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Friday, December 22, 2006

John Deeth Blog: Why The Republican Caucus isn't a caucus: Caucus 101 Part Two

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Part two of my caucus series. This stuff may be redundant for old hands, but my experience going into my fifth caucus cycle as an Iowan is that most of us don't understand it either. Most people expect a simple, show-up-and-vote primary. That's not the caucuses. They're run not by the election office but by the parties. And the parties are different. It'll take some 'splainin', but bear with me and you'll see that Republican caucus results are really just a beauty contest. The nomination process, like America's health care system, is the result of historical happenstance and accidents that has produced an unsatisfactory result that no one would build from scratch. Like health care, it has produced fiefdoms and special interests that are hard to battle, as any reform would gore someone's ox. And my ox here in Iowa is the fattest of all.

Krusty Konservative: A Very Merry Christmas Party

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Last night, Governor Mitt Romney's Commonwealth PAC hosted a Christmas Party in West Des Moines. Over 130 people attended, including members of the PAC advisory committee from more than 30 counties. There was an open bar, Meatballs, Shrimp, skewered Chicken, desserts, veggies and dip. Romney seems to always go all out, remember that breakfast spread he put out for the state konvention? The group assembled was as diverse as any for the '08 field. Party leaders from Linn, Scott, Pottawattamie, Woodbury, Story, Polk and Dallas were well represented. The Romney team has built a strong foundation for a future campaign. At one point, during his brief remarks, Governor Romney talked about the time he is preparing to spend with his family over the holidays.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Iowa Voters: It's Time For Iowa To Verify The Vote

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voters
Twenty-seven states have passed legislation that, at least, requires that voting machines allow the voter to see her choices on paper. Iowa remains among a minority of states that still allows paperless voting. It's time to change that. Iowans for Voting Integrity has developed a petition to the 82nd General Assembly calling for verified voting. Our list of essentials includes: going beyond a "paper trail" for voting machines and back to paper ballots, hand audits of ballots in randomly selected precincts, stronger chain of custody procedures for ballots and election records, and disclosure of voting system software.

Krusty Konservative: Krusty's Christmas List

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
... I thought I would post my Christmas List today so you have time to shop for your favorite Iowa blogger. ... What I really, really want for Christmas is a kredible konservative kandidate for president. At this point in time I'm just not sold on any of the kandidates. ... A close second on my list is an overhaul of the Republican Party of Iowa. I want a chair that will actually raise money, and also be a good konservative spokesperson for the party. I also want an Executive Director who will do what's right, and not cave to the pressures of out outside forces. ... Third on my list is the resignation of Michael Gartner from the Iowa Board of Regents. ... Fourth, a disastrous tax raising deficit spending first session from Governor Lug. His first session, will set the tone of his first term as Governor. If he stumbles or overreaches badly it gives Republicans a chance to take back the IA House in 2008 and kick the Lug to the curb in 2010.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Statehouse Snippets: Last Minute Gifts

Excerpted from this post at Statehouse Snippets
Christmas list still long with just a week to go? Lucky for you the Statehouse gift catalog still has plenty of the season's hottest gifts. Here's a sampling: ... Vilsack autographed photo – signed and numbered full-color portrait of our next president…$12.95. Photo of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama shaking hands in Iowa with blurry Vilsack kind of half in the background…Sorry, Sold Out ... V-Pod – MP3 player loaded with the governor's favorite songs from hot artists such as ZZ Top, REO Speedwagon, Kansas, Journey and other mega bands. Also includes Vilsack's spoken word version of "Sharp Dressed Man" Come running just as fast as you can, they won't last…$99.99 ... Dressy Chester Doll – Delightful action doll comes with blue wool suit, casual ensemble and football uniform. Pull the string on his back and hear "I'm a fifth generation Iowan," "I'll take a backseat to no one," or "Silicon Valley of the Midwest." (Flex-fuel Culvermobile sold separately)…$12.95 ... Political columnist kit – Includes a dozen cheap gimmicks, a bottle of Old Cynic and a vat of ibuprofen….Dime-a-dozen.

State 29: E85 Is Wasting Taxpayer's Money

Excerpted from this post at State 29
From Grainnet: "The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Dec. 18 announced that Iowa consumers have four new locations to fuel up with homegrown E85 – Harlan, West Point, Dunlap and Grinnell. Iowa now has 55 stations offering E85. ... Entities wishing to install E85 or biodiesel retailing sites or biodiesel blending terminals can now apply for grants through a new $13 million Iowa Department of Economic Development infrastructure program." That's $13 million down a rathole. There are 980 people living in West Point, and just over 1100 in Dunlap. How many E85-compatible cars do you think are in those areas? Maybe a handful? And how many of those people are going to be long-term customers of the heavily-subsidized hooch? Probably not many.

Politically Speaking: Vilsack on MySpace

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking
No joke coming on the title on this post, just oddly unvarnished fact: Iowa governor and 2008 president wannabe Tom Vilsack has a profile on MySpace. ... That Vilsack has put himself on MySpace shows he recognizes the reality of the 2006; it's the 14-years-later equivalent of Bill Clinton being interviewed on MTV. He's using a new, widely popular tool to tap into the youth vote. ... reading his profile provides info some may not know. In the interests section, he lists his enjoyment of running marathons, rooting fort the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates, having barbeques with family and movies, including "Silverado," "The Magnificent Seven" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." That he enjoys the Family Guy television show is one unexpected puzzler on the list, and for those who were dying to know, Vilsack is a Sagittarius.

