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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

John Deeth Blog: Prairie Lights Threatened, Closed; Supporters Freeze

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
Tonight's Live from Prairie Lights reading from Abortion Under Attack: Women on the Challenges Facing Choice by Krista Jacob was cancelled due to anti-choice threats. With an hour or so's notice by email, about 15 of us showed up in front of Prairie Lights to take some sort of stand for choice and free speech. We told folks arriving for the reading what had happened; most left in disappointed disbelief but a few joined us. To our surprise, Jacob herself arrived and thanked us. She said she'd gone to the Deadwood (one of our most famous local watering holes) to commiserate for a bit, wondering what the hell had happened to the Iowa City she knew (she attended UI and interned at the Emma Goldman Clinic). ... Mutual warm fuzzies aside, we all acknowledged this was an anti-choice win; one threatening email succeeded in censoring Krista's reading.

Political Forecast: Fallon for Mayor?

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
... I've known for a while that Geri Huser has been thinking about a primary challenge. And from what I've heard from Boswell campaign remnants and staffers, there is no way that Boswell retires/gives up the seat unless he dies or is close to death, essentially. This basically forces Huser to wait or challenge him in the primary — either way, an uncomfortable position for those who like Boswell, but want someone younger and maybe less moderate (and Huser isn't exactly loved by certain parts of the Democratic party). Anyway, the big story coming from that little graf is the fact that Ed Fallon is considering a run for mayor of Des Moines. To the best of my knowledge, Frank Cownie's term as Mayor of Des Moines ends on January 1, 2008, essentially meaning that the race for mayor of Des Moines will probably launch this fall (and would be the kind of cheap, grassroots campaign Fallon is looking for).

Radio Iowa Blog: Huckabee comments on "odd dish"

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa Blog
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny wrote a story today headlined "Odd Dish for a Diet" -- referring to a recipe Governor Huckabee and his wife included on their "Farewell Arkansas" card. Huckabee stopped by the Radio Iowa office a few moments ago and I mentioned the Times story. "I haven't seen the story. It's my wife's recipe. Did he mention that? It's one of the old family recipes that we have at Christmas, so every year on our Christmas card we add a recipe and it's usually one of those things that has been one of her family traditions and this one -- it has butter and brown sugar and all of this stuff and bacon wrapped up in it. Everybody said 'Huckabee, you're on this health kick and now you send this recipe for this Death by Green Beans?'

Monday, January 29, 2007

Century of the Common Iowan: Hillary Faces an Uphill Battle in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
I have not heard many activists that excited about Hillary's campaign.
Some would like to hear more and said they might for her because she is a
woman. Some on the other hand said there is no way they would vote for her
because she is too divisive. Right now I would put Hillary in 4th place in
Iowa, Vilsack and Edwards have a leg up on her when it comes to
organization and I think Obama has an advantage from being from nearby
Illinois. It will be interesting to see how the media plays up her visit
in Iowa.

Bleeding Heartland: Talking to Hillary about her hawkish image

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
It was just dumb luck that I got to have a personal, 5-minute conversation with
Hillary. I just happened to be by the coffee machine as she was exiting the
building, and I struck up a conversation over her hawkish reputation as she
shook my hand. ... Hillary knew exactly what I meant when I said that her hawkish
reputation would be a limiting factor for her in the Iowa caucuses. She first gave
me the excuse she used earlier in the morning, that her experience as a New Yorker
on 9/11 is perhaps influencing her positions. That response is not too much different
from what Bush gives when he needs to justify his failed war. But then she gave the
more reasonable and understandable explanation: she has to worry that she would
be perceived as too weak in a general election. ... The bottom line she gave me
was that if she had been confronted as president with the situations Bush encountered,
there is "no way" that she would make the same terrible mistakes, such as invading
Iraq in a pre-emptive war.

Caucus Cooler: The Flight of the Huckabee

Excerpted from this post at Caucus Cooler
Welcome to the Dance Mr. Huckabee. With all the certainty and precision of
Sally Albright ordering her lunch, Mike Huckabee told Tim Russert this
morning: "Tomorrow I'll be filing papers to launch an exploratory
committee and yes I'll be out there," While "I'll be out there" might not
be the perfect 4 words for launching a Presidential campaign, the deed was
done and Huckabee is in. (Unlike Hillary he did not make it explicitly
clear whether or not he was "in to win" or just in for the fun of it.)
Russert focused much of the interview on the challenges Huckabee faced and
while not answering all of Russert's questions as directly as we would
have liked (do you believe people are born gay or choose to be gay
shouldn't be answered with "both" for example) he did fend off Russert's
aggresive questions with relative ease.

