Five Items of Interest: The Iowa Caucus Vote, U.S. Department of Ed Needed?, The Bully Label, Iowa Sec. of State ID Theft by Former Obama Staffer, & The South Carolina Primary



This week’s collection of five items of things I find interesting and was too lazy to blog on them individually

And number….

1.  The muddled Iowa Caucus results

We have thought for some time that the results could change, so when Romney’s eight vote lead slipped away and Rick Santorum came out on top nobody should have been surprised.  What was disappointing was that Matt Strawn still would not initially declare Rick Santorum the winner because of the eight precincts that were not certifiable.  The problem with this is that we have always had some precincts not get their paperwork in, so if had followed Matt Strawn’s line of thinking we would never have a Caucus winner.  The fact is with or without those precincts Santorum won… with them he won by a larger margin.  Unlike some I am not going to burn Iowa GOP Chair Matt Strawn in effigy and demand that he steps down.  If the State Central Committee is unhappy with his service they’ll deal with it when his term is up.  I believe Strawn is a stand-up guy and he did what he thought was right, but he made some mistakes.  Maybe I’m not cynical enough, but I don’t believe there was some grand conspiracy surrounding this.

Matt Strawn declared Santorum later on Thursday morning.  He also reiterated that Santorum won in this video at The Iowa Republican.

Then last night the Iowa GOP sent out another press release again declaring Santorum the winner.

In order to clarify conflicting reports and to affirm the results released January 18 by the Republican Party of Iowa, Chairman Matthew Strawn and the State Central Committee declared Senator Rick Santorum the winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucus.

Good to see, where to go from here?  As Iowa Governor Terry Branstad noted with volunteers mistakes can be made with an all volunteer process.  It’s just more pronounced when the vote was this close.  He said we need to tighten things up.  I agree.  Paper ballots don’t cut it.  I don’t want to switch to a primary, but perhaps the Republican Party of Iowa can consider renting voting machines on Caucus night.  If they want to justify keeping our first in the nation status we going to have to do something.

2.  Do we need a Federal Department of Education?  

Nope… great article in Imprimis, the monthly publication of Hillsdale College, written by Charles Murphy of the American Enterprise Institute.  Money quote…

As far as I can determine, the Department of Education has no track record of positive accomplishment—nothing in the national numbers on educational achievement, nothing in the improvement of educational outcomes for the disadvantaged, nothing in the advancement of educational practice. It just spends a lot of money. This brings us to the practical question: If the Department of Education disappeared from next year’s budget, would anyone notice? The only reason that anyone would notice is the money. The nation’s public schools have developed a dependence on the federal infusion of funds. As a practical matter, actually doing away with the Department of Education would involve creating block grants so that school district budgets throughout the nation wouldn’t crater.

3.  If we don’t agree let’s apply the bully label.

The homosexual lobby and their supporters are notorious for doing this.  This article at Fox News Radio’s website got my blood boiling:

A Wisconsin high school is in the middle of a free speech debate after they apologized for publishing a student essay opposing gay families who adopt children. School officials called the essay a form of “bullying and disrespect.”

Then there’s more…

The school district released a statement apologizing for the story.

“Offensive articles cultivating a negative environment of disrespect are not appropriate or condoned by the Shawano School District,” the statement read. “We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended and are taking steps to prevent items of this nature from happening in the future.”

Todd Carlson, the superintendent of the Shawano School District told Fox News & Commentary he was shocked by the article.

“We do apologize,” Carlson said. “We have a responsibility as a school district to make sure we create a positive school climate and culture. This article probably didn’t go along with the policies and the guidelines and the practices that we have as a school district.”

But the school district only took issue with one of the opinion pieces – the one opposed to gays adopting children. That’s because Carlson said the essay is a form of bullying.

“It is a form of bullying or disrespect to a group of people – that’s right,” he said.

The school district did not comply with a request to read the entire essay – and they declined to say if the student who wrote the essay would be punished.

