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A Storm of Comments

In case you've been out of touch, today is the day some Iowans will gather in various places and decide who they think the major party presidential candidates should be. This means that political reporters have to write "advance stories" in which they talk about what could or could not happen and attempt to assess the meaning of possible outcomes. Whatever is written will please some and infuriate others, depending on whom they support or dislike.

I've chosen reader comments today from two of the Post's many offerings -- one a typically thoughtful Dan Balz explanation of "Eight Questions Iowa Could Answer," the other a typically irreverent Dana Milbank sketch of a campaign scene, in this case a Barack Obama campaign scene. The sketch, of course, has generated a flurry of posts from our Readers Who Comment, who see bias in anything that speaks well or ill or even attempts to explain candidates and this ridiculous process we use to choose them. Maybe we'll have a little clarity by tomorrow, but if we don't, New Hampshire's primary is just five days away.

First we'll visit with some of those who commented on the Milbank sketch.

Milbank dropped in on an Obama rally attended by about 1,400 people, many of whom cheered when urged to show up for the caucus. But he found only nine signatures at the student sign-in table where folks pledge to appear.

Not everyone liked Milbank's methodology. FURTG, for example, said, "This is an idiotic article. Was that the H.S. sign up or the college students? Every supporter card makes a difference. we'll see soon enough."

And grichardson1 suggested that "At this point, one has to assume that most of the new caucas goers attending the rally had already signed up. Relatively few people who wait until the day before the caucus to make a decision about their candidate..."

whatever17 wrote, "I was at this event yesterday, and the article must have been written from another planet.. There were stories out there that would have conveyed some measure of truth about the event, but Mr. Milbank was apparently too busy reading from a beltway script to find them..."

Obama said at the rally that "These extraordinary young people...are what this campaign is all about. This prompted wideblacksky to add, "Yeah, doctors and lawyers fighting over what industry will rape middle class america next."

Many readers decided to support or attack other candidates or predict various outcomes.

For example, thebobbob said, "I've never seen an electorate this angry at the established Party and its supporters. politicians may not listen to polls, or read newspapers. or to the other co-equal branches of government but they will hear it when the voters speak..."

johnycheng1 wrote, "In golf we say"Drive for show, putt for dough." In Iowa we say,"Show up for Obama, cast vote for Hillary."

mikel1 said, "the obama/oprah tandem made for a good show & dance in IA. who wouldn't go & cheer that in "stimulating" iowa. so i predict that after all the hoopla, smart minds will vote for the true & tested qualities of harworking candidate hillary clinton. she has my vote."

johnnygunn wrote, "It seems that you have overlooked one candidate in the Democratic caucuses - the one likely to win - John Edwards."

fgerard said, "Even in the closing hours of the Iowa Caucus, WPO cannot bring itself to write a positive column on Obama. Milbank's drivel is a negative tirade against the young people who are attracted to Obama over Shrillary..."

And John_C_Page_III wrote, "The downfall of the house of Clinton/Bush!!
It's starting to look like this will be a happy new year"

presGWBfanclub expressed a view I have heard in several recent conversations, to wit, "we are offered a selection of BOZO's... i don't want hillary.. i don't want obama.. i don't want edwards, romney, or guiliani... why can't Mr. Al Gore run????..."

buzzm1 pointed to one of the more toxic issues running around the country in saying, "Now, if Obama only had a strong stand against illegal immigration, I would vote for him. He isn't listening to the people. We have existing laws against illegal immigrants...
What we need is a President who will enforce our existing laws..."

And now to the Eight Questions story.

RMGopal supports this system, writing, "Iowa Caucus, New Hampshire Primary: Democracy in action, untidy and boisterous. The only time in the election cycle the voters are given their due and taken seriously..."

But morningglory51 said, "I don't beleive that races should end in the first state, as if Iowa decideds for the rest of the nation. It doesn't. The results could very well be different in the rest of the nation. The only thing it shows is that if candidates rely so heavily on one state and dropn out so easily,is that they are weak in the first place."

And finally, an example of how our readers like to inform each other. For example, Ciap wrote, "The absense of a the one person one vote rule???? WTH In other words this means nothing I guess."

But robert17 answered, "If your candidate doesn't get at least 10% of the votes in your particular caucus you have the option of picking someone else or going home. (These are Democratic party rules, Republicans don't do that.) So for Democrats who support the less popular candidates (in their particular area) won't be able to register a vote for their candidate in the final tally."

By Doug Feaver  |  January 3, 2008; 7:55 AM ET
Categories:  Presidential Politics  
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kevin devoto writes: This is insightful and helpful. Please bring more of this to our attention. thanks kevin devoto

Posted by: kevin devoto | February 19, 2008 1:39 AM | Report abuse

"Gary Felton" - research on propaganda, which, as you know, is not a pack of lies, but a few cherry-picked facts from which innuendo is spun - research shows people believe propaganda to the extent that they're predisposed. That is to say, people have to want to believe the innuendo is true. Research shows that if native speakers feel the least skepticism, they can't believe and won't be able to not see the holes. You don't need a reason to believe. You need an absence of doubt. So those who'd never vote for Barack will believe you but no one else. Cool, huh?

Posted by: jhbyer | January 9, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

The following is an article which must be read by voters to get past the "form over substance" of Obama

Columnist Says Barack Obama 'Lied To The American People;'
Asks Publisher to Withdraw Obama's Book
Tuesday August 10, 9:22 pm ET

NEW YORK, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ --'s independent contrarian columnist, Andy Martin, will publish a column and hold simultaneous news conferences in New York and London on Wednesday, August 11th to disclose he believes Barack Obama is a political fraud who "lied to the American people." Martin has asked Crown Books to stop sales of Obama's book because of its fraudulent content. Martin says Obama may be a threat to the Jewish community.

