Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Tip O’Neil gave us “All politics are local.” No one is quite sure who originated, “All politics are personal” and “The political is personal,” but they are traced back to the late 1960s, early 1970s “women’s movement.” As for “predictable,” our status quo political / media establishments give us that, over and over and over again.
Thinking of the (in my opinion) manipulated by the Two Corporate Parties for their own ends Iowa Caucus, followed by New Hampshire and whichever other states for the most recent election cycle have moved their primary and/or caucus dates up, personal and local come to mind. This step in determining whose names show up on November ballots across the nation is personal, as well as local, as it means the majority of us don’t have much if anything to say about the ballot choices we’re provided.
Had a “serious” candidate (someone so named by the political and media establishment) stepped in and challenged Obama, that would have added a somewhat out of the norm element to the story. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t happen.
One thing out of the ordinary Iowa caucus story line is Occupy the Iowa Caucus. Somewhat surprisingly, the actions have been deemed worthy of some national attention by the gate keeping Deemers. Naturally the “Caucus for ‘Uncommitted’” action by Occupy Iowa Caucus has gotten more local attention. Plus, with 40-something percent of people still claiming they’re “undecided,” there is a possibility that “uncommitted” votes will play a role in both Republican and Democratic caucuses.
Via Occupy IA Caucus:
Caucus for ‘Uncommitted’ …
Every Iowan who identifies with the 99 percent should caucus on the evening of January 3rd . But after years of foreclosure, bailouts, corruption, warfare, corporate welfare and the erosion of our freedoms we cannot support any of the Presidential candidates. We cannot consent to this broken system any longer. We will join with our neighbors and caucus for ‘uncommitted.’ Uncommitted means we support no candidates and sends a strong message to the leaders of both parties. …
After caucusing for ‘uncommitted’ we will select delegates to the county conventions that also reflect our uncommitted views. In turn, those county delegates will select uncommitted delegates to go to the District conventions and to both state Democratic and Republican conventions. At the state conventions, we will select uncommitted delegates to go to both national party conventions.
Predictably, some people don’t like this idea. Posted at InterOccupy, signed by Occupy Iowa Caucus, and Occupy Cedar Valley, Des Moines and Ames/ISU:
We are dismayed to learn that the Iowa Republican Caucuses on the evening of January 3rd plan not to count ‘Uncommitted’ or ‘No Preference’ ballots … . This is in contradiction of past caucuses where those votes were counted in the GOP caucuses … .
We call on both parties to keep the Iowa Caucuses a democratic process where all voices can be fairly heard and respected. …
Via FOX affiliate KPTM:
… this year, many counties don’t plan on counting the number of uncommitted votes.
‘The integrity of the caucus is very important to us,’ said Jeff Jorgensen, Pottawattamie County’s GOP chairman. ‘We’re going to be very discerning about the votes that we’re counting. … ’
He says voters have the option to write in a name if they don’t like any of the established candidates.
But Andrew Pittz says that’s not what voting uncommitted is about.
‘Being uncommitted is not like you’re throwing away a vote or you don’t have an opinion. It’s that you’re voicing a different sort of opinion.’
Taking things a step further, Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn told CNN, via The Hill:
Iowa’s Republican Party will count this year’s caucus results at a secret location in response to security concerns, according to multiple reports.
Nothing like a grassroots, transparent democratic process. Politics, local, personal and predictable, courtesy of the System that uses and maintains it.
A Cenk Uygur piece at Huffington about the “uncommitted” idea includes:
… if all of those people were to go and participate on the Democratic side, they might have an effect. If ‘uncommitted’ beat President Obama on the Democratic side in Iowa that would make some news. That might even get the attention of The Establishment. So far, he has only responded to right-wing pressure. He is the consummate politician, so if there was actually a little bit of pressure on his left he might have to respond to it, especially during an election season. Wouldn’t it be amazing if President Obama acted like a progressive on some issue because he was worried about the voters? …
In a related piece at Salon, Occupy Des Moines is the Democrats’ problem, Matt Pearce writes:
Welcome to the latest and perhaps most unique iteration of Occupy Wall Street, where a splinter cell of Occupy Des Moines protestors, many of them former Obama supporters, are heading the movement’s first significant injection of street politics into electoral politics. And if what’s happening in Iowa augurs anything for the 2012 cycle, Democrats nationwide will be facing a vote of no confidence from former allies who now see the party as part of the system they’re trying to occupy. Earlier this week, when more than 100 progressive occupiers caucused to pick their candidates of greatest ‘dispreference,’ the largest number, 30, picked Barack Obama. …
This Democrats-equal-Republicans rhetoric, at least among the far American left, isn’t particularly new. But what’s new is that Iowan occupiers, which includes a somewhat broader ideological array of members than the left’s usual suspects, … are starting to act on it, and the upcoming caucuses gives them the perfect opportunity.
No one here has uttered the phrase ‘lesser of two evils’ by my hearing, and that doesn’t bode well for a Democratic party already facing an enthusiasm gap against its motivated Republican opposition.
All politics is local and personal, but sometimes people take actions that disrupt the predictable. That couldn’t be happening at a more needed political moment.
(Occupy Uncommitted Poster via Occupy IA Caucus)