Does Iowa matter?

Korvah in Japan, Steven in Juba in southern Sudan, Farooq in Bangalore and Randall in California (who listens while driving around in his truck) – thanks for signing up to the Daily Email.

We’re talking Kenya and the race to the White House today…


So first round honours to Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama in the race for the Republican and Democrat Presidential nominations. However, some candidates like John McCain and Rudi Giuliani didn’t even bother to campaignm, so what’s the big deal?

Nonetheless, hundreds of you have been contacting the BBC about this – with many believing Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney are on the back foot already. Also lots of you are accusing the mainstream media of ignoring Ron Paul, so we’ll hear about him as well.

Now Washington politicos need no encouragement to talk about these matters, but are they right to be getting animated about this result? How significant is it? Give us your reaction.


No is the short answer being given to us by a number of you in Kenya. We are going to speak to some of you who either feel threatened or have had to leave your homes because of the post-election violence. We’re also going to invite the government, relevant NGOs and aid organisations to reply to your concerns.If you’re in Kenya and want to tell us about your experience, please get in touch.


We didn’t get close to getting all of your messages and calls on air yesterday. It was one of the biggest responses we’ve ever had. If you missed it, we had a Kenyan government minister and a top official from the opposition talking to each other and to you. You can download the show here.

96 Responses to “Does Iowa matter?”

  1. January 4, 2008 at 14:00

    As long as the political process ignores the Libertarians, Greens, and other alternative political parties; the caucus and primary will not matter.

  2. 2 steve
    January 4, 2008 at 14:15

    Having lived in Washington, DC my entire life (32 years) it’s hard to not know that the politicians and the people that are attracted to them (the I love money, status, and power people) who flock to this area are nothing but narcissists. Virtually every last one of them has narcissistic personality disorder, and they are only a little bit below sociopaths in their level of self absorbedness. So when you hear a politician talk about how they want to help with this, or how they are different, realize they are doing whatever it takes to for them to get the power they want. They are all self serving, they would all be diagnosed with personality disorders. Here are diagnostic criteria:

    Diagnostic criteria
    At least five of the following are necessary for a diagnosis (as with many DSM diagnoses, they must form a pervasive pattern; for example, a person who shows these criteria only in one or two relationships or situations would not properly be diagnosed with NPD):

    has a grandiose sense of self-importance
    is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
    believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by other special people
    requires excessive admiration
    strong sense of entitlement
    takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
    lacks empathy
    is often envious or believes others are envious of him or her
    arrogant behavior


    These people are not worth any media attention nor your vote. You want these monsters running the country? Every wonder why things are so messed up? Because we elect narcissists to power.

  3. 3 C J Smith
    January 4, 2008 at 14:24

    I believe Iowa does matter! For the candidates, it is the first test of whether they are able to get their message out to the voters and/or whether that message is well received or not. Each step during the primary process is important as party members sift through the candidates trying to find the person we feel is best to represent us in the general election! Some candidates will quickly drop out after not doing well in Iowa – Chris Dodd and Joe Biden this time around. This allows us, as voters, to concentrate on the remaining candidates which is always much easier with only a few left.
    We should also bear in mind that, in my opinion, Iowa is one of the best states to start off the process because of the fact that they use a caucus instead of a primary. I believe that people involved in this process do a lot more research than many of us in states without the caucus. (Sad, but true)
    If only the rest of the voters in the US would put this amount of effort into their decisions! Maybe our country wouldn’t be in the situation we are now if more did.

  4. 4 John D. Anthony
    January 4, 2008 at 15:11

    I don’t know anyone who thinks the final choice will be Obama vs. Huckabee. There is still plenty of opportunity for all the candidates to sink their own ships with stupid opinions and off color remarks.

    John in Salem

  5. 5 Des Currie
    January 4, 2008 at 15:34

    Iowa matters to corn, potatoes and a few farmers. Otherwise Iowa does not matter, especially not to those who do not even know where Iowa is. (And possibly some WHYS bunch who should be home enjoying the winter in London).
    Des Currie

  6. 6 steve
    January 4, 2008 at 15:36

    Normally I’m not one to talk about celebrities, especially their horrible behavior, but I think it woudl be good to discuss the disgusting behavior, and how it’s likely to be mimiced by young girls. Now the Brittney Spears is a certifiable loon, and her 16 year old sister is pregnant, and her mom thinks she can write books about parenting, I think we have serious problems ahead. Brittney Spears is your typical bipolar chick. She’s a menace to herself and to others,without an intervention, she will wind up dead, very soon. Now because of her sister, mindless teenage girls will think having a kid is “cool” so we’ll have to deal with this. If you think things are bad now, wait till these younger members of “Generation ME” “grow up”.. We will look back at 2008 like it was the good old days because will be such self absorbed monstrosities.

  7. 7 steve
    January 4, 2008 at 15:46

    Des Currie:

    What the heck kind of comment is that? Say if I started saying that “Uzbekistan only matters to unimportant people” I would have the PC bigrade telling me I’m a racist, and culturally insensitive, and that I’ve committed some thought crime. So why is Iowa fair game? Can you straighten out your doublestandards so non PC idiots can understand why one is okay, but the other is not?

  8. January 4, 2008 at 15:48

    I am not much of a fan of the Republican Party, but I heard Joseph Baiden on C-Span radio the other night, and I have to say I think he has a better head on his shoulders than all the others. Why is no one talking about him?
    Cheers, Cliff

  9. January 4, 2008 at 15:51

    Hi Ros!

    I am from Iowa and I participated in the caucuses last night. In my opinion Iowa DOES matter and I think that Mayor Giuliani Senator McCain made a big mistake in deciding to skip Iowa and I think it will show in the other primary races.

    Hope to hear back from you soon!
    Kent Oman
    Iowa (US)

  10. 10 steve
    January 4, 2008 at 15:58

    Cliff, Joe Biden is a democrat, not a republican.

