Posts Tagged ‘Iowa’

I got a lot of high-powered help in calling George Bush The Elder the winner of the 1980 Republican caucuses. Seated next to me is Jim Flansburg. Standing from left are Dan Pedersen, Paul Leavitt, Merrill Perlman, Michael Gartner, Jim Gannon and Arnie Garson. That’s an astounding amount of journalistic talent and experience surrounding me. And I had more hair then, but not on my face.

Let’s bid farewell to the Iowa caucuses. They’ve had a long run, but it’s time for someone else to launch the presidential campaign process.

This state with far more hogs than people has hogged its place at the front of the political line far too long. It is past time for the Hawkeye State to practice the manners that Iowa parents and teachers have been teaching Iowa children for generations: Take turns.

Someone will need to wrench the spotlight away from Iowa, but I hope someone does. Iowans will not relinquish without a fight what they unreasonably regard as an entitlement. (I use that word because the Iowa Republicans who would never give up their spot at the front of the line hate entitlements, except the ones they receive.)

I voiced this view privately during the 2008 caucus season, though I never wrote it. I wasn’t using Twitter regularly yet. My only communication outlet at the time was a blog about journalism training, and the caucuses didn’t fit my niche, so I didn’t express my views publicly. (It’s not a perfect fit now, but I blog more broadly about media, and let’s face it, the Iowa caucuses are a creation of media hype.)

When I became editor of the Cedar Rapids Gazette later in 2008, I wondered whether I would have the courage to voice this heresy from such a prominent Iowa forum during the 2012 caucus season. Other opportunities drew me away from Iowa, so I offer my opinion now, one week before the 2012 caucuses, from the safety of Virginia.

While I am no longer living in the state, I offer this view with a lot of love for Iowa and a ton of caucus experience. (more…)


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Today was my last day at Gazette Communications. Tomorrow morning Mimi and I will start our drive to Virginia, weather permitting, for my new adventure with Allbritton Communications.

This will be the fourth time I’ve bid farewell to Iowa. This state will always be special to me. I’ve spent more than 14 years working for three different newspapers in Iowa, and spent a lot of time over here in the 10 years I worked for the Omaha World-Herald.

I will cherish many memories of my time at the Gaz. All the best to the many colleagues, supporters and even critics I encountered during my time in Eastern Iowa.


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Read this post in Russian, translated by Google. Читать этот пост на русском языке, перевод Google.

For much of my life, Siberia was this cold, distant land where the Soviet Union sent its dissidents to work in gulags. And I presume Russians, if they thought of Iowa at all, thought of our state as a flat place where we grow lots of corn (Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev visited the Roswell Garst farm in Coon Rapids, Iowa, in 1959.)

While both stereotypes are based in truth (Iowa isn’t really flat, but it is compared to Siberia’s mountains), I know from years living in and around Iowa that the stereotype is shallow and incomplete. I’m sure my stereotype of Siberia is similarly shallow and incomplete. I’m looking forward to learning more about Siberia on a trip that starts Sunday. (more…)

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When my wife, Mimi, and I moved to Cedar Rapids last June, we were planning to explore and enjoy the fun places of Eastern Iowa.

This photo of the Blackhawk Bridge in Lansing, Iowa, was submitted by Diana Johnson, who explains in her comment on the blog.

This photo of the Blackhawk Bridge in Lansing, Iowa, was submitted by Diana Johnson, who explains in her comment on the blog.

This is my Monday column for The Gazette:



We knew western Iowa well from years living in Shenandoah, Essex and Omaha. We knew central Iowa well from years living in Des Moines. But Eastern Iowa was mostly a place we drove through, long ago a place to visit some relatives and occasionally a place to cover news.

Beyond the well-known attractions (we had been to the Amanas and Field of Dreams and were planning to visit the National Czech and Slovak Museum), we planned on getting to know the quirky cultural attractions, the pretty lakes and the small-town diners of Eastern Iowa. (more…)

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