Real Iowa Politics Live. I decided to cover an additional Scott Walker event in Iowa for two reasons. After covering the Walker announcement in Waukesha, Wisconsin in podcast 391, I have a reference point for Walker, so covering on additional appearance by the Governor, especially in Iowa would be a good pair of companion podcasts. So, it was off to Davenport, Iowa from Minneapolis. The road trip started at midnight, arriving at Davenport’s Modern Woodmen Park, home of the ‘Bandits’, a minor league baseball team at about 5:30 AM. After a short nap, I would be covering Scott Walker’s appearance later in the day. There’s a big difference between watching an event on live television and actually being there. Modern media amplifies, magnifies and distorts reality. It was amazing to see the network cameras set up for the live shot, or to tape, with no reporter. I’m assuming someone in another city slices and dices the speech. When you have video, who needs to be there. This is why I decided to come to a political event in Iowa. I learned a lot. Most of these events at the present time are pretty small ball, but I was shocked to learn that one presidential ‘candidate’ after another has trooped through, sometimes two or three a day, to rub noses with Iowans, just because they cast the first votes in caucuses and primaries in 2016. Iowa Republicans do not trust the media — even podcasters like me — and they’re perfectly content with a status conferred upon them by virtue of their caucus date, the media and the politicians trooping through these rooms all over the state. Walker is a disciplined candidate, delivering exactly the same speech, in exactly the same way, except for a moment of prayer for the recent victims of the Marine Base shooting. Still, the ‘reporting’ on Walker tends to be long on snark, and short on actual analysis and illumination of what he has done in Wisconsin and what he is proposing on the campaign trail. With a track record of actually doing what he says, you would think the media might actually want to put some effort into analysis. But no. Mostly snark. And, there’s a train in this podcast. Put headphones on and experience what an Iowa political event feels and sounds like. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.
Summer 2015 Road Trip Part 1. A midnight ride to Iowa, with the first leg ending at Walcott Iowa’s ‘Iowa 80 Truck Stop’ where we encountered the first blush of Internet Upload problems. While I usually don’t write these podcast notes in the first person I have to break format to suggest that a real problem with traveling and ‘untethering’ is spotty Wireless Internet Service, particularly at Truck Stops. Iowa 80 gets points for allowing free access to their WIFI, but when you start uploading huge audio files, it becomes impossible to file. Starbucks used to require people to sign in with AT&T Wireless Service (blah blah blah) but figured it out. It’s free, and its fast downloading and uploading. Unfortunately, in the desert that is Central Illinois and Eastern Iowa, there aren’t many Starbucks. So, Kudos to the Sapp Brothers Truck Stop near Peru, Illinois. I was able to get this package uploaded and posted by around noon central Wednesday. Anyway. Lots of energy and enthusiasm for this trip out east, to the Atlantic Coast, with stops in Illinois, via Kentucky, Tennessee, Southwestern Virginia, onto Richmond, and Washington DC. Bored with the Bruce Jenner changeling story, as the moon rose over the fecund fields of Iowa last night, I began to wonder whether ‘The People of Iowa’ really deserve all the attention their getting in the media, because they hold the ‘first in the nation Caucus’, in 2016. What has become a cliche of American politics; The Diner photo op, the chat with the farmer by the barn, the waving fields of amber, is abundant in Iowa. What happens when an honest, real population becomes aware they’re on the Truman Show, as politicians and Media caravan all over this state? Lots of federal largesse evident in Iowa from Wind Farms to Bio Diesel. Is this good? Is Iowa, with its farms and burgeoning small cities, aspirational? 100 years ago most Americans lived in rural, small towns and cities. Does Iowa represent a desire to get back to that kind of bucolic existence or is it just that they have the first major political contest in what is becoming an insane circus called the Presidential Election of 2016? Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.
Final Mad Men. On the night of the final episode of the AMC hit show Mad Men a review of the top stories for the week of May 18th. The economic news these days isn’t good, but you don’t hear too much talk about it because the magpies in the mainstream media are too busy grousing about funding for their precious personal train service in the North Eastern Corridor known as Amtrak, a service the rest of America does not ride very much but has to pay for anyway, or the 45 idiots running for President and what a few Iowans think of them. Meanwhile, the US economy just put in the worst numbers since 2008. Don’t worry, the sunny analysts say, it’s the result of the West Coast Port Strike resolution. Or, the weather. Or … something. There’s always an excuse. Meanwhile economists and analysts are telling us, no-growth is probably the new normal. Really? The future belongs to those who build it, and people who actually build things don’t pay any attention to those who measure, analyze and report what ‘will be’. Its time we had a conversation about what’s really wrong; pursuit of Keynesian economics — or whatever you call whatever it is the policy makers are doing — and its powerfully destructive effect on the world economy. Whether you’re talking about China, Europe, Latin America or Japan, things ain’t to rosy, even though they keep saying, “Don’t worry it’ll get better next month”. Manufacturing is way down. Why? Because of a slow down in the energy industry, after all the so called ‘experts’ said lower gas prices acted as a tax cut on the economy … since all they ever think about is stimulating the consumer. Meanwhile, consumers aren’t seeing any wage growth and are exhausted because the economy is not growing. Who’s fault is it? Who’s in charge? Too much spending, too much taxation and regulation, and not enough leaving people alone to solve their problems. It’s time we cut the government back to what is required to protect our rights, and nothing more. Cut spending, cut taxes and cut regulations, and watch the economy grow. And, people are already working in ways we couldn’t have imagined twenty years ago. There’s a new kind of worker, who employs services like AirBNB and work hubs to cut the strings completely, and wander the world, working when and where they choose. You might be surprised at how easy it is … right now. Finally, are a few hundred Iowa Republicans (Editor’s note: I mean political groupies) the reason people are already sick of a presidential campaign that hasn’t even started yet? Is it time to politely tell Iowa to stick a sock in it? Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.