  11. January 4, 2008 at 16:21

    From: Nshom Ernest Bah, Cameroonian

    About Kenya
    I feel sad for the Kenyan people because they have a police force that is our to protect the ilegitimate regime of Kibaki and does not give a damn about the wellbeing of the Kenyans whose vote was stolen.

    About Barack
    I pray sincerely that when it is time to vote the Ameriican peopple will not place race above reason. Iowa is a good pointer. God bless them.

  12. 12 Kingsley Ezenekwe
    January 4, 2008 at 16:44

    The events in Kenya has made it imperative for The African Union and other regional bodies to play a more active role in the electoral activities of member nations. It is no longer enough to monitor elections and issue reports which the incumbent Government or the candidate with more power does not care about. These bodies should set up an electoral body with a set guideline, whose job will be to organise elections in member countries. It should be assumed and experience has proved too that most incumbent African governments will not hold a free and fair election. We should take the bulls by the horns, and not wait to organise peace keeping forces.

    Kingsley Ezenekwe
    Lagos Nigeria

  13. 13 Jacob M. Gureech
    January 4, 2008 at 16:44

    Dear BBC,
    All the best in the new year.
    The person Who has brought all this messes to Kenya,in regards to announcement of the winner,of presidential candidate for the last general election in Kenya,Mr.Samuel Kivuitu,the chairman of Kenya Election Commission.He had worked in favor of Kibaki,That is an abuse of democracy
    best regards

  14. 14 Jacob de Gureech
    January 4, 2008 at 16:44

    Dear BBC,
    Americans, have done a micracle that has never happen in the nation history.It will gives hopes and prides to the hopeless people, who considered themselves as second class citizens like the Africans-Americans.Congratulations to both Huckabee,and Obama for the job well done.
    Jacob de Gureech,
    Canberra Australia

  15. 15 Thomas
    January 4, 2008 at 16:45

    I would like Mr.Kibaki to tell the world how many people were killed when he was first elected into office.
    The opposition must not be intimidated by the use of state security agents.They have to reclaim the people’s mandate at all costs.There is no reward for loosing.
    The people of Ivory Coast reclaimed their mandate from General Robert Gaye with 400 lives.Kenyans must do the same now.
    True democracy is about the arrival of the fittest and not the survival of the expedient.


  16. January 4, 2008 at 16:49

    As Michigan voters, we are getting screwed.
    But there is a way to retaliate.
    First of all: we have quit worrying about “what party we belong to.” You don’t “belong” to any party. Just because I am a republican does not mean I have always voted in the republican primary, and it doesn’t mean I have always voted republican in the general (election). And I have never voted a ‘straight ticket,’ either way. So When I go up to the booth, ask for a democratic primary ballot, that doesn’t mean I am a democrat. I just means that I am voting in the Democratic Primary. We don’t “register” with the parties anymore, beyond allegedly by the Primary Ballot we chose. If they put me down as one, all that does is screw up their poll numbers, and I don’t have a problem with that. When I come out, if they ask “DEM? or GOP?” I say GOP, whether I voted GOP or not. That is the genius of a Secret Ballot. And the point to one, I might as well add. It is their assumption that I vote partisan party politics, because that is what they do. I have a brain, and certain cognitive abilities, of my own, and I don’t vote for crud just because that crud belongs to my party. (You think I voted for the current clown? Not on your life, baby.)
    Besides: the parameters for what is G.O.P., and what is DEM. these days have become so exaggerated, and so narrow, so outside the margins, (and so belligerent), that none of us really fit the ‘profile’ of what is Left or Right anyway. MOST of us are Liberal on some things, conservative on others, and fairly middle of the road on the bulk. Call me a Liberal Republican with Centrist leanings. What does that mean? It means I’m not a NAZI, nor am I a bleeding-heart. Just about covers it all, doesn’t it.
    Secondly: whether an intelligent move or not, (and I feel it was not), our Primary was moved to Jan 15th., in a feeble attempt to inflate, or over-inflate, our importance in the political arena. As a result, neither party has “allowed” any of their candidates to campaign here, (not including that elitist tryst up on the island last fall). Now why and how the parties get to challenge, and supersede, State law is beyond me. But they do. And as a result, I get little, or no information about any of the candidates, as they pertain to me, my county, and my state. National news doesn’t cut it here. I am a Michigander, and I do not need to know what Mississippi thinks a candidate. It shouldn’t influence me one way or the other.
    In addition: the Democrats have disqualified the Michigan Delegates to the National Convention, which means the Democratic primary in Mich. now means nothing; a straw poll; a mock election. As if this should placate the masses. If it does? shame on you.
    As for the GOP, they’re going to take our convention delegates, but they’re candidates are not going to work for them, or even vie for them, here in Michigan. So just what is it we can do???
    Easy. Everybody vote in the only Primary that is going to count. The GOP Primary, for now. If I am a Dem. and I go to the booth, they ask, of course, (and please keep in mind that we no longer have to “register” as Dem. or Rep. any more), Dem. or GOP?, grab a GOP ballot, vote against the front runner, or for the loser, maybe even making him a winner. If they want to assume that I am a Republican, fine, what do I care. I get to vote, in an election that counts, and I still have a secret ballot. How? because they have assumed that I have voted one way, when I voted another. Example: In 1992 I worked for, supported, and voted for Ross Perot. But in the Primary for that year, I voted my Party Primary, but I voted for Pat Buchanan, not because I supported Buchanan, but because I was vehemently against George Bush the Elder, on the theory that if Georgie the First lost in the Primary, incumbent or no, he would have lost the election then and there; he would not have even been in the General Election. And as it turned out, (much to my chagrin), the only reason Perot ran was so that George H.W. would lose. And it worked. In essence: we would would ‘split their party.’
    And the same goes for the General Election. Just because I am a Republican, doesn’t mean I voted Republican, and if they assume I did, just because I revealed my basic party affiliation, thentoo bad for them, and their little survey.
    As voters, we have a right to all the information, and all the options, available, when it comes to electing our public officials, because it is the only way to weed out the crud. And if the parties are going to make up as they go, and change their rules in order to stand in opposition to STATE LAW, and to manipulate the election outcome, then we have a right; nay, the duty, to fight back any way we can. These are our elections. Not theirs. And they aren’t popularity contests, or fashion contests, or celebrity showdowns. These are our Elections — To put people in very powerful positions of Government. If we don’t pay attention to what we are doing, and what they are about, we get garbage (i.e. the 2000 election). If we don’t exercise our rights we will lose them, for good, and then where will we be? King George ’til death do us part??? Thanks. But NO thanks.
    Wil Ferguson
    Traverse City, Michigan

  17. 17 Stephen Odera
    January 4, 2008 at 16:50

    Kibaki knows well that he did not wine the election. And from the various statement made by the ECK members, especially which says they don’t know who won the election.
    So please Kibaki let Kenyan see new thing from ODM`s.

