Uncommon Sense

January 4, 2012

Iowa Speaks! (Or Did It?)

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 8:15 am
Tags: , , , ,

Last night the 2011 Iowa Presidential Caucuses were held and we learned what Iowa thinks of the Republican candidates for President . . . or did we? Consider the case of Newt Gingrich. Gingrich was leading the polls in Iowa three weeks ago, then a veritable rock slide of negative ads produced by Restore Our Future, a super PAC aligned with Mitt Romney, knocked him down to fourth in the polling. So, did we learn what Iowans think or did we learn what the monied interests in the country want us to believe that Iowans think?

The candidates offer this solution to the problem of “outside money:” get the PACs out and let the candidates handle all of the money. Right. A surprise there—people vying for power want more power. But I don’t think that solves much of anything. If it does it solves too little for the cost.

What do you think the results would have been if the rules had been, as I have suggested, that candidates can only control monies raised from inside the political boundary, in this case the State of Iowa? Since the Supreme Court has declared political money to be a form of free speech, we would get to hear from Iowa fully and Iowa alone. We would find which candidates could get Iowans to speak with their checkbooks and which could not. Candidates would have to build a fundraising structure in the state and we would be able to see their organization skills deployed. Instead we got tens of millions of dollars of political advertizing, which is the shallowest form of communication employed, most of it from outside sources.

Under the rules I suggest all political ads paid for with funds from the outside, outside Iowa in this case, would clearly be labeled “Paid for by Outsiders.” Making sure that the communication they provide is clearly indicated as “something outsiders want you to know,” as opposed to discourse between and among Iowans.

Possibly under such rules the voices of Iowans would not be drowned out by the noise from the tides of money rolling over the state.

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