Political Fallout: Newt Gingrich Threatens He'll Run for President If ...

Excerpted from this post at Political Fallout
...the GOP frontrunners don't get their heads out of their a**es. On Sunday, Newt Gingrich indicated he'll give the leading Republican presidential candidates (McCain, Giuliani, Romney) a head start to see if they can lock up the Republican nomination by next fall. If neither one of these candidates can clearly pull his head out of his ass, Gingrich will be left with no other choice but to step in with his Hubris and usurp the nomination. "If none of the three, having from now 'til Labor Day, can seal it off, the first real vote is in 2008. And there's plenty of time in the age of television and e-mail, between Labor Day and 2008." In the meantime, Newt has agreed to put his Hubris aside and has pledged to support his Republican brethren. Gingrich's staff said Newt's Hubris will be stored in an undisclosed hangar.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Krusty Konservative: From my inbox …

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
...Later this afternoon, we will be launching JoinRudy2008 - The website will enable us to further gauge the strength of the Mayor’s support and the depth of interest among the American people. It will allow supporters to join the exploratory team and contribute to the Mayor’s efforts. As part of the website’s launch, we are trying to reach out to friends online and across the "blogosphere." It is important to us that the web community knows that we intend to be an active and contributing presence to the intellectual debate and discussion that occurs on the web. As an indication of our seriousness in this effort, we thought we’d tell you about the new site ahead of time (no hat tip required, although certainly appreciated).

Caucus Cooler: Cooler Exclusive - Laudner Leaves

Excerpted from this post at Caucus Cooler
The Cooler has learned from reliable sources that Congressman Steve King's former chief of staff and top advisor Chuck Laudner left Congressman King's staff this morning. Details regarding the reason for the departure are not yet clear. What is known is that Mr. Laudner is actively seeking support in an attempt to become either the state Chairman or the executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa. ... A source close to Rep. King said that the Congressman is not supporting or opposing Chuck's bid for State Chair/ED.

Politically Speaking: Now Harkin a porker

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking
First John Thune, now Tom Harkin. The U.S. Senators from Siouxland are keeping a dubious distinction within the tri-state — a month after Thune of South Dakota was named by Citizens Against Government Waste as the Porker of the Month, now Harkin from Iowa gets the nod for December. CAGW said Harkin showed a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers with comments in a Nov. 25 New York Times piece in which the Democrat defended continuation of "earmark" spending within the federal budget.

From Right to Left: Our Immoral War on Undocumented Immigrants

Excerpted from this post at From Right to Left
... what we are doing to these people is immoral. They came here seeking better opportunities. They are hard-working tax-paying members of our communities. In all fairness, many of them work harder for less reward and at higher risk than any American. It is a commentary on how spoiled rotten we are as Americans that many of us agree with what State29 and Mainstream Iowan are saying. We ought to be finding ways to enlarge the immigration quotas so that all these hard-working people can be left alone to fulfill their dreams through their own hard work. ... don't give me your self-righteous claims about how this is about law and order. It is not. It is about people finding work. Give them a break.

In Muscatine: Former Employees Sue Swift for Hiring Illegals

Excerpted from this post at In Muscatine
... There certainly was a strong profit motive to hire illegals. But more than that, this story points out there are - in fact - Americans that WILL do these jobs, just not at a wage that Swift wants to pay. It would appear to ring true that illegals were brought in just to pad profits. ... I have said since the beginning of the whole immigration debate the market was out of whack because of the lower wages sought by the illegal aliens. If you can find legal citizens willing to work for $5 per hour in a meat packing plant, then so be it. The market has worked, and again demonstrates its ruthless efficiency.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Century of the Common Iowan: Good Bayh Evan

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
... Bayh said that there were "too many goliaths" in the race to overcome. Obama would definitely be one of those goliaths. Out of the early contests, Iowa was probably his best chance. Bayh's hope was that he could come to Iowa as a midwesterner with a lot of experience and do well. When Tom Vilsack announced he was running that made Bayh's chances in Iowa slim. Bayh and Vilsack have simlar political stances, both once working as head of the DLC. Bayh had greater experience than Vilsack, but that wouldn't be enough to overtake the home field advantage that Vilsack has. ... In the end, Bayh realized he couldn't out muscle Edwards, out-centrist the hometown boy Vilsack, or outshine Obama.

John Deeth blog: Loebsack Says Thanks At Supporter Get-Together

Excerpted from this post at BLOGNAME
... The logistics of starting the job are underway. Dave wants to get back to the district nearly every weekend and announced definite plans for district offices in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. Sites in the southern end of the district to be determined soon. ... As a professor, Dave told the folks at Cornell that it's a little odd to leave a tenured job for a non-tenure track position, but he asked us all for help on the next job review. The usual fun snacking and schmoozing followed. In addition to lingering giddiness over the host's win, talk turned to the caucuses and the sales tax election.

