. The sane among us already do, but for different reasons.

southmauldin May 21, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Thanks to you and Bush for the Iraq War. Crazy hillbillies are even dumber than I thought.

shifty henry May 23, 2015 at 11:04 pm

Crazy hillbillies are even dumber than I thought…mebbe!


A big-city lawyer was representing the railroad in a lawsuit filed by an old rancher. The rancher’s prize bull was missing from the section through which the railroad passed. The
rancher only wanted to be paid the fair value of the bull. The case was scheduled to be tried before the justice of the peace in the back room of the general store. The attorney for the railroad immediately cornered the rancher and tried to get him to settle out of court. The lawyer did his best selling
job, and finally the rancher agreed to take half of what he was asking. After the rancher had signed the release and took the check, the young lawyer couldn’t resist gloating a little over his success, telling the rancher, ‘You know, I hate to
tell you this, old man, but I put one over on you in there. I couldn’t have won the case. The engineer was asleep and the fireman was in the caboose when the train went through your ranch that morning. I didn’t have one witness to put on
the stand. I bluffed you!’ The old rancher replied, ‘Well, I’ll tell you, young feller, I was a little worried about winning that case myself, because that bull came home this morning.’

Centrist View May 21, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Iowa…. where farmers thin the herd.

Jonny Logic May 21, 2015 at 1:18 pm

So what?!?? I don’t care if the candidates go to everyone’s houses for dinner in IOWA and NH. They are still residents in states whose values and perspectives don’t necessarily match much of the population. And anyone who stands and listens to the likes of Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, etc shouldn’t be allowed to choose the next Lay’s flavor, let alone POTUS.

Centrist View May 21, 2015 at 1:25 pm

If they cause the any of the of candidates to drop out of the herd, then they have served a purpose.

idcydm May 21, 2015 at 5:54 pm

The same could be said for the likes of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren, etc.

shifty henry May 22, 2015 at 7:59 am


9" May 25, 2015 at 1:44 am

John Phillips


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