  18. 18 Samuel (Kisii)
    January 4, 2008 at 16:50

    I find it funny that before elections were conducted, some members of the military were busy going through the marching drills looking forward to perfect these for the day of the swearing in of the presidency at the Nyayo Stadium.
    This was never to be as Kibaki rubbished it all aside by orchestrating the entire swearing in at the State House just 10 minutes after the ‘results’ were announced.
    To me this is a more reason why the elections were flawed and a rig.

    — Samuel (Kisii)

  19. 19 Isaac
    January 4, 2008 at 16:50

    Hi Ros,

    This is interesting it reminds me a statement made by French socialist party Ms Ségolène Royal during the television debate. She looked so sure that she will win the election because other women around the world were presidents. She mentioned Angel Merkel as an example. So for Hillary Clinton she must work extra hard if she want to be president. Leadership comes with qualities and I believe some candidates lucky these requirements. If a candidate can register 1% that is a total rejection from the people of America. Huckabee and Obama they deserve the win because of the way they have been representing themselves. Americans have confidence in them.


  20. 20 William J. House
    January 4, 2008 at 16:51

    I would be the last person to advocate a military government anywhere, but it seems to me that the Kenya situation calls for such an intervention, at least for 6 months or so. That would give time to cool the current political temperature and allow the organisation of a properly run Presidential election.
    Incidentally, where is ex-President Moi? How come he has been so silent during the current turmoil?

    William J. House

  21. 21 Nshom Bah
    January 4, 2008 at 16:53

    Nshom Ernest Bah, Cameroonian,

    About Kenya
    I feel sad for the Kenyan people because they have a police force that is our to protect the illegitimate regime of Kibaki and does not give a damn about the wellbeing of the Kenyans whose vote was stolen.

    About Barack
    I pray sincerely that when it is time to vote the American people will not place race above reason. Iowa is a good pointer. God bless them.

  22. 22 Mathew
    January 4, 2008 at 16:55

    This shameful defeat of Kibaki has been brought upon him by none other than three of his cronies–Michuki, Kimunya and Martha Karua. These are three arrogant, terribly proud members of his cabinet who plunged Kenya into this predicament. Kimunya’s arrogant proud nature is so terrible, he admantly refuses to accept the help offered by EU, the West and the Chairman of AU, Mr. Koffour. Why cannot he just swallow his pride and accept the solutions these people offer?


  23. 23 Colin Macbeth
    January 4, 2008 at 17:01

    I was executive editor of The Standard during the 1992 Kenya election.
    I think some of the questions I wanted answered then might equally apply now:
    1. Who printed the ballot papers? (? Smith & Ouzman of Eastbourne, Sussex)
    2. Who arranged the printing? (? ECK)
    3. Were there any discrepancies about the papers? (? duplicate counterfoils, as was alleged in 1992)
    4. Who paid for the printing?
    I wish I had asked these questions earlier. In 1992, the finger of suspicion pointed at the printers, but I never had any proof of a particular wrongdoing.
    However, I think that, if an inquiry is to be held, it is important to start at the beginning: voters’ lists, lists of candidates and printing of ballot papers, their delivery, storage etc. I trust the BBC appreciates the tenor of my inquiry.

  24. 24 George
    January 4, 2008 at 17:23


    Indicates two things-

    1. Obama & Huckabee message of hope and moral values beats slick political polish

    2. People do not seem to like Hillary even if only she is covered on the news, and the Bush library event for Romney means more of the same.

    Will they be the final contestants?
    Not if the powers that be can help it.

    Ron Paul ignored?

    Absolutely, but also Biden and Dodd, both of whom are extremely capable and would have made excellent Presidents for the nation.

    (Biden has more experience than you can shake a stick at and makes the pose of Hillary look silly and sham, but he is out because the media did not even consider him from word go.)

    You have to wonder about who selects the “front runners” for the media, huh?

    It is difficult to get too excited about who is President overall, as the candidates seem to be beholding to the same system that is broken/rigged in DC. It is only a matter of degree.

  25. 25 viola anderson
    January 4, 2008 at 17:35

    The surprise for me in the Iowa caucus were the margins by which Obama and Huckabee won. This caucus’ results count at least partly because they show that Americans of any colour are able to see beyond colour and religion to assess individuals. Bless your heart, Des Currie: You’re paying attention and you care. However, discounting a group of Americans’ decisions because they’re just corn farmers instead of …what? Stock brokers? Automotive workers? Teachers? Those people who participated were people who cared, did their homework, participated, and expressed their will. Last I heard, that’s what democracy is about.

  26. January 4, 2008 at 17:56

    The early states such as Iowa matter, because more often than not, people are “strategic voters.” They vote for candidates who are likely to win. Let’s say that someone was torn between Obama and Edwards. After Iowa, they may be more likely to vote for Obama just because he is in the lead.

    It’s sad, but true. That’s why Iowa matters.

  27. 27 Tangar Ansu
    January 4, 2008 at 18:08

    Hi Ros:

    Iowa made a difference especially for Barack Obama who came first in that part of the State.It is a clear indication that there is a greater success for him in the future especially in the other States. Infact there is a say “If a market is going to be filled it shows up in the morning”

    Tangar Ansu- Monrovia

  28. 28 John McNamara
    January 4, 2008 at 18:09

    This morning’s BBC World Service report on the US Iowa caucus last evening as heard on Vermont public radio.

