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Willie Nelson and Walking Toward Gingrich

“After carefully considering the whole situation, I stand with my back to the wall. And walking is better, than running away…and crawling ain’t no good at all”

Willie Nelson—Lyrics to “Walking” (1974)

While not known for his astute political analysis, with these lyrics Willie Nelson has managed to perfectly describe the conundrum myself and millions of other voters face in selecting a candidate to support for president amongst the Republican field.

For months now GOPers have been carefully considering the whole situation, and have yet to settle on anyone. With the voting only two weeks away a majority of those undecided now officially are standing with their backs against the wall.

In this regard I am no different—laid here are the reasons I am currently …


Why the Des Moines Register Shouldn’t Bother Endorsing A Republican This Year

While not big news that Iowa Republicans don’t wait with bated breath for the Des Moines Register to anoint a Republican candidate the cream of the presidential crop, in recent years their recommendations have barely risen above laughable fodder. Since we could all use some comic relief from this seemingly endless campaign season, let’s take a look back at the Register’s recent forays into Presidential advocacy. What follows are two main reasons, among many others, why they should stick to merely reporting on the political pulse of Iowa—instead of trying to alter it.

Reason #1 – A Sketchy, Schizophrenic History

While nearly all the data on editorial board endorsements show that they have a miniscule impact, if any at all, well over 70% of newspapers …


Ethanol And Immigration

Four months ago as the Republican field began to form and potential candidates began poking around Iowa, a major issue they were forced to address was ethanol. Thankfully the conversation has since developed from a fringe stereotypical issue like ethanol to more serious and pressing issues like illegal immigration.

If in a vacuum and in absence of other big problems ethanol subsidies may be a valid issue to talk about.  A variety of factors, however, make it a silly topic to debate. First, the economy is in tatters and we have seen the result of politically driven subsidies on the other side with the Solyndra debacle. Second, we are now over 15 trillion dollars in debt and, beyond being irresponsible, pumping borrowed money to prop …


CNN Debate Recap: A Complete Score Of The Top Four

In all The Conservative Reader’s previous debate reviews we have extended the courtesy of including an analysis and grade for all the candidates on stage. With now a mere 42 days until the Iowa Caucuses, the time for such courtesy has passed and the day has come to separate the candidates from the contenders.

The following is a recap of the performances of the candidates that are realistically contending to win Iowa. We made this distinction by including only those polling over 10% in the Hawkeye state—in other words Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Herman Cain. They are listed below in order of how well each did from best to worst.

1st)—Newt Gingrich (Art)

Newt again demonstrated his ability to speak with …


Bloomberg Debate Re-Cap: What We Thought We Knew…All Holds True

This piece was written by Justin Arnold-Editor of The Conservative Reader:Iowa and John Bloom-former Chairman of the Polk County Republican Party and Conservative Reader contributor.

Since the field of Republican candidates seemingly spent the entire month of September participating in high-profile debates, one would think these exercises would eventually become monotonous and lose their luster. Proving how high the stakes are, and how intense the opposition to our current president is, the exact opposite has been the case.

Instead what has transpired is that Republican excitement has counter-acted the law of diminishing returns. This has been proven by both the dramatic surges and plunges of the candidates following the debates and in the number of people watching them (over 12 million watched the last Fox …


A Sweeping Declaration of Intent: Gingrich unveils new “21st Century Contract with America”

If ever there is going to be a moment for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to create momentum and change the flat trajectory of his presidential run—now is the time. One day after the release of a Fox News poll, which surprisingly showed him gaining substantial ground in the race, Gingrich took to the stage at the Principal building in Des Moines to unveil his newly minted “21st Century Contract with America”.

Updated from the 1994 version, this new contract will serve as the backbone of his campaign and its acceptance or rejection will determine his fate one way or the other.

In the world of presidential politics such fate is largely decided by three things—the style, the substance, and …


Florida GOP Debate Recap and Breakdown: Nine Candidates…Three Categories

This piece was written by Art Smith- Publisher of The Conservative Reader, Justin Arnold-Editor of The Conservative Reader: Iowa, and Brian Nygaard-Senior Contributor at The Conservative Reader.

The lead up to every Presidential Primary debate is accompanied by media hype and pundit proclamations that this or that candidate has to “do well” or they are doomed going forward.  Often times the hype out measures the eventual importance of the proceedings and the proclamations prove to be mere misguided conventional wisdom.

Since last cycles debut of the “interactive” debate (CNN’s YouTube offering) saw ridiculous questions from a melting snowman (on global warming) and a citizen holding an assault rifle (on the 2nd Amendment), one sure would have been justified in being skeptical.  That said, for …


August 11 2011 GOP Presidential Debate

This piece was written by Justin Arnold, editor of The Conservative Reader: Iowa, and Art Smith, Publisher of The Conservative Reader.

Last night’s GOP candidate debate was more interesting than we expected, and if you watched it, you definitely got a clear picture of how some of the candidates think.  How much you got to know some candidates depended on the questions asked of them.  For instance, Newt Gingrich got a question about his staff departures that just seemed completely out of scope and uninteresting (the segment was titled “Candidate Vulnerabilities”, which just seems like more of a talking head topic than a debate topic).  There was a lot of fire fanned between Bachmann and Pawlenty by the media panel, almost completely derailing one segment …


The Politics of Obamacare, Medicaid, Illegal Immigration, and Education Reform: The Conservative Reader Interview with Sen. Jack Whitver (Part 2 of 2)

In part one of this interview, the last legislative session was the main focus. Now we will turn our attention to the major issues that will be hotly debated in 2012.

One of the first things to jump out at anyone who starts digging into the issues being wrestled with by our general assembly is how much they mirror the issues being debated at the Federal level. This being the case, there is no better place to start than how Obamacare and trimming entitlements manifest themselves here In Iowa.

Obamacare and the Politics of Medicaid

While scarcely publicized, last session included preliminary debates into setting up Iowa’s insurance exchange, which Obamacare mandates be done by next year’s legislative adjournment. The tricky situation for state legislators …


Why Iowa’s 2011 Legislative Session Matters to Conservatives: The Conservative Reader Interview with Senator Jack Whitver (Part 1 of 2)

Three weeks removed from ending the third longest legislative session in Iowa history, I had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with District 35’s representative in the Iowa Senate—Republican Jack Whitver. The main focus of our conversation was the results of the 172 day session and the political clouds already forming on the horizon for next year’s Senatorial get together.

In the interest of adding perspective, here is a brief overview of Senator Whitver’s political and business careers: He joined the Iowa Senate this year by virtue of winning a special election to fill the seat of Larry Noble, first beating five other Republicans in a truncated primary and then defeating Democrat John Calhoun (63%-36%). The district covers most of the northern half …


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