(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
”They’re dirty man…they don’t even try to hide it.’’
The Iowa Caucus was supposed to be the giddy launch of the campaign season last week but was instead transformed into a throbbing open wound. Incompetence was on display and candidates are both mystified and angered over what a fiasco the whole affair became. Surprisingly we get a field report from Rolling Stone Magazine, of all sources, that actually gives a straight-forward detail of things on the ground.
Matt Taibbi is a writer who you need to regard with skepticism. Over the years he had displayed a willingness to transform his stances based on the popular electorate of the time. Once regarded as an outlier as a conservative journalist he turned to a more conventional anti-GOP writer during the Obama years, and now seems to have drifted back across the right-of-center line these days. Yet Taibbi gives an account of things in Iowa that feels less partisan and does something that few other journalists have done — give a sober assessment of the proceedings.
Matt first tells of Bernie supporters he met whose political beliefs are rooted in a combined dose of cynicism towards a broken system, and the belief that Bernie had been railroaded by the establishment in 2016. Then the 2020 Caucus imploded, essentially proving them correct. The distaste in the state was palpable.
Taibbi confirms a few of the national party actions I had recently detailed taking place in its effort to work against Bernie. The alterations of debate qualification rules were just the start, but also the possible reverting of superdelegates for the nomination, brokered convention possibilities, and even the mainstream press working against the campaign were all efforts felt on the ground in Iowa.
Something else that is noticeable in the piece is how much the mainstream press is not reporting on the campaign trail. Taibbi goes into detail on the regular outbursts from Joe Biden in a way that few have detailed, even those who have managed to report on the confrontations. He states how Biden confronts voters angrily as a regular means of communication, then seeking out affirmation from the surrounding masses for approval of his stern methods.
In one on many exchanges, we have one voter, a female, giving her account of meeting the former Vice President.
She invited him to make his case. “I haven’t seen much of you,” she said. Why should she vote for him? Biden moved inches from her face, gripped her hand throughout (“We’re talking minutes,” she said), and gave a political clip-art answer, about how he’s a guy who says what he means and means what he says, etc. When [she] didn’t respond with enthusiasm, his mood turned. “If I haven’t swayed you today, then I can’t sway you,” he snapped. [The voter] was shocked. “It was like he was waiting for people to tell him what a wonderful person he was,” she says. “It was super bizarre.”
These are specifics we have barely seen commented on by the media following the Democrats, and it is not for a lack of manpower on the trail. As Taibbi describes it, ‘’You can’t step two feet in the Des Moines area on caucus weekend without hitting press. It’s like an angry God shook a box of us through the clouds.’’ This is underscored by a junket stop he describes involving Amy Klobuchar.
The Minnesota Senator made an appearance at a sports bar during the Super Bowl, the day before the vote. When she came in the press surrounded her three deep, and she was unable to speak directly to the voters she came by to meet. ”Reporters love ‘Amy’ who goes by one name behind press rope lines — She’s their take on a star.’’
All of this goes so far to not only describe the way the campaigns are being molded, but it also manages to reveal just how bad things have become for the Democrats in this coming election season. Consider — we learn how the party is manipulating things, how the press is choosing up sides, and how much underreporting of the flailing is in play — and yet we still are very aware of the very blatant problems going on.
This has already become a complete fiasco for the Democrats, and that it WITH all of their manipulations and assistance from the media. The issues must be running very deep for as much bad news that has come out already.