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Iowa Feeds America’s Appetite for Change
Submitted by KAT on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 7:10pm.
Great turnout last night despite the cold, and not just in Iowa; the Iowa Caucus Watch party we co-hosted with our colleagues from Drinking Liberally drew a crowd of progressives eager to root for their favorites and hoot at their villains. We watched the returns in a not-at-all-fuel-efficient heated tent in the backyard of Rudy’s, the cheerfully ratty midtown dive where Drinking Liberally was born and Eating Liberally got its feet wet.
Gadget-master Matt projected MSNBC’s broadcast onto the wall of the tent, supplemented with periodic updates from the blogosphere (Talking Points Memo, Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Open Left, etc.) After the numbers all came in, the pundits finished pontificating and the winners declared victory, the conclusion was unanimous: Iowa struck a blow to the status quo.
The room was filled with “Huckenfreude,” the glee and gloating over the Republican establishment’s collective freak-out at the rise of a true populist like Mike Huckabee. As Markos noted over on Daily Kos today, Huckabee’s supporters “are true gate crashers, perhaps the best we've seen in politics.”
He sees the groundswell of support for Huckabee as “truly a cousin to our very own people-powered movement.” Markos adds:
As Huckabee himself noted in his victory speech, his win proved that “people really are more important than the purse…it wasn't about who raised the most money but who raised the greatest hopes, dreams and aspirations for our children and their future.”
On our side, that candidate was Obama, whose message of hope over fear and unity over division clearly resonated with Iowans. I haven’t been crazy about Obama’s positions on ethanol and liquefied coal, but I’ll take him over Clinton any day, and I was happy to hear him declare his intention to “free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all.”
After having the MSM shove the supposedly “inevitable” Clinton candidacy down our throats for months, it was a pleasure to see Obama triumph, but those of us who prefer Edward’s populist passion to Obama’s boundless optimism couldn’t help feeling disappointed.
If you’re sick of corporations dictating our nation’s policies on energy, the environment, agriculture, health care, and just about every other issue you can think of, Edwards is your man. As Edwards noted in his speech last night:
On Tuesday--New Year’s day--in the frenzied last hours before the caucus, John and Elizabeth Edwards dropped by the farmhouse of our Iowa correspondent, Denise O’Brien, who’s been advising Edwards on ag policy. Denise had expected about forty people to show up; in the end, it was more like a hundred, and Denise was overwhelmed by the media blitz that overtook her kitchen, with reporters from CBS, NBC, ABC, Reuters and others clamoring for outlets to recharge their batteries, blackberries and cell phones.
A reporter asked Denise why she had decided to let this caucus craziness invade her living room. She asked herself the same thing, she later wrote me, concluding that it was “because I think that John Edwards has the courage and the guts to stand up to corporations that have our federal government in a stranglehold…standing there in our living room with the Edwards by my side was a wonderful experience. To have these great people in my house, talking with my friends, rallying the supporters to go to caucus was an exercise in grassroots democracy that our country so sorely needs. Democracy in action!”
Denise cooked up a batch of our Hoppin’ John to serve the Edwards for good luck; they both raved about it and brought some along on their tour bus as they departed for the next stop. Apparently the black-eyed peas didn’t do the trick, but I’m not giving up yet.
The media frenzy that greeted John & Elizabeth Edwards at Denise O'Brien's farmhouse...
(Photo by Fern Gale Estrow)
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