In the wake of the Iowa caucuses, many pundits are scratching their heads. Favorites like Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich lost to the relative unknown, Rick Santorum, who tied with Mitt Romney at 24% of the vote. But perhaps, the result is less confusing when you look at it from the angle of love and relationships.
I went to my local precinct in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to see where my neighbors stood on the candidates and the issues. Despite being a registered Democrat, I listened into the Republican caucus and saw many of my friends and neighbors: the women whose daughters had the worst lemonade stand on the block caucused for Ron Paul; the owner of my favorite antique store was there with his wife, both Ron Paul supporters; and the owner of the insurance company I wrote the brochures for was there too, also a Ron Paul supporter.
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For these caucus-goers, family values, marriage and the private lives of the candidates were first and foremost on their minds. Michelle Smith noted that she wasn't voting for Gingrich because of his affairs and she didn't like his stance on gay marriage. "Gay marriage shouldn't be in Iowa," she said. "I don't like that, so I support candidates who believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman." But, Smith said she was caucusing for Ron Paul, "because in the end, our economy is messed up and we need to fix that." Political Wives: Do They Hold All The Power?
Jeanine (who declined to give her last name) also caucused for Ron Paul because of his stance on abortion, and while she agrees that gay marriage is important, she's Libertarian in her approach to the topic: "We can't tell people how to live their lives. That's not the government's job."
Mike Tollefson, who spoke to the precinct on behalf of Gingrich, admitted that the former speaker "had some moral failings." However, he added, "Who hasn't made mistakes? And Mr. Gingrich has learned from his and is committed to family values."
Despite the talk of family values, gay marriage and Newt Gingrich's dalliances, money won over love. Without fail, everyone I asked said the biggest issue in this election was the economy. Smith noted, "While gay marriage is a big issue for me, it's not the only issue. I don't think Ron Paul agrees with me on gay marriage, but I'm still caucusing for him because he's the only one who can fix our broken economy." A Christian's Take: God Doesn't Approve Of Gay Marriage
"Why choose?" asked Dave, a Santorum supporter who also refused to give his last name. "If you vote for Santorum, you get a revitalized economy and strong family values. You can't go wrong."
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Apparently, a lot of Iowans agreed with him. Santorum was the surprising winner of the Iowa caucuses. While his viability as a candidate remains to be seen, for Republican's in Iowa, money wins out over love.
When it comes to voting, what is more important for you: love or money?