Tally: 16,892 votes, which broke down as follows:
- Bachman: 4,823
- Paul: 4,671
- Pawlenty: 2,293
- Santorum: 1,657
- Cain: 1,456
- Perry: 718
- Romney: 567
- Gingrich: 385
- Hunstman: 69
Political pundit Matthew Dowd on ABC TV claimed that if Pawlenty finished third, then he would not be able to raise enough money to continue. He also described the energy and money that Texas Governor Rick Perry brings to the race as a way to further shake things up on the conservative Republicans side. Sarah Palin suddenly showed up at the Iowa State Fair this week with her huge tour bus trying to sound coy, but he dismissed her as more entertainer than politico.
I am torn between being amused and appalled at this cast of characters. Can this possibly be the best and the brightest that Republicans can offer? Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine was quoted recently as saying she was embarrassed by her party. She, one of the few so-called moderates left in her party, must find it hard to defend members of the Tea Party who purport to speak for her. She is also possibly targeted by the Tea Party since she did not support their agenda this year.
How can it be that a rational moderate voice can no longer be allowed to speak out? How can it be that any of these hopefuls could ever claim to be a leader for all of the people in this country?
As for me, I am a Democrat. I belong to a party with blue dogs, yellow dogs, and possibly a few wild dogs, but one which is also not quite as disciplined as the other side. So unfortunately we put up with the Heath Shulers (Rep NC) and the Ben Nelsons (Sen. NE) [often to our dismay] as they vote against the initiatives of our side. In the Senate some of our so-called Democrats have prevented Leader Reid from breaking threatened filibusters or overcoming cloture. Many Democrats have been ready and willing to compromise, while the House refused to do so.
The Republican candidates and leaders still have no apparent sense of the damage they have caused this country with their intransigence on the debt ceiling and raising needed revenues. According to Nate Silver in the New York Times 538 columns, these representatives will pay a price as the American public quite rightly is blaming them for the bond rating drop and the lack of compromise. The feelings seem to be that elected officials are sent to DC to solve problems cooperatively, not to create them. With high disapprovals for Republicans in general, and for residents own Congressional members as well, he expects some shifts to occur. He does not, however, see a Democratic landslide or even a return to Democratic rule in the House. Silver also discusses the redistricting taking place this year which is going to cause some demographic shifts and some Congressional districts to disappear. With more Republican Governors than Democratic, this redistricting may also see some conflicts between urban and rural areas.
Some are claiming that this is the year for the anti-tax groups of social conservatives, for the anti-choice groups, for the religious right to all have their say. What do you think? They cannot seem to say what they are for, just what they oppose. They attack the President on some very shaky terms. Has the time come for them to bring their decidedly minority views down the tracks into the political mainstream? Should we all be excited now that this crew of conservative candidates is trying to each be more conservative than the other? Should we wonder at the hypocrisy of this crowd of "Christian believers" who are ready to throw the poor to the wolves, close down social safety nets, and leave our elderly to live without Social Security or Medicare? Does not charity and benevolence begin at home? Is this not why hundreds of interfaith clergy stormed the Capitol during the debt limit debate to urge a social conscience on the legislators? It is so sad that they were unsuccessful. We, as concerned Americans cannot allow this train to continue unchallenged. Let me hear from you.