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December 18th, 2011

Once Again The Des Moines Register Rewards Bad Behavior

It comes as no surprise that the Des Moines Register has awarded Mitt Romney its endorsement.  While the Register’s endorsement eluded Romney four years when he was aggressively campaigning as a social conservative, receiving it this year is of critical importance to him.  The Romney campaign would like nothing more than to run a last minute TV ad touting all of their Iowa newspaper endorsements.

Other media outlets treat the Register’s presidential endorsement like a race altering moment.  However, all one has to do to realize that the paper’s editorial board has no sway with most Republicans in the state is waste a few minutes reading the endorsement.  One doesn’t have to read too far to realize why the paper has little sway among conservatives.

The Register writes that all but Romney have “pandered to extremes with attacks on the courts and sermons on Christian values.”  Talk about insulting to people of faith and those who actually want to adhere to the Constitution.  I take great offense to the use of the word “pandered.”

I understand that the editorial board at the Register is hostile to those who advocate for traditional values, but I don’t think candidates like Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum are pandering on those issues.  After covering them for the past couple of years, one would hope that the paper would have a better grasp of what the candidates actually believe.

Later on, they wrote, “Rick Santorum was most passionate about preserving marriage against attacks from gay couples.”  Again, look at language they opted to use.  The institution of marriage is under attack through the courts, not gays.  Does anyone else find is odd that in the same article in which they praise Romney for refraining from “reckless rhetoric and moralizing,” the editorial board is guilty of that exact thing?

Iowa Republicans have long realized that the Des Moines Register’s editorial board is basically at war with everything in which they believe.  We accept it.  We laugh at how important they think their endorsement is.  We cheer when they are incapable of hosting a presidential debate when every other Tom, Dick and Harry has hosted one.  We are thankful when they don’t endorse our candidate of choice because we don’t want to have to defend it to our friends and colleagues.

Even though their open hostility to the values and philosophies that most Republicans hold is unfortunate, what’s even worse is that the Register has now made it a tradition to endorse candidates who are openly hostile to Iowa’s First-in-the-Nation status.

For two cycles in a row now, the Register has endorsed a candidate who has, in large part, blown off Iowa.  The Register endorsed John McCain in 2008.  To his credit, McCain tried to campaign in Iowa, but failed.  He regrouped in New Hampshire, and in the final weeks before the caucuses, he resumed campaigning in Iowa.  That’s not the case for Romney.  Romney has only campaigned in the state for eleven days and only attended 21 events.  Romney makes John McCain’s 2008 campaigning in Iowa look McCain had the dedication of Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum combined.

The Register, and ever other media outlet, do very little to defend Iowa’s First-in-the-Nation caucus status.  I would never expect a media outlet to base its endorsement on a candidate’s attitude towards the nomination process, but it should be a factor.  Without the presidential caucuses, the Des Moines Register is no different than the Asbury Park Press.  The rest of the world doesn’t care what the Asbury Park Press writes about, who they happen to endorse, or what their latest New Jersey poll says.

The only reason that the Des Moines Register has any prominence is because of the caucuses.  Yet, by their own actions, they seem uninterested in preserving Iowa’s status, and by extension, their own importance.  If they feel that Romney is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field, by all means endorse him.  However, it also wouldn’t hurt to chide him for not allowing Iowans the opportunity to vet him.

Those who believe that protecting Iowa’s First-in-the-Nation status is the sole responsibility of our elected officials and party officials are wrong.  The entire state benefits from the caucus process, and that is especially true for Iowa media.  By once again endorsing a candidate who has basically ignored and tried to discredit Iowa, the Des Moines Register is basically rewarding bad behavior.

Photo by Dave Davidson –

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About the Author

Craig Robinson

Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country.

Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.

A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states.

Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site,

Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing.

Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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