Caucus Cooler: McCain Movement

Excerpted from this post at McCain Movement
We wanted to draw your attention to two interesting McCain links from the
past couple of days. First, this morning has an exclusive
interview with McCain's Iowa Coalitions Director Marlys Popma. The
interview is quite revealing and if you are interested in how McCain plans
on bringing social conservatives into the fold this is a must-read. She
addresses the "agents of intolerance" and Dobson issues and explains why
she chose McCain in great detail. Go over to Race42008 for the whole
thing. Also, last week we pointed you to a Des Moines Register op-ed on
Iraq by Tommy Thompson. Over the weekend, Iowa veteran David Elwell
expressed his support for John McCain's stance on Iraq.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Century of the Common Iowan: Democratic Nomination Calendar Looking Messy

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
The Democratic nomination schedule is looking like it is going to be a mess. Some large states that are feeling left out might move up in the schedule creating a scrum in February of 2008. From Political Wire... "As many as four big states - California, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey - are likely to move up their 2008 presidential primaries to early next February, further upending an already unsettled nominating process and forcing candidates of both parties to rethink their campaign strategies," the New York Times reports. ... " These states want to move up because they felt Iowa and New Hampshire had too much influence in 2004. I agree, but adding more states to the early portion of the calendar only makes the problem worse. Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are ideal states to have at the beginning of the schedule because to win a candidate must participate in retail politics. These smaller states allow candidates with limited funding a chance to get off the ground because it is cheaper to buy ads.

Political Forecast: Essential Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
If you're a 2008er candidate or campaign staff and looking to do something uniquely Iowan on your stops to the state (particularly if you've got limited Iowa experience), then one resource you should really look into is Essential Iowa. Run by Jay Wagner, I'm consistently impressed with the features he offers on Iowa's history and traditions, like Maid-Rite burgers (which were featured at the Taste of Iowa event for the Culver Inauguration). The site is definitely worth a stop.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Political Forecast: The impending calendar crisis

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
... Not to sound privileged or elitist from my POV as an Iowan participating the first caucus/primary event in the nation, but those who underestimate or take digs at Iowa's role should really take the time to come out and watch our caucuses in action. We have an amazing base of Iowa Democrats who take their job of quizzing and judging and measuring the candidates seriously. Labor candidates are involved, as are other Democratic leaning organizations and other interest groups seeking to seriously and intently study those candidates seeking the nomination. ... I'm a big proponent of leaving our date the same and letting NH to flail on its own. No matter what, come the 2012 election (meaning in 2009 and 2010), there will be an even bigger debate about the calendar than there was in 2005 and 2006 in the aftermath of the 2004 election.

Century of the Common Iowan: DNC to Model 2008 Campaigns on Loebsack's Victory

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
From Kos... "DCCC support for candidates will also be conditional on building a strong local grassroots/netroots presence. In the past, money was the deciding factor. Now, after seeing cash-poor Demcorats like Loebsack and Carol Shea-Porter win, and others like Larry Kissel come up painfully short, the party has finally realized that people-power can act as a significant substitute for big money." I read somewhere that of all the Democrats that won in November, Dave Loebsack raised the least amount of money. He didn't have money to run ads. Heck, he didn't even have that much support from the national Netroots. Loebsack won by focusing on the grassroots. You know the people on the ground, the ones who actually go out and vote.

State 29: The DNC Wants To Model 2008 Campaigns On The Loebsack-Leach Race: Why That's A Bad Thing

Excerpted from this post at State 29
The Loebsack-Leach race was actually a rather unique situation. The two candidates were very similar on many issues ... What's the difference between Dave Loebsack and Jim Leach, other than the letter behind their names? Not much, if you think about it. ... Jim Leach was not the kind of candidate that excited the Republican base. Say you're pro-life, or maybe you think the tax cuts were a good idea, or maybe you're in favor of the war in Iraq. Who are you going to vote for? Well, you don't have anybody to vote for, so you leave the bubble blank. It's as simple as that. Good luck on the DNC finding more 30 year Republican incumbents who are pro-choice, anti-war, anti-tax cut, and are a regular critic of members of his own party. I think the last one just left the building.

Blog for Iowa: SEIU President Andy Stern Coming to Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa
SEIU President, and author of A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track, Andy Stern is visiting Iowa, and several other states, for a series of events as presidential candidates gear up for the upcoming primaries. ... Andy's not just encouraging Iowans to talk to candidates about these issues, he's encouraging candidates to spend a day working side-by-side with regular working people so they can get a sense of what it's like to struggle with those issues day to day. He's also "walking his talk" by spending time working alongside SEIU members in Iowa. Andy will be appearing at events in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and Des Moines

The Caucus Cooler: Three's A Crowd

Excerpted from this post at The Caucus Cooler
Based on his vast experience in the Health and Human Services Department and as Governor of the 20th largest state in the union, Tommy Thompson proposed in the Des Moines Register that we try something different in Iraq. Tommy said in an op-ed that we should give 3 states a try. ... Now we aren't foreign policy experts at the Cooler but while the Kurds seem tohave their own distinct geographical area, we think dividing Baghdad between theSunni's and Shi'a's might create a little bit of a conflict.. But maybe we'recrazy. (to be fair Tommy acknowledges that challenge further down in theop-ed). Regardless, kudos to TT for trying to build his foreign policy creds and getting some ink in the Register.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Price of Politics: Marvin Makes His Mark, Again

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics
Come save us, Marvin Middlemark. ... Mr. Middlemark invented the rabbit ears, the only things, besides the dish, that allow 250,000 Mediacom cable customers to watch their local Sinclair-owned television station right now. Drake Journalism Professor Janet Keefer gave Mr. Middlemark his props during her testimony before the Government Oversight Committee. Lawmakers had few questions for her, actually I'm not sure they even asked a single question. Even she said she didn't know why she was there. Dr. Keefer did compare the feelings people may have for both Sinclair and Mediacom right now to what she recalls from recently seeing a movie about Hitler and his mother. Not quite sure what that meant. I don't want to guess. I'll have to see the movie.

