The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



Iowa Governor Saves Christmas

DES MOINES -- Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said Iowa will preserve its status as the state that holds the kickoff event of the presidential nominating process, but dismissed speculation that the caucuses will be moved to December 2007. "The bottom line is Iowa will have the first caucus and we're going in January," Culver said in an interview at his state capitol office this morning.

On Thursday, several Iowa political leaders vowed that the caucuses could be moved to mid-December because of South Carolina's decision to set its Republican primary on Jan. 19 -- a move likely to force New Hampshire to set its primary before that. But Culver said the 2008 nominating process should not begin in 2007. "This is a 2008 process. It ought to start in 2008," he said.

Culver said Iowa would work with New Hampshire officials to find mutually agreeable dates for their contests and acknowledged that both states might need to be flexible in terms of the spacing between the caucuses and the primary -- by Iowa law eight days -- and the days of the week when the events are held. He also said Iowa officials will take into account holiday travel and disruptions and seek to avoid scheduling the caucuses on New Year's day.

Asked if he expects the Nevada caucuses to be held between events in Iowa and New Hampshire, he said, "They are now." Asked if he cared whether that remains the case, he said, "I do care."

-- Dan Balz

Posted at 11:15 AM ET on Aug 10, 2007  | Category:  Primaries
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I posted on Dan's other articele but it to repeat myself, I hope the system crumbles to peices. All of the sentiment in this debate is meaningless. Even if it were true that Iowa and New Hamshire had some sort of presidential judgement the rest of us lack (which is just silly and completely unprovable; maybe they are mutants and that is their special ability :P), that still doesn't entitle them to more say then the rest of us. You can't take away my vote just because you say you are smarter than me (even if you are smarter then me!!). We are striving for democracy after all. While there is little hard evidence to point to in these debates it is without question that the current system, or any system that favors one state over another, is shamelessly unfair. Many solutions would work, but the most important issue to address is fairness. Then we can debate about financing, campaign length, and all that other stuff. The parties are ultimately responsible for these rules and they need to tell all the states that thay are instituting a system where we all vote at once or we rotate who goes first. If the states don't like it they can go to hell. It is past time for the current 'tradition' (it's 36 years people, that is hardly a tradition) to become another funny footnote in history that our children can laugh about

Posted by: claronridge | August 11, 2007 9:39 AM

annefrank: The votes in Iowa are ALL bought and you know it! Take a look at whats going on with the Ames straw poll. Thats democracy? Heck no thats buying votes and they aren't even shy about admitting it.

Posted by: MarcMyWords | August 10, 2007 4:07 PM

RealCalGal: Right on!

With a measly 37 million people living in California you would think that a candidate might want to drop by now and then. Hasn't happened in my lifetime!

Posted by: MarcMyWords | August 10, 2007 4:05 PM

I really wish though that we would do away with primaries and instead just have the old fashioned smoke filled rooms during the conventions. Otherwise what purpose do the conventions really serve other then a giant infomercial!

Posted by: JMEnglish | August 10, 2007 3:34 PM

Argh. No Caucus in December? That would have been like the Christmas gift that keeps on giving for political junkies like myself...

Posted by: JMEnglish | August 10, 2007 3:33 PM

In a small state like Iowa, voters can more easily dialog with candidates and question specific policies and solutions - rather than "deciding" on a candidate by merely going along with party bosses.

Unlike in South Carolina where Hillary bought off 2 state legislators in exchange for $10K a month in "consulting" fees.

Negative news about Hillary rarely makes the news.

Posted by: annefrank | August 10, 2007 3:32 PM

I say every state in the country should pass a law saying it is required to go first. Then we'd see what a joke the New Hampshire and Iowa laws are.

The national parties need to get this in their grip and stop this silliness.

Although I have generally admired the New Hampshire populace for its attention to the issues, the Iowa caucases, never mention the straw polls, are more of a joke, reflecting the ability to spend money to get people to them than real appeal of the candidates on the issues.

As a citizen of the most populated state in the country, it makes me darned mad that we never see candidates here unless we can pay big bucks to go to a fundraiser.

Ok, maybe just OUR state should pass a law requiring that we go first. Put all our delegates on the line and see which state, California or New Hampshire, the candidates rush to.

Posted by: theRealCalGal | August 10, 2007 3:14 PM

Who is John Cox?? He's speaking at the Iowa straw poll tomorrow, but hasn't been in any debates that I've seen. He does talk like a candidate though.

Posted by: barrypatricia | August 10, 2007 2:37 PM

Me thinks that Culver speaks with forked tongue. On the one hand, he says that Iowa and New Hampshire need to stick together during this primary season. On the other hand, he says that he "respects" Nevada's right to leap frog ahead of New Hampshire, just as Iowa suddenly did 20 years ago. New Hampshire didn't confront Iowa then and it has had to confront Iowa and everybody else since then.

