Saturday, February 10, 2007

Caucus Cooler Update

Friends- If you plan on participating in this blog over the next 11 months, we ask that you carefully read this letter.

As Republicans we are supposed to be the party of values and responsibility. Those of us who work or volunteer for Republican candidates are supposed to support leaders that promote dignity, respect, and compassion. When people participating in this site berate not just their fellow Republican candidates, but fellow Republicans in the rank and file, it reflects poorly on our party and our state. This has been an ongoing problem on our site and on others for the better part of a year, if not longer. If you think we are overreacting, let us note that the behaviour of Iowa Republicans in the comments section has been so outrageously disgusting that it has been mentioned on national political blogs.

What is even more sad is that while we are behaving like animals, Iowa Democrats are acting like adults with respect and compassion. While we are eating our own Drew Miller, Chris Woods and other Iowa Democrat blogs maintain a civil and considerate discourse. That distinction should make everyone involved extremely embarassed. And we cannot blame it on the out-of-staters that visit this blog, because the most offensive comments and the comments with the worst language were written by those who are part of the Iowa Republican community.

We at the Cooler are not responsible for what happens at the signature Iowa GOP blog, Krusty Konservative. But we are responsible for what happens here. When we started this project we thought it would be fun to have a gossipy, insider rag. Unfortunately it is clear that this community cannot handle that. This blog has been a part of the negative, self-destructive behaviour that many in our party have participated in and we want to sincerely apologize to anyone who was hurt because of that.

Going forward. We will continue to post about the candidates and their visits to Iowa as well as timely issues, handicapping, witty observations about the field, and linking you to important 2008 news . But we will severely limit discussion about non-public staff members (i.e. those who's names don't appear in the newspaper).

We have asked a friend to the Cooler who spends a lot of time in front of their computer to monintor the blog during the week and delete posts that:
a) mention staffers in a negative light,
b) Governor Romney or any other candidate's religion or race
c) have any curse words.

While this is a much stricter policy than we would desire, we no longer wish to continue being a part of the decimation of this party from within.

In the comments section we do encourage you to continue:
a) calling us out when we are wrong
b) calling us out when you think we are being biased
c) giving kudos to campaigns or candidates that have been successful
d) giving constructive criticism for those that have not been as successful
e) discussing the issues in a mature manner

Because not only is our party supposed to be about values, but it is also supposed to be about freedoms, so we do not intend to take away your freedom to respond to what we say in this medium. But if you continue to show that you are incapable of handling it, we will shut down the comments in order to preserve what decency we have left.

The comments section will reopen Monday morning and we encourage you to respond to this at that time or email us at with your thoughts on this new policy.

Thank you again for visiting this blog and for the vast majority of you who make a positive contribution to this community we are very grateful for your participation.

"There are no easy answers' but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.” -Ronald Reagan

Friday, February 09, 2007


Due to excessively bad language, attacking Gov. Romney's faith, and attacking staffers who are not public figures we are temporarily closing down the comments section. Today's posts were disgusting and beyond the pale. We'll have a solution soon.


Lot of stuff going on let's get to it.

Brownback will be in Davenport on Saturday for the Quad City 2007 Right to Life Banquet. The Kansan will be the featured speaker at said event.

A week from Saturday, John McCain will be in the state for the first time since starting his exploratory committee. He'll have town halls with former Senator and presidential candidate Phil Gramm in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

Mitt Romney sent out a press release yesterday noting that he has raised 1.4 mil online in addition to what he raised at national call day. And reports from yesterday's events were in the neighborhood of 150 attendees per. Another sign of Romney's organizational, institutional strength.

Romney also sent us a press release about campaign finance reform. Seeing as we did two posts on this yesterday and the releae is very long we'll save you the boredom, but if you're interested post in the comments section.

Tommy Thompson has been aggressively autodialing the state, a number of tipsters have reported hearing from the Wisconsin Governor on their answering machines.

All we've got for now...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

***Cooler Exclusive*** Campaign Finance-Flop Video

The Cooler has received exclusive video from a 1994 speech in which Governor Romney expresses support for radical campaign finance reforms.

The new Romney said the campaign finance reform bill was "one of the worst things in my lifetime," while addressing conservatives at the Republican Study Committee retreat.