The Real Sporer: Krusty, you asked for it..................

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer
...................... now you've got it. I have been silent about the SCC results because any detailed discussion would require public disclosure of the "play book" and other confidential information. I'd rather not provide the Dems with any intelligence about our activities; they seem to have experienced sufficient success without it. ... The SCC has been privately very concerned about the direction the Republican Party has been headed for the last few years, but simply powerless to do anything but start a civil war in an election year to address our concerns, which would cause a disastrous defeat. Well, the downward trend became decimation and the disastrous defeat we feared but all hoped to avoid is upon us. ... more specific changes will become much more visible in the next three or so weeks. This is a comprehensive, top to bottom reformation of the Republican Party in Iowa.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Century of the Common Iowan: Loebsack Keeps His Word On Troop Redeployment

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
Earlier this month, a couple Iowa blogs were disappointed with Dave Loebsack and his support for the redeploying our troops from Iraq and funding for the war. Popular Progressive and Diary of a Political Madman said that Loebsack's stance on withdrawling troops from Iraq had changed after he was elected. ... Last week, John Murtha reintroduced his resolution in Congress. Keeping with campaign promise, Representitive Loebsack signed on as a co-sponsor to redeploy US forces from Iraq.

Political Forecast: Political Exhaustion and the State of Our Union

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
It came as a surprise (to me, at least) to remember that the State of the Union address is tomorrow night. There has been little to no coverage, little to no discussion, little to no effort. In the lead up to the President's recent announcement on Iraq a few weeks ago, this country's political apparatus was concerned, mainly, with the question of whether the President grasped the same reality that was apparent to nearly everyone else. John McCain was on the first half of Meet the Press yesterday and looked tired. While the senator may be old, its apparent the burden of the war has aged him. Ted Kennedy, Russert's second guest, was similarly muted, quiet. I don't think we can blame either man. The war has aged all of us.

Caucus Cooler: Life

Excerpted from this post at Caucus Cooler
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Republican nominating process is the critical role that the issue of "life" plays in determining a candidate. "Life" has taken on a life of its own. This fundamental question that encompasses religion, politics, values, beliefs, the parent/child relationship, these BIG questions get whittled down very quickly into a very narrow window. Republicans pick and choose, trash and trumpet, elevate and eviscerate based one one simple question. Are you pro-life? ... From Rudy's attempt to reassure "values voters" that are very wary of his pro-choice stance by saying his favorite judge on the Supreme Court is Scalia, to McCain's repeated and repeated and repeated "24 year pro-life voting record" talking point, to Romney's lighting quick rebuttals of his previous pro-choice statements via you-tube, to Brownback marking today as a jumping off point for his campaign. 12 months away from the election, none of the leading candidates are shirking from this enormous question. Are you pro-life?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Republicans for Democrats: Four Questons For John Edwards

Excerpted from this post at Republicans for Democrats
As a blogger I was lucky enough to be invited to sit in an intimate setting with John and Elizabeth Edwards and ask them some questions. I've uploaded a video of four questions I asked John Edwards along with his answers. See
The issues we asked about included
1. What should we do about the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba?
2. Would you make the US a States Party of the International Criminal Court?
3. Would you sign the Kyoto Protocol, dealing with the causes of global warming?
4. Should there be parity between mental and physical health insurance?

Century of the Common Iowan: Hillary Is In, but She Won't Win

Excerpted from this post at Century of the Common Iowan
Saturday morning Hillary took the first step by announcing she has filed the necessary paperwork. Clinton will have an experienced team of advisors and great connections for fundraising. However, she has been in the spotlight for a long time now and the majority of people already have their opinions formed on her. You know what they say about first impressions. I see her candidacy being similar to Jim Nussle's run for Governor here in Iowa in 2006. Nussle was known around Iowa. In all of the polls leading up to the race, Nussle had trouble getting higher than in the low 40's. Nussle lost the race with 44% of the vote.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Iowa Progress: Who Has The Power In The Iowa Caucuses?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress
The Iowa Caucuses aren't democratic. In fact, they are so undemocratic, they make the Electoral College seem like a triumph for those who believe in "one man, one vote." Caucusgoers aren't voting for Obama, or Hillary or John Edwards. They vote for delegates to a county convention who then go on to vote for delegates to the State Convention who then go on to vote for delegates to the National Convention. ... There are 3000 delegates at the State Convention and each county gets an appropriate share and the results for the caucuses are computed by factoring approximately what percent of the delegates a candidate will get at the State Convention. (Here are the 2004 results for an example) So what has changed since 2004? Well of the big five counties in Iowa (Polk, Linn, Scott, Black Hawk and Johnson), all but Polk have gained delegates. ... Statewide totals (which are rough because they haven't been rounded) for 2008 are below the fold and the totals for 2004 can be found here.

John Deeth Blog: Will the non-secret caucus ballot be a factor in Iowa?

