Corn-Fed Blogging


| 12/30/2007 10:07:37 PM


Corn-Fed Blogging, Iowa Politics

This Thursday, January 3, marks the first major contest in the 2008 road to the White House: the Iowa caucuses. Today, I am driving down to Des Moines to run my romantic visions of American democracy into the cold snow bank of reality.

“The Iowa caucuses are a process so bizarre and byzantine it is either, depending on your outlook, the essence of grass-roots democracy, a quaint anachronism, or perhaps just plain crazy,” Mark Coultan wrote for the Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald. My image of the caucuses comes from the Norman Rockwell painting, “Freedom of Speech,” where a man in a blue-collared work shirt stands up at a town hall meeting. I imagine the man as a farmer, nervously shuffling his feet, saying to the politicians, “Now, I may not know much, but one thing I do know is that the Washington fat cats aren’t looking out for us simple folks.”

That sentimental version of Iowa politics may never have existed. Today, millions of dollars are being spent on advertising and organizing to sway the people of a state with less than 1 percent of the population of the United States. And that state, according to the US Census Bureau, is 94.9 percent white.

Even knowing this, Rockwell’s middle-America imagery remains powerful, at least for me. That’s why I’m headed down there, with visions of democracy dancing in my head. Lacking in both plans and credentials, I’m going to Iowa to see what I can find. You can follow the progress here on the Utne Politics blog.



Bennett Gordon



Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!




Facebook Instagram Twitter