Happy Belated New Year. After 4 years and a month of commenting on politics, progressive and otherwise, I am continuing my last year trend of tapering off posts in 2011. Although over 10,000 people from around the world checked in on my blog last year, a fact that astounds this guy from Iowa, I feel that if I am to offer commentary at all, it should be with the same fervor that got me started in the first place.
With that in mind, 2011 will be a year with many stories emanating from Iowa. After all, the Iowa Caucuses are around the corner and the usual media blitz will follow as surely as birds fell out of the sky in Arkansas. However, as fellow bloggers like John Deeth are much better at the day to day coverage of such events and I encourage political trainspotters to follow John's blog. He is a great blogger and I tip my virtual hat to his raspberry beret.
As for me, I am writing a novel and will likely spend limited time commenting on the here and now, mostly because my novel is political fiction and I want to use the "good stuff" in that context. I will continue to post columns as events and issues strike my fancy.
A couple of 2010 notes:
The Democratic Party got an electoral whipping (yes, even in Iowa), but it should not have been a surprise. The Obama brand rose quickly and short of him genetically being fused with Annie Sullivan, ther was no way he could continue in the media-driven role of "the miracle worker." However, the party did themselves no favors by letting the narrative of 2010 to be "you're with us or against us." Clearly most voters didn't like what they were seeing and took it out on the party in power. Um, that's politics.
That being said, the repeal of DADT and the approval of the New START treaty were good exclamation points to end the year on. The Republicans take over the House with the majority of voters thinking that it doesn't matter who runs it, but will be flying up their agenda to make the case that if only there was a Republican in the White House again, they could get things done. The national agenda will be parlayed into the electioneering game as the circus comes to Iowa in the months to come. If President does not have any competition, expect Iowa to be the place where Republican candidates try to make the case for why they will be better for the country than him.
However, the thing to watch this year are the redistricting efforts across the country. In Iowa, Republicans who have the state house and governor's mansion are trying to make sure they have the state supreme court covered too by using the recent victory to not retain three justices that ruled on the side of marriage equality as a launching pad to impeach the remaining justices. What is really at stake is the tie-breaker if the plans for redistricting are not to the clear benefit of the Republican party. In Iowa, if a redistricting plan can not be agreed upon, the state supreme court is the final word. Politics, can't live with 'em, can't rule without 'em.