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
... Democrats lean more PC than the GOP (new slogan: "Talk English!"), and know they're supposed to care about this stuff even if they privately really don't. So will that sort of pressure and expectation influence caucus goers? Think of Catholic John Kennedy essentially daring protestant West Virginia to prove they weren't bigoted in the primary by voting for him over Hubert Humphrey in the 1960 primary. ... Will folks who sincerely support a white male candidate stand up instead for Barack or Hillary, for fear of accusations of prejudice? I don't see how Iowans will feel like we'd "prove" anything by caucusing for Obama. We're not much accused of being old-South style racists in national Democratic circles; we're just blamed for being very very very very white. Guilty as charged, pass the tuna fish casserole. My guess is the uniqueness of Obama's story and his much-vaunted charisma will make the race thing a non-factor.

Politically Speaking: Wieck, Whitead have CIETC duties

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking
Now that federal indictments on the CIETC salary scandal have come down, I'm reminded that two Sioux City legislators had a hand in the Iowa Legislature look into the situation. Beginning last year after the story broke, State Sen. Ron Wieck and Rep. Wes Whitead were named to a legislative oversight committee investigating employment consortium CIETC. They held many hearings to see if state money was improperly used. There is another local connection to the investigation. Republicans and Democrats in both the Iowa House and Senate retained counsel for the investigation, and Sioux City attorney Tim Bottaro was hired by Iowa House Democrats to be legal counsel for the CIETC hearings. Having spent a lot of midyear 2006 in Des Moines, Bottaro said today he produced thousands of documents in his research and advised that now that the federal indictments are out, more of the documents that the federal government was holding will likely be available to the state players.

Political Forecast: 2008: AP publishes hack piece on Obama

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
I'm not sure what the hell the Associated Press is doing publishing this story, but it clearly reads as if someone took an RNC talking points sheet and turned it into something supposed to look like a news story. Clearly, since John Solomon works at the Washington Post, they had to find some other hack to write their piece. The problem with the piece is that it was clearly written and researched, almost like an opposition research piece, then asked opponents and supporters for comment. He then took an eight year state senate record and highlighted controversies that would make him appear "liberal" and would cause controversy. This isn't journalism, but a hack piece meant to attack Obama.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Caucus Cooler: Rudy Stings Romney

Excerpted from this post at Caucus Cooler
A pro-Giuliani tipster pointed us to some astounding numbers. The Republican Governor's Association gave over $1.2 million dollars to Jim Nussle's campaign. We all know that Governor Romney was the chair of that committee. Romney's PAC gave over 100K to Nussle, making him the single largest PAC contributer to the Nussle campaign. Given those facts, doesn't this Giuliani coup sting a little bit for Romney? You'd think all of that $$$ might have gotten him a little farther. How much did Rudy give to Nussle you ask? ZIPPO. That's a pretty good return on your investment for America's Mayor.

The Real Sporer: The best of government..........

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer
... liberals, let us not forget that Dave Vaudt and Matt Whitaker didn’t rush the investigation or the indictments to take partisan advantage of the scandal. Dave or Matt could have dropped these indictments right before the election to maximize their political impact. This is another stark contrast with the Democrat manipulation and exploitation of Mark Foley’s far less serious misconduct, as just the most recent of Democrats' criminalization of politics. Hmmmmmmm......does the reader see a pattern? Both Matt and Dave provide a bright light of integrity in government. We Republicans should be more than ready to highlight the crime fighting accomplishments of this dynamic duo!

Political Forecast: CIETC indictments

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
... as a reader pointed out to me, back in the beginning of this fiasco, Richard Running, Director of Workforce Development, was forced to resign by Governor Vilsack — and ever since that move, the Register was pretty harsh to Running and called him equally guilty. Today he was found to be completely innocent and was entirely exonerated. It just proves to you how dangerous some accusations and assumptions can be.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Political Forecast: Thoughts on the swearing-in ceremony

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
... To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect from the inaugural address. But I was wowed in the way Culver addressed the audience, reaching out to everyone and by uniting his message behind a common theme of exploration and a common journey into our unlimited future. It was a thematic piece not necessarily outlining policy and hammering away on the issues, but offered a deep sense of what Culver is seeking to do over his next four years and the kind of involvement he wants all Iowans to have in the future.

Price of Politics: The Next Strategery

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics
Literasly -- Chet Culver brought few surprises with him to the stage at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines for his inaugural address...higher minimum wage, teacher pay to the national average, less dependency on foreign oil. But the former teacher did introduce a new word. The new Gov was praising former First Lady Christie Vilsack for all her work... [video link] ... One other useless observation. What happened to, "raise your right hand and repeat after me"? Culver raised his left hand and put his right hand on the bible during his swearing-in ceremony. Does it matter? Nope. I called Becky Colton, executive asst. to the Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice. She said you can "solemnly swear" with either hand.

Cyclone Conservatives: Hey, Is This My Right Hand?

Excerpted from this post at Cyclone Conservatives
Governor Chet Culver took his oath of office today to become Iowa's 40th Governor. Whenever you watch these sort of ceremonies, you always hear the presiding officer tell the elected official to "Raise Your Right Hand". What does Chet do? He raises his left. Does he not know which hand is his right? Did he do it intentionally? Does the Chief Justice not know which hand should be raised?

Krusty Konservative: Tan-Kray'-doh

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
Kongressman Tom Tancredo visited Iowa this weekend. Heck I guess he still might be here I just don't know. Tancredo visited Kouncil Bluffs and Des Moines to promote his book, "In Mortal Danger," and test the waters for a possible Presidential run. I fully expect Tancredo to pull the trigger and make a run for the Republican nomination. Tancredo will obviously not have the available resources that the frontrunners will have, but he will possess sole ownership of the hot button issue of illegal immigration. ... The Tancredo Team has stated that if they do run, they will be fighting for third place in Iowa and use his run to publicize his hard-line views on the immigration issue. While I think that is a reasonable expectation, I don't know many caucus goers who like to volunteer, or sign on with a campaign that wants to finish third.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Caucus Cooler: Tancredo?

Excerpted from this post at Caucus Cooler
Tom Beaumont said in his blog yesterday that Colorado Republican
Representative Tom Tancredo "is on his way to Iowa to announce his
candidacy for President." While we can't find anyone else to confirm this
at this stage, the prospect is interesting none-the-less. Before the New
Year when we posed our 2008 questions, we asked who would take the mantle
for the "Steve King wing" of the party on immigration. Clearly if Tancredo
gets in the race it would be him. Known almost entirely for his strong
stance on immigration, the whole purpose of a Tancredo run would be to
bring immigration to the forefront.

Krusty Konservative: Iowa Republicans to Select a Chairman Tomorrow

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
... The following are the people who have their hat in the ring. Danny Carroll
– Former State Representative, Pumpkin Farmer; Bill Dix - Former State
Representative, Former 1st CD Kongressional Candidate, Pumpkin Farmer;
Bonnie Hall – Pro-Life activist, Republican Central Kommittee Member; Ray
Hoffmann – Sioux City Businessman, Kurrent Chairman of the Republican
Party of Iowa. The race is actually a two man race. From what I'm able to gather
Danny Carroll and Bonnie Hall don't have any support. The race boils down to
re-electing Hoffmann, or going with Bill Dix. ... the 17 members of the State
Central Committee, are more concerned on who will run the day-to-day
operation of the party. This is where Chuck Laudner becomes a factor.
In a weird way I think this race will come down to who will bring Laudner
in as executive director.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Political Forecast: Minimum wage efforts in the legislature hit a snag

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
... What I didn't expect was that before the bill itself would even be discharged out of committee, Democrats themselves were still trying to figure out whether or not it was worth keeping that provision in the bill. And as Tyler says, the provision itself in the bill is good politically as it keeps the issue from being a haggling point every session. If I were in the Democratic caucus, there would be two things I would do. First, I would try to figure why the hell this wasn't decided in the two months following the election victories in November. ... Secondly, I'd tell the caucus to pick one of the two controversial provisions of the Senate bill (either the peg to inflation or the elimination of the 90-day training wage) and keep it. Use it as a bargaining chip with Republicans who want to haggle on small business assistance provisions.

John Deeth Blog: Steve King TODAVÍA no quisiera que usted votara

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog
Steve King appears to be adjusting to life in the Washington minority by tending to matters back home. Of course, he's doing it with his usual wrecking ball charm, working the base by suing Chet Culver and Mike Mauro. "This is a non issue," Anderson said, "and Representative King is well aware that Attorney General Miller said Culver followed the letter of the law." The Iowa Attorney General's advice to two Secretaries of State that non-English voter registration forms are just perfectly okee-dokee isn't enough to stop King on his mission to personally alienate an entire generation of Hispanic Iowans from the Republican Party.

InMuscatine: Union Busting in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at InMuscatine
So I get this letter from Chris Rants. He wants to inform me that Iowa's Right to Work Law is in EXTREME danger. ... He wants me to support an organization called Iowans for Right to Work Committee. ... Off to the internet we go, where the first interesting tidbit we find about the IRWC is they are based in … TA-DA! Indiana. Specifically - 6145 Crawfordsville Road #231; Speedway, IN 46224-3730 ... In 2005 they took in $129,991 in the form of "dues" from members. And for some reason they used a tax preparer from Venice, FL to do their taxes. I have to question why a company purporting to represent Iowans, that can't seem to find any office space in Iowa, thinks they can't find a competent tax person in Iowa to handle a paltry $129K and change. ... I think we have enough evidence to show Iowans for Right to Work Committee is an anti-union/pro-business lobbying group. I do think they should at least be based in Iowa, but I think if they want to lobby the Iowa Legislature they can do it without my money.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Century of the Common Iowan: Nussle to Open Consulting Firm in Cedar Rapids

Excerpted from this post at BLOGNAME
Many thought that Jim Nussle would be leaving Iowa for good after his defeat in the Governor's last November, but it looks like Nussle is keeping his Iowa ties. Nussle plans to open up a consulting firm in Cedar Rapids. ... Nussle isn't forgetting about DC though... In addition to headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Navigating Strategies will have an office in the Washington, D.C., area. With news that Tom Harkin might not be running for Senate in 2008 and Grassley looking at retirement in 2010, Nussle could be eyeing a run for Senate.