    I have always had faith in the honest, accurate and astute reporting of the BBC. I have listened to BBC world reporting on dozens of countries over the past several decades. People listen to the BBC due to its reputation for professional reporting.
    Imagine how shocked I was to hear a BBC reporter in Iowa defining Mike Huckabee as a “Baptist minister who plays a bass guitar!” Huckabee was a five term governor of Arkansas and was voted as one of the five best governors in the US during his term in office. He has authored 12 books.
    Like wise your reporter mentioned “Romney”. Mitt Romney was a multi-term governor of Massachusetts. He managed the olympics and was the first manager to turn a profit in the history of the olympics.
    Your reporter should lose that campy disrespect, so NOT BBC, and gain some professionalism.
    Huckabee should be referred to as “former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee” and Romney should referred to as as “former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney”. Much of your world service audience would rather benefit from this information than your current level of “put down” journalism.
    It is almost like disrespect and trivialization is an acceptable substitute for professional ignorance and junior grade maturity.
    John McNamara

  29. 29 Steve
    January 4, 2008 at 18:12

    I really get sick of idiotic comments that get read off, such as the
    2004 elections being “fixed.” Kerry didn’t even want to challenge the results because he knew he lost. If you want to even allege “fixed”
    elections, at least bring up the 2000 election, where you could theoretically have a argument to make, but when you say that about 2004, you reveal yourself as a tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy nut with zero credibility. Nothing shows you have no argument when you have to make baseless claims when you don’t get your way. Why not act like an adult and not like a fit throwing child who doesn’t get the toy he wants?


  30. 30 April Blankenship
    January 4, 2008 at 18:14

    The results are encouraging for the Democrats, but the electoral college limits the possibility of an honest election. Until elections are decided by popular vote Americans will continue to be disenfranchised. I think people are motivated to be politically active this year because they feel circumstances are so desperate right now.

    The only candidate who has the will to change America’s direction, I believe, is Dennis Kucinich.

    April Blankenship
    Portland, OR

  31. 31 L. Walker
    January 4, 2008 at 18:14

    does the iowa caucus matter?

    and steve, i love how you place morality and chastity soley at the feet of young girls.
    i don’t think i have to explain the birds and the bees to you, ’cause it takes to people to make a baby.

    and girls thinking it’s ‘cool’ to have a baby…? how is this different than boys emulating rock stars, rappers, or sports players trying to be ‘cool’ who are also not leading by good example? how easily you leave them out.

  32. 32 George
    January 4, 2008 at 18:16

    Bbc what is hapening here in kibera is not political protest but pure criminal act, where are our policemen? We need them to contain this! George from KIBERA

  33. 33 Michael
    January 4, 2008 at 18:17

    Why is BBC downplaying the deaths in Kisumu where the Kenyan Police shot nearly 150 people with live bullets while putting more emphasis on 17 killed in an Eldoret Church! Is BBC taking sides? Why BBC trivialising the current crises in Kenya as a Kikuyu/ Luo conflict yet it was a spontaneous reaction from voters across Kenya. Pliz BBC give us a fair reporting!
    Michael, Nairobi

  34. 34 William Kokulo
    January 4, 2008 at 18:18

    Congragulation Mr. Obama, you stand for justice, peace and unity, you are indeed the next president of America.
    William Kokulo. Monrovia,Liberia

  35. 35 Rex
    January 4, 2008 at 18:18

    Why is it that the Kenya Govt is refusing a vote recount? Do they have skeletons in their cupboard? Rex, Malawi

  36. 36 Anonymous
    January 4, 2008 at 18:19

    Why is Obama only african american?Isn t one of his parents white?

  37. 37 Eric in California
    January 4, 2008 at 18:20

    None of these candidates are desirable. The democrat party kept waffling between three different candidates, and the republicans don’t even like the one they’ve chosen.

    The reason for this is that, as much as we love to hate him, President Bush is who we really want. This man has proven over and over that nothing is more important than America, and he has made America the most powerful nation on earth.

    Even hampered by an obstructionist congress, Bush continues to set policy and legislation. Hounded by an unforgiving media-leftist axis, he continues to succeed in every arena. He is the greatest and most powerful president we’ve ever known.

    This is why the president that follows him will be nothing but a shadow, and this is why noone really cares for any of them.

  38. 38 Frida
    January 4, 2008 at 18:21

    Frida from Kenya.
    Kibaki in his government doesn’t care what hapens to the people on the ground. Kibaki should step down & hand over to the rightfull leader Raila.

  39. 39 Gillian
    January 4, 2008 at 18:23

    I am encouraged by Barack Obama’s win and will consider switching my vote from Clinton. I just want to make sure a Democratic leader can be elected, better Obama than Clinton (old machine). Thanks.

  40. 40 Mario Sarafraz
    January 4, 2008 at 18:23

    Lets get real.
    Obama is more than anything else GREEN.

    We Americans do not make up on minds based on what IOWA people do.
    Obama’s only claim to fame seems to be that he voted against the war.

    He has zero chance and thank god for this fact.

    Mario Sarafraz
    San Francisco, USA

  41. 41 Jeffrey
    January 4, 2008 at 18:23

    None of these candidates comes close to being a valid choice. Every single one is a wholly owned subsidiary of their corporate sponsors, and their rhetoric is just lip service designed to make the few poor saps who still believe in an American democracy to cast their feel-good votes in a vain attempt at change.

  42. 42 Harry
    January 4, 2008 at 18:24

    Harry in San Francisco writes:

    No, this contest just reinforces my perception that the American electoral process is controlled by large corporations. Without direct election of the president and publically funded elections (with coroporate contributions banned), the process is meaningless.

    Manatee Press

    San Francisco, California, USA

  43. 43 Mike Ascroft
    January 4, 2008 at 18:25

    I think that the most important thing that all of the results show (both Dem and Rep) is that the nation is in the mood for a change. The callers from the UK that I have heard are really not aware of how palpable the that desire for change is here in the US.

