Well, he did say at Netroots Nation he was thinking about running. It would be good to have someone in the Democratic presidential field who's pushing the candidates to the left:
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who says he's open to making another bid for president, will travel next week to Iowa, a move that will surely stoke further speculation that Dean may run in 2016.
The former presidential candidate will speak Wednesday at the Iowa Federation of Labor convention, taking him back to the same state where he finished third in the 2004 Iowa caucuses and made his infamous "Dean Scream."
A spokesman for Dean's independent group, Democracy for America, said Dean will be talking next week about the organization's "Purple to Blue Project," a plan aimed to help Democrats win state House and Senate seats.
While the project is focused on five races in Virginia this year, the group plans to expand to other states next year, including an effort to win the majority in Iowa's state House.
I have been bemused for many years by the peculiar mindset represented by DC centrism. I have written about it a number of times over the years, in my book The Progressive Revolution: How The Best In America Came To Be, and in many of my blog posts. DC Centrism embraces what the political establishment, especially including the big special interests who tend to control this town, thinks is right, even when the vast majority of Americans are opposed to it.
For example, cutting Social Security, something 80% of Americans oppose, is a classic example of DC centrism. Another example is focusing obsessively about the deficit while ignoring new measures to create jobs, which is the reverse of what voters want the government to focus on. Bailing out, and now subsidizing, the Too Big To Fail banks is yet another example. And these three examples really just scratch the surface- there are so many ways that DC Centrism is different from what the centrist position of real voters is.
I was thinking about all this again over the last week while I was out in my home state of Nebraska, where the Senate and Governor races are wide open. While traveling around the state talking politics with folks, I was also doing email conversations with friends about the South Dakota, Montana, Iowa, Minnesota, and Oregon Senate races. In all of these cases, the political situation goes against DC conventional wisdom, as candidates and potential candidates scramble the usual political labels and dynamics. Let’s look at the situation in all of these races.
The Republican candidate for a state Senate seat in eastern Iowa has ended her campaign and instead declared herself a U.S. Senator for the state of Iowa.
In a letter dated July 4, the candidate, Randi Shannon of Coralville, argued that the legitimate federal government of the United States was replaced by illegitimate “corporate” government in 1871 and has been operating since then in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
She learned this fact just recently, she said, and has come to believe it after months of research.
Dropping her bid for state office was a rejection of that illegitimate government. Now, she said she has been appointed to serve as a U.S. senator in the recently revived and constitutionally legitimate Republic of the United States of America. She was placed in the office, she said, by Iowa’s four U.S. House members in the “Republic” government.
In a letter fittingly posted to her campaign’s Facebook page on July 4, Shannon wrote that the country was founded as the Republic for The United States for America in 1787, and that it remained as such until the 1860s, when it was abandoned during the Civil War. Once the war ended, she wrote, the government was replaced by the, “UNITED STATES CORPORATION,” [sic] which has endured to this day as the nation’s farcical governing body.
In a statement riddled with curious capitalization meant to emphasize the government’s foibles, Shannon derides the federal government for, she claims, stomping out entrepreneurship, infringing on personal liberties, and just generally being an unconstitutional entity. Perhaps worst, she says, are the elected lawmakers who have perpetuated this system and in doing so have, “committed the most egregious acts against ‘We the People.’”
“Therefore, in order to affect the most good on behalf of The People of Iowa’s 34th District and in keeping with my conscience, I have accepted the position of U.S. Senator in The Republic of The United States of America, where I may better serve You and All of The People of Iowa,” Shannon wrote. “I want you to know I have taken an Oath to Uphold, Support and Defend The Constitution of The United States of America. This I will do to the best of my ability, So Help Me God.”
Shannon, who describes herself as a Ron Paul supporter, backs many of the same policy positions famously espoused by the Libertarian-leaning Texas congressman. She advocates eliminating the Department of Education (following its transfer to the Republic of the United States) and drastically cutting taxes while ending foreign occupations and stopping the Affordable Care Act. And, since she believes the government has been a false one for a century and a half, she considers all amendments to the Bill of Rights from the 14th on to be invalid.
“Again, Remember, where the de jure Republic of The United States of America exists the de facto UNITED STATES CORPORATION, having no standing, must go away!,” Shannon wrote.
The spotlight is on Iowa this week. First we have Rep. Steve King being utterly bizarre about immigrants before accusing his opponent, Christie Vilsack, of trying to create a "macaca moment." Awesome. I guess even paranoids have real enemies, eh Steve?
But really, all of that was just the pre-game show for the rollout of the Iowa Republican Party proposed platform, which is so completely bizarre it is only worthy of a man like Steve King. Here are some highlights:
18 separate anti-abortion planks: Everything from the personhood amendment to a 3-day waiting period with ultrasound at the woman's expense before an abortion can be performed which may not be paid for with state funds and in the case of an underage girl, must require parental consent before her ladyparts may be touched by any doctor to statistical reporting of all abortions to the state to banning Planned Parenthood and RU-486.