Political Forecast: Democrats should seriously consider Vilsack's resolution against escalation

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
... during the push for war in Iraq, House and Senate Republicans in Iowa brought up for debate a resolution that expressed support for the President, his cabinet, and the Armed Forces for their "commitment to disarming the nation of Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein from power." (SR 15). Now, the previous link will take you to the Senate's resolution. According to Todd Dorman, the House approved a similar resolution. ... Now, I'm sure that there are political implications in "voting to support the war and then voting not to support sending in more troops to win the war" if you want to frame it like that. But the more important point is that it gives Democrats the ability to truly lead, as well as to apologize and make-up for their votes the first time around.

Iowa Voters: Barred Lab Tested All Iowa Vote Machines

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voters
State election director Sandy Steinbach reports that all of the voting machines in Iowa were tested by Ciber laboratory. Ciber has now been barred from further testing by the federal Election Assistance Commission(EAC). The EAC action was taken in July but kept secret until the New York Times broke the story last week. According to the Times, Ciber was suspended because it "was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bloggers Wonder About Harkin Retirement

A weekend story in the New York Daily News has led some Iowa bloggers to wonder about U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin's political future.

Over the weekend, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., outed Harkin as the only one of 12 Senate Democrats up for re-election in 2008 not yet confirmed to run again.

See blogger reaction to the weekend article:

Political Forecast: Is Harkin going to retire?
Maybe Sen. Tom Harkin is just taking his sweet time in confirming to DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer that he is indeed going to run for another term, but the fact that he is the only Democrat of 12 incumbent Democratic Senators up for re-election in 2008 who hasn't confirmed they're running again, this has me a bit concerned: ... If you look at his career numbers for fundraising, particularly with respect to the cycle right before his re-election period, he's on par with the past amount raised and amount spent. I guess the real time to judge whether or not he's running again will to gauge just how serious his fundraising efforts are over the next six months.

Iowa Progress: Will Harkin retire?
... Harkin is one of the best senators and Democrats we've got, and I for one, would be sorry to see him go. Fortunately, I don't think we'll have to say goodbye just yet. Sure, he's getting older, but he'll still be younger than many in the Senate, and even younger than at least one presidential candidate (John "I'm older than dirt" McCain). I saw Harkin twice this past year: once at the Harkin Steak Fry and once in a livingroom in Grinnell as he stumped for now-victorious Eric Palmer; both times he seemed sharp as a blade and perhaps more importantly, like he was really enjoying himself.

Krusty Konservative: Albrecht named Iowa Communications Director for Romney

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
This is another great addition to Romney's already stellar Iowa staff. Outside of Eric Woolson, who is leading Huckabee's efforts in Iowa, Albrecht is easily the top kommunications person in Iowa. Albrecht is leaving his post as Director of Kommunications with House Republican Leader Christopher Rants, a position he has held for a few years. This past summer Albrecht took a leave of absence from his position at the legislature to run the House Legislative races. While Albrecht is a top notch press person in the state, he also brings a wealth of kampaign experience with him.

Radio Iowa blog: Nussle opens firm with former chief of staff

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa blog
Jim Nussle, the 2006 Republican nominee for governor, is joining with his former congressional chief of staff to open a firm in Iowa. Steve Greiner, Nussle's COS, left the Nussle congressional office and worked as legal counsel for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Greiner and his wife were on the Nussle campaign bus for the final weekend of the campaign. News release after the jump.

The Corn Beltway Boys: Republicans Sued For Breach Of Contract With America

Excerpted from this post at The Corn Beltway Boys
If the first few weeks of 2007 are any indication of what lies ahead in the coming twelve months for Republican lawmakers, it's going to be a long year. Getting run from office by the American voters last November and watching rival Democrats take control of Congress last week was unfortunately just the start of the troubles that are beginning to mount against American's 'grand ole party.' The Drudge Report is claiming that the remaining Republicans still left from the 1994 election cycle are being sued by the American citizens for breach of contract. The lawsuit contends that after riding the popularity of the 'Contract With America' to election victories almost 14 years ago most GOP lawmakers failed to uphold their end of the deal.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Iowa True Blue: Can't Watch Ohio State v. Florida? Thank The Good Friends of Republican Tom Latham!

Excerpted from this post at Iowa True Blue
Can't watch the national championship game? Or "24"? Or "American Idol"," "CSI," or "Survivor"? You can thank the good friends of Iowa's own Republican Congressman Tom Latham. Gee, thanks, Latham! Due to a nasty dispute between Sinclair Broadcasting and Mediacom, KDSM (Fox network affiliate) and KGAN (CBS network affiliate) are off the air. Off air completely, affecting more than a quarter million Iowans. ... Sinclair Broadcasting is owned and run by four brothers named Smith (their daddy started it all). The Smith brothers are well known right wing fanatics. ... the Smith brothers have given literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican National Committee (RNC). And the RNC has shared this largesse -- lots of it -- with Republican Tom Latham.

