Monday, December 31, 2012

A Decade of Deeth

And a year of news.

Ten New Year's Eves ago, I decided to play around with this then-trendy thing called "blogging." It was just supposed to be a minor diversion.

But it turned out that with a little bit of effort, I got kind of good at it, good enough to actually make money for a little while, and prominent enough to attain minor celebrity in the small world that is Iowa politics.

So today marks the, believe it or not, ten year anniversary of the Deeth Blog, though the beret has only been around for the latter 5 1/2 of that. That's a looooong time for a (mostly) amateur political blog. For perspective: Daily Kos was only about six months old when I started.

The blog isn't the only outlet for me anymore, and even the concept of a "blog" is kind of Twenty-Zeroes. (We never did come up with a name for that decade.) Facebook and Twitter didn't exist back then. They're useful tools, but this blog is still the mothership for my public thoughts.

Thanks to you, the readers, for keeping me motivated to do this. And as always, my New Year's resolution, never honored, is to spell-check before I post.

Here's a quick review of the year.


Caucus night runs smooth for the Democrats - a 98.42% win for Obama over Uncommitted. Republicans? Not so much. My prediction of a narrow Ron Paul win is wrong, but I see the future: "How many Paul and Santorum people stuck around to elect delegates after the Romney and Gingrich people went home?" Three-fourths of attendees oppose the eventual nominee.

The debates remain lively, despite the failure of Jon Huntsman's Screw Iowa strategy, and nothing is more lively than Newt's moon base. The race for Fail Of The Month is between Michele Bachmann, out the day after caucus, and the Packers, in the first round of the playoffs.

There was a mass shooting somewhere.


Matt Strawn becomes the fall guy for the caucus count and the Paulistinians, led by AJ Spiker, take over the party structure. We move into legislative announcing and filing mode, and see an unprecedented number of primary challenges to GOP House incumbents. (In the end, only one challenge is successful.)

Nationally, we see the first shots in what later gets called The War On Women, as contraception - contraception?!? - becomes a primary issue half a century after Griswold v. Connecticut, and Susan Komen for the Cure destroys its brand by caving to extremism.

Prescient headline of the year: "How the Obama Campaign’s Top-Secret project Narwhal Will Change the 2012 Race."

There was a mass shooting somewhere.


This happens. Then this happens.

How can we announce we're off the air when we're off the air?

I drop off the face of the earth in a self-imposed sabbatical which I euphemistically called "writer's block." I could only think about one contest, the auditor primary, and I couldn't write about it. So I avoid political events except for a presidential visit. Other than filing deadline updates, followed by District Of The Day 2, I go silent to the point that I have to occasionally tweet that the blog is still alive. Eight posts in the entire month of May.

There was a mass shooting somewhere. The Iowa City tire fire may have been toxic, but it sure looked cool.

Mitt wins the nomination, or more accurately everyone else loses. We see the first of two Abraham Lincoln movies for the year, and I propose a series of sequels involving many presidents as vampire hunters.

After a stop at the Fibbin' Fisherman, Joe Seng kinda sorta gets the signatures for an improbable primary challenge to Dave Loebsack. The authorities rule that, well, you probably didn't really have enough, but you tried so you get to be on the ballot anyway.

Locally, Jeff Kaufmann steps down, Bobby Kaufmann and Dick Schwab step up. And a sad goodbye to our neighborhood school; my son Hayden said it better than I could.


Weipert beats Slockett, Schwab beats Johnson. Half a year later, the losing sides in both are still nursing grudges.

Deeth in Dixie: With my family, I take my first actual vacation in eight years, traveling through Mississippi and Ala-freakin-BAMA en route to Disney. On the road back, I follow the complete Ron Paul takeover of the state Republican convention. I arrive home to a dead garden which I never quite manage to revive.

A wild SuperPAC appears. Obama uses Define Mitt as Job Outsourcer. It's super effective!

There was a mass shooting somewhere. And at month's end ObamaCare is constitutional, as the Democrats begin to embrace the term.


Another presidential visit. Another mass shooting somewhere. And two girls disappear in Evansdale.

GOP state senate candidate Randi-Kaye: Shannon secedes and joins, let's see if I have the capitalization right, "the Republic of the united States of America." We start hearing more and more about voter ID laws, in a vote suppression effort that backfires. And does anyone remember Americans Elect?


