I spent a summer doing missions work in Iowa. I grew to love and respect the state and, even more so, the people. Despite my affection for the Hawkeye state, there are many places in Iowa where I simply could not live – it smells too bad. That’s coming from a guy who grew up on a turkey farm. Whether it is the pig farms or the slaughter houses, many places around Iowa have an odor that is too pungent to overcome.

Recently, however, the smell from the pigs have been overwhelmed by another smell – the stench of dirty politics. Thankfully, it will be all over tonight (for Iowa), but not without one last flurry today.

The latest in a long line of underhanded political manuevers has been letters sent to pastors warning that they may forfeit their church’s tax exempt status if they participate in the caucuses. The letters were sent to Mike Huckabee supporters through out Iowa over the last few days with one pastor saying he has received nine such letters, three yesterday.

The only candidate that really benefits from a suppressed Huckabee turnout is Romney. The more I see of this type of campaigning and the more I hear from those on the inside of the campaigns, the less and less I like Mitt Romney.

Having said that, I’m not sure I buy Huckabee’s no-negative-ad-press-conference-ad. But some see it as genuine, not to mention he pulled out a fantastic appearance on Jay Leno last night. Not only was that a great pitch to Iowans, but to all of America. After watching him for two minutes, my wife said, “That’s who I want to vote for. I like him. What did you have against him again?” After seeing him as a likable, good guy and hearing him speaking about being positive, reducing the size of the federal government and lower taxes, it was hard to get her caught up on all the other things that have happened that give me trepidation about Huckabee.

It will be interesting to see how all this turns out. I think the decision by Romney to go negative or “comparative” as they like to call it, is going to come back to hurt him, especially in this caucus system. You need people really fired up about voting for you, not anxious to vote against someone else.