Century of the Common Iowan: Good Bayh Evan

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
... Bayh said that there were "too many goliaths" in the race to overcome. Obama would definitely be one of those goliaths. Out of the early contests, Iowa was probably his best chance. Bayh's hope was that he could come to Iowa as a midwesterner with a lot of experience and do well. When Tom Vilsack announced he was running that made Bayh's chances in Iowa slim. Bayh and Vilsack have simlar political stances, both once working as head of the DLC. Bayh had greater experience than Vilsack, but that wouldn't be enough to overtake the home field advantage that Vilsack has. ... In the end, Bayh realized he couldn't out muscle Edwards, out-centrist the hometown boy Vilsack, or outshine Obama.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Century of the Common Iowan: Is Harkin Vulnerable in 2008?

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
Chuck Todd put out a list of the Top 10 Most Vulnerable Senate Seats in 2008. Iowa's Tom Harkin comes in at #8. Here is what Todd had to say about Harkin... Iowa (Democrat Tom Harkin): GOP Rep. Steve King sounds like he wants to run, but the ghosts of former Reps. Greg Ganske, Jim Ross Lightfoot, and Tom Tauke are surely giving him pause. Still, some serious Iowa Republican will see all the national press and feel the need to fill the vacuum and take advantage of the potential fundraising boon a presidential contest can provide. The ideal move for incoming NRSC Chair John Ensign (Nev.) would be to buck the trend of recruiting sitting/former House members and convince former GOP Gov. Terry Branstad to come out of retirement.

John Deeth Blog: The Principle of the Turn: Why McCain Is Already The Nominee

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
In the postwar era, the Democrats have had some truly wide-open nominating contests. But the Republican Party has no Jimmy Carter coming out of nowhere in the last 60 years, no McGovern insurgency taking over the party in one fell swoop. They don't even have the kind of Seven Dwarves nomination by attrition that gave us Michael Dukakis. Instead, Republican nominations are completely predictable. They always, always, always nominate… the guy whose Turn it is next. ... This principle of the Turn – a term I shall Capitalize to emphasize its Significance - both transcends and flows with the ideological shift of the GOP from northeastern moderates to the neo-Dixie theocrats who run the party today. The Turn line stretches back, with one arguable gap, to Tom Dewey. ... Top party leadership or genetic connections can also earn you a turn, but the only other way is to self-start and claim a place in line. To stake a claim, you challenge the holder of the Turn in the primaries. You're not contesting THIS nomination, you're shooting for the one four to eight years ahead.

The Caucus Cooler: Grubbs... Better late than never as they say

Excerpted from this post at The Caucus Cooler
David Yepsen reported yesterday that Steve Grubbs has signed on with Tommy Thompson's Presidential campaign. Grubbs is the President of Victory Enterprises as played a key role in Steve Forbes caucus campaigns. Krusty has some additional background on Grubbs. Good pick-up for Thompson.

Blog for Iowa: Announcement of Candidacy for President of the United States

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa
By Dennis Kucinich -- We are living in a time of great tests of our humanity, which also present great opportunities for transformation. The war in Iraq is a veil that shrouds our creativity and our potential for prosperity. It cuts us off from the world at a time when it is imperative that we acknowledge our interdependence and interconnectedness. This is a moment with a profound feeling of destiny. America has been an extraordinary international power to manifest that which we focus our energies upon. This power is true of individuals as well as nations. In a way, when we focus on terror, we bring to ourselves that which we fear. We focused on terror in Iraq and paradoxically helped to create the circumstances, which have propelled Iraq into civil war and chaos.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Excerpted from this post at Iowans for Romney
Sorry for the caps . . . but I've seen/read/heard so many people just flat out getting this wrong. Even talk show hosts/commentators are just not getting it and are either knowingly or unknowingly spreading this misinformation. ... This whole hullabaloo comes mainly from the letter Romney sent to the Log Cabin Republicans about 4 weeks before the 1994 general election ... In the letter Romney stated " . . . I will provide MORE EFFECTIVE leadership than my opponent." and also promises to make "equality" for homosexuals "a mainstream concern. My opponent cannot do this. I can and will." Romney's point was that Teddy was such a left-wing figure that his advocacy COULD NOT make ANY of the "gay rights" issues "a MAINSTREAM concern." Romney could have, because he is not and was not a part of the liberal establishment.

Mainstream Iowan: Finally... A Crackdown On Illegals

Excerpted from this post at Mainstream Iowan
Send The Criminals Home! Consider It A Free Ride Back Home For The Holidays...
Swift & Co. meatpacking plants in Marshalltown and in five other states were running at reduced levels on Wednesday, one day after nearly 1,300 employees were arrested in a massive immigration sweep that temporarily halted operations, the company said. The Greeley, Colo.-based Swift, which calls itself the world's second-largest meat processor, said operations had resumed at reduced levels on Tuesday at the plants in Marshalltown; Greeley; Grand Island, Neb.; Cactus, Texas; Hyrum, Utah; and Worthington, Minn.

