August 27th, I'm getting my braces out. Finally.
I'm rather excited.
This article gives some outside verification to what I had previously suspected1, namely that the Republican party in Iowa has changed considerably:
So, what's the big deal, you say?
The big deal is that back in the day when I was a young'n2 Grassley was the Awesome Iowa Political Figure, at least once Branstad was no longer governor. He was the opposite of Harkin, who was (and still is) the Democratic Iowa Senator. Jim Nussle, our local House member, was a Republican as well, but he was always on slightly shaky ground, especially after his marriage started having trouble. Not as Awesome as Grassley, for sure.
Anywho, it's really a bit surprising that Grassley's no longer considered worth giving a voting delegate position to. Well, it would have been surprising a few years ago. Having been to some of the local conventions, I'm not terribly surprised anymore.
The party in Iowa is definitely taking on more Christian overtones, with a couple of completely foreseeable results. For starters, people who aren't a) very conservative evangelical Christians, b) rather strident neoconservatives, or c) life-long party movers-and-shakers, just aren't participating much at all. It's turning into more of an activist-only scene, which as the Libertarian Party guys will tell you, does not actually lead to more widespread influence.3
Not only are the centrist-righters leaving, but the libertarians are, too. These are the people who got very excited about Ron Paul, made it to the conventions, and then realized that the Christian far-right in Iowa was slightly too much in the majority4 and a lot too uncompromising to work with.
I'm guessing that various members of the Christian right here in Iowa are all kinds of excited about this, since new-found power is a heady thing, but I have one small observation to make:
When you scare the Silent Majority, the Silent Majority leaves.
Just a heads-up.
1 Okay, okay, so I've been more than suspecting it. I mean, when a party goes from complaining about hog lots to worrying that the terrorists are gonna buy up our precious, precious farmland, something's changed.
2 I.e., not out of highschool yet. So, at least 8 years ago.
3 It does, however, lead to vastly more entertaining conventions.
4 This would be the majority after the centrist-right deserted in droves.