    Also, I think that Hillary is in grave trouble, and I think that is entirely her own fault. She talks of change, but she represents the same old people who have been governing for ever.

  44. 44 Dardn Thomsen
    January 4, 2008 at 18:27

    In the last two elections, Democrats had to plug their noses in the voting booths. Gore and Kerry lacked luster. Their campaigns were poorly managed and embarrassing. Obama makes people feel proud, like they’re on a truly winning team. Don’t underestimate him!

  45. 45 Monika
    January 4, 2008 at 18:28

    I’m dissapointed to see how ignorant the comments of some of my fellow Americans are. Iowa may not be the most significant state but it certainly isn’t worthless. Who knows if it’ll be the Florida of the 2000 elections or the Ohio of ’04!

    I too am surprised that Clinton came in behind Edwards but even more so, I’m astonished that Huckabee came in first for the Republican party! On a scale of horrible republican leaders, he is third on my list – #1 being Giuliani and #2 Romney.

    I am a strong democrat however Ron Paul seems to share several of my views on domestic and foreign policy. If it came down to Ron Paul vs. Barack Obama, I’d view that as a win-win situation.


  46. 46 Rochelle Woodruff
    January 4, 2008 at 18:28

    The Caucus

    Many people did change parties to vote for Obama, but after the primaries, they will go back to their original party. Many have done this because they don’t want Hilary to win the nomination. From a republican point of view, Obama seems to them to be an easier “kill” in the elections.

    Iowa really doesn’t matter, but the hype that is brought by the media to it is what makes the world stand up and look. The major vote will happen on Super Tuesday Feb 5th. When (I think) 18 states have their primaries.

    Thank you in advance

    Rochelle Woodruff
    Roseville, Ca.

  47. 47 Jeff Yolles
    January 4, 2008 at 18:29

    The significance of Obama’s victory in Iowa has less to do with his accomplishments and experience, the latter of which is minimal, but rather in what he represents. The American people need a President that can appeal to people on both sides of the political divide, to both conservatives and liberals. They need a candidate that they can respect and admire, much in the way that many felt towards Ronald Reagan, and in a past generation, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The President’s power lies less in the effect he can have as the chief executive of the US, but more in the influence he can exert over the voters, and in the resultant clamor for change the voters will demand from their elected representatives. Major legislation such as the Social Security Act of the 1930s, derided by conservatives of the time as creeping socialism, and the Civil Rights Act of the 1960s, similarly chastised by Republican as well as Democratic conservatives, the latter of which was shepherded through the Congress by conservative democratic President Lyndon Johnson, could not have been achieved but for the respect those gentlemen had on both sides of the aisle, that is to say, from both Republicans and Democrats. Right wing Republicans have made Hillary Clinton a divisive figure. She would not be able to exert that sort of appeal. In order for major legislation relating to immigration issues and health care to have any chance of succeeding, the President must be someone seen as standing above the fray, not as someone enmired in partisan politics. Obama can win, even the moderate Republicans he would need to triumph, if he is seen as being such an individual.

  48. 48 Sarah Taylor
    January 4, 2008 at 18:29

    Dear World Have Your Say,

    I am thrilled that Obama won last night. Obama represents everything that this country can be…and it has nothing to do with the color of his skin.

    I am unnerved that so much of the media is focusing on Obama’s race. Sure, he’s black. For most of us that does not matter one way or another–Obama represents a new day in America because he is committed to bringing this nation back to our constitutional and moral roots. He represents government FOR the people–not one funded and controlled by corporate power brokers and lobbyists.

    Quit talking about race–the issues matter. Obama’s promise is his ability to really speak to people and stand for their values.

    Sarah Stankorb Taylor
    Cleveland Heights, Ohio, US

  49. 49 Aaron
    January 4, 2008 at 18:30

    Two predictions:

    1. Obama will cruise to victory for the Democratic nomination and will pick Bill Richardson as his running mate. Richardson speaks Spanish fluently, has excellent domestic and foreign policy experience and comes off as a very likable, down-to-earth candidate.

    2. Huckabee’s win in Iowa hands the Republican nomination to John McCain.

  50. 50 Scott Millar
    January 4, 2008 at 18:32

    I quite frankly feel that Obama won for the superficial reason that he is black, somehow people equate a minority with change. Obama seems rather generic to me and is certainly not a Howard Dean – he seems like the black version of John Edwards – an average likeable guy. Obama does not seem like a visionary – for goodness sake Oprah likes him.

    Scott Millar

  51. 51 Erik H.
    January 4, 2008 at 18:32

    It seems to me we have to polar opposites in the iowa winners, which i think says a lot about where American politics has headed….it seems rather symbolic of how polarized America is.

    Erik H.
    oberlin Ohio USA

  52. 52 Nikkoli
    January 4, 2008 at 18:33

    Obama is the real deal. He is uniting America an echoing what and how americans really feel. The current pundits are only echoing what mass media wants, not america. Secondly, Giulianis an idiot. There’s no way he’s going to make it to super tuesday.

    nikkoli, Portland OR

  53. 53 Nick Bonnell
    January 4, 2008 at 18:33

    Dear WHYS,

    Last nights vote still won’t change my mind as to who I’ll vote for in the California primary (Kucinich), I was very happy to see Barak Obama and John Edwards come out ahead of Hilary Clinton in Iowa last night. I feel better about my Democratic Party, with more people voting for candidates running against war mongering that I feel is represented by Hilary Clinton and her Iran vote. I hope this continues all the way until the convention. Though I don’t discount Hilary still win especially with the money has raised.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mike Huckabee win the Republican party, considering how many deeply religious (Christian conservatives) have taken over the Republican party, which is sad. And is scary because I think he has a chance to actually win the Presidential election in November. He really is more of a compassionate Christian than Bush ever was or will be.

    I also agree with the gentleman from Sweden who said we should have electoral oversite from other countries.

