FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Iowa Should Withdraw

by CHARLES LARSON

I know Iowa.  Iowa still has the best public schools in the country.  It’s got some great businesses and makes the best blue cheese in the country.  I was born and raised in Iowa in a Republican family, even taught in those schools.  But then I left, and I haven’t been back in more than forty years, because in spite of those public schools, there is little evidence that half of the state’s residents have actually benefited from their educational system.  They can’t think, by which I mean analyze, sort through information, and interpolate a world beyond themselves and their own insular boundaries.

Conservative Iowans have extended the chaos in the Republican party by their serial flop-flopping, elevating Rick Santorum to second-place in the Iowa primary by a mere eight votes.  (Will Santorum ask for a recount?)  In the summer, these same conservatives began all the trouble by anointing Michelle Bachmann to something akin to goddess status with a paltry five thousand votes in their caucuses.  Then these same conservatives flipped to Rick Perry.  Then Herman Cain.  Then Newt Gingrich.  And now to Rick Santorum.  One fool after another.  Evidence (in case you need it) that Iowans are indecisive, unsure of themselves, that they can’t think.  So much for that great educational system.

Think of the damage to the Republican Party.  (Who cares?)  Single-issue candidates almost totally oblivious to the problems our country and the world face.  Think of Michelle Bachman’s fixation on President Obama’s health reform.  She’s utterly obsessed with it, convinced that Obama is a socialist and that the most urgent problem facing the country is elimination of the health reforms.  Is she so naïve to believe that not one of her twenty-three foster children might need that reform sometime in the future?  (Or is this further evidence, since she was born in Iowa, that Iowa’s educational system also failed her?)  So what does Snow White get in the primary?  Five percent.

Then there are the others.  Rick Perry (who acts as if he was conceived in Iowa) with his frat-rat IQ, who stalked onto the Republican stage and became one of the most embarrassing candidates ever to run for President in recent years.  Loved by conservatives for a few minutes.  Until Herman Cain (remember him?) came along, as evidence not only of delusions of grandeur but also of eating too many pizzas.  Conservatives loved Cain who proved (they believed) that race was not the center of their anger about Obama.  They’re right, of course.  It’s intelligence (though the President, until recently, has pretty much tossed aside the education that got him elected in the first place).

Next Newt Gingrich, who like Herman Cain, demonstrated that conservatives can embrace adultery unless it results in abortions or involves gays. Conservatives loved Gingrich—with a track-record of train wrecks—because of his professorial swagger.  Who else could parlay history (of all academic subjects) into millions of dollars in “consulting” (whatever that means) for Fannie and Freddy?  Hey, that’s something we admire.  People who can make money out of a sow’s ear and show no regrets for who picks up the tab.

And now it’s Santorum, in addition to that other candidate conservatives don’t trust.  The pretty boy from Pennsylvania who mistrusts school systems so much that he schools his brood at home, guaranteeing that they, also, will have no world view.  Mr. Innocence.  Mr. Honesty.  Mr. Stick-with-it-long-enough that you’ll have your fifteen minutes of fame.  Can you imagine Mr. Clean getting that phone call in the middle of the night?

So this is what Iowa conservatives have brought us.  Proof, once again, that anyone can run for President in the United States—that, with democracy, we unfortunately get the people we elect

My suggestion, therefore, is that conservative Iowans occasionally leave their state.  Go to Chicago or St. Louis and learn something about diversity, about poverty in the United States, about the unemployment that doesn’t exist in Iowa.  Take a vacation next summer by leaving Iowa.  Before the caucuses and the primaries four years from now, expose yourselves to some of the country’s and the world’s urgent problems.  And possibly consider eating a little less blue cheese.

Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C.

More articles by:

Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C. Email = clarson@american.edu. Twitter @LarsonChuck.

February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail