Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 1: Romney HQ Des Moines Iowa

Let's start with the logistics.  I landed in Des Moines yesterday afteroon after two easy flights, switching planes in Memphis.  Grabbed my rental car (Prius--really like these things) at the airport and headed downtown--a 4.5 mile trip of no real consequence.  I checked into my way overpriced Hotel (it is a Hyatt--but apparently one of their lesser marques....) and then headed in search of vittles.  Ate a decent steak down the street from the hotel, then returned for the night to my iPad/Kindle app--I'm reading The Count of Monte Cristo and it is riveting....

I contacted Iowa Romney Director Sara Craig this morning, and she asked me to join them at 1030, after they'd gotten some meetings out of the way.  This enabled me to amble over to the Marriott, were I was told a better breakfast awaited me than in my hotel.   I downed a fabulous three egg omelet and was on my way.

Romney has a modest operation in Iowa this time around; he went for broke here in 2008 and then underperformed, sorta knocking him on his butt early.  This time, he basically ignored the straw poll and let Tim Pawlenty be the guy who bet everything on Iowa (Pawlenty even rented the same sprawling HQ building that Romney had then).  Romney is very much campaigning for the Iowa Caucuses in February--but just didn't feel the Straw Poll was worth the effort.  So the downscale operation is housed at the consulting firm where Sara works--and after some introductions and chatter about the big news (Gov. Perry is in town), I headed off to another office where I was put to work by Phil, a full-time staffer and a big Mitt fan.  Phil's 26 or so, and a graduate of Catholic U (got my MA there, so we had something to chat about).  Phil's been living and breathing Iowa for over a year, and he really seems to have a pretty deep understanding of what is going on, what Romney's strategy is, and how to make it happen.  Best of all though, Phil was ready for me, in that he had some tasks all lined up to put me on.

I can pretty much sum up my day's labor by saying that I merged databases.  Seriously.  I had a bunch of excel spreadsheets in various states of quality, which were the result of countless meetings/meet and greets throughout the state.  Order needed to be brought to this chaos--and that is just the kind of task I like.  And so, that is what I did--so that by the time I left this afternoon, I had thousands of names neatly arrayed with their emails, zipcodes and counties....which was what the folks "in Boston" want.  Far from complete, the product I left off with today has hundreds if not thousands of missing zips and counties that I will labor to locate via the interwebs and other useful databases which I have been given access to.

Governor Perry's entrance into the race was--as I said--big news here in Iowa.  I listened to a radio program this morning where he was the guest, and he acquitted himself well.  I'd like to see Perry and Bachman pick up where Bachman and Pawlenty left off, but I think Perry's going to aim squarely at Romney throughout.  We'll see how that shakes out.

It really is amazing how this place (Iowa) is obsessed with politics.  It's all over the newspapers, the news shows, the radio--and this is days AFTER the caucus is over.  I imagine it stays at a pretty fair level through the Fall and then gets ridiculous in November/December. Maybe I'll come back out for that....

So far, so good.  I liked doing what I did today--I know it sounds menial and boring, but it is necessary stuff and I think it will be helpful. 


Sara said...


Love the blog and appreciate your help but when you pick up my morning coffee, please bring me a glazed doughnut and a paper.

NavyAustin said...

Bryan - you can moderate this, of course, but I'm wondering what you see in Romney.

I'm not in the tank for Perry because he's from Texas. But he seems like the only electable candidate.

I know, reams of data show Romney over Obama, Generic GOP over Obama, anyone over Obama. But POTUS can raise some serious money, Bin Laden got killed on his watch, and if he gets a little of his rhetorical mojo back, Obama will win a second term - unless there is someone who can get people excited, offers a clear vision, and has a track record.

Here's my issues with Romney:

GET PEOPLE EXCITED: Seems entitled, not hungry. In a rather John Kerry type way, he strikes me as if he thinks he's owed. And not in a "paid my dues for the party/country and now it's my turn (Dole, McCain)" way, more "It's my birthright" way. People don't like smug.

GET PEOPLE EXCITED: Will Romney be able to throw a punch or take a punch? Perry can, and will. He already is. Obama can make a speech, but can't take a punch well.

CLEAR VISION: Romney seems smart, but in a technocrat, policy kind of way. Passionless. Bland. And his nuanced conservatism seems a lot like Obama.

TRACK RECORD: Perry - more jobs in Texas than Obama created in the US. Romney - Mass miracle was a while ago, and was in the good times.

TRACK RECORD: Mass. healthcare law seems an awful lot like Obamacare - an entitlement we can't afford unconstitutionally tagged as a "right" (hint: rights don't impose a burden on me).

I'm sure Romney is a good guy. Help me get excited about him!

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Here's why I am supporting Romney.
1. I'm a big fan of the William F. Buckley method of picking candidates, which is to go with the most conservative electable candidate in the race. To me, that is Romney.

2. The world got "excited" about Barack Obama--and look where it got us. I want steady, I want experienced. I'm not looking for a girlfriend here--I'm looking for a "banker".

3. I think Perry will be a strong candidate--but to win this time, the Republican candidate is going to have to do well with moderates--steal them from Obama. I don't see Perry doing that. I see him painted as the second coming of George Bush and I think that will resonate with moderate voters. Again--I think Perry is a strong candidate with an excellent record. He also wears cowboy boots and talks with a twang. I see that as a liability for victory in this election.

4. I only have so much give a damn to go around. I want this party to win in 2012, and to that end, I'm going with the guy who I believe has the best chance of beating Obama.

Sally said...

NavyAustin, we know Perry can throw a punch. But do we know if he in fact can take a punch? I'm in Camp Romney too so I'm biased, but if Perry has a few more days like yesterday he won't last a week. He better get some discipline.

The biggest virtues I see with Perry is I'm sure he can attract Hispanic voters with his Texas version of the Dream Act, and he can destroy Bachmann.

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