Funny that many of those who find New Hampshire's actions in all of this to be confrontational and strong-armed think nothing of supporting a confrontational, strong-armed, arrogant, hypocritical, incompetent, president who started a vanity war, vanity occupation, and vanity spying. If those same enablers who voted for this fuehrur in the White House don't wake up, this same "decider" will decide that all the confrontation over primary season issues is a "national security" issue, and he will ban the 2008 elections altogether.

Posted by: NewBostonYankee | August 10, 2007 2:37 PM

Regarding JustMyOpinion's post -- we have done that already. GWB was losing steam fast after a narrow victory(??) in 2004; it simply took Katrina for the bottom to fall out. While I thought having a recall election for Gray Davis was insane since it came less than a year after he was elected -- who wouldn't want a recall of W. right now!?!?!

Posted by: gso-chris | August 10, 2007 1:43 PM

While this is an amusing topic, a more serious problem faces Iowa TOMORROW. Tomorrow, the GOP Iowa Straw Poll is taking place on Electronic Diebold machines (with NO paper trail). These are the EXACT same machines which were discredited by California scientists AND gov't scientists ("unreliable, easy to hack into"). Save this 'primary-date' topic for another time and let's preserve the Iowa Straw Poll tomorrow. Or we'll have another rigged ballot and a further infringement on our rights by the gov't. Add it to the ever-growing list of violations:
They violate the 1st Amendment by opening mail, caging demonstrators and banning books like "America Deceived" from Amazon.
They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns during Katrina.
They violate the 4th Amendment by conducting warrant-less wiretaps.
They violate the 5th and 6th Amendment by suspending habeas corpus.
They violate the 8th Amendment by torturing.
They violate the entire Constitution by starting 2 illegal wars based on lies and on behalf of a foriegn gov't.
Go to Iowa tomorrow, support Dr. Ron Paul and end this madness.
Last link (unless Google Books caves to the gov't and drops the title):

Posted by: Reader11722 | August 10, 2007 1:36 PM

I would like as much time as possible to hear the candidates before I vote in a primary. If I vote in January I miss the chance to see what these people do before November. Pretty soon we will elect our President and decide that we were wrong before they ever take office. Just another case of America living in the drive-thru.

Posted by: cam51y | August 10, 2007 12:54 PM

What great humor for the summer. The politicians and the political system are just like the papparrazi and lemmings. We have more candidates than a stage can hold. They all follow the same playbook. This primary thing is another example of political gamesmanship and are really value less process. The people vote in November 2008.

Posted by: JustMyOpinion | August 10, 2007 12:52 PM

What great humor for the summer. The politicians and the political system are just like the papparrazi and lemmings. We have more candidates than a stage can hold. They all follow the same playbook. This primary thing is another example of political gamesmanship and are really value less process. The people vote in November 2008.

Posted by: JustMyOpinion | August 10, 2007 12:52 PM

How about some attention to "Wives for Romney?" The Iowa branch, "Iowa Wives for Romney," is pulling out all the stops for him. Should he be the nominee and should he face Hillary, there's no doubt "Wives for Romney" will parry her appeal as the feminist candidate.

Posted by: filoporquequilo | August 10, 2007 12:43 PM

Culver's comments reflect a game of chicken that's going on between the states competing for first in the nation status. Interpreted literally, what Culver stated is nonsense, but the ulterior motive is to throw down a dare for any other state (NH, FL, and MI) to actually attempt a move into 2007. He's trying to set-up a media narrative in which such a move is verboten, thereby invalidating the value of any such contests.

Posted by: tracker2 | August 10, 2007 12:23 PM

After Dan's last article ( many people commented that the entire primary system should change. That should definitely be a focus for 2012 and we need to start examining how to change it now! Larry Sabato, a professor at UVA, has a book coming out sometime this fall that suggests some ideas that look really appealing to me.

He wants to have regional primaries, with a New Year's Eve lottery to decide who goes first (so that candidates won't even know until the beginning of the year and won't be able to campaign until then). He also thinks there should be some early states before the regions go, but not just Iowa and New Hampshire every time. Instead, he would include other small states with similar dynamics (even DC) on the possible list and choose between those every four years during the lottery. The current primary system is clearly broken and everyone should start looking at proposals now to fix it as a complete overhaul would probably only be possible with a Constitutional amendment. If people continue to be as outraged as we are now, we probably could get one passed!

Posted by: i-man2000 | August 10, 2007 11:54 AM

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