“Our efforts have been placed to make sure that items of this nature don’t happen in the future,” Carlson told Fox News & Commentary. “We have this responsibility to create a positive environment for all.”

This was an op/ed feature that was supposed to present both sides of an argument.  I haven’t read the kid’s piece, perhaps it could have been worded better as I’ve not found youth to always be the best apologists.  That doesn’t matter.  What this school district did was infringe on free speech.  The Supreme Court In Tinker v. the Des Moines Independent School District ruled that a student’s constitutional rights are not shed at the school house door.

It’s hard to have a civil debate when the other side continues to try to get your perspective shut down.  Which is why those who claim religious liberty won’t be impacted by the rise of gay marriage, etc. are fooling themselves.   Mr. Carlson, not the student, should be punished for the way he acted.  I also want you to notice that Christians aren’t demanding the other piece to pulled.  We actually do believe in free speech, even if we disagree with it.

4.  Former Obama Staffer tried to steal Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s identity.

First I want you to notice the media bias… when The Des Moines Register via AP first broke this story there is no mention of who the perpetrator, Zachary Edwards, worked for.   I broke the news over (just saying) at Iowa Grounds that this fine young lad used to be the Iowa New Media Director for Obama’s General Election campaign and now works for Link Strategies a Democratic lobbying and campaign consulting firm.  He did this in order to try to falsely implicate Secretary Schultz for unethical behavior while in office.

Crickets still from the mainstream media.  What don’t we think that is relevant news?  At least The Washington Examiner does.  Also check out the Memeorandum thread.

5.  The South Carolina Primary

I’ll be watching the results today, and we’ll likely do a live chat with a couple of our South Carolina contributors, so be sure to check back.  The polls close at 7:00p (EST).  Here is the Memeorandum thread for that.  Newt Gingrich is well positioned to win as Mr. Momentum has changed addresses.  But, I’m not writing Santorum off.  He’s made some inroads into Upstate South Carolina which is very conservative.  Also the polls indicate a lot of soft support yet so it will be interesting.  If Gingrich does win South Carolina we will have a different winner in the first three states.  That has never happened before.  I suspect Santorum will continue on to Florida, especially with the national endorsements he has received (he also needs money folks), but it will be extremely difficult.

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  • Blombergj

    I read the article about the school apologizing for the student who wrote an opinion essay against gay “married” couples adopting.  By not allowing the student to speak or write his opinion on any subject whether it’s controversial or not, the school is infriging on his civil right to freedom of speech.  It was clearly an opinion peace, and should be construed as one, not be punished for.

  • guest

    Rent  votimg machines on caucus night?  And who would haul them back and forth? Or operate and supervise them? Sounds like that would be a primary-type setup to me–with paid election officials involved. Goodbye caucuses. From a caucus worker.

    • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com Shane Vander Hart

      Yeah, I need to walk that one back after thinking about a little more. As a caucus worker what changes do you suggest be made?

      • guest

          Caucus worker here–The fact is that the GOP caucuses are overloaded with paperwork–ask any caucus chair. Lists of GOP voters, voter registration forms, county commiteeperson forms, convention delegate forms, alternate delegate forms, junior delegate forms, platform resolution forms, and, finally, presidential ballots come now to mind. Also, a 16-page procedure guide. Remember, a clear majority of the crowd want to vote their pres. ballot and go home. They couldn’t care less about party-building minutae. Perhaps a 2-part procedure is in order. Step #1 would add up all eligible voters present–conduct and announce the pres. poll and phone in the results and record them officially much as at present. Then the chair would call a brief recess and invite interested parties to remain for Step#2–party business and resolution debate. Impatient folks by then would have left–motivated ones remained–and the remainder of the night  being much less hectic for all. Above all–REDUCE PAPERWORK SO AS TO FOCUS ON THE ALL-IMPORTANT BALLOT SUMMARY FORM–PUT A COLOR LOGO ON IT SO IT STANDS OUT. Thanks for reading these musings.