The Iowa Straw Poll? It’s Like Buttah!

From abc NEWS:

DES MOINES — Walking amid the good folk and food booths and rides at the Iowa State Fair, it’s hard to get a sense people are fixated on politics in the aftermath of the Republican debate and before the important straw vote in Ames.

Iowans seem more intent on viewing the giant carved butter cow in the Ag building or sampling the newest featured food at this fair – deep fried butter on a stick.

In the debate, some candidates reappeared, some candidates disappeared and one new big player is about to appear. For the last few weeks, Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty have basically gone off most folks’ radar screen – but that changed.  Each showed up in a much more forceful way. Pawlenty had a number of skirmishes and exchanges with the other candidates, especially Michelle Bachmann. And she definitely held her own.

butterfield8Original book cover

Gingrich seemed to want to get in an argument more with the moderator than the other candidates, and showed some passion which we haven’t seen in a while. Jon Huntsman, who has had a hard time getting traction since his announcement, basically disappeared over the two hours. He didn’t get much time and what he said was not very memorable.

And finally, the candidate who is about to appear, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, was part of the conversation at the debate and much of the discussion amongst the media as well as voters outside the hall. If you had to pick a winner last night, it was probably Perry. You got a palpable sense that everybody is waiting for him to get into the race and all know they are going to have to react to this Texan who will walk in with boots on and bravado in hand.

The debate highlighted that in the back-and-forth between Bachmann and Pawlenty, they see the results of the straw vote as key to their future prospects. Each needs to do well to be able to continue to build credibility and cash, and if they don’t meet expectations, their prospects are greatly diminished and may not make it to the Iowa caucuses in January.


Ames won’t pick the presidential winner, but it certainly will help pick the losers. Many candidates will either drop out not longer after the straw vote or be left floundering.  While Perry will initially increase the field of candidates when he gets in, the field will be quickly shortened after the straw vote.

So enjoy the last days of summer, eat something fried and on a stick, take your kids or your friends to a fair in your area and get ready for a roller coaster ride in the up-and-down of politics starting next week.

From The New York Times:

AMES, Iowa — A withering critique of President Obama’s handling of the economy was overshadowed by a burst of incivility among the Republican presidential candidates who gathered here for a debate on Thursday night and fought to stay alive in the party’s increasingly fractious nominating race.

The simmering animosity that has been building among some contenders broke into full view during the two-hour debate, with Representative Michele Bachmann defending her legislative accomplishments, her economic ideas and her experience to serve as president. She batted away the criticism, smiling at times and swinging at others, trying to prove she could take the heat.


Tim Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor who is seeking to rejuvenate his campaign, repeatedly assailed Mrs. Bachmann’s record. He stood directly at her side and accused her of “making false statements” and having “a record of misstatements.”

“The American people are going to expect more and demand more,” he said. His criticism was so stinging, quiet jeers could be heard in the crowd. He added: “If that’s your view of effective leadership with results, please stop, because you’re killing us.”

As the rest of the field looked on, Mrs. Bachmann shot back that Mr. Pawlenty pursued policies as Minnesota governor that sound “a lot more like Barack Obama, if you ask me.” She cited his support for cap-and-trade environmental policies and for individual health care mandates.


Mitt Romney, who was positioned at the center of the stage, sought to stay above the fray as he stood silently and watched the Minnesota politicians engage in their unusually sharp back and forth. He brushed aside a suggestion that he had not played a leading role in the debate over raising the nation’s debt ceiling.


When Mr. Pawlenty served up a gentle dig at Mr. Romney’s wealth, offering to mow just one acre of Mr. Romney’s estate, Mr. Romney laughed it off, saying, “That’s just fine.” Later, when in a contrast to his previous debate performance, Mr. Pawlenty attacked Mr. Romney for his health care plan and compared it to the president’s plan, Mr. Romney simply joked, “I think I like Tim’s answer at the last debate better.”


