Bob Bowman runs his hand over a slender green corn leaf here on his Iowa farm, and sighs.
“This corn should be as high as my head right now, and it is only waist high,” he says, as a cool morning breeze belies the 90-degree Fahrenheit temperatures forecast to descend by afternoon in Welton, Iowa.
“If we get rain real quick here, we might be down 25 percent,” said Bowman of prospective losses from the persistent dryness. “If we don’t get rain in the next two weeks, it will be a lot more serious.”
Bowman farms 2,200 acres in east-central Iowa in one of the state’s highest production areas. There may not be much to brag about this year, however.
If they weren’t encouraged to pretend, political reporters would tell you to take a Iowa breather and wait for more consequential contests—such as the New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida primaries. Even sports writers pretend sometimes, notably around the time of the Olympics. If they were completely on the level they’d instruct fans to take an extended bathroom break between games. But the commercial demands on both kinds of news fill what should be dead air with speculation, minutiae, human interest, gossip, and commentary. One would think that readers and viewers would resent all the ephemera masquerading as news, but they actually seem to appreciate it! How else to interpret the high ratings for the Republican debates this year or, on the sports side, the proliferation of pre-game and post-game shows, or a whole networks owned by and devoted to the NFL and MLB?
While Republicans battle it out for the nomination, President Obama’s campaign is developing a coalition across the state. Correspondent Jeff Mason visits an Obama office in Cedar Rapids to reveal the inner workings of the President’s organization.