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Why Stu Rothenberg will skip Ames

From The Rothenberg Political Report:

“Last week, I canceled my room reservation for the week of the Iowa straw poll. I am not going to Ames.

“With Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman not participating in what is already an event of dubious predictive value, the Ames event became little more than an opportunity to consume large amounts of beef, gossip and alcohol with my fellow journalists.

“Not that I’m at all opposed to beef, gossip and alcohol, whether with my colleagues or even with people I’ve never met. But that wasn’t enough of an incentive to schlep halfway across the country to cover something that is close to being irrelevant.”

For more on why Rothenberg thinks the Ames straw poll is routinely overrated, and especially so this year, read the full piece.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/12/2011 - 10:24 am.

    I’m inclined to agree with him. The Iowa straw poll is important, if at all, only to the fledgling candidates.

    For one election cycle in Colorado, I was registered as a Democrat instead of my usual “independent” listing, and decided to go whole-hog with it. I attended the precinct caucus, the county convention, handed out literature, knocked on doors, and did all the other things that party volunteers generally do. What I learned was that knocking on doors is no fun, political meetings can be just as boring as any other kind of meeting, and the people who turn out for precinct caucuses (and straw polls in Iowa) tend to be at the extreme.

    The only time I’ve heard anyone speak seriously of a Dennis Kucinich presidential run was at that precinct caucus. I confess I listened with a combination of bemusement and mental head-shaking. Nothing I’ve read about Iowa in a presidential season suggests to me that it’s substantially different in practice, though the political ideology on display may be the antithesis of Dennis Kucinich’s.

    As a result, I found other things to do last night, and didn’t even turn on the TV for the debate. By NEXT summer, there’ll be reason enough to be interested in Republican activity and policy proposals, but right now, what we’re witnessing is called, in an agricultural context, “winnowing.”

  2. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 08/12/2011 - 08:30 pm.

    His reasons make sense to me. I think we’re just beginning to see the impact of social media and dispersed communications on the electoral process. It wouldn’t surprise me if the results are fairly radical for each party. No prediction what they’ll be, only that we’ll look back on the last few cycles as quaint.

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