Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mudcat Explains It All

One of the most memorable characters from the Iowa caucus campaign is Mudcat Saunders. I had the opportunity to talk to him at length several times over the course of the campaign, and I must say he's a powerful voice for rural folks.

I sorta gave him a hard time over on Iowa Independent about that Edwards rural DVD, but I respect him tremendously for what he added to the Edwards campaign.

Today, as John Edwards was dropping out of the presidential race, Mudcat was on MSNBC talking about Hillary and the possibility of an Edwards endorsement. You've got to watch this video, it's great:

Hat tip to Ben Smith at Politico.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hillary Thumbs Nose at DNC


Update: Apparently they agree with me in New Hampshire.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

George R.R. Martin on the Presidential Race

George R.R. Martin (my very most favoritest fiction author in the world) sometimes shares his views on real-world politics over on his "Not A Blog" website.

Martin lives in New Mexico, so I was always kind of curious about his thoughts on Bill Richardson and the rest of the candidates in the race.

Here's what Martin posted a couple of days ago:

The political season is well underway. I haven't made any political posts here as yet, but be warned, they will be coming. That's one of the reasons I started this Not-A-Blog, you may recall. So far, I haven't decided which Dem to support in this year's presidential contest. I was leaning toward Bill Richardson, who has been a superb governor for New Mexico, but Bill is out of it now, so I guess I'll have to find a new candidate. Obama and Edwards both interest me. I am lukewarm about Hillary. I wish she had come out stronger against the war.

The best thing about this election, no matter who wins, is that come 2009, we will finally be rid of the worst president in all of American history, that malignant moron George W. Bush.

Interesting comments. He continues to give me more reasons to be a GRRM fan. Now if he'd just let us know what's going to happen on the political landscape of Westeros!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Practical Farmers of Iowa Gather in Des Moines for Annual Conference

The Practical Farmers of Iowa gathered in Des Moines Friday and Saturday for an annual conference featuring a full schedule of educational seminars.

The organization serves Iowa farmers by promoting ecologically-sound and profitable farming techniques. There are approximately 700 members of the organization in Iowa and neighboring states.

Workshops held at the conference included sessions on soil quality and organic farming, a discussion on the new federal farm bill and a seminar exclusively for beginning farmers.

On Friday, the organization held a screening of the documentary film "King Corn," followed by a session hosted by the film's director Aaron Woolf and co-star Curt Ellis.

One of the major initiatives led by PFI is an effort to create a new "Iowa Food Cooperative" that would operate as an internet-based food distribution system linking farmers and consumers. The cooperative would bring together Iowa's existing farmers' markets and community-supported-agriculture programs to help put fresh Iowa foods on the tables of Iowa consumers.

Iowa Independent visited with PFI executive director Teresa Opheim, who explains the organization in this short video:

Friday, January 04, 2008

Video: Gordon Fischer Comments on Obama Victory

I caught up with former Iowa Democratic Party chairman and Barack Obama adviser Gordon Fischer last night at the Obama victory party, where he shared his thoughts in this quick video clip.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Smoky Hollow's Iowa Caucus Kudos and Cowpies

Stephen Colbert has his "Tip of the Hat and Wag of the Finger."

The Des Moines Register has its "Roses and Thistles."

Welcome to the first-ever edition of Smoky Hollow's Kudos and Cowpies.

A cowpie to Hillary Clinton and Chris Dodd for failing to find Monroe County on an Iowa map. Neither of these two candidates set foot here in my county throughout the entire caucus season, despite the fact that both of them ran very active campaigns all over Iowa.

And kudos to John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Barack Obama and Joe Biden for showing us respect and coming to our part of the state to personally ask us for our support. It matters.

A cowpie to all of the top tier, second tier and third tier Republican candidates who turned their back on Monroe County by failing to come here in person and pay us a visit. Specifically, I'm talking about Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter.

And kudos to Republicans John Cox and Tommy Thompson for visiting us in Albia. It wasn't enough to help them, but we do appreciate it.

And kudos to all of the campaign staffers who have been working their hearts out. I know what it's like to work on a campaign, and I know it's really, really hard.

A big, fat, steaming COWPIE to the campaign press staffers who did not return my phone calls. I'm not going to name names, but some of the presidential campaigns really don't want to answer questions.

And kudos to all of the news media folks who have been tromping around our state. I hope you have enjoyed your brief stay here, and I hope you'll remember how wonderful a place Iowa really is.

And finally, whole-hearted kudos to my colleagues at Iowa Independent for all of your excellent work covering the Iowa caucuses.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Caucus Eve Predictions

I love making predictions. I'm always guessing out loud what I think might happen in politics.

Sometimes I'm right, sometimes I'm wrong. Last summer I made a bet with another blogger that Fred Thompson would be the Republican presidential nominee. Whoops!?!

I've been about as closely engaged with this process as any normal human being can be. I've attended literally dozens of campaign events and met most of the candidates personally. I've watched all of the TV ads and answered the phone countless times to hear robo-calls and sometimes living, breathing campaign staffers making their case for their candidates.

I watched candidates munch pork chops at the state fair and tenderloins in Albia.

It's amazing and sort of sad that it's all going to come to an end tomorrow night. I might have to start a new hobby or something to occupy my time.

Everywhere I go, friends and acquaintances ask me who is going to win. I almost always end up boring them with a long sermon about the caucuses and each candidate before finally getting to the point that I really don't know.

But now, on the eve of the caucuses, I think I know. I'll try to avoid writing a long a boring list of predictions and explanations. There are plenty of pundits who do that all the time. I'll get straight to the point. Here's basically what I think is going to happen:

First, the Republicans...

Mike Huckabee will win the Iowa Republican caucuses, but it will be a very close victory over Mitt Romney. Neither candidate will really benefit from it. This will result in a storyline that helps John McCain in New Hampshire and further makes the Republican nomination anybody's ball game.

And the Democrats...

Barack Obama will win a decisive victory on Thursday night in Iowa, and it will go down as an historic mark in presidential politics.

John Edwards will win here in Monroe County and in many of the rural counties around the state, but he won't be able to muster enough support to place above Obama or Hillary.

Hillary's campaign will be seriously wounded after putting everything into winning and coming up short. She will limp through the rest of the early states. But that doesn't mean she won't win the Democratic nomination.