Krusty Konservative: Vilsack 4th again in another Democrat Caucus Poll

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
The Quad City Times has a story about a recent Iowa Democrat Caucus Poll. The poll was conducted for Environmental Defense by Harstad Strategic Research Inc. of Boulder, Colorado. It surveyed 602 Iowans who said they would definitely or probably attend the 2008 caucuses. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The following are the results of the poll: John Edwards – 36%; Hillary Clinton – 16%; Barack Obama – 13%; Tom Vilsack – 9%; John Kerry – 6%; Joe Biden – 5%; Undecieded – 8% ... The reason I'm posting this is because this is yet another poll that shows Vilsack coming in fourth in his home state. Yes Tom, Iowa is your home state not Pennsylvania. Lets also not forget the fact that Vilsack and Co. have kicked around the idea of skipping Iowa.

Price of Politics: President Sagittarius?

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics
Tom Vilsack just turned 56. He spent his birthday balancing his life. He's on a political trip in San Fran as he runs for prez. He's also as Gov trying to get a handle on the fed's raid of the Swift plant in Marshalltown. It was about a day and a half after the raid before his office sent out a release on the Gov's behalf. It turns out December's a crowded month for the crowded prez field. In fact, December's the most crowded month of all. Grab a calendar... [list of presidentual contenders' birthdays] ... So what is it with this Sagittarius crowd? Perhaps, it's in the stars. says this: Sagittarius is well-suited to any career in which communication skills, knowledge, and inspiration are important. This is an employee who will be versatile, adventurous, and knowledgeable. They tend to be easygoing and good-natured and able to adapt easily to change.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Political Forecast: 2008: Nevada hires two Iowa caucus experts to run their caucus

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
... From the Las Vegas Sun: "The Nevada Democratic Party has tapped Jean Hessburg, former head of the Iowa Democratic Party, to run this state's early 2008 presidential caucus - and avoid some of the problems encountered in the party's 2004 caucus here. ... Hessburg will be assisted by Jayson Sime, another veteran of Iowa politics who headed Democratic Iowa Rep. Leonard Boswell's successful re-election campaign this year." Hessburg had been working as the executive director at the Iowa State Education Association, but I'm not sure what her present status is with the organization at this moment. I assume that she'll probably be moving after the holiday season, as it'd be pretty hard to pick her kids up and move during this busy month. I know that she and Sime had worked together in the past, but I'm surprised to see him go as well. It should be interesting to gauge Iowa reaction to both of them heading out west to help a state that could become a direct competitor for Iowa's first in the nation status.

FromDC2Iowa: UI President Search XIV - Commentary

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa
... It is the position of the Iowa faculty, as I understand it, and as it is embodied in President Kurtz' statement, that the two Regents in positions of leadership have demonstrated through their statements and actions that they are so lacking in understanding of appropriate Regents' governance, the role of a university, and its contribution to Iowans, that they meet the statutory definition of "unfit." ... So why do I think it so important for you to read President Kurtz' statement? ... What it has done, by way of this statement, is to forgo generalizations or petulant expression. It has begun the process of bringing to the public the details, the pattern of behavior that has gone well beyond the disastrous way in which the Regents botched the search for a new president. ... It is important that journalists, legislators and the people of Iowa be made aware of the rather substantial list of reasons for the UI faculty's action.

Krusty Konservative: Gentry Collins to Lead Romney's efforts in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
... My sources close to the Romney kampaign now tell me that Gentry Collins will run the day-to-day Iowa operation. I am told that Iowa will be Collins' baby, but he will also play a role nationally. His initial focus will be on getting the future campaign up and running in Iowa, including hiring staff and putting the operation together. ... This move shows us how important Iowa is in Romney's quest to win the Republican presidential nomination. Gentry Collins is hands-down one of the best people that you could get to run an Iowa kampaign. Not many can match the experience that he will bring to Romney's Iowa kampaign. Collins also possesses a great temperament that is needed to manage an Iowa caucus kampaign. My sources also confirm that Romney has signed with Nicole Schlinger and her kompany, Capitol Resources. Schlinger and her staff are the best fundraisers in the state.

John Deeth Blog: The Caucuses' Greatest Hits: The 1976-2004 Boxed Set

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
This is my first attempt at an ongoing series about the Iowa caucuses. The idea is mostly to focus on the kind of stuff the locals know but the national folks miss. This first time, though, my in-state perspective is just in the anecdotes. First question: Do the caucuses REALLY matter? How important are they in terms of overall impact on the nominating contest, the presidency, and history? Here's a look back, categorized and countdown formatted (with apologies to Casey Kasem)....
Not Worth The Airfare To Waterloo
13. 1984 and 2004 Republican. ... 12. 1996 Democratic. ... 11. 1992 Republican. ...
Ultimately Irrelevant
10. 1992 Democratic. Hometown boy Tom Harkin runs and wins big, though not as big as it looks (that'll be a later discussion). ... In the end, Iowa kept first place after `92 only because Harkin jumped on the winner's bandwagon while the other rivals couldn't hide their obvious contempt for Clinton. ... 9. 2000 Both. ...
Secondary event in nomination contest
8. 1980 Democratic. ... 7. 1996 Republican. ... 6. 1988 Democratic. ...
Significant event in nomination contest
5. 1988 Republican. Pat Robertson pushes Bush Sr. into third place. Robertson was insignificant thereafter, but the blow made Bush go on a fight of his life attack against Bob Dole in New Hampshire. ... 4. 1984 Democratic.
Decisive event in nomination contest
3. 2004 Democratic. Nothing that happened after Iowa mattered nearly as much as what happened in Iowa. ...
Made History
2. 1976 Democratic. This one made both Jimmy Carter and the reputation of the caucuses themselves. Carter didn't actually win this, you know. He was second to Uncommitted. ... 1. 1980 Republican.

