Des Moines

Rick Perry, Texas Governor And Iowa Goat
January 01, 2012

SIOUX CITY, IOWA -- The big question coming out of the Des Moines Register poll released Saturday night is whether social conservatives who were leaning towards Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich will move in large numbers to Rick Santorum, whom the poll showed to be rising fast. I went yesterday to the town Boone -- hometown of Mamie Eisenhower! -- to see Perry and see what he's offering to voters to keep that sort of desertion from happening. I came away fairly flabbergasted. What in the world had happened to Rick Perry, the campaigner extraordinaire of Texas legend?

Newt Gingrich, King Of The World
December 30, 2011

DES MOINES -- It cannot be a good sign for Newt Gingrich that I was one of only two reporters trying to slip into his second event this morning, a closed-door fundraiser for the Senate Majority Fund, an organization intent on reclaiming the Iowa Senate for Republicans. An aide came over to check on my credentials and I mumbled a response, but was allowed to stay -- it's gotten to that point for Newt where nothing really matters that much anymore.

What’s Jesse Jackson Doing At My Iowa Motel?
December 30, 2011

Ah, Iowa. I arrive in Des Moines late this evening, pull into the Best Western that I selected partly because Newt Gingrich is supposed to be at an event in the motel in the morning, and who do I see lounging in the lobby but Jesse Jackson. Gingrich, Jackson -- who's next, Gary Hart? The Reverend, it turns out, is in town to speak to the local Occupy group that has been making its presence felt at campaign offices and events.

Mitt Romney is Tempting Fate
December 29, 2011

So there’s no question that Romney is all-in now in Iowa. The Des Moines Register reports today that Romney will throw himself a caucus after-party in the state, then stick around to do a circuit of morning-after interviews. As First Read puts it: Folks, that is playing to win. Talk about confidence The safe move -- and the one that seemed telegraphed a few weeks ago -- would be to travel to the friendly confines of New Hampshire before or immediately after the caucuses, to downplay their importance and do the morning shows from Manchester, NH.

Wall Street, Main Street, and Wages after the Bailouts
December 15, 2011

America’s financial sector is in the news almost every day, its role in the economy and relationship to government subjects of public debate. “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” is a common protest chant in the Occupy Wall Street movement, while Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke defends the Fed’s assistance to banks during the financial crisis in 2008. Meanwhile, the nation as a whole remains stuck in a recovery that feels like a continuation of the Great Recession. Is Wall Street benefiting at the expense of Main Street? The December edition of Brookings’ MetroMonitor takes a metropo

The $10,000 Question
December 11, 2011

Why in the world would the unflappable Mitt Romney allow himself to be provoked by a has-been rival into making a remark that only serves to remind voters that, at a time of mounting concern about gaping income inequality, he is a member of the one-hundredth of one percent? Well, maybe because...he's not so unflappable. I realize some readers are having a hard time accepting the fact that Mitt Romney is not the robot that conventional wisdom has decided he is. But in the span of 10 days, we've had him acting exceedingly thin-skinned in an interview with Bret Baier, and now this.

How Iowa’s Social Conservatives Lost Their Influence
November 18, 2011

This weekend’s “Thanksgiving Family Forum” at a Des Moines megachurch probably seemed like a great idea to Iowa social conservatives when it was first developed. You’d have the presidential candidates arrayed around a “Thanksgiving table,” obediently waiting for a symbolic serving of activist support. In the pews would be thousands of stolid Iowans of the sort most likely to show up at the January 3 caucuses. Wielding the microphone would be focus-group king Frank Luntz, probing the worldviews of the candidates to determine their fidelity to a teavangelical, big-God, small-government creed.

Christmas in Sioux City
September 30, 2011

They better start laying in the Champagne in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, because it looks like it's going to be another holiday season in Iowa for the political circus. Florida Republicans today announced that they would, as they'd been threatening to, move their primary to January 31st. This will push the traditional first four states earlier into January, with one plausible scenario putting the Iowa caucuses on January 9, the New Hampshire primary on January 17, the Nevada caucuses on January 21 and the South Carolina primary January 28.

Has the Tea Party Set a Trap for Rick Perry in South Carolina?
September 01, 2011

At first glance, Labor Day weekend looks like it could be a lot of fun for Rick Perry and his fans. The odds of a Sarah Palin candidacy continue to shrink to irrelevance as she wrestles with incompetent local Tea Party organizers in Iowa over a long-planned appearance just outside Des Moines. Mitt Romney’s temporary triumph in securing top billing at a Tea Party Express event in New Hampshire, meanwhile, is being spoiled by protests from Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks organization.

Small Town America is Metropolitan America
August 25, 2011

Each year, Money magazine sets out to identify the “100 Best Places to Live in America.” As we noted when we reviewed the magazine’s 2009 list here, the American appetite for rankings and hometown pride drives a plethora of such lists. Reflecting America’s “small town” mythology and nostalgia, Money’s focus in both 2009 and 2011 was on small-to-medium sized communities (populations between 8,500 and 50,000) with a desirable location (within 60 miles of a major airport) and a modicum of diversity (less than 95 percent white).