An Unheralded Value in the Iowa and New Hampshire Caucuses

Paul Weyrich

1/8/2008 2:33:17 PM - Paul Weyrich

Anchors of the major newscasts did their evening news about the Iowa caucuses from Iowa and will do the same for New Hampshire. Why? In Iowa alone the networks spent $60 million to cover politics there. Can that be justified in light of the more populous states which need to be covered? I believe it can. If voters have not had a chance to meet the Presidential candidates multiple times they do not want to vote for them. These are states which practice retail politics for the rest of us.

Very few Americans have the chance to meet and greet the various candidates and make a personal judgment. In the big states most people never have the opportunity to meet the candidate. By watching the views from these small states and the questions the residents ask Americans have a much better chance to understand the average voter.

It used to be that the same point of view was broadcast by the major news networks. Now that Fox News Channel is covering the news, the monopoly is broken. This has not only affected the way conservatives and Republicans are covered on Fox but to some extent has changed the way other major networks cover them.

One can find passion for change among voters of both parties by the coverage in these two small states. It also appears from the voting results in a predominantly white state that racism has disappeared almost entirely from the American political process. It was not mentioned or even hinted at last week. Prior to the caucuses news editors were unsure if race would play a role among voters in Iowa. Nor were they sure what the candidates would say. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told Jay Leno on THE TONIGHT SHOW the night before the caucuses that voters want a candidate who reminds them more of the fellow they work with rather than the fellow who laid them off. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney responded by stating that he had created Staples, which employs tens of thousands of Americans. Governor Romney's rhetoric resonated with some of the voters in Iowa but obviously not sufficiently to win.

When a New Hampshire voter was asked why he was not voting for a particular candidate he replied, "Well, I only had a chance to talk with him twice." This sort of retail politics is recorded by the media. Once Iowa and New Hampshire are finished attention turns to the more populous states, where what is said is in the hands of the media anchors. So when there is talk of skipping these two states we ought to be outraged. They provide one of the few opportunities we have to hear real people during the Presidential campaign. Proposals to do away with these states as unrepresentative are coming from the media elites, even from some conservatives. The point is that Iowa and New Hampshire are authentic. The Constitutions of Iowa and New Hampshire also require that they hold the first primaries or caucuses. Of course, the Federal Government can roll over those constitutions if it so chooses. If it were to do so then what little that remains of the 10th Amendment would be forsaken. The 2008 Presidential election may be the last in which these states are so honored unless common sense prevails.