Let's check in on what the old Romney had to say while speaking to a liberal Massachusettes audience-

A Campaign Finance Mitt-Flop

As we posted earlier in the week, Governor Romney is back today with 3 stops in central Iowa. While Romney deserves kudos for his diligence in working the state it seems like each visit is marked with another Mitt-flop. Last week it was bi-lingual education, this week it is campaign finance reform. The Hill broke the story, calling it an "about-face," you can also read about it here and here. Here are some highlights from Alexander Bolton's piece:

While several Republicans who attended the Republican Study Committee (RSC) retreat greeted Romney’s remarks on abortion with skepticism, his condemnation of changes to campaign-finance rules struck a positive chord with the entire audience. Romney specifically criticized the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act sponsored by his rival for the GOP presidential nomination, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

“Referring to the bill, [Romney] called it ‘one of the worst things in my lifetime,’” one conservative Republican said. “The place erupted. That was by far the biggest applause line.”


A South Carolina-based publication, The State, recently reported that Romney highlighted McCain’s support of campaign regulations in order to draw a contrast with his rival. “That’s a terrible piece of legislation,” Romney said, according to the report. “It hasn’t taken the money out of politics … [But] it has hurt my party.”

The problem?

A review of Romney’s public statements from his 1994 senatorial and 2002 gubernatorial campaigns reveal that he once touted stringent campaign-finance modifications.

A Boston Globe article from July 1994 reported that Romney publicly advocated placing spending limits on congressional campaigns and abolishing political action committees (PACs).
The Quincy Patriot Ledger and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported in the fall of 2002 that Romney proposed taxing political contributions to finance publicly funded campaigns.

Spending limits on congressional campaigns, abolishing PAC's, taxing political contributions, and publicly funded campaigns. These reforms would be more stringent than what was implemented by McCain-Feingold. In fact the reporter notes that earlier versions of the bill included spending limits but they were struck for being too controversial.

It will be interesting to see if Governor Romney addresses this while he's in the state today.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Iowa Test Part 2

Here's our reaction to our good friend Jonathan Martin's article The Iowa Test that we tried to post this morning.

Huckabee acknowledges in the article that Iowa is going to be his largest test, going so far as to say that he needs one of the mythical 3 tickets out. Here's Mike:

Huckabee called the much-touted gathering in Ames the first real breakaway moment of the Republican contest, but added that the Hawkeye State's caucuses in early 2008 would prove even more decisive. "If I don't do well in Iowa, get one of the top three tickets out, then it's very difficult to move on from there,"

This quote sparked a discussion around Cooler HQ this morning. Which candidate in the race is most capable of sustaining a severe blow here in the Hawkeye state. Obviously the answer is not Huckabee or Brownback. Both are supremely aware that all their eggs lie in the Iowa basket. Brownback has said as much and is focusing almost all of his resources here and in South Carolina. Huckabee is said to be hiring an Iowa staff before anything else (though there isn't much evidence of that to this point). Clearly neither of these candidates could sustain a drubbing in Iowa and still go on to victory. Who could?

Our first instinct was Rudy. Everyone agreed. Then as we delved deeper it became apparent that Iowa will probably be more important to Rudy than anyone else. If Rudy falters in Iowa what happens next? A trip to New Hampshire, where McCain has already won and a state that Romney shares a border with (he's already up to 20% in the latest NH poll). After that? It's to South Carolina where Rudy's social views are even less relateable than they are to the Iowa electorate. Not to mention McCain has been endorsed by most of the key leaders and Romney seems to have soaked up the rest. So if Rudy stumbles in Iowa his next two challenges will be states where his opponents have major advantages. By the time he gets to friendly territory Feb 5th it will probably be too late.

McCain and Romney on the other hand both have organizations in NH, SC, and are building them nationwide. This will help them recover if they have an unsuccessful caucus night. (See Bush, Poppy 1988)

Once we had considered those institutional advantages it became clear how strong the Romney and McCain teams really are this early in the process.

The Iowa Test

We had a long post all ready to go on Jonathan Martin's "Huckabee sees Iowa as big test" article. But it disappeared. So you'll have to be patient with us. In the meantime, comment away.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Judge"ing Rudy's Record

As if on cue from this morning, David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network examined Giuliani's appeal to social conservatives. Brody is the most active Christian conservative in the blogosphere and has done a lot on Brownback, Romney, Huckabee and McCain.

His first post is a rebuttal to Rudy's claim that he supports "strict constructionists." 18 months before yesterday's softball session on H&C, Rudy made a very different comment to Hannity and Colmes on the judge issue. This quote certainly won't reassure conservatives who Rudy is trying to court with the judge argument...

