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The Rising: Strawn's Youth Movement in Iowa

You may not have heard of Matt Strawn but every Republican who is pondering a run for president in 2012 has him on their speed dial.

That's because Strawn, at the tender age of 35, has ascended to one of the most coveted perches in the political world: chairman of the Iowa Republican party.

In that role, Strawn will oversee the quadrennial courting process of Iowans by the various and sundry candidates who wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and see the next president of the United States.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will head to Iowa on Nov. 7 to headline a state party event at the Iowa State fairgrounds, the first of a cavalcade of candidates who will trek through the Hawkeye State trolling for support in advance of the state's expected first-in-the-nation caucuses in 2012.

"We welcome all national Republican figures in that rebuilding effort," said Strawn in an interview with the Fix as part our "Rising" series.

The rebuilding of the state party is what initially drew Strawn back to his native Iowa after spending a decade in Washington working for Reps. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) and Mike Rogers (Mich.).

Strawn, whose family runs a farm in Benton, saw opportunity in a state where Republicans had lost the governorship, two House seats, control of the state legislature and the state at the presidential level in 2008 over the past two election cycles.

Strawn entered the race to be chairman in late 2008, facing off against five other candidates including a former Republican Secretary of State, the former speaker pro tempore of the Iowa Senate and the party's nominee against Sen. Tom Harkin (D).

Highlighting his youth -- and the fact that he is a co-owner of the Arena Football League's Iowa Barnstormers -- Strawn broke with tradition and actually campaigned for the job with a "pizza and politics" tour of ten cities in the Hawkeye State.

He won -- convincing the 17(!) party leaders that his youth and energy were the right recipe to put the party back together.

Despite the ever-looming presence of 2012 on the state and the party, Strawn believes that the 2010 governor's race -- and downballot contests -- are the building blocks to the GOP's resurgence.

"My only goal is to elect a Republican governor and elect a Republican majority [in the state House and Senate]," insisted Strawn.

The decision by former four term Gov. Terry Branstad (R) to challenge Gov. Chet Culver (D) in 2010 gives Republicans a surprisingly strong chance to take back a key Midwestern governor's race next November.

Strawn believes the best way to win next fall is through coordination up and down the ticket. "We need to be working together," he said. "In recent cycles Republican candidates have been running their own individual races." Putting that coordination into action, Strawn was in Washington late last month for a fundraiser for the party headlined by Sen. Chuck Grassley and Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham.

Strawn, who was elected to a two-year term, is cagey when asked about whether he plans to serve through 2012 but it's clear that he hopes to build momentum in 2010 to ensure that the presidential caucuses succeed in 2012 and make the state competitive (again) in presidential general election.

"There is nothing wrong with Republican principles but we need to do a better job of relating those principles to Iowa families," he said.


By Chris Cillizza  |  October 14, 2009; 12:27 PM ET
Categories:  The Rising  
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Next: The Most Important Number in Politics Today

Comments

Reform. Why is Iowa still the first caucus in the presidential nomination process? It definitely is not an accurate sample of the rest of the country. Just because a candidate wins the Iowa caucus does not mean the rest of the American people like the candidate. Almost every candidate who wins Iowa ends up winning the nomination. So, basically, Iowa gets to decide who is a party's candidate in the end. Our election system needs to change.

New Political Age: http://newagepolitics-omdalen.blogspot.com/

Posted by: nomdalen | October 19, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

I care about Strawn and Pawlenty, so that makes two (2) of us at least.

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Most important number of the day: 0. The number of thinking people who care about Strawn or Pawlenty.

Isn't this the 41st "Pawlenty in 2012" shout out? Dude, if you want to be his press secretary, give him a call. No more free WashPo ads for this guy and these unknown GOP wannabe candidates.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 14, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Market recovery always precedes employment recovery. So while a better employment picture soon certainly isn't guaranteed, this is a necessary first condition on the road there.

