The Morning after -January 4th , 2008
The morning after the Iowa caucus and I am literally blogging from the car , thanks to a fancy ATT wireless card. We are on the road to Indiana to have dinner at the home of Cliff and Donna Rice, devout Christians who until recently supported former NYC mayor Guiliani. I will find out tonight if they are now considering Governor Huckabee who, I believe emerged last night as the voice of the Evangelical Christians.
We, however, have been following Rev. Helen Seenster, an Obama’s supporter. And last night in the Cafeteria of the Logan Middle School in Waterloo Iowa , I felt I was watching history in the making. We will try today or tomorrow to post some footage from that evening, but you really had to be there to see and to feel the excitement. It was the first time I saw a Caucus in action and it is an amazing experience. An uplifting chaos; there are no other words to describe it. After registering, voters organized in clusters around the cafeteria tables trying to lure the undecided and supporters of the other camp. It is all a very low tech event. Every table counts its members, results are shouted over the noise of the crowd and it all feels like a noisy PTA meeting. But that is why it is so exciting. You see democracy at its elementary grass roots level and it is exhilarating.
One had only to see the over crowded Barak Obama’s supporters tables to understand not only why he won Iowa last night, but why I believe he will go on winning in other states. I believe something much deeper surfaced last night among both Democrats and Republicans. Around Obama’s supporters you could see the widest spectrum of America’s rich and poor, black and white, youth, immigrants and native born. I do not know how representative of the national spirit Logan Middle School precinct is, but it must represent something. And in Logan Middle School Cafeteria it was a shock to see the barely 25 older middle class white couples who sat in the Hillary Clinton side of the room. It was such a contract to the voiceforous energized human rainbnow that was cheering and dancing on Obama’s side of the room.
Back in the hotel I listened to both Obama’s and Huckabee ‘s victory speeches and though they come from totally the opposite sides of the political spectrum, they were about the same. I believe the pundits have failed to focus on the real message that came from thousands of places like Logan Middle School: The voters of both parties expressed a yearning for authentic leaders who believe in something and act on their moral principals. Though Huckabee won last night mainly by focusing on the Evangelical votges, I believe it is all going to change: Like Obama he will tap into a deeper yearning in the Republican party. I believe this yearning crosses party lines. It is not a coincidence that Huckabee is an ordained minister and Barak Obama a man of faith. People believe them because they sense that they are motivated by deeper principals. Lots of things can happen in the next 30 plus days, but I do believe that as both overcame all conventional wisdom and won Iowa, both Barak Obama and Governor Huckabee might … just might continue to shake conventional wisdom and capture their respective party’s nominations. If that happens I will be the last person to be surprised . From the beginning of this campaign I felt that we are witnessing another chapter in the fascinating saga of how faith and politics keep shaping this country’s history. We will be on the road to record it.
Tomorrow I will blog from the road as we drive to New Hampshire . We will stop on the way, spending Sunday in a small rural Mennonite Church in Pennsylvania.