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Galindez writes: "This week the 2016 presidential election began in earnest."

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who is expected to run in 2016. (photo: Politico)
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who is expected to run in 2016. (photo: Politico)

Who Fears God More? The Iowa 2016 GOP Race Begins

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

24 January 15


his week the 2016 presidential election began in earnest. President Obama launched the themes he believes should shape the election during his State of the Union address. That makes two people who are not running who are shaping the election for the Democrats. The other is the only one with a campaign on the ground in Iowa. A bunch of people got together to kick off the “Run Warren Run” campaign in New Hampshire last weekend, too. And house parties are happening throughout Iowa next weekend. But that’s for another article.

Congress brought up a series of bills, from Keystone to abortion, to set the tone for their campaign. The Republican agenda is summed up in one word: destruction.

Destroy the environment, destroy women’s rights, destroy health care … oh, and fear God.

I’m heading to Iowa next week. I’m wondering if I need a hard hat. Probably not, since they are destroying construction jobs. All they have is a temporary job plan called the Keystone XL pipeline. A Canadian company hires some construction workers for a few months, and once it is built, no more jobs. I guess more oil will be refined on the gulf coast before it is shipped oversees. Oh, and if the pipeline leaks, a clean-up crew will get a temporary job too. Hardly a long term jobs plan.

Thank God I’m not getting there this week. The Iowa Freedom Summit, organized by controversial congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) and Citizens United, is drawing some of those hoping to become the Christian right’s choice for president. Speakers include Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Texas senator Ted Cruz, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, former Texas governor Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, and neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

I feel sorry for God and pigs. I’m sure they will be castrating pigs and demonstrating how they fear god more than the others. I have visions of them speaking in tongues after eating fried butter on a stick. Yup, I think I would be on the first flight back to DC, if attended that event.

All kidding aside, the gathering could be crucial for many of the candidates who are hoping to unify enough of the state’s Evangelical Christian, Tea Party, and libertarian activists as they seek to be this cycle’s insurgent favorite. The caucuses helped launch Huckabee in 2008 and Santorum in 2012 as the conservative alternative.

While nearly every movement conservative will be in attendance, most of the establishment candidates besides Christie are staying away — possibly because of King’s reputation.

I hate to tell these guys, they just gave Christie a big leg up. Iowa Republicans are god fearing, pig castrating, gun toting wackos. Wait, that’s their freshman senator. So distancing yourself from another whacked out Iowa official won’t help you get too many votes in the caucus next year.

We all know Iowa will love Huckabee and Santorum, but maybe they’ll decide that they had their chance already. So let’s look at the others.

Ted Cruz’s strident opposition to Obamacare led in a significant way to the shutdown of the federal government. That may play in the Iowa Caucus but nationally it will hurt him. He benefited from relaxed immigration policies, so his strident anti-immigration stance can be portrayed as hypocrisy. Again, in Iowa that will play – so he is a real threat to win the Iowa Caucus and send the other extreme right-wingers packing.

Governor Chris Christie must be serious to head to Iowa. I don’t know if Iowa Republicans can forgive him for doing his job and working with the president after Hurricane Sandy. Florida Republicans never forgave Charlie Crist for embracing Obama. I have always said that it helps to be the candidate everyone wants to have a beer with. Christie has that going for him.

Rick Perry: another candidate who has been here before and didn’t get it done. Is the former Texas governor going to be one of those guys who just won’t get the message? Give it up already, Ricky.

That brings us to the biggest hypocrite in the Republican field, Dr. Ben Carson. He rails against the welfare state but admits that he grew up eating food purchased with food stamps and got glasses for the first time from a government program. He is polling well, but I am not a believer that he can become a serious contender.

I always wonder why someone who can’t win an election in her state thinks she can become president. Now California is a blue state, so maybe Carly Fiorina can find some support away from the “left coast.” Nah.

That brings us to Scott Walker. The perfect opponent for the Democrats in 2016. Who better to motivate the base? Walker was a lightening rod who breathed life into the labor movement. Scott Walker is a hero to conservatives, but as a symbol of union busting, he would motivate the largest labor effort in a presidential election ever.

So they’e the first out of the gate in Iowa, probably a state that only Christie and Walker can afford to lose. For Carson, Santorum, Huckabee, Cruz, and Perry, a loss in Iowa will likely be the end of the road.

I will arrive in Des Moines on January 31st.

Wait, what am I thinking! Joni Ernst is about to become my senator. I guess I could say I’m on assignment, but then I won’t have any senator. At least next year I will have a vote that counts. Living in Washington DC, I have been taxed without representation.

At least the Iowa Democrats are sane. Tom Harkin was the first presidential candidate I ever worked for. He is from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. A dying wing that I hope one day can be restored.

Scott Galindez co-founded Truthout and will be reporting on the presidential election from Iowa throughout 2015.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner
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