Bret Baier, a Fox News anchor who served as the moderator, opened the debate by reciting a list of the challenges facing the country, from the downgrade in the nation’s credit rating, to the fall of financial markets, to the helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed 30 American troops. He urged a civil conversation.

But the debate’s proximity to Saturday’s straw poll, a sink-or-swim moment for several candidates, led to the biggest display yet of combativeness among candidates who often evoke Ronald Reagan, but did not heed his 11th commandment, not to speak ill of fellow Republicans.

As Mr. Pawlenty tore after Mrs. Bachmann, Newt Gingrich went after the news media. Representative Ron Paul of Texas joined in the fight, taking exception to Mrs. Bachmann’s legislative record. Herman Cain, a businessman who has drawn large crowds in Iowa, dismissed all of his rivals as career politicians.

At one point, Rick Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, raised his hand for attention and asked moderators to be included. When he finally was given his turn, he went after nearly all of his rivals, accusing Mrs. Bachmann of “showmanship, not leadership” by opposing raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

In the middle of it all, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., a former Utah governor making his debut on the debate stage, struggled to be heard. Again and again, he urged his rivals to focus on creating jobs.


Other than a brief moment at the beginning of the second hour, when the debate returned from commercial break and Mrs. Bachmann was nowhere to be found, striding to her lectern just moments later, the Minnesota congresswoman kept her cool.

When Byron York, a conservative columnist at The Washington Examiner who was on the panel of questioners, asked Mrs. Bachmann about her vow to be submissive to her husband, Marcus, the audience gasped and then booed. She smiled, paused and replied, “Thank you for that question, Byron.”

“What submission means to us, if that’s what your question is,” she added, “it means respect.”


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28 responses to “The Iowa Straw Poll? It’s Like Buttah!

  1. johncerickson

    Best debate-related moment was when Stephen Colbert released two videos for his new SuperPAC, urging a write-in campaign for Rick Parry – yes, mis-spelled with an “A”. I am SO waiting for the straw poll to reveal Rick Parry as the winner! 😀

  2. I don’t know which would be worse for my health, the deep-fried butter on a stick or the GOP candidates. In the long run, I think it will be the candidates. As long as the GOP candidates don’t mess with my health insurance, I can have a bypass to clear out the effects of the deep-fried butter. Unfortunately, the GOP legislature here in Michigan is already messing with my health insurance, mandating that I contribute double what I do now starting next year.

  3. Friend of the court

    i saw a segment of batshit’s talk with the crowd outside at the fair. she kept yelling that it would be a republican “TSUNAMI”, in 2012. what a tone deaf butterhead. although, i must agree that it would be a huge disaster.

  4. One of the most frightening photos I’ve seen recently….which I think came from the Iowa State Fair…was of Romney shaking hands with people who were leaning back in a row of La-Z-Boys and didn’t even have the energy to get up to shake hands. This is what we’ve become!

  5. I wondered about this deep fried butter thing, so I consulted the google–

    The political buzz this week at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines was nearly overshadowed by the sight of hungry reporters and fair-goers biting into crunchy sticks of fried dough — at $4 apiece — as liquefied butter oozed down their chins and fingers. Deep Fried Butter contains frozen butter that’s dipped into a sticky cinnamon-honey batter, submerged in bubbling oil until browned, then drizzled with a confectioner’s sugar glaze.

    The fair marked the 100th anniversary of the butter cow — a life-size cow sculpted from 600 pounds of firm butter.
    This summer’s Iowa treat starts with halving a 4-ounce stick of butter lengthwise. Those 2 ounces come in at approximately 400 calories and 45 grams of fat, before factoring in the batter, oil absorbed during the frying process and the glaze.

    Good gawd!

    • Snoring Dog Studio

      I almost barfed, fran. Reading your description gives me heartburn. Really, Iowans – you want to be known for your poor political choices AND fried lard on a stick? The Iowa Straw Poll is nothing more than a carnival act.

    • all i keep thinking is that your mouth would feel greasy for the rest of the day (if you don’t burn it so badly that you lose all sensation).

