Eugene Cho

chuck norris and the iowa caucus

Here are some of my quick vomitaceous thoughts about the Iowa Caucus last night.

If you’re a political junkie, I’m assuming you’ve been glued to the TV or internet.  We’re going through the Q Cafe remodel right now so I was “shocked” to hear the late results…  I’m no political analyst but I was completely off on my predictions. 

For the Democratic Party, I predicted: 1] Clinton, 2] Edwards, and 3] Obama.  As you know, the results were complete  opposite with Obama at 38%.  I don’t know if I am more shocked about Obama at 38% or Clinton coming in 3rd.  I think it’s the latter.  No, I’m simply shocked at the idea or possibility that this country could be ready or would vote for an African-American president.  And yes, like others, I was captivated by Obama’s speech – even if it was your typical political rhetoric.  I’m eager to hear from him and others – beyond the typical political rhetoric.  But as I wrote months ago, I still get scared for Obama’s life.  I hate even thinking those thoughts.

For the Republican Party, I predicted: 1] Romney, 2] Huckabee, and 3] McCain.  The results were also shocking with 1] Huckabee, 2] Romney, and 3] Thompson and McCain neck to neck at 13%.  If McCain has a poor showing in NH, he might as well pack it in.  Seriously, who in their right mind thought [a year ago or even six months ago] that Huckabee would be in this situation?  Anyone?  I know there’s a few Huckabee supporters amongst our readers here so I’d love to hear what draws you to him.  Honestly and initially, when Huckabee started to get some press, he reminded me of Ross Perot – but a little more presidential.  Huckabee is certainly growing in resonance with many – and it’s not just because of his “evangelical faith” but his willingness to move away from the traditional Republican platform. 

What’s the lesson here?  It’s not about Huckabee…don’t mess with Chuck Norris!

I don’t want to create a firestorm here…  While I’m weary of Bush and the ongoing war in Iraq, I’m not afraid at all about Huckabee’s open expression of his faith in Christ.  But, lest we forget, let me again remind folks that Obama takes his faith in Christ to heart as well.

Maybe all the political pundits are right – maybe this is a small glimpse of America saying, “We Want Change.”  And for the record, I’m as yet undecided who I will vote for.  

Alright, let’s talk it out.  What did folks think about the Iowa caucus results?

Filed under: politics, religion, , ,

33 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    Two words: Go Obama!

  2. david says:

    obama’s the real deal- i knew he’d come through tonight, just not by such a large margin. as predicted, clinton is too polarizing, leading in only one segment- those over 65 (who are likely for clinton because she is the “safe” candidate). even most women (particularly single women, interestingly) overwhelmingly voted for obama. i was a little surprised at edwards’ success, but iowa is a working class state and nobody has it in with organized labor like edwards’ populist message, so it’s not a shocker. the bottom line is that people want change, and this caucus shows it.

    i think huckabee is a longshot, but if he carries momentum into NH (and he’ll need a lot of it), he could finish well. conservatives seem a little conflicted about him in general since he’s economically moderate, but the evangelicals (god help us) have certainly found their boy.

    my two cents.

  3. Jeff Lam says:

    from my perspective, the political environment has been dominated by controversy, special interest groups, division, scandal and overall shady behavior. there have been hardly any political/religious leaders i’ve seen without a dark ominous cloud floating not far behind. there’s not a lot of reason to trust public figures. but then there’s obama, who compels me to wanna believe that our country can do good. my generation hasn’t seen a lot of truly inspirational political figures, but to me, his vision for change in the country is one i deeply resonate with. the biggest knock on obama is his lack of experience. if anything, that makes me like him even more, and is yet another reason why he’s got my vote in november.

  4. Chris says:

    I find it surprising that you wouldn’t think the country be ready or vote for an african-american president. I think the country is far more ready for an african-american president than for a woman in the presidency.

  5. Randall says:

    I agree with Jeff. I don’t see Obama’s problem as lacking experience, I see a person who isn’t heavily tied into and invested in a bankrupt political machine. His experience is a real glass half-empty/half-full issue.

    The bit that troubles me about Huckabee’s win is the way it’s being reported as a victory brought about because of evangelicals. Christ didn’t leave the splendor of heaven and die a criminal’s brutal death to create a voting block. AGH!