Radio Iowa blog: Brownback's Iowa connection

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa blog
Kansas Senator Sam Brownback has an old friend in his corner here in Iowa who should prove helpful in his quest for the White House. Brownback formed one of those obligatory "exploratory" committees this week, but it's clear he'll be competing for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. During a conversation earlier this evening, Brownback said he's interviewing people to head up his campaign effort in Iowa, and Chuck Hurley is "working very closely with me." Hurley is a former state Representative who represented the Oelwein area in the legislature.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Caucus Cooler: And I'll drink more booze than him too!

Excerpted from this post at Caucus Cooler

Governor Romney got blasted by the East Coast establishment media this weekend on his statements regarding gay marriage. The timing of these articles is largely due to Romney's support for adding a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage to Massachusettes law. Romney's vociferous support for this legislation in the waning days of his Governorship has raised questions amongst members of the Gang of 500 mostly due to its rather convenient timing.

The amendment would be on the ballot November, 2008. First the Boston Globe-Worker takes aim at the Guvnah on Friday morning with this article.

The Globe-Worker references an interview Romney did with the gay newspaper Bay Windows in 1994. In the article Romney says, "People of integrity don't force their beliefs on others, they make sure that others can live by different beliefs they may have."

The article then points to comments made recently by Romney in South Carolina that attacks gay couples that want to have children.

Century of the Common Iowan: Obama on Monday Night Football

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan

From Political Insider, via USA Today...

According to USA Today, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will do nothing to discourage speculation he'll take on Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) as he appears in ESPN's Monday Night Football opening segment tonight to talk about "a contest between two very different philosophies" that is also "a contest about the future." Supposedly, he'll then acknowledge questions about "whether the new guy has enough experience."

Then, he says, he'll "put all the doubts to rest. After a lot of thought and a good deal of soul-searching, I'd like to announce to all of America that I'm ready...
for the Chicago Bears to go all the way!"

Man, Obama sure is loving all the hype and is doing everything he can to exploit it. It makes you wonder if he is peaking too soon. I want to know why run for President when you are are already the rock star of the Democratic party?

Iowa Caucuses: Backstage: Vilsack on a mission from God?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Caucuses

U.S. News and World Report's Washington Whispers blog, titled "When God Speaks, Tom Vilsack Listens" is pretty dismissive of Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack's centerpiece campaign issue:

"To tell the truth and shame the devil, newly minted presidential candidate Tom Vilsack's top issue of energy independence is a snoozer. Yes, yes, of course conservation, energy usage, and fuel supplies are superimportant, but it's a tough opener for the outgoing Iowa governor, who's expected to face Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, and other Democratic superstars in 2008. That is, until he cites God's endorsement. It's right there in his church bulletin.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Rural Populist: Renew Rural Iowa Initiative

Excerpted from this post at The Rural Populist

The Iowa Farm Bureau (IFB) recently launched a new initiative to Renew Rural Iowa. The effort will focus on medium and large businesses located in rural Iowa, encouraging them to expand their businesses, and create more jobs in rural communities.

We need to build our rural business infrastructure, and someone needs to do sustainable work in this area. But one wonders why the Iowa Farm Bureau is focusing their efforts on expanding non-farm businesses in rural communities. Their own answer is somewhat astounding: Why is Iowa Farm Bureau focused on this initiative? Nearly 90 percent of farmers today derive part of their income from off-farm employment. ...

Rather than focusing on agricultural policy reform that would make it possible for farmers to make a decent living by farming, the Farm Bureau seemingly wants struggling family farmers to be able to spend more time working off the farm. ... their Renew Rural Iowa initiative once again reveals that their real concern is not the revitalization of rural communities through an invigorated farm-economy. Perhaps they are hoping to mask the true devastating effects of the agriculture policy that they helped write.

Blog for Iowa: New Watchdog Group to focus on Environment in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

... Iowa PIRG works hard to give Iowans a voice on a range of critically important issues, especially those where powerful special interests stand in the way of reform. ...

After careful thought and planning, we have concluded that the best way to advance all of our work -- both for consumers and the environment -- is to separate our organization into two distinct groups. That's why we are writing to tell you about Environment Iowa, which, beginning today, will be the new home of Iowa PIRG's environmental work.

Click here to visit the new home of Environment Iowa

Meanwhile, Iowa PIRG will continue to be a strong and independent voice for Iowa consumers on major issues like ethics reform, identity theft, health care, higher education and more.

State 29: Global Warming Picks

Excerpted from this post at State 29

Various Democrat blogs around Iowa (Madman, Political Forecast, Common Iowan, and Drew Miller) have a Hot / Warm / Cold classification for their level of interest in particular presidential nominees.

