Bill Richardson: God wants Iowa to keep its first-in-the-nation caucus status

Imagine if GWB had said something like this. Where’s the outrage?

Sioux City, Ia. — God’s will is for Iowa to have the first-in-the-nation caucus, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson told a crowd here today.

“Iowa, for good reason, for constitutional reasons, for reasons related to the Lord should be the first caucus and primary” Richardson, New Mexico’s governor said at the Northwest Iowa Labor Council Picnic. “And I want you to know who was the first candidate to sign a pledge not to campaign anywhere if they got ahead of Iowa. It was Bill Richardson.”

Several people in the crowd snickered after Richardson made the comment.

“That was a little weird” said Sioux City resident Joe Shufro. “I don’t know what God had to do with choosing Iowa among other states. I found that a little strange.”

Other states have been jockeying to beat Iowa to hold the first presidential caucus. Many Democratic candidates within the past week — including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards — signed a promise to skip campaigning in stateís that try to position themselves before Iowa.

Sioux City resident Jan Hodge agreed that Richardson’s statement was odd.

“It’s the kind of thing that would make me wince if, for instance, George Bush said it” Hodge said. “Richardson has the saving grace of not taking himself too seriously. It was one of those off the cuff remarks that can’t be taken as seriously as the punsters will make it.”

Richardson, when questioned about the remark, had this to say in response:

Asked about it Tuesday, Richardson said: “Look, that was an off-the-cuff comment where I said Iowa and New Hampshire should be first.”

When pressed further, he said Iowa should launch the primary calendar because “it’s a tradition in American politics that has worked.”

“Iowa scrutinizes candidates through a grass-roots state. They are very good at winnowing down candidates,” he said. “They don’t listen to national polls. Iowa voters are very independent and issue-oriented.”

Jimmie at the Sundries Shack contrasts this story with another one where a valedictorian was punished by her high school for talking about God in her speech to the graduating class, and pegs the differing reactions for what they are:

1) Last spring, Erica Corder was the valedictorian of her graduating class at a high school in Colorado. As such, her speech was vetted by school officials. However, when she got up to speak, she decided to take a detour from her prepared remarks. She spoke of her faith in Jesus Christ and of his love for her allotted 30 seconds, including encouraging the crowd “…to find out more about the sacrifice He made for you …”. For that her diploma was withheld until she sent out an e-mailed apology for her behavior, described as “immature” by her principal. Her principal said that her remarks were not approved and that the punishment was just. The school’s speech policy makes no mention of religious speech. The newspaper article said that several in the crowd were offended by her “proselytizing”.


Erica Corder invoked Jesus in a personal way – telling her audience what He meant to her and asking them to consider his love and sacrifice in their own lives. Governor Richardson invoked God as a direct actor on the government of Iowa strongly suggesting that the government had His express blessing. Which one seems a more insidious invocation of the Divine and which one was censured more severely?

Perhaps you’re only allowed to express a religious belief if no one thinks you actually mean it.

Move along here, nothing to see …

In related news on primaries and caucuses, CNN reports that Michigan has jumped ahead of New Hampshire for the time being:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has signed legislation moving her state’s 2008 presidential primary to January 15, temporarily placing it ahead of New Hampshire in the heavily front-loaded nominating calendar. The law went into effect Tuesday morning.


The move to mid-January violates both national Democratic and Republican party rules. In August, a Democratic National Committee panel voted almost unanimously to strip the state of Florida of its say in the nomination process unless it delays its primary, currently scheduled for January 29. The DNC is likely to impose similar penalties on Michigan.

New Hampshire, which has written its first-in-the-nation primary status into state law, was tentatively scheduled for January 22, but now is expected to move earlier. Iowa, with its first-in-the-nation caucuses tentatively slated for January 14, is expected to make a similar move.

*sigh* Who’ll be the first to hold their primary/caucus in December? This has gotten beyond ridiculous.

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