    It looks like “change” is going to be the buzzword for ’08 and that’s fine with me because we seem to be stuck in a really bad rut right now.

    Go Obama!

  6. e cho says:

    chris,
    i would have thought the other way around – that the country would be far more ready for a female president than an african american president simply by the fact that there are more women than african-americans.

    it’s not that i don’t want or can’t dream of such things…i’m still surprised.

  7. Alice says:

    Interesting … that you said you fear for Obama’s life. Last night, when he started his speech, I turned to my husband and said, “I sure hope he has good security …” He sounded so much like Dr. Martin Luther King … reminded my husband so much of Bobby Kennedy … that we both had a moment of sheer panic thinking about some loony deciding that Obama is simply too good and therefore too dangerous. I pray, pray, pray that we were just thinking foolish thoughts.

  8. Ben C says:

    If I were to vote today, it’d be for Obama and I’ll likely vote for him when it’s time.

    President Huckabee? You gotta be kidding me.

  9. Tom says:

    Ben’s right. It would sound kind of strange to have a Huckabee in the White House. At present, I like Obama and would vote for him if the elections were held today.

  10. Nathan Gann says:

    Huck is no conservative. At least not the kind they think.

    But he is a pastor and a Christian, so, yippee hooray, he must be worth voting for! LOL!!!

    Lot a good that mindset did for the Evangelical right the last few years.

    Ron Paul is the way to go folks…

    Cheers.

  11. jadanzzy says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that Ron Paul doesn’t care for people as much as his principles. His fans will thoroughly disagree. His principles were terribly attractive to me for a long time. But America will crumble under his presidency.

    A Huckabee presidency is a nightmare for me. As populist and charming as he is, he is a political dolt. I need someone that is, yes, very smart when it comes to the global political sphere. Huckabee is NOT that.

    I’m saddened that you didn’t think Obama had it, Mr Eugene! Even political commentators had Obama at first in Iowa. Oh no… don’t tell me you’re a Clintonian. =)

    Obama for President ’08.

  12. e cho says:

    i’m surprised if there are folks out there including you jadanzzy that expected obama at #1 let alone at 38%. i can accept a close 1 but not at the percentage.

    i like obama. i just don’t know him enough to say he’s “the real deal.” why would i need to rush into any conclusion when i have time to carefully sift through the hoops of the primaries.

    i’m open to clinton but woud rather have someone besides a bush or clinton in my adult life in the presidential office.

    i’d vote for huckabee if he officially changes his name to mike huckabee norris. seriously, i don’t know much about him as well. if i had to pick a republican candidate, i’d go mccain…

    or wait for schwarzzeneger.
    better yet, hope He returns soon…

  13. Ben C says:

    I won’t vote for Clinton not because she’s a woman as I couldn’t care less, but because she had Bill C and Madeline A flanking her during her loss speech in Iowa.

    Talk about an imagery/setup snafu if you’re going up against a candidate (Obama) betting on a message promising positive change and then there you are standing next to two easily identifiable political blasts from the past for all to see… I don’t see any sort of compassion in her. It all feels contrived/scripted. I don’t trust her.

  14. Matt EHH says:

    I like Edwards. His seems to be the strongest voice calling out corporate greed, political contracts and other structures that lots of people including myself think need to be changed. Obama is very appealing to me too, I just don’t hear as strong as how he would promote change as Edwards. I like Hillary too. She’s to entrenched in the system for me to vote for, but what I don’t get is that even though white women make the biggest voting block, you’d think Hillary have more support from her sisters. But from my experience, although she does have stong female backing, A LOT of women seem to have weird hate for her.

  15. James T. says:

    Issues regarding big government, pro-life, and immigration law are on my mind and will Republican this election. My current favorite is Romney so I was disappointed by his loss to Huckabee. Huck’s straight from the hip mentality may be refreshing to many right now but trust me, folks will get tired of it pretty soon.

  16. worinld says:

    McCain did absolutely no campaigning in Iowa. there was no way he was going to win. would’ve been more encouraging for him if he finished as a clear 3rd with no campaign, but, still it’s expected.

