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A correspondent for the the United Kingdom’s venerable newspaper The Guardian ventured to Carroll, Iowa, this weekend to find out what people there think of the man they helped make President of the United States. (It is, after all, 100 days after Barack Obama took office.) Correspondent Paul Harris knew exactly who to ask — Daily Yonder contributor Douglas Burns, who, as a writer for his family’s newspaper, the Daily Times Herald, interviewed candidate Obama six times during the primary campaign. (Burns, above, being interviewed by Fox News.) “Obama’s political life as president was essentially born here. He really is a president from Iowa,” said Burns. 

Harris notes that Iowa “is hurting” economically. “You can feel the nervousness on the streets of Des Moines,” Harris writes. “Now the optimistic campaign speeches have been replaced by sombre warnings of hard times and a struggle to overcome the gravest crisis since the Great Depression.”

Meanwhile, Harris sees a fight going on within the Republican Party as a kind of “civil war, pitting its moderate centrists, typified by someone like Mitt Romney, against its conservative wing, led by firebreathing media stars such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. In Iowa, that fight is already playing out, as local congressman Steve King prepares to seek his party’s nomination for the governor’s race in 2010. King is deeply conservative and, if he gets the nod, it will be a signal that Iowa’s conservative Republicans – probably boosted by the decision to legalise gay marriage — will be dominant.”

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