As the state of Iowa gears up for the first-in-the-nation presidential primary event, the Iowa Caucuses, Welton broadcasts from Des Moines.

Connie Ryan Terrell, Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, joins us to talk about the impact of the debates inspired by the caucuses on the work of the Alliance, and the overlap between state-level and national-level issues at this stage of the campaign.

We get the lowdown on the caucus process with Political Science Professor Dennis J. Goldford of Drake University, co-author of the book The Iowa Precinct Caucuses: The Making of a Media Event, with a look at how the state became so influential, and what is likely to contribute to the outcome of this year’s GOP caucuses.

Finally, we spend some time examining the effect of religion on Iowa politics, as magnified by the religion-based campaigning of the Republican presidential aspirants, with United Church of Christ Iowa Conference Minister Rev. Dr. Rich Pleva.

You’ll come away from this week’s show with a better understanding of what life is like at the intersection of religion, politics and government in Iowa, as all eyes are on that state for the start of the official nominating process on January 3, 2012.

While in Iowa, Welton spoke at several public fora, as well as on Iowa Public Radio’s “The Exchange,” along with Interfaith Alliance Iowa Executive Director Connie Ryan Terrell. You can hear that program by following the link below.

IPR “The Exchange” Nov. 29, 2011

Some State of Belief Radio listeners have asked about the music featured on the show. It’s always there for a reason, and this week is no exception. All the songs have been used by Republican presidential candidates, sometimes without the artists’ permission. So in order, here’s what you’ll hear snippets of during the Iowa show:

  • Right Now (Van Halen) – As used at campaign events by numerous GOP candidates, the latest being John McCain in 2008, despite repeated requests from the band that the song NOT be associated with Republican politics.
  • I Am America (Krista Branch) – As featured in the Herman Cain “smile” ad, as well as at campaign events.
  • Here I Go Again (Whitesnake) – As played at some Mitt Romney events. (Also used by John McCain; singer David Coverdale told Daily Kos he would never authorize either candidate to use his song.)
  • American Girl (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) – As played at Michelle Bachmann events, until protests were lodged by Tom Petty.
  • Bringing Huntsman Back (Jon2012Girls) – A karaoke parody of Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” as performed in a Youtube video by three of Jon Huntsman’s daughters. You kinda need to hear it to believe it.
  • And as a further digression, we need to go ahead and share the Jon2012Girls parody of the Herman Cain “Smoking Man” ad, as well…

  • Rock This Country (Shania Twain) – Interesting choice played as bound-on music at some Newt Gingrich appearances.
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