Sometimes we wonder what presidential candidates think about Iowans and especially our politicians — those we send to Des Moines to do our business.
For example, we talk a lot about our children’s quality education, only to watch our legislators stall for days and weeks on providing funding to our schools so they know how and what to budget. Careers are hanging on their decisions.
Or how about this? Despite overwhelming poll numbers showing that their constituents favor medical marijuana, Republicans in the Iowa House decide to take doctoring — or the lack of it — into their own hands and deny even discussing an expanded medical marijuana bill the Senate has approved. (Memo to the House: That recent Quinnipiac poll showed 80 percent favor medical marijuana. Oh, sure, we have a program now but some people will tell you it’s barely worth the paper it was written on.)
But let’s get to the real topic of the day — visits by presidential candidates.
No matter what they think about what’s going on in Des Moines (if they think anything at all), there’s little question why the likes of Hillary Clinton and her Republican hopeful counterparts beat a path to Iowa soon after announcing their intention to run for president (and even for weeks before).
It’s because we can be king-makers when it comes to presidential politics with our first-in-the-nation caucuses. It’s why Hillary, soon after announcing, spent a couple of days in the state last week.
Iowa’s caucuses are legendary across the country — some people love them, some hate them — because they bring big-name politicians down to the average citizens’ level. They may sneak in a fancy sit-down dinner here and there, but they’re more likely to be seen in a small-town café or manufacturing plant. Touring a school or touring any place else where they can shake a lot of hands and get a lot of media exposure. Hillary got right to the heart of crucial Iowa concerns — education and jobs — when she visited a community college branch in Monticello.
Such stops by her and GOP hopefuls such as Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and others (when will Jeb Bush announce?) will become more and more numerous. Which is great news for Iowans.
We will have many opportunities to meet candidates; get close; shake hands; maybe even ask a question or two about issues important to us. How candidates respond on these many stages will go a long way to determining how they fare in the caucuses next Feb. 1.