Bizarre federal budget restrictions - Yes, a demand for an immediate $1 trillion reduction to the budget but that reduction will not be from the defense budget, bans on spending to build bike paths, but only a 10% salary cut to Congresscritters who actually fail to balance the budget.
Free passes to all businesses in all things!
Prison reforms! These include making inmates work for their room and board (in the fields, perhaps?), reinstating the death penalty and juror nullification.
Free markets for education! Because you know, those education free markets? They're just what the country needs to make sure Republicans remain in power because the electorate is too stupid to know what they've done to the country. Also? Just say no to compulsory preschool. Can't have the kiddies learn to read too awfully early. (They haven't privatized preschool yet?)
Mitt Romney's final rally in Iowa Monday night included an interruption from #OWS protesters. He handled it as best as he possibly could, saying that he loved free speech and couldn't wait until Republicans and OWS protesters joined together to do it to Obama at one of his rallies.
Romney, of course, has the dubious distinction of being the guy who said "corporations are people." I can't imagine why he might be targeted by the 99 percent, can you?
How it works: All 1,774 individual precincts in Iowa will hold a caucus beginning at 7 p.m. Central time on Tuesday. Each precinct can set its own rules, but the general procedure is for caucus workers to hand out slips of paper on which the voters write a candidate's name. The level of secrecy varies by precinct. Voters must be registered as Republicans to vote in the Republican caucus, but same-day, on-site registration is allowed. Each campaign has a surrogate speak from two to five minutes, then voting commences. Votes are counted in front of the voters then reported to the state party. There are no delegates attached to the candidates based on the results, so the actual effects of the event are symbolic, yet powerful, nonetheless. The delegates are chosen later:
Precinct caucuses will elect delegates to March 10 county conventions, which in turn will elect (from their pools of delegate-attendees) delegates to congressional-district conventions and the June 16 state GOP convention, which will in turn elect Iowa’s delegates to the Republican National Convention. Votes for county-convention delegates aren’t too competitive on caucus night, and more attention is paid to national-delegate selection at the later convention votes.
Total of 28 Republican delegates are up for grabs in Iowa and they will be awarded proportionally.
Democrats will have caucuses, but since Barack Obama is essentially unopposed for the party nomination, the focus will be on a videoconference with the president and then congressional and other races.
Republican candidates: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain (he suspended his campaign after the ballot was finalized), Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Voters can also vote "No preference" or cast a write-in ballot.
Democratic candidates: Barack Obama
Previous performance: In 2008, Mitt Romney finished second to Mike Huckabee in the Republican caucus with 25 percent. Ron Paul was fifth with 10 percent. Barack Obama won the Democratic caucus in 2008 with 38 percent.
PPP, 1/1: Paul 20, Romney 19, Santorum 18, Gingrich 14, Perry 10, Bachmann 8, Huntsman 4, Romer 2
Des Moines Register, 12/30: Romney 24, Paul 22, Santorum 15, Gingrich 12, Perry 11, Bachmann 7, Huntsman 2
We Ask America, 12/29: Romney 24, Santorum 17, Paul 14, Gingrich 13, Bachmann 12, Perry 10, Huntsman 4
Insider Advantage, 12/28: Paul 17.3, Romney 17.2, Gingrich 16.7, Santorum 13.4, Bachmann 11.8, Perry 10.5, Huntsman 2.8
Rasmussen, 12/28: Romney 23, Paul 22, Santorum 16, Gingrich 13, Perry 13, Bachmann 5, Huntsman 3
NBC, 12/28: Romney 23, Paul 21, Santorum 15, Perry 14, Gingrich 13, Bachmann 6, Huntsman 2
ARG, 12/28: Romney 22, Gingrich 17, Paul 16, Santorum 11, Perry 9, Bachmann 8, Huntsman 6, Roemer 1
Nate Silver gives Romney a 63 percent chance of winning, followed by Paul at 20 percent and Santorum at 11 percent. no one else is above 5 percent in Silver's projection. There is a strong possibility that the winning percentage of the vote could be lower than Bob Dole's record low of 26 percent in 1996.
Wild card: Occupy the Iowa Caucuses has pledged to occupy campaign headquarters and political events, but says they won't target voters or interfere with caucus voting. The above video from Anonymous suggests otherwise.
Bottom line: The state is a big momentum-builder for candidates and half of recent Republican presidential nominees won in Iowa. Finishing as low as fourth, as John McCain did in 2008, doesn't eliminate a candidate from contention, although doing worse than that is a near impossible loss to recover from. The top four should all still be in strong positions, though, considering how low the winner's percentage is likely to be.
On November 8, Iowa is holding a special election for a state senate race, something that wouldn't usually have national implications. Usually. This time, a small election with candidates not known much outside the state could help decide not only the future of the state, but could be a sign of a larger trend.