OHIOCITIZEN, fair point about financials recovery, but it was not only financials. Both JPM and Intel reported better than expected earnings. And earnings are the best basis for a stock market rally.

Posted by: nodebris | October 14, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

More Cilizza cheerleading, maybe he wants to be the heir apparent to Glen Beck, or Rush Limbo. Loosing us WaPo, need to find a more independent political spammer.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | October 14, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I thought that he was NEVER "President" to you?

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

One day we'll be able to forget that George W. Bush was president. Woo-hoo!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 14, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Now someone explain why this is important.

==

Simple. It reflects optimism about labor costs remaining low for the foreseeable future. When lots of people are unemployed, workers have reduced expectations of a living wage. Someone break out the Jim Beam.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 14, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

O
M
G

That is like so many Dows!!

Now someone explain why this is important.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 14, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Now that the thread topic has been "Strawn About" it is interesting to note that Matt is a solid pro-lifer unwilling to sacrifice his beliefs to win elections:

http://www.iowapolitics.com/index.Iml?Article=158446#

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

FINAL BELL! Congrats, nodebris, you got your headline: "Dow CLOSES Above 10,000 for First Time in a Year" : )

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

P.S. to OHIOCITIZEN (I had to double check the 52 week low):

6469.95 looks pretty "V" shaped to me ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

That's right, koolkat_1960, keep clapping if you believe!

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

10,027 -- WOO-HOO!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 14, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

OHIOCITIZEN:

Are you certain that Romney and/or Bloomberg could only win NH?

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't a terrorist attack that precipitated the Dow's decline from 14,000 to 6,600 -- unless that's how you care to characterize GOP economic policies. Which would probably be a fair characterization, come to think of it.

==

More like a robbery. Not a burglary, a robbery.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 14, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Looking at the Electoral College map currently, Republicans have almost no hope of any movement in the Northeast states from DC to Maine with the possible exception of New Hampshire, or on the Pacific Coast, so they need to focus geographically on Southern growth states Obama carried (Virginia, NC, and Florida) plus the Southwest (especially Colorado and Nevada as they probably have little hope in N.M.) and the Great Lakes/Upper Midwest as Obama carried all six Midwest Great Lakes States (Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana) plus Iowa. Iowa went Democratic by double-digits in 2008, as did Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois (which was a 25-point win for Democrats) so the better Republican opportunities actually lie in Indiana and Ohio.

As to the Dow Jones breaking 10,000 and now hovering just below 10,000 around 9990, that is good news for Obama and Democrats only in the sense that it may help create more good feelings and a better atmosphere, more confidence and perhaps provide an impetus to consumer spending as we approach the Holiday season.

It appears as though this is likely a relatively slow-paced but steadily sustained U-shaped recovery rather than a quick-rebound V-shaped recovery. While that is not good news in the short-term as it means unemployment will linger at unacceptably high levels for way too long, there are some positives to the U-shaped recovery vs. the V-shaped recovery. The primary benefit being that because GDP growth is likely to start at low levels, then build gradually toward perhaps a steady 3.5-4% annual growth level, we will be much less likely to be subject to substantial inflation than would be the case in the quick-turnaround V-shaped recovery where the economy posts a couple quarters or more of extremely strong growth in the 6-7% neighborhood which typically spurs inflation. But jobs growth tends to lag in U-shaped recoveries as opposed to V-shaped recoveries.

The Dow has just edged back over 10,000 primarily on the strength of strong earnings reports from some of the larger Financials, especially JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | October 14, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't a terrorist attack that precipitated the Dow's decline from 14,000 to 6,600 -- unless that's how you care to characterize GOP economic policies. Which would probably be a fair characterization, come to think of it.

Posted by: nodebris | October 14, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Obama is the type who would ignore an explicit Daily Briefing because he had other notions that were more interesting to him than planes being flown into buildings.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 14, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Unless al Qaeda hits us again.

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"I got out of the stock market in 1999 and have more than enough liquidity"

Smart man, getting out before Republicans took over. Voting with your wallet, I see.