"I feel sad having to expose Barack Obama," says Martin, "but the man is a complete fraud. The truth is going to surprise, and disappoint, and outrage many people who were drawn to him. He has lied to the American people, and he has sought to misrepresent his own heritage.

"Obama's life story is vastly different from the one he portrays. My point: if he will lie about his mother and father, what else is he lying about? Can we expect 'bimbo eruptions?'

"Fiction: Obama stated in his Convention speech: 'My father ... grew up herding goats.' The 'goat herder' claim has been repeated endlessly. It is a lie. Fact: Obama's grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama was a prominent and wealthy farmer. His son, Obama's father, was a child of privilege, not privation. He was an outstanding student, not a herdsman.

"Fiction: Obama was given an 'African' name. Fact: Obama is a Muslim who has concealed his religion. I am a strong supporter of the Muslim community, and I believe Muslims have been scapegoated. Obama has a great opportunity to be forthright. Instead, he has treated his Muslim heritage as a dark secret. His grandfather was named 'Hussein.' That is an Arabic-Muslim, not African, name. Hussein was a devout Muslim and named his son, Barack Senior, 'Baraka.' Baraka is an Arabic word meaning 'blessed.' Baraka comes out of the Koran and Arabic, not Africa.

"Barack Senior was also a devoted Muslim, and also chose a Muslim name for his son, our own Barack Obama, Junior. Again, his name was an Arabic and Koranic.

Obama has spent a lifetime running from his family heritage and religious heritage. Would his father have given his son a Koranic name if the father was not a devout Muslim? Obama's stepfather was also a Muslim. Obama will be the first Muslim-heritage senator; he should be proud of that fact. There is nothing to be ashamed of in any of the three great Abrahamic religions.

"Fiction: Obama Senior was a harmless student 'immigrant' who came to the United States only to study. Fact: Obama was part of one of the most corrupt and violent organizations in Africa: the Kenyatta regime. Obama's father ran back to Kenya soon after the British left. It is likely Obama's father had Mau Mau sympathies or connections, or he would not have been welcomed into the murderous inner circle of rapists, murderers, and arsonists. I believe Obama's secret shame at his family history of rape, murder and arson is what actualizes him. Our research is not yet complete. We are seeking to examine British colonial records. Our investigation to date has drawn on information on three continents.

"And what about Obama's beloved Kenyan brothers and sisters? None of his family was invited to Boston to share his prominence. Are his relatives being kept in the closet? Where are they? More secrecy, more prevarication.

"It is time for Barack Obama to stop presenting a fantasy to the American people. We are forgiving and many would still support him. It may well be that his concealment is meant to endanger Israel. His Muslim religion would obviously raise serious questions in many Jewish circles where Obama now enjoys support," Martin states.

"Our investigation is continuing. In he meantime, Crown Books should stop selling Obama's novelization of his life. We have asked Crown to do that. Obama is living a lie."

RESOURCES: Martin's columns at (Govt & Politics); E-mail:

Source: Andy Martin Worldwide Communications

Gary Felton

Lake In The Hills, IL 60102


Posted by: Gary Felton | January 5, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Excellent coverage of the Iowa Caucus in Des Moines by CSPAN. Great to see grass roots democracy in action.

However...the woman who was elected permanent chair was awful! She stood around all night looking lost and confused. The guy who was temp chair at the beginning would have been a much better choice, based upon his very insightful and intelligent opening.

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Did anyone see the CSPAN coverage of the Iowa Caucus in Des Moines? Excellent to see grass roots democracy in action!

However...the woman who was elected permanent caucus chair was terrible! She just stood around looking confused while everyone around her did all the work. The guy who was temp chair would have been MUCH better to keep in the job, based upon his leadership at the beginning. During the referendum votes, they continually relied upon him for the political background to many of the referendum proposals, while the perm. chair did what? You guessed it...stood there!

Posted by: Ogrady1 | January 4, 2008 3:05 AM | Report abuse

Oh dear, is poor 'just a white' guy feeling neglected? Does he want somebody to kiss his bruised self-esteem? Well, all he needs to do is tune in to Fox News, or Chris Matthews, and he'll find lots of like-minded folks who are weeping for the terrible treatment of 'just a white guy.'

Why don't you have a rally--call Rudolph Guiliani, and Tom Tancredo, and the Minutemen, and Trent Lott, and the Federation for Immigration Reform, and rent a hall with white walls, and white curtains, and white window frames, and white-tiled bathrooms, and white urinals, and white toilet paper, and white janitors, and white toilet attendants, and you'all can all listen to songs and speeches about how women, and blacks, and browns, and yellows are stealing your white heritage.

Poor, poor white guy. You don't get no respect. My heart breaks.

Posted by: Cosimo de Lauro | January 3, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

It never ceases to amaze me the headlines on the left. History will be made with a "woman" or "african american" winning Iowa. It's as if the woman is faceless and has no heritage because she is a white woman while the "black guy" gets the this distinguised label "african american".

when your a white guy, your just a white guy. But when your a black guy, your african american. how about just AMERICAN you idiots......

Posted by: John Thompson | January 3, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

No disrespect to Iowa, but why does such a small state with so few voters receive so much candidate time, political money and press attention when states like California (largest population, more demographically representative, largest number of electoral votes) gets so little? It seems that Iowa and New Hampshire get to decide the political front runner long before the action moves to a state with enough votes to truly make a difference. If the front runner is decided in a small state like Iowa, could this in some way be contributing to national voter apathy?

Posted by: docjoat | January 3, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

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