Iowa: The Hawkeye Spate

By Miles Leicher

It’s a “dark week” for the Real Time crew, which is an appropriately sad bit of Hollywood jargon for a week with no show in production. We had intended to use this time leading up to the Fourth of July to board a big, painted-up bus and tour through our nation’s heartland, spreading the gospel of liberty and freedom without having to rely on the lamestream media…but then the new Beyoncé album dropped and suddenly everything else seemed less important.

Luckily for America, stronger wills prevailed. Politicians have been flocking to the Midwest in recent days to lay groundwork for their 2012 campaigns and/or movie premieres. Iowa, in particular, has been the belle of the ball – in that everybody at the ball is trying super hard to bang it. To use another analogy, Iowa is ‘The Bachelorette’ and the Republicans are climbing over each other in hopes of scoring a rose, oblivious to the fact that she already made out with, like, six other dudes this week. Not to mention that, back in 2008, she hooked up with a black guy. Good luck following that, Tim Pawlenty.

And that’s the thing about Iowa; as Bill Maher says, “it’s not a hick state.” Behind all of the cornfields and Republican caucuses there is a pretty solid progressive history. Among the highlights: Iowa cast off the shackles of slavery 26 years before the end of the Civil War, ended segregation in schools 85 years prior to Brown v. Board of Education and allowed interracial marriage well before mixed-race babies were trendy. More recently, in 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, which made California, New York* and Barack Obama look, at best, like a bunch of puritanical jerks.  

Be that as it may, Iowa has managed to become synonymous with Republicans desperately pandering to a conservative base in an effort to stand out from the rest of the pack. Bill pretty much nailed it during an episode of ‘Real Time’ back in April, when he had this to say:

“The Republican nomination process there is a “roach motel.” Candidates check in and they don’t check out because that caucus, that Republican Iowa caucus, has been taken over by fanatics. And to compete there, every Republican candidate has to go so far to the crazy right that they will spend the next eleven months of the campaign denying everything they said in Iowa.”

Yes, unfortunately for candidates like Michele Bachmann, bat-shit is surprisingly difficult to wash off. It lingers and fouls the air, causing reasonable people everywhere to scrunch up their nose think, “Wow, this lady has been all up in some bat-shit!” So before they strap on their waders, the Republicans might want to think about the fact that the majority of Iowa voters are actually pretty darn reasonable. And while they may get a warm reception in a roomful of nutjobs, the stench will undoubtedly follow them out.

As the old Iowan proverb goes, “Never husk your corn in broad daylight.” You can interpret that as you like, but I take it to mean, “Keep your weird shit to yourself and stay off of the Twitter.”

*Yeah, yeah, I know.