As summer winds down, let me guess that you, like me, have enjoyed plenty of sweet corn and tomatoes bought from farmstands and farmer’s markets across the state this summer. Despite the incredible heat, the just out of the field food was – well, heavenly. Even better, there are some lucky ones who grow the corn, tomatoes and maybe beans, onions and other goodies in their home gardens.
Also as summer winds down, politics in Iowa as the first in the nation test of candidates, gears up. The Ames Republican Straw Poll takes place today. This is the first “official” contest of what has become an almost never ending campaign cycle.
As the national media descends on Ames, three of the Republican big time players will be missing. This makes this straw poll akin to the 1987 NFL season when the real players were on strike.
That year, NFL owners put uniforms on warm bodies and told the public that those were indeed, professional football players. Not too surprisingly, fans were not fooled. There was a difference in the product on the field from what they expected from real players.
So Ames takes place without Willard Romney who is saving his strength for the next dance, Sarah Palin who is not running and James R. Perry who is stealing the light with his own announcement.
Yet, even these so-called stars are not really the powers that be in the Republican Party. They are no doubt the most recognizable names and will be the rallying points around which republicans will gather.
But the true power in the Republican Party lies not in the candidates for the highest public office in America, but in those behind the scenes who set the Republican agenda, those who decide whether or not a candidate passes the litmus tests that a Republican must now be graded on to get the money and endorsements needed to be selected.
Who are these people? Some names have recently been brought out into daylight due to their push for radical changes by those who owe them allegiance. Charles and David Koch, Grover Norquist, the DeVos family of Michigan are some of the names that may be familiar. With the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. the FEC the money controlled by the very, very rich becomes a paramount concern.
While Grover Norquist is not one of the rich players, he seems to be something of an enforcer on one of the major issues that the rich care about: keeping their taxes low. It is almost comical to see Republicans from low to high quaking when Norquist suggests that they may have sinned against the doctrine (and pledge) of low taxes. Grover has a hammer and he swings it hard.
Being subservient to those with the big bucks, the corporatists, is the only thing that really makes sense when you ask why Mitt Romney would insist that corporations ARE, indeed, PEOPLE. BFIA posted the video here
But those with money are not the only behind the scenes power. Religious leaders have over the years accumulated quite a base of power in the Republican Party. While there have been many reports of individual candidates and religious leaders, Rick Perry’s “Call to Prayer” meeting last Saturday really helped focus the spotlight on a group that stays out of the spotlight for damned good reason.
Rachel Maddow probably did the very best job I have read or seen concerning the radical Christian group – the New Apostolic Reformation – that is maneuvering behind Rick Perry. This is about 15 minutes but quite worth the time. Watch Rachel Maddow video
The lesson out of all this is that whoever the Republican candidate is, that person will not be the the head of the Party. Whatever policies they pursue will be those of the powers behind the scenes.