Iowa’s civic responsibility

The Des Moines Register: If you’ve lived in Iowa long, odds are good you’ve shaken hands with a presidential candidate. Perhaps you’ve had a picture snapped with a future leader of the free world. That’s how it is in this state.

From potential candidates exploring options to first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, it feels like every season is a political season. And it’s easy to take all the attention from politicians with a grain of salt.

Iowans shouldn’t.

Rather, we should see it as an opportunity to fulfill a civic responsibility.

This month Republicans are flocking to Iowa. Those interested in running for president are dipping their toes in this state’s waters. Let’s make them swim a little while they’re here — by setting a higher standard for what we expect if they decide to run for president.

That means the people of this state should turn out for events, ask questions and demand answers. They should insist politicians participate in forums and debates, including the 2012 Des Moines Register debate. It’s easy for potential candidates to visit Iowa and deliver rehearsed talking points. But engaging in dialogue, not just talking at crowds, is imperative.

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