    Nick Bonnell
    San Francisco

  54. 54 April Blankenship
    January 4, 2008 at 18:34

    Everyone’s forgetting Dennis Kucinich! The only candidate who voted against the Patriot Act—he actually reads the legislation before he votes! What a novel idea!

    April Blankenship
    Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.
    ~Don Miguel Ruiz

  55. 55 Hope
    January 4, 2008 at 18:35

    You’re all missing past history: Jesse Jackson won in Iowa caucuses; Iowans like to show how progressive they are.
    Hope, USA

  56. 56 Anthony
    January 4, 2008 at 18:36

    Will this make a difference? Yes, I think it will. From what I’ve been told, a lot of the primary statistics are from the internet. Now, only 71% of Americans are hooked up to the internet, and out of that 71% what kind of person is polled? Not your average American, probably your higher IQed American. So I feel people will look at this caucus as a more realistic poll average.

    -Anthony, your average 27 year old from Los Angeles, California.

  57. 57 Lameck Yonah
    January 4, 2008 at 18:36

    Hi, I am Lameck Yonah Junior from Tanzania, East Africa. I think Barrack’s wins has sent a message that black people can lead USA, because he won on the state that has more whites, I know there are several whites don’t want Barrack: I have spoken with most whites and noticed that. Barrack has really brought a defining moment.

  58. 58 Lise
    January 4, 2008 at 18:37

    Ron Paul doesn’t believe in global warming. This may be part of the reason that he is dismissed by the media.
    Portland, OR

  59. 59 PR
    January 4, 2008 at 18:37


    I am unashamed to say I am a staunch Bush supporter and saddened to think that next year he will not be in office.

    Guiliani is therefore the only candidate for me and I am glad he had the good sense to skip Iowa which is far overrated as a caucus.

  60. 60 Anthony
    January 4, 2008 at 18:37

    Post Script:

    I think steve is the actual narcissist here. Anyone with me? For proof please see every topic for the last month.

    -Anthony, Los Angeles, California.

  61. 61 Jackson Broshear
    January 4, 2008 at 18:41

    Jackson Broshear, Portland Oregon.
    Iowa serves as a barometer for the rest of the nation in that it provides a forum of discussion between the people and the candidates thats just not practical on a national scale.

  62. 62 Steve
    January 4, 2008 at 18:41

    I really wonder about the sanity of anyone running for President.
    Besides the narcissism issues, who wants to deal with the mess besides someone who craves power? We have a crap economy, the dollar is worthless, the sub prime mortgage thing, people wanting to be bailed out and not taking responsibility for their own stupid decisions, let alone the mess in Iraq that we’ll probably never be able to escape. So I ask why would anyone in their right mind want to be President and have to deal with the giant mess that is this country? I can only see someone mentally ill wanting to take over that role. Do you want someone mentally ill in control of nuclear weapons and the military?


  63. 63 Kalpana
    January 4, 2008 at 18:42

    One of the commentators was comparing Barack Obama to past black candidates like Jesse Jackson, basically stating that Barack was less fiery and less angry. These types of stereotypes — that black candidates are fiery and angry, and thus less appealing to white mainstream voters — are not ones that white candidates like Hilary Clinton or Mike Huckabee must contend with. White candidates are never evaluated on if they speak for all white voters, whereas black candidates are evaluated and criticized for not representing/speaking for their entire race.

    These underlying racial issues may not be talked about openly in the race for the president, but they absolutely are part of the conversation — albeit, less publiclly.

    kalpana krishnamurthy
    (kul-puh-na) krishnamurthy

  64. 64 Mike
    January 4, 2008 at 18:42

    What impact has this first victory by Barrak Obama had in Kenya, the homeland of his father?


    Portland, OR

  65. 65 Tom D Ford
    January 4, 2008 at 18:43

    Ron Paul would Deregulate and set the Corporate foxes loose in the henhouse! No thanks! No Way!

    Tom D Ford

  66. 66 Charles
    January 4, 2008 at 18:43

    the Iowa antidulivian process is relevant only to the talking heads in the news. Its comparable to having a bunch of sheep farmers get together in the Hebrides and guaging the national election on that. Its a fiasco and totally meaningless.

    Charles ….., Oakland, california
    “There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation.” W.C. Fields

  67. 67 Caleb Mauti
    January 4, 2008 at 18:44

    1. What evidence does the government have to accuse ODM Leadership for instigating genocide, Unlike the Hundreds of People in Mortuaries riddled with bullets from the Law enforcement police which is a movement sponsored by Kibakis Government?

    2. If the head of the ECK, Samuel Kivuitu clearly and in broad day light agrees that the elections were flawed and rigged by saying he is not sure if Kibaki Won and the elections were not free and fare.
    Why did Kibaki get swornin, in a hasty manner and why is he not stepping down to allow a new solution to the problem crippling kenya?

    3. What does the presidential Election have to do with Kenyans civil rights such as the right to life and freedom of expression/media.
    Why are the Kenyan banned from addressing the issues going on or even showing the events on TV or why do the Police have a Right to shoot people with live bullets?
    Isint this a form of slaughter of innocent defenceless people and a way of supressing democracy?

    Caleb Mauti – Minneapolis – MN


  68. 68 Kebby T. Shampongo
    January 4, 2008 at 18:45

    The proction of the Kenyans by the gvt and other political players leaves alot to think about.Like why it had taken alot of time to appeal for calm from either Kibaki or Odinga?The ruling class in Kenya a shame to us in Africa especially that thousands have been displaced as well alot of our brothers have lost their lives.
    The politicians in Kenya have no HUMANE feelings and we are disappointed .Shame on you Kibaki and Odinga for not preaching those 300 plus lives.
    Long live Kenya Long Live Africa.

    Kebby T. Shampongo
    YPDO-Zambia/Friends of YPDO Inc USA

  69. 69 Dave Miller
    January 4, 2008 at 18:46

    I was listening as I was driving in, and you were asking for thoughts on the candidates. Here are my thoughts on Mike Huckabee that I posted yesterday afternoon:

    http://www.mikehuckabee.com/?FuseAction=NewsRoom.Endorsements&State=WA scroll down to the post from “Dave M, WA”.


