Scorpio’s World

Thoughts on Politics, Race, and Middle Earth

A little Obama news

Posted by scorpiomkm on February 14, 2007

  
                       The Felicity Daily Herald
                       “All the news that’s fit to print; and a whole lot more”
  
Corn-fed Obama-mania
DesMoinesRegister.com | February 12, 2007

By David Yepsen

Barack Obama is off to a stellar start in Iowa.

The Illinois senator had what is likely to be the largest kickoff ever seen for any candidate in the history of the caucuses.

His crowds in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo were huge – two or three thousand per event. In Ames, about 5,000 people were at the Hilton Coliseum. Even a lowly house party in Iowa Falls attracted 200.

This is impressive – even though some of these folks were ringers who trekked in from Illinois. They can’t vote in an Iowa caucus, although being from Illinois they’ll probably figure out a way to do it. (Let the record show that the first question Obama took at an Iowa town meeting was from some guy from Naperville, Illinois.)

Some quick scans of the parking lots showed cars from a variety of counties. This is important because it does a candidate no good to pack a few precincts in one or two towns. After the candidate has won three or four delegates in the precinct, it’s pointless to run up the score. Caucus victories are won by candidates who get supporters to all caucuses, not just a few in college towns.

Not everyone who showed up is a supporter. Many were there just to gawk at the celebrity. Lots of caucus-goers take a long time to make up their minds. Still, Obama’s staff distributed sign-up cards and got hundreds of commitments at each event. Obama also worked to close the sale by asking people to remember to sign the cards.

On Sunday, he picked up the endorsements from Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and state Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald on Sunday. That’s nice – it gets him a few headlines – but it’s more noteworthy for being a real snub of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who worked daily with those guys for eight years.

(Memo to the senator: Since this isn’t Illinois or Cook County, you have to remember that big endorsements here don’t mean a thing. Where you come from, it’s often a big deal when mayors, aldermen or state officials endorse because many of them have organizations – machines – that can deliver votes. Not here. Miller finished third in a Democratic primary when he ran for governor. The only vote he delivers on caucus night is his own.)

The unions are only slightly better at delivering votes. You can ask Howard Dean what an endorsement from AFSCME is worth in an Iowa caucus fight. Just because some international union president in Washington, D.C. thinks you are great doesn’t mean his members in Iowa do.

And you can also ask Dean what an endorsement from a popular politician like Senator Tom Harkin is worth.

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