Krusty Konservative: Kapitol Insider – Christopher Rants

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
... when Krusty asked me to write an article for him on a regular basis, I thought, here's a chance to bring a little National Review to the National Enquirer crowd – so here we go…. Since Mike Gronstal and Pat Murphy traveled around the state this past week telling editorial boards what they want people to know about the Democrat majority's agenda, I thought I'd give you a list of ten things they'd rather not tell the press that is going to happen. ... Democrats will break their promise of a 6% allowable growth rate for Iowa's K-12 public schools – but they'll wait to announce it until after the Iowa School Boards Association has finished their annual meeting and left town on January 16th. ... At one of Gov. Culver's press conference, some enterprising reporter will ask, "Who's really setting the Democrat agenda – Mike Gronstal or you?" ... To avoid the scrutiny of the press and public, the Democrats will veer out of the mainstream on Day 110 and will bury their most liberal policy changes in an amendment or conference committee report to the last budget bill of the session and try to debate it after ten o'clock at night. -- The above article was written [by] Representative Christopher Rants.

Open Country: Bravo, Mary Gilchrist!

Excerpted from this post at Open Country
Kudos to Mary Gilchrist, former director of the University Hygienic Laboratory, for suing Acting President Gary Fethke and Vice President of Research Meredith Hay for firing her for spurious reasons. "Passion" for excellence is no reason to fire someone. If there is a protecting the whistle-blower law that comes into play here, I hope that it's enforced and enforced broadly. ... Mary Gilchrist's lawsuit has a lot to do with protecting the public health of Iowans. While she is advocating a change in laboratory governance, she also advocates for a strong affiliation with the University of Iowa for resources and also to provide competitive salaries and university benefits to existing staff at the UHL.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Political Forecast: 2008: Republicans to focus on health care?

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
In the past few days, I've found it interesting that two genuinely conservative Republican potentials for the presidency in 2008 are beginning to hype health care as their premier issue for the race to the presidency. Not only is former Wisconsin Governor and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson promising to be in Iowa every week, he sat down today with Kay Henderson of Radio Iowa and told her that no other candidate is 'steeped in the issue' like he is. However, I can think of at least one Republican who would beg to differ: Krusty's 2007 breakout candidate and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. ... The healthcare angle will be a unique one to this race, particularly on the Republican side because it is an issue you haven't heard much about at the federal level from Republicans in the last 6 years or so, unless you count medical malpractice caps as part of the issue. But now you've got basically two candidates saying there is a crisis looming and at least one of them, Thompson, saying that it will be the dominant issue in 2008.

The Corn Beltway Boys: ***URGENT*** Culver Inaugural Committee Needs Volunteers

Excerpted from this post at The Corn Beltway Boys
As the liberal, Iowa blogosphere is a buzz trying to round up volunteers to help with Governor-elect Chet Culver's inaugural party ... I do find it a little curious that people were willing to vote for him, but it seems going to one of his parties might be pushing it. I think I figured out why and if you read the letter from the inauguration committee I believe you will see it too ... The Culver-Judge Inaugural Committee is planning several events in Omaha, St. Paul, and Chicago to celebrate. These events will showcase Governor-elect Culver's belief that Iowa has One Unlimited Future [because 'one' is all we could come up with]. It should also be noted that unlike John Edwards who believes there are "two Americas," Chet "knows" there is only "one Iowa." He's seen a map. Once. We are looking for volunteers who can make balloon animals and pirate swords, persons who like dressing up in clown costumes, know how to face paint a donkey, and can recite all the words to the Chuck E Cheese theme song. We also need backstage help during our featured entertainment for the evening: The Wiggles.

Iowa True Blue: New Years Resolutions

Excerpted from this post at Iowa True Blue
... Not as bad as smoking, but still a nasty habit, is wasting your time reading Ridiculous Blogs. But, you may ask, how can I possibly tell whether a blog is a Ridiculous Blog on what President Bush calls the Internets. Here's a simple rule of thumb. If the political blog you are reading, and you can do a quick search on this, ever said that either Jeff Lamberti or Mike Whalen would win their congressional races, you are reading a Really Ridiculous Blog. Such predictions were just plain stupid. There's really no kinder way to put it. ... In 2007, resolve to stop reading Ridiculous Blogs. Spend your time more productively. Plant trees, go for long walks with friends, take up chess. Just don't smoke or read Ridiculous Blogs.

From Right to Left: Economic growth ... or not

Excerpted from this post at From Right to Left
Someone wants to spur economic growth in Iowa City by shooting out car windows. According to the Press-Citizen (link below), "approximately 75 reports have been made with a total estimated dollar amount of damage around $18,000." Just imagine, people had to spend $18,000 to repair those windows. Of course the repairers were then able to spend that money somewhere else, and so on. From the economic growth created, perhaps the city should be paying these would-be-thugs rather than trying to arrest them. Of course, this is a ridiculous idea. ... Unfortunately, too many people apply the broken window fallacy (I didn't make this up) to government spending all the time. People talk about the "jobs" created by government programs without consideration of the costs to taxpayers.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Iowa Voters: Mauro Hasn't Forgotten

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Voters
It's a bit of a relief to hear that our new Secretary of State took office today promising to work for a paper trail in Iowa voting booths. To be sure, it was his main campaign promise. But his appointment of Linda Langenberg as his deputy in charge of elections raised doubts regarding his committment. In October Langenberg accused voting machine critics of practicing a "form of terrorism."