Of these four, the only one I can agree with is The Madman's. The rest all have Al Gore as HOT, which shows how jaded they are. Interesting thing: Hillary comes off as mostly cold in almost all of the picks.

Diary of a political madman: My not-so-hot list

Excerpted from this post at Diary of a political madman

HOT: No one. In my mind, I have to be excited about having you as president to rank you as hot.

WARM: Edwards: I feel he's more flash than substance, but others who have spent more time with him tell me there's a good heart buried somewhere underneath that fake smile; Clark: I feel like his real opportunity was four years ago, not now, but I feel that someone with military experience could be the one who engenders public trust from both sides on defense issues; Biden: ...He's got a ton of experience and he's loaded with ideas.

TEMPERATURE UNTESTED (these are in no particular order): Dodd, Bayh, Obama

ICE COLD: Kerry and Gore: I lump these two together because they fit the same criteria: well funded candidates who couldn't beat the least popular president of my lifetime. ... Vilsack: I think he looks and acts presidential; Richardson: Seems entirely unwilling to look the part; Clinton: In an election year where you couldn't throw a briefcase full of cash without hitting a presidential candidate raising money for another candidate, Clinton was conspicuously absent and unwilling to help out.

Political Forecast: Indulging the meme

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast

Since everyone else is doing it, I will too. Here is my hotlist for the 2008 Democratic nomination (and they're not in any particularly order under the headings):

Hot: Al Gore, Barack Obama, Tom Vilsack, John Edwards, Mark Warner

Warm: Wes Clark, Bill Richardson, Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd

Cold: Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, John Kerry

Freezing: Tom Daschle, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel

Friday, December 08, 2006

Political Fallout: Got God?: Get Your Official Sam Brown Christian Conservative Values Scale

Excerpted from this post at Political Fallout

Just in the Saint Nick of time, God's Senator, Sam Brownback, came out of Kansas's closet and announced he's a "full-scale conservative." In his bid to become God's President, Brownback weighed in on his own Christian Conservative Ideology, tipping the scales on his new invention and campaign product, The Official Sam Brownback Christian Conservative Values Scale. Self-anointed, "The Chosen One," Brownback announced plans to form an exploratory committee in Iowa and plans to set up temples across the state to help spread the Boss's word through his candidacy.

Krusty Konservative: Do Candidates for UI President Read Krusty?

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Here's a follow up from the article I wrote last week on the debacle known as the UI President search and the Iowa Board of Regents. It seems after being disrespected by Gartner and the board of Regents the potential kandidate, which somehow Gartner now finds acceptable has said, thanks, but no thanks. This decision is a smart one. Here's why I think so: Let's say Krusty goes to interview with channel 5 about being their chief entertainment director. The chairman of the board at Channel 5 says no, Krusty, you're not good enough, in fact you're so undesirable that the board of directors must completely remake the committee that recommended you for the job.

Iowa True Blue: Quagmire

Excerpted from this post at Iowa True Blue

There is a minority of Americans -- a minority, to be sure, but a substantial one -- which actually approves of the job President Bush is doing in Iraq. This fantasy has taken many forms: some believe the "liberal media" is downplaying good news and emphasizing carnage; others think critics of the war (which has, of course, included many prominent Republicans) are overly pessimistic; and still others simply put blind partisanship over the truth, no matter what, no matter how serious the issue. What a shock these last couple days must be to those who think President Bush is doing a good job fighting the war in Iraq.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Century of the Common Iowan: 2008 Hotlist

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
... here is my hotlist of potential 2008 Presidential Candidates.
Hot: John Edwards, Wes Clark, Al Gore, Barak Obama
Warm: Chris Dodd, Tom Vilsack, Bill Richardson, John Kerry -but sinking
Cold: Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton Back To Business

Excerpted from this post at
... I am having massive writer's block right now (and really for the past three weeks), so I'm just going to cop something easy and put up a hotlist and then go through and ramble about each presidential candidate in individual posts.
Hot: John Edwards, Russ Feingold, Al Gore, Barack Obama, Tom Vilsack, Mark Warner
Warm: Wesley Clark, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson
Cold: Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Tom Daschle, John Kerry

John Deeth Blog: Fire, Ice, Lukewarm Water

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
The meme of the night in the Iowa Dem blogosphere is the candidate thermometer. OK. I'll play. Here's how I'm feeling 13 months out.
Fire (these go to eleven): John Edwards, Russ Feingold, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson
Lukewarm Water (Are we gonna play "Stonehenge" tonight?): Evan Bayh, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Tom Vilsack, Mark Warner
Ice (I'm sure I'd be feeling much worser if I wasn't under such heavy sedation): Joe Biden, Wesley Clark, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich
Even Global Warming Can't Thaw This (maybe if they did it in Dubbly): Al Gore

Krusty Konservative: Plan B

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
Yesterday, Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa distributed Plan B, an emergency kontraception drug, to anyone who walked through their doors. My good friends at the Iowa Family Policy Center deserve some Krusty Kudos for encouraging their supporters to get the free drug and destroy it. While the Planned Parenthood folks were upset, IFPC orchestrated a peaceful protest that I applaud. ... The only reason Planned Parenthood is doing this is to make post-conception "planning options," including good old-fashioned abortions, more accepted and mainstream in our society. The blind distribution of this drug to anyone disturbs me.

