Before I moved to Iowa, I would have said that corn was the number one thing that I think of when someone mentions the state. I now realize that Kansas has more corn than Iowa and that the caucus is more a defining characteristic of Iowa than the agriculture.
I had never had the opportunity to see a presidential candidate give a speech until I moved here. I saw Hillary at Simpson College, and Barack was a half a block from my house today. I don’t have cable and I only watch television when we have checked out a movie or some series from the library, and, without television, I still get a heavy does of politics and caucus information. There are no casual conversations about the candidates, everyone here is very serious about their candidate and their positions.
John Edwards has a strong hold here, but you don’t see his name around as much. I see Obama signs all over, and Mitt Romney, of course, has a strong presence with signs and bumper stickers. The area here is pretty liberal, so the support tends to be for the Democrats, and since I mostly get my news from NPR, I get a steady diet of the campaign trail of the liberal candidates.
From where I stand, Barack and Hillary will come down to the wire and Mike Huckabee could shake the trees enough to take the state from Romney, but since it is the winter storm capital of the country right now, turnout will be hard to predict. And that will decide the fate of the frontrunners.
The atmosphere is charged with political energy, and, from my perspective, the buildup is not unlike the runup to a KC Chiefs game. People around here are loyal Hawkeye fans, but they are devout about their politics.
This is caucus country.