    Besides, the Christian culture is relatively strong in Iowa, that huckabee’s background helped a lot in that regard.

    when we go to NH, the liberal northeasterners are probably going to chop him down a bit. That’s where McCain’s been campaigning, and where he hopes to win. He’ll be in good shape if he comes out as a clear #1 in NH, but a close 1or2 is still not bad for him.

  17. Dan Hauge says:

    I’m mostly for Obama, but I admit a certain hesitancy–I just don’t know how much of my enthusiasm for him is based on the image of change he projects, or whether he really can deliver the shift in how government operates that he articulates so well.

    Remembering back a year, I remember that some of my optimism about him derived from a confidence that he’s a nuanced thinker–he really looks at all sides of an issue and wants to reform, but in practical and realistic ways. There was a Harpers Magazine article, about a year and a half back, which basically said that Obama was tied into special interests just as much as anyone else (citing his promotion of ethanol as a result of his ties to the corn farming lobby). I was discouraged at first. But as I continued to read the article, I found that I was actually more enthusiastic about Obama than the author of the article was, because it seems like Obama is striving for a realistic balance. He wants politics to change, but recognizes that a full-blown rejection of every current political system will just not produce the change that people want. He seems more of a reformer than a revolutionary.

    Now, normally I gravitate more towards revolutionaries, particularly in my choice of theologians or ministry leaders, but when it comes to the mammoth web of bureacracies and agendas and processes that is the United States government, a smart reformer with a fresh perspective and an ability to raise genuine, enthusiastic support suits me just fine. And now that he’s taken a step toward proving he can win, I’m all the more excited.

  18. Tess says:

    I think, hope, that McCain is FAR from packing it in. He’s been picking up endorsements and many are heralding the return of the McCain of 2000 when he was known for being an independent thinker. What I like about him is his courage, his willingness to take stands because he thinks they’re right, rather than dialing in to the latest wafting flavor of the moment.

    Go McCain!

    Huckabee? Well, I have some probs with him including pardons of over 1,000 folks as governor.

    As for Hillary, I find her to be so polarizing and don’t view her as being authentic whatsoever. Obama – yes, he’s refreshing, but his politics are too liberal for me.

  19. josh says:

    as much as it creeps me out too, i get scared for obama. on 2 fronts. there are some crazy rednecks. and the people in power, lobbyists and year round washington staffers, are threatened. the last time somebody was as inspirational and threatening was jfk.

    overall though, i couldn’t be happier. the guys is a gem.

  20. Jennifer says:

    I’m not surprised Obama is ahead of Clinton.

    There are people for whom race and gender are big issues still….and gender is seen as much more of a “handicap” than race. I think thier thinking goes, “A black man is a minority, so he’s not as good as a white man, but at least he’s not a woman.” And there are lots of degrees of this, from blatant, to very subtle.

    But still, I am pleased that Obama is ahead. He expresses a sense of hope that is badly needed in our country today. I think Clinton is every bit as smart and capable, but her approach lacks that optimistic feel.

  21. Too funny–I love that video!

    I read the article you linked to about Obama’s faith. Quite frankly, whether they’re Republican or Democrat, I don’t buy it when they tout their religious views. Especially the Democrats- it’s like they saw after the last two elections how much the evangelicals want a born again in the office, so now they’re all pandering to them. I don’t judge anyone’s faith per se, but I have a hard time taking seriously all the attention being drawn to Huckabee or Obama’s supposed religious views.

    Good post.

  22. fireonyourhead says:

    Also, look at what happened with Bush over the last few years. Many evangelicals are at least admitting unsatisfaction with how his presidency panned out. I think I’d rather see how a leader runs the county for 5 years instead of making their faith the specific concern I pay attention to.

  23. Ryanbd says:

    My support for Obama grows every day, but I also like Edwards for the reasons Matt EHH listed – for conservatives out there who think Obama and Clinton are the extremes, they look more closely at Edwards. I think he has the more radical platform related to labor and poverty.
    Just last night we were having dinner with friends discussing Obama’s safety. One friend was talking about the historical trend that every 30 years or so there’s a progressive uprising, but that so many truly progressive leaders have been assasinated in our country’s history going back to Lincoln. I do think we should pray for Obama’s safety – for that matter, Hillary’s as well. I would diverge from you, Eugene, on the question of who the country is ready for (woman vs. African American man). It seems historically that many strides made by women have come on the heels of civil rights victories by African Americans (this was the assertion of one of my favorite sociology professors at UW). In a sense, if Obama is elected, he may pave the way for the first woman president. BTW, I loved Huckabee’s sense of humor in the Chuck Norris commercial. Plus he lost over 100 lbs. and wrote that book “Stop Eating Yourself to Death”. Maybe Obama would make him ambassador to the UN. Or press secretary.