Iowa Voice: I'm Closing Up Shop

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voice
I think this little experiment has just about run its course, and it's time to move on. I'm going to finish out the week, and then just step away from it. I'd like to take a moment and thank my regular readers who, over the past (almost) two years have been encouraging, participated in the debate, sent me news tips and emails, and got to know me. ... With the completion of my college studies, I have to spend every waking moment trying to land a new job. As I said in my fundraiser post, funds are going to run out in the next few days, so I don't have the luxury of spending time online. Plus, the money I'm paying for my internet connection has to go elsewhere. I couldn't cancel it in the past, because I needed to have it for my college program.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Open Country: Fire Michael Gartner and Theresa Wahlert

Excerpted from this post at Open Country
Even if the Board of Regents chooses a new president of the University of Iowa within the week, the Board of Regents' leaders, Michael Gartner and Theresa Wahlert, must go. Diane Heldt, reporter for The Gazette, talked to university faculty leaders who no longer have faith that the regents can work out a functional relationship with university faculty and staff according to a December 5, 2006 story (not available on line, unfortunately). ... Michael Gartner is a top-down manager, an irritable and irascible man, a control freak much like Donald Rumsfeld, recently fired from his position of Secretary of Defense. How do I know this? I remember talented, beloved columnist Donald Kaul's constant, well-publicized fights with Michael Gartner at the Des Moines Register, which finally ended in Kaul walking away from the Register, which broke my heart and many other people's. I remember what happened to Gartner at NBC, where he was fired for being disruptive, argumentative, and destructive. He affects people in the same way at each organization that he heads. He's a bull in a china shop, and no good ever comes from it.

Radio Iowa blog: HRC entertaining Iowans in DC

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa blog
Former First Lady Hillary Clinton has started making the kind of prelimary moves that then-Texas Governor George W. Bush did in 1998 and '99. ... she has invited a group of Iowans to have dinner with her in Washington, DC on December 12th. Former Iowa Democratic Party chairman Gordon Fischer says he was invited, but cannot go. Sources indicate Clinton intends to vist Iowa sometime early next year. ... Clinton's last visit to Iowa was in November of 2003. She served as the emcee for the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson/Jackson Day Dinner. She didn't give a long speech although Clinton did describe the event as a cross between a religious revival and a WWF event.

Statehouse Snippets: Hillary's Calling

Excerpted from this post at Statehouse Snippets
Yet another example of what Tom Vilsack is up against as he seeks the presidency:
Days after his campaign kick-off made a smallish-to-medium ripple in the national media, political Web sites blared the news today that U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton made – gasp – actual phone calls to key Iowa Democrats. She talked with former Iowa AG and Clinton Justice Department official Bonnie Campbell and former Iowa Democratic Party chairman Gordon Fischer, among others. And that smattering of phone calls spawned a 7.5 tremor on the political Richter scale. The Drudge Report yelled "Hello Iowa" under Clinton's photo. Everyone speculated on what it means for her political future. The only way it could have been bigger is if one of those calls was to Britney Spears.

State 29: Iowa Child Web Site's Domain Expires

Excerpted from this post at State 29
MUST CREDIT STATE 29 As of today,'s web site says the following:
Notice: This domain name expired on 11/18/06 and is pending renewal or deletion
This page is parked free, courtesy of
... Seriously, now, has nobody looked at that web site for the past three weeks? Google "Iowa Environmental Project" and is the first listing. Looks like somebody hasn't been paying the bills.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Fix: The Case Against Tom Vilsack

Excerpted from this post at The Fix
Last week The Fix offered up the case for a presidential bid by Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D). Today: The argument against such a candidacy. ... In Vilsack's case, hailing from Iowa may be more of a burden than a benefit. Having served as the state's governor for the past eight years, Vilsack enters the Iowa caucus process with sky-high expectations. ... An Iowa loss -- especially a third- or fourth-place showing -- effectively ends Vilsack's candidacy. ... The other major argument against Vilsack is money. As a governor, Vilsack has never had to raise money under the considerably more stringent federal limits, which cap individual contributions to a to $2,000 per election. Part of Vilsack's decision to enter the race so early was his need to form a federal fundraising committee and begin to answer his doubters on the financial front. ... Vilsack has no apparent fundraising "in" -- either geographically or with a particular constituency group.

Political Forecast: 2008: Clinton reaching into Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
... According to Beaumont, Campbell indicated that if Clinton ran, she would support her. That makes Bonnie Campbell one of the first people in Iowa that I know of who would be firmly behind an HRC run. I'll probably have more on Hillary's incursion into Iowa over the next couple of days, but a couple of quick thoughts first. Clearly, I think this proves that no matter what, the candidates are preparing for and recognizing Iowa as competitive even if Tom Vilsack is running. Edwards was here last week. Bayh was here tonight. Clinton is calling Bonnie Campbell, which means if she decides to run she will be here in some fashion. Moreover, it proves she's serious. Campbell will be a good grab and is somebody with lots of connections, both personally and through her husband, Ed.