The Republicans have mounted a sneak attack - trying to send Iowa down the same terrible road as Wisconsin and Ohio. Democrats were clinging to a 26-24 majority in the State Senate, but the Governor appointed a Democratic senator to a statewide board, just so he could call a special election that could allow Republicans to take control of the State Senate and the entire Iowa state government1.
This snap special election will be held in less than two weeks on November 8. If Republicans win, there'll be a 25-25 tie, which would be broken by the Republican Lieutenant Governor. The super-thin Dem majority in the State Senate is our only protection against all kinds of evil Republican schemes.
If Golding wins, a host of important issues are in the balance, including marriage equality, collective bargaining, increasing use of nuclear power and numerous others. A conservative victory could boost fund raising and encourage conservatives in other states, widening the battlefield that has dominated a number of swing states this year.
It's easy to write Rep. Steve King (R-JBS) off as being completely whacko. But he's just so out there, so bizarre, and sells it like a country auctioneer with the fattest steer on the market that it actually sticks sometimes.
This speech of his made me wonder if he was high on deep-fried butter. It also caused me to ask why the Affordable Care Act is viewed by the far right as such an abomination. To hear Steve King talk about it, you'd think Satan himself had decreed from the ninth circle of hell that all Americans should have access to health insurance and so he felt compelled to call all good Christian warriors with the "Repeal Obamacare!" battle cry.
Here's the transcript:
KING: Now, [Obama] also makes Hugo Chavez look like a piker when it comes to nationalizing American business. Three large investment banks, AIG, taken over by the federal government. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, General Motors, Chrysler, the student loan program, all of that nationalized.
I would seriously love to delve deep into the psyche of Sarah Palin. There are entire libraries full of books to write on the unique blend of narcissism, hubris and willful ignorance that make up just her public persona. When all the GOP presidential candidates started to set up camp in Iowa, with the intent to woo potential support in the Ames Straw Poll, I knew it wouldn't be long before Sarah grasped desperately for at least a little measure of that spotlight.
And true to form, Palin made a surprise revival of her bus tour, eager to show her kids the "historical significance" of the Iowa State Fair and their sticks of fried butter. But no, she's not there to launch a presidential campaign, or to divert attention from any of the other legitimately glad-handing politicos. It's just a matter of coincidence that she was conveniently available to talk to the media there, dontcha know.?
But that's not good enough for Iowa Republican Chair Matt Strawn, who advised La Palin that if she thinks she can flounce in at the last moment and prove that she's still a relevant candidate, she's got another thought coming. It takes work for you to be taken seriously in the first completely meaningless political event: you have to shake hands, you have to kiss babies, you have to meet voters face to face and be prepared to answer questions from them.
And that is why Sarah Palin--no matter how many times she pulls these diva acts and preens for the cameras, coyly saying she hasn't made up her mind--isn't running for President. It's work. And it's unpleasant to have to mingle with the riff-raff and pretend to care about their problems. There's nothing about it that appeals to the Half-Governor. Being on camera and making snide remarks is far more rewarding.
I'm becoming more and more convinced that Newt Gingrich is the Glenn Beck of 2012 Presidential candidates. Knowing he cannot hope to be a viable candidate, Newt just spews the crazy to make the others look sane.
From last night's appearance at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Forum, we get this gem. Keep in mind, this forum featured Herman Cain, Newtie, Tim Pawlenty, Buddy Roemer and Rick Santorum. With the exception of a few nods toward faux populism by Roemer, the others said the same thing in a sort of boring and predictable way. But Newt kicked it up and out a few notches.
Transcript of the clip above:
But for me, the real turning point was when the 9th Circuit court decided in 2002 to...that it was unconstitutional to say "one nation under God" as part of the Pledge of Allegiance in a school. And I decided -- in some ways it was very parallel to Lincoln responding to the Dred Scott decision about slavery.
I decided that if we now have judges so fundamentally out of touch with America that they have no clue what this country was based on, we need a political change so deep and so profound that nothing we have seen in our lifetime is comparable to the level of depth we have to go to get this country back on the right track again.
Let me be very clear about this. Since 1952, we have won 9 presidential elections for Republicans and Democrats won 6. But despite the fact that Republicans were in the White House for 50% more time than Democrats, we did not at a fundamental level change the power of the left. We didn't change the bureaucracies, we didn't change the biases of the judiciary. And over that period, they have all gotten worse, moved further to the left and become more alienated from the American system.
There's so many dogwhistles in that little clip it's a veritable symphony. He sort of drops the thing about Dred Scott in there, which of course led to the Civil War just before saying we need political change so deep and profound it hasn't been seen in our lifetime? And then for good measure, claims the judiciary and bureaucracies have moved farther left? In what world?
Yes, of course a 'secular socialist left' judiciary gave us Citizens United. Of course it did. And it was that secular socialist left that dropped troops in Iraq, too. Sure it was.
But wait, there's more. Here's Newt describing the first day of his fantasy Presidency.