    Dave Miller
    Camas, Washington USA

  70. 70 Harvest Moon
    January 4, 2008 at 18:47

    The idea that Huckabee could hold the office of president is frightening. We denounce the mingling of religious fundamentalism and politics in other nations, yet we do not acknowledge that this is taking place in the US.


    Harvest Moon

  71. 71 John
    January 4, 2008 at 18:47

    Mr. Minister, we do not want to hear the old “music” about the election. The Kenyans know very well who won the election, who rigged the election and who cheated the country. What we want to hear from you is, what are you doing to fix this problem? Please do not preach to us about who won the election. Thanks.


  72. 72 Chernor Jalloh
    January 4, 2008 at 18:51

    How the police doing a nice job as they are part of the looting in the supermarkets in the country?

  73. 73 Caleb Mauti
    January 4, 2008 at 18:53

    It is lie to sya Nairobi is Ok while you cant drive into it while no cars are getting to Down town Nairobi and the outskirts flooded with looters and martial law

    Caleb Mauti – Minneapolis – MN

  74. 74 Caleb Mauti
    January 4, 2008 at 18:53


    I think people are missing the point a little. Unfortunately, while the small population and voter turn out of Iowa should not theoretically have a great affect on the entire electoral decision, the real story is how this will affect media coverage. It seems to me that media coverage is the real story this election; it is the determinant of which candidates even get considered

    Sorry if this has been covered already. I had to stop listening for a 10 minutes or so.

    San Francisco, CA

  75. 75 Dr Seronei Cheison
    January 4, 2008 at 18:54

    Peter Kenneth,
    Why must the millions of Kikuyus suffer because of the greed of a few in the ruling class? Do you agree with me that Kibaki did not steal this victory for the Kikuyu, he did it for the rogue businessmen and thieves of state resources. He stole it for those who conceived and beget Goldenberg, Anglo-Leasing and those who killed Ouko and Mbai. He stole it for deeply vested and partisan class interests. I am appalled at the level of deaths and stench of human flesh burning. Does that smoke not wrench Kibaki’s bowels?
    Dr. Seronei araap Chelulei Cheison, PhD

  76. 76 Miftahu Olatunji
    January 4, 2008 at 18:54

    Mr KIBAKI is simply hearless.He came to power through a rainbow coalition ,now the same coalition has defeated him and he refuse to quit.History wil judge him harshly.
    From Miftahu Olatunji,Nigeria.

  77. 77 Hope
    January 4, 2008 at 18:55

    Hope, USA
    listening online from midwest USA

  78. 78 Tom
    January 4, 2008 at 18:55

    For Mr Kenneth how are you going to govern Kenya if the other communities do not agree with the legitimacy of the new government. Kikuyus are being moved to central province and Nairobi. How is Kenya going to be galvanized with this tribal divide?


  79. 79 Paul
    January 4, 2008 at 18:56

    Police may have done their best, but when businesses in Likoni (near Mombasa) were being looted & burned, they stood watching with other spectators.

  80. 80 Dwight
    January 4, 2008 at 19:13

    Iowa matters until the next caucus happens. It is about momentum. People like to vote for winners. there is a percentage of Americans who will change their vote simply because they believe that they will be picking the winner. Iowa also matters because it was the jumping off point of other lesser probable candidates. Biden and Dobb had a small percentage of support that will now shift to other candidates. in a close reace that may make a difference.

    Lord of logic

  81. 81 Thomas Murray
    January 4, 2008 at 19:53

    Does Iowa Matter?

    In short, it culls the pack. The candidates are also compelled to hone their positions and platforms before an intimate kitchen table group of more or less traditional Americans.

    And caucus voting is a completely different animal than ballot voting. On a “secret” ballot the candidates are little more than a circle that needs to be filled in next to a name, so you can vote your whim if you so desire. I’ve voted in Kentucky and California, and tho the ballots are slightly different (CA’s is larger) they both require that little circles be filled in.

    But in about 1984 Kentucky experimented with the caucus system in which you had to show up to the polling place at a specific time (ours was held in a day care facility) and stand for your candidate (I “stood for” Jesse Jackson). This is completely public, and forces you to consider your selection much more carefully. You begin to have 2nd thoughts — asking yourself if your cadidate really has a chance to win.

    In secret balloting, you’re voting for yourself. But in a caucus vote, you realize that you’re voting for your party. That’s the difference.

    The irony is that the winning candidatesin the Iowa vote rarely become president. It’s New Hampshire that has the presidential magic. Tho it has happened, a winning candidate in the NH primary rarely loses the presidential election. And that’s why the mad scramble for these too very small states.

    Thomas Murray

  82. 82 Syed Hasan Turab
    January 4, 2008 at 20:05

    Bush administration & Democrates are focusig Pakistan’s election more then US elections. Any way because of Obama’s ethnic profile US democracy will open little bit more towards the essence of Democracy.
    May God bless America.

  83. January 4, 2008 at 20:11

    George Bush is the reason there is so much discourse in the caucuses. He will with little doubt go down as the most damaging president in US history. “The ownership society” policy has driven the economy into a tailspin. His insistence that Iraq had WMD, and that the US had to do something about it has robbed us of our credibility. His staunch stance of accusing, threatening, and not talking to other nations has created and unified enemies against us. It has inspired them to arm themselves out of fear of the US erratic behavior. His refusal to participate in any real environmental reform has left poor and emerging nations no choice but to continue their destructive practices. Unemployment has been repaced with under employment. Wage disparity has quadrupled under his policies. His backhanded and corrupt internal policies have suck the respect level of the presidency to a previously unachievable level. He has made a little indiscretion inn the oval office look like j-walking in comparison.

    The point is that the reason so many people are energized and confused about so many different candidates is that there are so many issues that need addressed. Each of them has sectors of people that feel their issue is the most in need of addressing. Pulling out of Iraq is important to a large portion. Another large portion feel that Illegal immigration is the most pressing issue. The environment has drawn a lot of attention lately. The decline of the US dollar value has excited other groups. each of these issues have a candidate that represent a strong opinion on these issues.