The month of Chick-Fil-A's and empty chairs starts with A.J. Spiker making a full-partisan jump into judicial politics with a "personal" endorsement.

Another set of filing deadline stories, another round of District of the Day, and another mass shooting somewhere. The first Wisconsin cheesehead ever gets put on a national ticket; unfortunately it's not Russ Finegold.

Not sure who looked more foolish at the GOP convention: the Iowa delegation in voting for third place Ron Paul, or the convention podium for refusing to acknowledge non-Mitt votes, just like we pretended Penn State never won a football game from 1998 to 2011.

The term "legitimate rape" enters the lexicon. At some point we gave up on asking for Mitt's tax returns.

In the best moment in a whole series of Some Dude Republican legislative conventions, the options were so bad that a candidate volunteered from the audience - and won.

UI climbs a couple notches from number four to become the Number Two Party School.

All these things will be forgotten in a thousand years. But Neil Armstrong won't.


We didn't know for sure right away. There was a false alarm after the first debate. But in retrospect, the ball game ended September 17 when the "47 percent" video came out. Encapsulated every preconception and meme about Mitt in one sound bite, and in karmic perfection 47 percent is exactly what Romney won in November.

The month started off with a pitch-perfect Democratic convention (winners: Clinton 42 and in absentia Clinton 45) followed immediately by an Iowa City visit from Obama, Biden, Obama and Biden. It ended with a line halfway down the Ped Mall for the first day of early voting.

The Ron Paul backers refuse to give up, aiming their hopes at the electoral college. One Iowan opens her trap about it and is quickly dumped from the elector slate.

This happened:

NFL referees are locked out, and Packer fans suffer through the worst bad call since Bush v. Gore. Final impact: the Seattle "loss" costs Green Bay a bye next week.

There was a mass shooting somewhere.


In "the biggest liberal flip-flip since Birkenstocks" I come out of the closet in support of the justice center, earning a new nickname in the process, and my writing trails off late in the month as I get deeper and deeper into the work bubble of helping make the election happen.

There was a mass shooting somewhere.

Democrats worry, but keep working and turn to Nate Silver, who was comfort with decimal places. Republicans hide behind binders full of women and the rose colored glasses of "skewed polls."

Musicians for Obama: Ames gets Springsteen, Iowa City has to settle for Jon Bon Jovi. At month's end, their beloved New Jersey is clobbered by Sandy, and the state's governor shifts from bashing Obama on the stump to literally embracing him in the year's least likely bromance.

Pat Ward's death extends the legislative election season by a month (but the GOP holds the seat in the December special). And in another loss, we said goodbye to one of our greatest Democrats, George McGovern.

And my best tweet of the year, on style points, channels Chuck Grassley:

A good, if not perfect, winning night. Wiggins survives. Boswell does not. For once my predictions prove accurate, though not as good as Nate Silver's; he nailed the presidential map exactly. Main exceptions: I pick with my heart not my head for Christie Vilsack. Still, I was more rooted in reality than the Romney transition team or the Texas secessionists.

The Iowa Senate holds for Governor Gronstal, and Spinal Tap trades drummers again. Out with Jerry Behn, in with Bill Dix.

The justice center narrowly fails, and I crunch the numbers to show what I want to show: lefty opposition on larger justice system issues mattered more than conservative anti-tax sentiment. Back to the drawing board, sometime next year.

Nobody, not even the head of the CIA, can keep an affair secret. Except maybe James Bond. There was a mass shooting somewhere.


There was an especially bad mass shooting somewhere, and dead first graders are more real to most people than some "fiscal cliff." Still, Republicans don't seem to get the meaning of the word "lost" so here we sit on Deeth Blog Anniversary Day staring at an artificially created crisis.

With Dan Inouye's death and John Kerry's impending departure for the cabinet, Iowa tops  the Senate seniority list.

The musical chairs start moving for the upcoming supervisor vacancy as Sally Stutsman prepares for the Iowa House. Speaking of musical chairs, Flavor Flav makes it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, boyeee!

What have I missed, dear readers? That's what comment sections are for.

1 comment:

Shane Vander Hart said...

Congrats on this milestone! Not too many 10-year blogging vets out there.