Your words say "yes yes yes" but your investments say "no no no."

Posted by: nodebris | October 14, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama will have GWB beat if he can just keep the market from dropping more than 40% during his term. The 25% increase since his inauguration is just gravy.

Beating Republican economics is a pretty low bar, granted. You don't have to be "The One" or some such other wing-nut nightmare to beat it. Half-way sane will suffice.

Posted by: nodebris | October 14, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

10010.34 (keep clapping)

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I got out of the stock market in 1999 and have more than enough liquidity

==

so wear your Depends

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 14, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Funny how when the crunch comes it's always the working people whose bones go crunch. It's not a failure of false notions about the economy, it's a "business cycle." Why, if only we'deregulated just a little further everything would have been just fine. Supply side works, markets are infallible .. as long as they're free from distortion.

One atom of government intervention in the ebb and flow of commerce, y'see, that's what makes recessions. Leave markets alone and everyone will always benefit.

This stuff makes me gag.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 14, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I got out of the stock market in 1999 and have more than enough liquidity to buy that Corvette (we are also going to Vegas on the 23rd ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

awwww I t'ink sumuddy needa HANKY

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 14, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Less than an hour to go to get back up over 10,000 though. Clap if you believe in The One!!!

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

DJIA when GWB took office: 10587.59
DJIA when GWB left office: 7949.09

Heck of a business cycle.

Posted by: nodebris | October 14, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm impressed. Jake is so disciplined he would rather have his retirement savings diminished than see the stock market rise under Obama. I suppose he could drive around with his cash in the trunk of the corvette. Until he returns it, in the hopes of contributing to the failure of the auto industry.

But he really does love this country.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 14, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

These are BUSINESS CYCLES, nodebris -- after the hole 9/11 put us in, the DJIA got up over 14,000 under GWB -- let me know when we get back to that point.

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

It's not my bubble that's bursting.

Posted by: nodebris | October 14, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

As usual the GOP supporters are hoping for Amaerica to suffer calamity. Well, no wonder, it's not like they have any other hope of getting back to power.

Good news for America? Bad news for the GOP and its trolls.

America loses Olympic hosting? Yay! Let's go buy more bullets.

President wins a Nobel? Boo! Let's go buy more bullets.

Unemployment rises? (Try to) blame it on Obama and cheer in private. And go buy more bullets.

What's the word for citizens who hope their country fails?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 14, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

P.S. the Most Important Number in Politics Today is actually: 14

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/most-important-number/the-most-important-number-in-p-49.html

Sorry to burst your bubble.

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

DJIA currently at 9979.89

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Jake, when that happens, I bet that will be a headline. But it hasn't happened, so it won't.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 14, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

So, if the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 10,000 for one minute, but closed the day at 8,000 -- your "headline" would be what?

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I see we have the usual quibbling and micro-parsing from joked.

Whatever, joked. The DJIA crossing 10K for even one minute is great news for Obama and terrible news for the rightwingnut "Fail, America" brigade now in charge of the GOP.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 14, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"It actually has to CLOSE above 10,000 to count."

Ah, I see. Someone better tell all the headline writers about that.

Posted by: nodebris | October 14, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

It actually has to CLOSE above 10,000 to count.

Posted by: JakeD | October 14, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

New Number of The Day: 10,000.

Posted by: nodebris | October 14, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

How will we ever know what Republicans think of this guy? Perhaps they should conduct an Iowa STRAWN poll!

Get it? Get it???

Posted by: DDAWD | October 14, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Strawn is the biggest blow hard this state has seen yet... he hasn't done anything about the massive voter registration edge the Dems have & blew a special election Republicans should have won this sept - so far, the only thing he's managed to do well is travel the state campaigning for himself. Everyone knows this is just a stepping stone for him to run for office and return to DC - only this time as a Congressman.

Posted by: 1owan | October 14, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the young fellow wants to work that Dean-Schumer-Emanuel magic. What a novel idea.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 14, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

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