  84. January 4, 2008 at 20:13

    Well, Iowa does matter, because the winner is off the Presidential poll block first. The momentum does count. It’s a great morale booster for Obama and Huckabee.

    However, we must remember that Iowa is just a small state, there is a long way to go. Campaigning is still on. There is nothing stopping candidates who are trailing from surging ahead. The top contenders haven’t given up in any way. So, while Iowa does matter, it’s not pointer to the final winner on Nov 8.

  85. 85 George
    January 4, 2008 at 20:42

    You bet Iowa matters!

    Hillary and Romni did not sell.

    Looks like a job for-

    (Trumpets and drum rolls)

    Diebold !!!!

    to cram another ringer in.

  86. 86 Thomas Murray
    January 4, 2008 at 20:44

    Does Iowa matter? Redux.

    The public library terminal shut me down at the end of my post, so it’s possible it didn’t go thru.

    This last caucus matters less for the Democrats than the Republicans. I’ll explain:

    Of the 119,916 Iowans participating, only 2501 Democrats (2 percent of the total) turned out for the Dems — a statistical sample that’s much too small to be meaningful. Consider the vote for the top three: 940 for Obama; 744, Edwards; 737, Clinton. As a former U.S. Census worker, numbers like these would be considered an anomalous blip.

    Compared to Republican Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 40,326 votes cast, the Democratic turnout is barely on the radar screen. (And at 4059 votes for former N.Y. Mayor Rudy Giuliani, despite his last in the pack showing, he still got more votes than the total number of Dems who showed.) So I would tell Sens. Clinton and Edwards not to sweat it; but advise former-Mayor Rudy Giuliani (my personal favorite) that he’d better start showing up.

    And all I know is, just as I’ve finally learned to spell Barack Obama, now I’m going to have to learn Huckabee.

  87. 87 Waleed
    January 4, 2008 at 23:56

    Iowa does matter and may the best man wins.

  88. 88 T. Kootee KORVAH
    January 5, 2008 at 05:23

    I am not a politician, but a political fan and so concerning America, I am a fan of the Democrats.
    I believe IOWA matters, because the 2008 voyage to the White House commenced right from there, beside Iowa is part of the US.

    However, it is left up to the Americans to decide best, the candidate they would like to become the captain of their political ship in the short run.

    In view of the role America plays in the globalization system, I will only pray that God direct the Americans to choose the rightful person who will not seek to plunge the whole world in a battle field. I think making peace both home and outside, promoting better life for ones own and others is better than protecting home and creating held for others outside.

    Therefore, Americans please select wisely.

  89. 89 Abida Hassan
    January 5, 2008 at 11:19

    Since America thinks it owns the whole world, the world should now be able to field candidates for the presidency and cast votes according to their own interests. Forget about these silly little ‘island’ states glaring suspiciously at one another. Let’s have a whopping world state governed by one group of people.

  90. January 5, 2008 at 12:02

    I believe Americans are all fed up with the war in Iraq and its consequences on their daily lives.Should the newcomer president help the world come to term with this mayhem.

  91. 91 George
    January 5, 2008 at 18:05

    Reality Creep?

    Obhama and Huckabee won Iowa.

    The next day Hilary, who finished 3rd was reported in news as tied with second, last night Hillary was reported as frontrunner.

    Edwards was not reported at all, as second or otherwise.

    Huckabee was reported as first, then Romney reported as frontrunner yesterday and last night.

    The news here is Atlanta not only does not take any stock in Iowa, it reports the opposite.

    If the primary voters do not agree with the media prefered candidate, it appears the results are ignored and reported otherwise creeping to the desired result each day.

  92. 92 George
    January 5, 2008 at 20:22


    You may have a point.

    It is good to keep in mind that Steve is exclusively repeating Republican talking points put out over propaganda voices in media.

    The up side is it makes for lively debate here, so contributes to discussion, even if some of it is pretty silly or illogical at times.

    The down side is after Steve did his CIA routine under “Stability vs democracy”, my posts are now edited or do not appear at all.

    You have to realize that today in the USA there are many paid perpetrators and propagandists on behalf of protecting corruption in government.

    There are just as many “true believers” who eat up lies for political cover-ups as gospel and spit fire regurgitate (clinically called projectile vomiting)nonsense that playground discussions in elementary school would see through.

    For serious discusion he would have his posts edited and deleted, so I assume we are doing tongue in cheek comedy and keep it in that light.

    In the context of light hearted remarks, who could ask for anything better than one who claims that anyone running for president in the USA is insane for running and therefor incapable of authority over the nukes of the USA?

  93. 93 John Farmer
    January 5, 2008 at 21:07

    Respect for Bush around the world sank following his foreign policy disasters. Then respect for Americans tumbled when Bush was re-elected: the nation had a chance to distance itself from him, but failed.

    Obama holds out hope, not just for Americans, but for the rest of the world, that the US might start to appreciate that it can’t do everything in isolation to the rest of the world.

    Let’s hope America doesn’t fail us.

  94. 94 Kevin
    January 6, 2008 at 08:06

    Hi Ros and the guys at WHYS. I am from Australia and particularly interested in American Politics as it seems that many policies have been adapted to Australia by our previous Government.

    I agree that Iowa does matter as it is the first real chance that Americans have to respond to the last twelve months of campaigning. History shows that whoever wins Iowa doesn’t always go on to be President but it seems important traditionally. And we know how Americans like tradition.

  95. 95 Nohammed Ali
    January 7, 2008 at 10:06

    This is just the beginning of the race. Let us wait and see what happens to the very end.

  96. January 8, 2008 at 13:39

    Dwight in Detroit
    Iowa matters until the next caucus happens. It is about momentum. People like to vote for winners. there is a percentage of Americans who will change their vote simply because they believe that they will be picking the winner. Iowa also matters because it was the jumping off point of other lesser probable candidates. Biden and Dobb had a small percentage of support that will now shift to other candidates. in a close reace that may make a difference.

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