Better Not Diss Those Idiots Out Wandering Around

In other Scott Walker news, the Wisconsin governor’s proto-campaign is providing another object lesson in how Iowa maintains its privileged position athwart the presidential nominating process: you don’t diss the state without consequences. Check out this piece from the Des Moines Register‘s chief political writer Jennifer Jacobs about the woman Walker’s hired as a “strategist for online communications:”

Iowa has been a punching bag in online quips by Republican Scott Walker’s new strategist for online communications.

“In other news, I see Iowa is once again embarrassing itself, and the GOP, this morning. Thanks, guys,” Republican political consultant Liz Mair tweeted in January this year, just after U.S. Rep. Steve King’s daylong multicontender Iowa Freedom Summit began.

Jacobs goes on, with the air of a priest describing the desecration of an altar, in documenting Mair’s tweeted insults to Iowa and Iowans and ethanol. I guarantee you more Iowans will read and remember this mistake by Walker’s campaign than will read and remember anything about Walker’s next speech in the state–unless he or his campaign (which dismissed the complaints about Mair because she’s just The Help) apologizes or (better yet!) finds another strategist for online communications.

Political Iowa’s famous touchiness isn’t primarily a sign of insecurity, though that may be its original foundation. No, Iowans want you to know that not only will they fight to keep their Caucus First, but that they’re kicking ass and taking names when it comes to the kind of disrespect that might be a gateway to diminishing Iowa’s status. People from neighboring states may still joke about Iowa standing for Idiots Out Wandering Around, but their politicians dare not laugh if they harbor any fantasies about running for president.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.