    • Okay, so I know this is going to sound all kinds of wrong, but after reading this I can understand why so many of the people I saw at the Iowa State Fair were just so *huge*. I mean, these guys eat sticks of butter as a casual snack….

      • they’re the same people who scoff at michelle obama when she tries to get kids to eat healthier and scoff at universal health care but are the ones who will need it the most after they stuff their mouths with fried butter slathered with icing.

  6. “The debate highlighted that in the back-and-forth between Bachmann and Pawlenty, they see the results of the straw vote as key to their future prospects. Each needs to do well to be able to continue to build credibility and cash, and if they don’t meet expectations, their prospects are greatly diminished and may not make it to the Iowa caucuses in January.”

    I’m rooting for greatly diminished prospects & that neither of them make it past the Iowa State Fair.

    Bachmann seemed sooo scripted. She delivered prepared counter points, but you could tell it was something someone else wrote for her & she practiced saying. (that is the only snippet of the debacle, I mean debate that I saw). I can’t stomach either fried butter or the GOP debate/freak show. I have to pace myself. Although we should devise some key phrase lists for future drinking games.

    Soon the circus will be complete. Perry is a circus in & of himself (let us pray for air conditioning) & Palin is firing up her magical mystery tour, and plans on crashing the Iowa State fair with her discreet bus. She is quoted as saying she plans on choking down deep fried butter, but she won’t stop there, she will also stuff that yap w deep fried twinkies and deep fried cheesecake.
    If only one of those vendors had a sense of humor & would put some superglue on these confections & shut her up for the remainder of election season.

    But I predict the GOP will reject her, (the stage is getting crowded, and she is already a proven loser) and Sarah will wind up having to run on the tea party ticket.
    Sarah the Spolier sounds good to me!

    Let them implode!

    Divided they fall.

    • and yet poor thaddeus mccotter can’t even get a reporter to talk to him! 😆 i’m glad that it’s turned into a circus. that will keep the rethugs off balance, and they won’t be able to repeat their talking points over and over again. oh, and did you hear that botox batshit bachmann’s people and her hubby pushed around don lemon from cnn? i guess they don’t like gay reporters.

  7. Butter. On a stick. How do people keep this stuff down!?

    Anyway, the incivility at the Iowa GOP debate was startling. I didn’t get to watch the debate when it aired, so I’m catching up by watching videos right now. I’m very eager to hear what the candidates have to say about social issues, which I expect will be brimming with anti-LGBT and anti-abortion rhetoric.

    Has anyone been paying attention to the candidates’ talks at the Iowa State Fair? Bachmann’s husband was heckled, Pawlenty was confronted on his stance against same-sex marriage, and Rick Santorum … was Rick Santorum.

    • Of course they lack civility, the result of having eight Moes and one Moe-ette on the same stage. The only thing that can save them is ten gallons of Parry riding up with twin six-guns ablazin”. My question is, how will Ailes (he who sells ad time in debates?!) handle the Colbert factor. Does he dare display or even speak of Stephen? He can not! The average 70-80 year old viewer might find out—his ego is off the chart—he talks to his magnum revolver “Sweetness”—he believes that life doesn’t start at conception, but arousal—and has the best hook line the gopers ever hear “I’ve got suck it!”. He IS the reincarnation of the Reaganhead.

      • colbert has been on a roll lately. he skewers the rethugs like nobody else can. of course, they don’t get the joke. irony is beyond their comprehension.

    • if they can tolerate the rethuglican slate of hopefuls, they can tolerate butter on a stick. after all, butter on a stick is better than the shit on a stick they saw on the stage.

      i didn’t see the whole thing either, ahab, but i caught snippets of it on the news. i’m sure their comments on social issues will be the usual crap.

      i just saw the video of the guy heckling marcus and his beard. good for him. i wish i could have been so i could yell along with him.

  8. jean-philippe

    That debate was like the 12 apostles debating who is the best leader while Jesus is away.