Politically Speaking: Ford in Sioux City, 1974

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking
Major props to Dan Johnson of Luverne, Minn., for emailing this afternoon with a link to a Web site with a speech transcript of the sole visit President Gerald R. Ford made in Sioux City while president. In his remarks, which began at 3:25 p.m. on Oct. 1974 (the reporter in me notes how the time was very nice for ease of deadline writing), Ford tailored his remarks to the Siouxland crowd, mentioning corn and soybean production, dairy imports and how "I could not come to Sioux City, the heart of the slaughter and livestock industry, particularly the cattlefeeding business, and not say a word about the production of meat."

Krusty Konservative: Romney forms Exploratory Kommittee

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
Sometime today Mitt Romney will file the necessary paperwork to form a presidential exploratory kommittee. The move will allow him to start raising and spending money for a potential presidential kampaign. ... Romney has also assembled a top notch staff in Iowa. What I find impressive is that they already have most, if not all of their campaign staff in place during the first week of January, a full year before the caucus.
Campaign Manager: Gentry Collins
Iowa Chairman: Doug Gross
Political Director: Jill Latham
Field Staff: Chad Airhart, Marcus Branstad, Sarah Craig, Derek Flowers, Tim Moran, and Candace Turitto
Event Planning/Straw Poll Koordinator: Nicole Schlinger
Iowa Konsultant: David Kochel
Konsultant: Brian Kennedy

Music: Britney opening for Obama?

Excerpted from this post at Music
So Des Moines wants Britney Spears and/or Lee Greenwood to help kick off the 2008 Iowa caucuses in a nationally televised show that could be staged at a local theater or arena? Isn't the electorate already disgusted with the dog-and-pony show of politics? And this is supposed to help? Specifically, the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau is cooking up this plan to raise the profile of our caucuses -- no doubt to help solidify Iowa as FIRST in the national consciousness -- and "spark nationwide appreciation and understanding of the presidential nomination process." And Britney's on the shortlist. Hmmm. Why not throw Fergie in there while we're at it and really turn this show into an intellectual void -- if not an outright parody?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hotline On Call: Insider Interview: Nick Ryan

Excerpted from this post at Hotline On Call
What's happening to GOPers in IA? Why is the state so politically quixotic? Does the Ames straw poll really matter? Before he gets nabbed by an '08 GOP (and he's being recruited by several), The Hotline interviewed Nick Ryan, campaign mgr. for Jim Nussle's IA GOV bid. HOTLINE: How much danger is there that the Iowa GOP is becoming a regional party within the state? Nick Ryan: The dominant party in Iowa is no party -- and it grows every passing year. Republicans historically always perform well in Western Iowa, and there is no doubt that as a party we are suffering in our performance in Eastern Iowa. Looking at central and eastern Iowa -- I think Republicans can be encouraged that the right candidates CAN win there. Absent the 2006 wave, both congressional seats in eastern Iowa were held by Republicans -- by two very good, effective congressmen (Nussle and Leach). At every level -- be it federal, state or local - by recruiting good candidates we can win. Remember, the dominant party in Eastern Iowa is no party - not Republican or Democrat.

Radio Iowa Blog: Doing what Dennis said to do

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa Blog
I checked back with Ed Fallon, the 2004 Democratic gubernatorial candidate who garnered 26 percent support in the primary, just a few moments ago to make sure I had it right. Yes, he did support Dennis Kucinich for president in 2004. "I'm doing what Dennis told me to do: 'If I'm not viable, support Edwards,'" Fallon joked. As some of you may recall, the Ohio Congressman and the former North Carolina Senator struck a deal right before the 2004 Iowa Caucuses. If, after the first test of "delegate strength" at a precinct caucus, Kucinich supporters discovered their candidate was deemed "not viable" at their precinct and they were required to throw their support to another candidate in a second round of "voting," then Kucinch told his supporters to back Edwards.

Political Forecast: Exclusive: An interview with State Rep. Chris Rants about blogs

Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
Earlier this week while I was reading Krusty's blog (got to keep on your toes by reading the opposition) I noticed that on this post about Speaker-Elect Pat Murphy, former Speaker of the Iowa House and now Republican Minority Leader in the House Christopher Rants had supposedly posted some comments. This really got me intrigued, so I emailed him to see if it was really him and to my great surprise it was. We have now emailed back and forth a bit and I have asked him some questions about blogs and online politics in Iowa. ... Chris Woods: How long have you been reading Iowa political blogs and what first brought your attention to them? Do you generally read only conservative blogs or ones from both sides? Chris Rants: I've read them off and on for the last year or so. I can't say I'm an everyday reader, because I'm not. I got started on it primarily when I heard staff around the capitol talking about them. I'll read Krusty, The Cooler, Ted Sporer, and Things going round & round. If there is something out there my staff thinks I need to know about they let me know - which means I've even read Gordon's a time or two.

Krusty Konservative: Mike Huckabee - Krusty's Breakout Kandidate for 2007

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative
I'm sure that Mike Huckabee being my breakout presidential kandidate for 2007 probably comes as a surprise to many of you, especially the intern(s) at the Kaucus Kooler. But talk to any caucus vet and they will tell you that there is always a konservative kandidate who will catch on fire and make a lot of noise in Iowa. After looking at the potential Republican field, I think Mike Huckabee is the kandidate who is primed for a big year.

Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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