How Rick Perry is Offending the Iowa Straw Poll
I rarely agree with Mike Huckabee on issues, but regarding the political wisdom of Rick Perry's tactics, I think Huckabee might have a point:
Mike Huckabee is giving a big thumbs-down to Rick Perry's campaign rollout, telling Fox News that the Texas governor's decision to announce on the day of the Iowa straw poll is a big "tactical blunder."
The problem, said the former Arkansas governor and 2008 Iowa caucus winner, is that Perry's Saturday kickoff in South Carolina shows disrespect to the Iowa process.
"It's a tactical blunder ... The people of Iowa work very hard to make the straw poll the biggest political moment in the summer," Huckabee said. "If you have a candidate who says, 'You know what, I'm not gonna be there, I'm gonna be over in South Carolina, trying to pull as much attention as possible away from your big event' -- I'll tell you, the people of Iowa are gracious, loving, kind people, and they’re not gonna take kindly to someone, in essence, dissing their big event. Which is what it will be reviewed as in the state of Iowa."
I would put it somewhat differently. I'd say that Iowa and South Carolina are the Heathers of our presidential election system --for years I've watched residents of these two unrepresentative states insist that they are owed months and months of deference from anyone who wants to be president. I've watched them insist that they're entitled to multiple face-to-face encounters at coffee klatches. I've watched this from a large, populous, financially powerful state that has absolutely no influence on who gets elected president -- we New Yorkers may as well be disenfrachised at presidential election time. But if you want to be president, you'd better do as Heather Iowa and Heather New Hampshire insist -- you'd better pat the butter cow and eat the fried things on sticks and trudge through the snows and do as the residents say.
That's why I think Perry might be making a mistake. He's offending Heather Iowa by not according it the respect it thinks it deserves. It's probably OK that he's making a late entry, but he should have made it with a deep sense of deference to Heather #1. They really might make him pay for it.