John Deeth Blog: Bayh Not Scared Off, But Not Winning Lefty Love Either

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
... Although Bayh had staffers on the ground in a lot of places including here in Iowa, and I'm sure we'll be seeing those familiar faces again soon. Anyway, it's clear that the Bayh strategy is summed up in that Indiana map: all the counties that were red for Bush and blue for Bayh in 2004. Hillary Clinton dips a toe in the water; the big story seems to be that she called Bonnie Campbell. Add to this list the other people who've stopped by even after it was clear Vilsack was in, and it's not looking like 1992. But stay tuned. In 1991, there were early forays into the state by Paul Tsongas, Jerry Brown and Bob Kerrey, and they all bailed before caucus night once it became clear Harkin had the thing nailed down.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Iowa Voters: 2008 Caucuses May Report To Internet

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voters
Even those who stay home caucus night in January of 2008 may be able to see the results from their own precinct on their home computer. They should get the results the same moment as Tom Vilsack, Evan Bayh, and all the other candidates. That will happen if the Iowa Democrats practice "transparent aggregation" of the caucus tallies. The topic was discussed at last Saturday's meeting of the Democrat State Central Committee, according to Tom Harrington, a member from the 4th congressional district. ... The results will go onto the internet as they come in if the adopted procedure follows this recommendation from the DNC. The whole nation can watch the returns come in.

Radio Iowa blog: Daschle out, Bayh in

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa blog
Indiana Senator Evan Bayh said today on ABC's This Week with George that he will be forming an "exploratory committee" this week and will likely formally enter the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination this spring. Bayh, by the way, will be in Des Moines on Monday to speak at a Des Moines Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle, the former Leader of Democrats in the U.S. Senate, told a pack of reporters in South Dakota on Saturday that he would not run. ... On Saturday night, Senator Tom Harkin seemed to be giving a signal of sorts to all the senators who are thinking of running for president (Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, Evan Bayh, John Kerry, Joe Biden -- and that's just Harkin's fellow Democrats, not including former Senator John Edwards). During remarks at the Vilsack for president "gala" in Des Moines, Harkin appeared to discount the chance that the next president will come from the U.S. Senate. "You know, the people of this country elect governors to be president, not senators. When you think about it, it's governors that become President of the United States," Harkin said. "Now, senators are long as we remember our place."

Political Forecast: 2008: Will Hillary be in Iowa?

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
A lot of speculation has emerged in the last few days about whether or not Hillary Clinton is actually going to run in the Iowa Caucuses or if she'll just skip the state entirely. Part of the issue has arisen because of Sen. Barack Obama's amazing rock-star rise to potential presidential candidate over the past few weeks as he consults and tests the waters. The other part of the consideration has come about because of Tom Vilsack's announcement which makes some pundits say that Iowa will automatically be won by Vilsack (and any pundit who says that only lends credibility to the belief that the punditocracy in America doesn't know s--t) and Clinton can just focus on the other early states since Iowa won't matter anymore. Both ideas, in my opinion, are almost worthless considerations. The real important thing to discuss is whether or not Hillary Clinton can survive the primary process. She's the presumed front-runner and that's never a good position to be in this early in the race. That means that you have to meet every expectation set before you. And the reality of the situation, as discussed earlier this week by Chuck Todd, shows that Clinton faces a lot of potential challenges in any kind of primary run.

Political Fallout: McCain to Possess and Exorcise Nussle's Old Office

Excerpted from this post at Political Fallout
U.S. Senator John McCain's exploratory committee used this Sabbath day to exorcise the demons of Jim Nussle's former campaign headquarters in Urbandale. Despite the presence of moral and political demons left behind by Nussle during his failed bid for Iowa Governor, McCain plans to take his chances and open his state campaign headquarters on Monday.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Political Fallout: Rep. Steve King Wants to Protect "Precious Bodily Fluids"

Excerpted from this post at Political Fallout

Renown General Jack D. Ripper (left) once said: "...Today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids." In order to protect his own precious bodily fluids... Rep. Steve King thinks the U.S. military should be expanded by 100,000 to 150,000 troops to help relieve the long-term burden on those already sacrificing their precious bodily fluids in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Krusty Konservative: McCain Staffing up in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

I have patiently waited to see who will be signing on with the 2008 Presidential kampaigns here in Iowa. I actually thought that we would have seen more movement than we have. The majority of the staff movements that occurred in November was people fleeing the Pataki campaign, not people signing on with a kandidate. As the kalendar turns to December we should finally see some action. I'm sure we will see some official announcements next week. For those like me who don't like to wait for an official press release I thought I would pass along what I have been hearing around the water kooler.

Political Forecast: 2008: My thoughts on Vilsack's announcement speech

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast

You can watch Tom Vilsack talk about the speech itself here on his campaign videoblog. And you can read the full text of his remarks here - and I'm sure there will be some kind of video coverage of the speech on the campaign blog soon. The Register already has some video of the speech here. Anyway, to my thoughts on the speech. In the 20 minute or so speech, it was interrupted by applause and chants at least 13 times, from my count. I think that pretty much says that the introductory location was a good choice with lots of loud and enthusiastic supporters. The message itself a strong and positive one that coincided with the theme of the announcement tour: the American people need a leader with the courage to embrace change and be challenged to do so, and Tom Vilsack is that man.

Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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