My former blogging colleagues at RedState are all a-twitter regarding the get-together (known as the Gathering) that they have organized, and the fact that Texas Governor Rick Perry will be announcing to them his candidacy for President of the United States. And well they should be; Perry will be a formidable contender. He is very savvy and wily, he has an instinctive grasp of where the Republican party is on the issues of the day, and he is a personable man who enjoys campaigning, and indeed, has never lost an election. His announcement to the RedState Gathering shows just how big a deal the Gathering is, and the fact that Perry’s candidacy has drawn so much media attention shows how big a deal his campaign could turn out to be.
Compare and contrast all of this with the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa which . . . well . . . read:
Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert is openly trying to cause trouble, running television ads urging Iowans, “On August 13th write in Rick Parry — That’s Parry with an ‘A’ for America, with an ‘A’ for IowA.”
For most, a joke candidacy isn’t the concern — “Considering you have to buy tickets, it’s highly unlikely there will be any Mickey Mouses and Donald Ducks,” said Cory Adams, chair of the Story County GOP.
However, an effort on behalf of Rick Perry, who’ll be announcing his candidacy on Saturday and is expected to draw write-in support, might cause issues of its own.
Sarah Palin, who arrived in Iowa on Friday despite remaining coy about her candidacy, is also expected to get some write-in votes, even without an organized effort.
The write-in ballots are set to be counted by hand by volunteers from the Secretary of State’s Office.
[. . .]
This week, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad warned against Democratic caucus crashers who could try to game the Iowa selection system by picking the weakest Republican candidate to face off against President Barack Obama. Meanwhile, Des Moines radio host and former Democratic state legislator Ed Fallon has been calling on Democrats and Independents to switch their political affiliation and participate in the 2012 GOP caucuses.
But for the straw poll, Iowans don’t even need to be registered Republicans. So if Democrats want to fork over $30 for the Iowa GOP’s biggest fundraiser, there’s no stopping them from crashing.
I guess I don’t understand the value or worth of a political event that is so prone to dirty tricks. I don’t doubt that the Ames Straw Poll has been influential in the past. I just don’t know why it should be. The real, authentic action in the Republican party isn’t in Iowa, today. It is in Charleston, where the RedState Gathering is located, and where a serious contender for the Presidency of the United States has decided it is important to make his presence felt.