"And what's important to me is to have a very intelligent, very honest, very good lawyer on the court. And [John Roberts] fits that category, in the same way Justice Ginsburg fit that category. I mean, she was -- she maybe came at it from a very different political background, very qualified lawyer, very smart person. "

Later Brody posts on a conversation he had with Family Research Council leader Tony Perkins about Rudy. Perkins had this to say about Rudy:

"Most pro-family Americans do not yet realize how far outside of the mainstream of conservative thought that Mayor Giuliani social views really are. Once people focus on this election and the candidates Giuliani's lead will diminish. If by some chance Giuliani were to gain the Republican nomination it would set up a very similar scenario that we had last November. A unenthusiastic Republican base which will suppress turnout and set up a Democratic victory. "

Let the Freak Show begin!

Later Tonight we'll add Brody's blog to our links on the right so you can keep an eye on the soco blogosphere if you are interested.

Welcome to the Freak Show, Mr. Mayor

Rudy Giuliani is actually running for President. We've been in the Rudy will run camp for sometime but the very real prospect that he wouldn't run was always in the back of our mind. That was especially true here in Iowa, where Rudy has no staff that we have confirmed, as compared to the well oiled, well organized Romney and McCain machines. But that is all in the past; the future for Rudy is what will likely be a rude(y) welcome to the jungle, or as Mark Halperin would call it, the Freak Show.

While Krusty hit hizzoner with kid gloves this morning, others will not be treating him as kindly. Rudy has a lot of things going for his campaign: the catchy America's mayor tag, some, friends at Fox News, and real credibility as a leader thanks to his magnificent work during and after the largest attack on U.S. soil. All of that is great. But if he thinks all the interviews he has in the coming weeks are going to be like the Hannity t-ball fest last night, he has another thing coming.

Rudy has a slew of quotes that align him with the things that draw intense ire from the conservative base: partial birth abortion, gun control, civil unions, amnesty, Bill Clinton, anti-Reagan. The list goes on and on. The encylopedia of quotes Rudy has made defending these liberal issues dwarfs the research on Romney and McCain combined. And we haven't even touched personal issues like the above picture, the extremely dirty Bernard Kerik etc...

So while the Boston Globe-Worker has been doing everything in its power to derail the Romney campaign and the talk-show radio machine has done the same to McCain, Rudy has been cloaked under the "I may not run" shelter. No more. And if you think the Globe-Worker is tough to deal with, wait until the New York tabloids get an excuse to rehash Rudy's messy divorce. It will be ugly.
So, Mr. Mayor, let us at the Cooler officially welcome you to the race. As Dick Morris pointed out yesterday, you are arguably the favorite if not the co-favorite. You have a New York and California fundraising base, great poll numbers, and an unmatched aura amongst Republican contenders. The question you now face is, can you handle the freaks?
Update: We have heard grumblings that Rudy has at least 1 political staffer on board in Iowa, but given our track-record there, we're going to wait to post any names until it's super dooper confirmed.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Caucus Calendar

Mitt Romney is back in Iowa on Thursday. He'll be making morning stops in Boone and Montour. It's already been reported that he would be in Sioux County for the GOP Dinner on the 19th. It's clear that the Massachusettes Governor will be aggressively working the Hawkeye State

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Drudge, Links, and the Superbowl

We at the Cooler have observed a couple of times that Mitt Romney seems to have one notable leg-up over his main primary rivals, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. That is his victory in the "Drudge Primary." That has been noticeable in the past month. While almost all of the major U.S. dailies picked up on the Romney abortion flap, Drudge did not. And this week Drudge did pick up the Romney v. Hillary story that is certainly going to endear the Governor with social conservatives. For those who haven't seen it, here's the story on Romney and Hillary exchanging barbs over Iran the past few days.

Meanwhile, Matt has jumped on most if not all of the negative Rudy, McCain, and Hillary stories that have popped up around the blogosphere. It's an interesting contrast, one that's worth keeping an eye on.

Here are some other weekend links.
Tancredo in Iowa
Romney in Kentucky and getting key endorsements.
David Broder and the Boston Globe both point to some hiccups in Romneycare
Giuliani chooses not to check the "R" box when he files (We have a feeling Rudy will be revisiting this)

And we know that you are on the edge of your seat awaiting the Cooler's Super Bowl prediction. Well here you go.

Colts 37
Bears 24

Manning/Dungy finally get their win.

  • Caucus Coolerisms
  • The Cooler Line

    Mike Huckabee 10-9
    Mitt Romney 3-1
    Fred Thompson 9-1
    John McCain 9-1
    Rudy Giuliani 12-1
    Ron Paul 12-1
    Duncan Hunter 98-1
    The Cooler line is an exclusive creation of Caucus Cooler and will be updated as the political environment changes.
    It is an unscientific assessment of the Iowa Caucus (not the Presidential race as a whole) from an insiders view at the given time. The line IS NOW mathematically accurate but is NOT intended for gambling purposes. Information may only be reproduced with credit to the Caucus Cooler.