  24. evan says:

    the most interesting piece that came out from last night Obama win was that Iowa is a mostly white anglo populace. not sure in any other state, but in Iowa, a primarily white constituency, voted for a black american. GO OBAMA!

  25. jchang says:

    my republican roots are very much shaken up every single time I hear obama speak; I literally find myself on the edge of my seat because he has the charisma of a JFK when he calls for change; not sure how I feel about his overall ability to make the changes we need in this country. and yes, i do fear for his life every single time he gets on a platform. thought i was the only one who had such thoughts. and huckabee? pleassse. not a chance.

  26. bolim says:

    I couldn’t get my eyes off of Chuck Norris grinning in the background during Huckabee’s victory speech – too funny. One thing that did strike me (don’t know if it was intentional or not) is Obama did not fill the stage with celebrities during his victory speech (given how the guy can preach he doesn’t need to!) unlike Huckabee or Clinton. Just ordinary folks in the background – that image was quite powerful for me.

  27. j says:

    remember….chuck norris got his butt kicked by bruce lee

  28. SolShine7 says:

    Yep. I was totally glued to all those news stations.

    Tonight is a big night too, New Hampshire votes.

  29. I am a Hillary Clinton supporter. Barack Obama is an attractive candidate, but I need more substance from him beyond the overarching platitudes. I also think Barack Obama is now the flavor the month – the trendy pick of the upper middle class, white collar intellectual.

  30. j says:

    koreanpower999….i guess you fell for Clinton’s emotional moment on her Q&A. I was choking up as well with her…silently….maybe she was choking up after she got spanked by Obama in Iowa.

    on a serious note, do we want out politics to go in the direction where it has been. She comes from a community full of politicians who have been running this country the old fashion. we need new face in politicians. we need new outlook and new insight. someone who can face the toughtime and deal with it intelligently. not some one, who cries when they get spanked….not someone who avoids the issue when their husband got caught with his pants down. to me and most i have spoken to, the fictious display of their affection truely is disgusting. not to mention her support of war and now trying to run away from that issue as quickly as possible. and on occasion, flipping side…we need someone with integrity….we need someone who has something to prove….we need someone who is dependable…we need someone who is driven to change….

  31. So crying disqualifies from being president? So that disqualifies Mitt Romney? So that disqualifies George Bush? These are people who have cried too but no one says they are disqualified to lead. I don’t necessarily think crying is a sign of weakness. When men cry, it shows as compassion and care. But when a woman cries, it’s a sign of weakness. I think that’s why that double standard motivated women to come out and vote because all women understand that double standard.

    And just because you say you hope for change, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. For me, I just need more. I would rather have substance over style. But maybe that’s too much to ask for in today’s celebrity fawning society. However, that’s just me and I have no problem with others choosing Barack Obama. I just choose Hillary Clinton. We’ll see what happens.

  32. j says:

    hahaha….thanks for the laughter. i needed that. i guess i forgot that GW & Mitt cried. Thanks for pointing that one out.

    But remember, crying doesn’t change the fact that they are poor leader or poor choice for a leader. case in point, GW lead us to in to a poor decision of going in to a war, proclaiming victory on a naval vessel and yet still have not managed to catch Obama as he vowed, and we are still at war in Iraq.

    By no means, am i suggesting that Hilary is a poor choice based on the tears. However, we are in a most sensitive time of our generation where Obama and his little friends in caves are looking for any sign of weakness and using it for their own agenda. Can we have a leader who represent america who is bold, strong, and “don’t mess with US” attitude instead of succumbing to their fear and cry on the set. McCain or Obama will not cry. I guess if you pick Hilary, we will still have better president than president Roh of south korea.

  33. j says:

    correction -i meant to say:….Osama and his little friend

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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