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Friday, January 30, 2009

24-hour Dorman: Iowa battle flags take budget fire

Excerpted from this post at 24-hour Dorman

Flipping through Gov. Chet Culver's 2010 budget plan, I noticed that he eliminated funding for restoration/stabilization of hundreds of flags carried into battle by Iowans. Most were hoisted in the Civil War. ... The State Historical Society of Iowa asked for $220,000 to keep the program going. Culver gave them zero. Jeff Morgan, spokesman for the society, says there probably will be some money left over from the current year to keep the program going after the new budget years starts July 1. ... Now, I'm not pointing this out to whine or argue Culver's cut was wrong or should be reversed. Things are tough all over. Lots of pretty important stuff is getting the ax. The money is just not there. The economy stinks. I'm calling attention to it because people are free to donate money to the battle flag program.

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Battleground Iowa: Boo hoo: Chet throws a temper tantrum

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

There's been a lot of talk about Chester's budget press conference yesterday during which he threw a temper tantrum and tried to claim that others weren't taking Iowa's budget situation seriously. When David Yepsen (who has been doing a much better job at being a real reporter lately) had the audacity to ask Buzz if there was still going to be more cuts in the current fiscal year, Buzz went off on an irrational tirade about the 6 1/2 percent cuts in future budget years rather than answer the simple question about this budget year. Here's what I think happened. Chet Not Stupid just wasn't bright enough to understand the question. Chet Not Stupid then had to revert to the fall-back line one of his staffers had given him to use if he thought a reporter was getting a little too cute or snarky. The problem was, Yepsen wasn't being cute or snarky, he was just asking a legitimate question.

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Iowa Political Alert: Cheap political ploys are not the way back

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

Today in our newsroom here at The Carroll Daily Times Herald we were working with our state legislator, Republican Rod Roberts, a sharp guy we all respect, on some basic information for a nice ceremonial proclamation he was doing on behalf of a local organization. Obviously, this isn't serious business but we know Rod knows his legislation, and takes care of business -- and part of the job of being a lawmaker is mixing in some matters like this. That considered, later today, I found it unbelievable and incredibly sophomoric that the State GOP would seek to make political hay out of a Muscatine Democrat's effort to honor the channel catfish. Is this important? No. Should we be focusing with super intensity on economic matters? Of course. But one thing has nothing to do with another ... So the following press release is just poor. It's the kind of attack that someone with no political experience might orchestrate in a college election or something along those lines.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Marion Contrarian: Partisan fire under the golden dome

Excerpted from this post at The Marion Contrarian

Well, I spent the entire day at the Iowa Capitol lobbying for the
right of Linn County voters to decide whether or not they want to tax
themselves an extra penny on local sales, presumably to be used for
flood relief. Yesterday, the Iowa Senate passed an expedited calendar
to set a Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) vote in any Presidentially
Declared Disaster County for March 3rd. The tax would be collected
starting April 1st. The reason March 3rd is needed, is due to the fact
that local governments certify their budgets on March 15. If the
revenue is not there to provide services, the likely outcome would be
cuts in services and a significant property tax hike on residents.
That is why I was so dismayed to see Republicans, en masse, vote
against this measure and all but ensure a major property tax hike if
they had their way.

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Krusty Konservative: Giving credit where credit is due...

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

One of the most difficult things for me to do is communicate with my
readers are some things that go on in the State Legislature. Sure I
can shed some light here and there and fill in a back story on
occasion, but I'm not there, I'm not in the arena as they say. One of
the guys in the arena is Rep. Christopher Rants. Now to some he's a
villain, others see him as a victim. But what is true, is that Rants
is intelligent and very knowledgeable about these issues. Fortunately,
he also uses his blog and twitter to communicate. On his website blog
he is starting a series of posts that offer areas where our state can
save money. This is much needed information and people should go check
it out. His use of Twitter today is phenomenal. If you want to know
what's in Culver's budget proposal go read it here. This is what he's
got thus far...

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Bleeding Heartland: House passes economic stimulus bill, no thanks to Republicans

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The House of Representatives passed an $819 billion economic stimulus
bill today by a vote of 244-188. Here is the roll call. Iowa Democrats
Bruce Braley (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Leonard Boswell
(IA-03) all voted with the majority. Republicans unanimously opposed
the bill, including Tom Latham (IA-04) and Steve King (IA-05), and 11
"Blue Dog" Democrats also voted no. All the news reports have
emphasized that not a single Republican voted for this package, even
though President Barack Obama tried hard (too hard if you ask me) to
bring them on board. It reminds me of 1993, when Congressional
Republicans unanimously opposed President Bill Clinton's first budget.
The GOP seems to be banking on running against Democrats' management
of the economy in the midterm elections.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Grassley and the NSF probe

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

Senator Grassley was interviewed on FOX News on Wednesday about the
National Science Foundation probe that has come about from a report to
Congress that mentioned an NSF official who was "found to have spent
as much as 20 percent of his working hours over a two-year span
"viewing sexually explicit images and engaging in sexually explicit on
line 'chats' with various women," Politico said. I checked out the
website of the NSF and found these words to welcome me: "National
Science Foundation -- Where Discoveries Begin". Hmmm. More information
on the site says: The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an
independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the
progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and
welfare; to secure the national defense..."

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Radio Iowa: Kiernan as Iowa Democratic Party chair

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

Souces indicate Des Moines City Councilman Michael Kiernan is Governor
Chet Culver's choice to be the Iowa Democratic Party's chairman. Dave
Price of WHO-TV blogs about it here. Since there are no permalinks on
Dave's blog and you may be reading this in March when the post has
rotated off the WHO-TV website, here's what he wrote: "Democratic
sources confirm to me Michael Kiernan is expected to be "elected" the
new chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party this Saturday. Of course,
the State Central Committee elects the chair Saturday. But Governor
Chet Culver more than has his say in this. And apparently he has had
his say." Kiernan was elected to the Des Moines City Council in May of
2004. His current term ends in January, 2010. That means both he and
Culver are up for reelection in 2010.

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Price of Politics, etc.: Bruce Rastetter for governor

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics, etc.

Move over, Bob Vander Plaats. Two days after Team VP 2010 announced
his intentions to begin the process of running for governor, another
man may be stepping up. According to Iowa Statehouse Republican
sources, Bruce Rastetter, CEO of Hawkeye Energy Holdings, plans to
make his presence known in the statehouse Wednesday, the same day and
same place Governor Chet Culver delivers his budget address. Rastetter
plans to meet with house and senate caucuses to talk strategy and
issues for the future. His money helped elect some of these
Republicans to office.

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Krusty Konservative: Culver suggests 6.5 percent budget cuts

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Last night Governor Chet Culver announced that his budget proposal
will cut most state programs by 6.5%. The governor said that he wanted
to spare public safety, workforce development, human services,
disaster relief, the teacher quality program, and early childhood
education from a full 6.5% cut. Why? Just because a program is popular
or worthy of funding doesn't mean there is no wasteful spending
occurring in it. For example, I've been in support of immediate flood
relief; you know a package that funds the rebuilding and recovery
process; not sneaks things like forced unionization language in the
bill. The Culver and the Democrats have been good at making promises,
but they have also been good at dragging their feet. People are still
waiting.

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John Deeth Blog: Machiavellian chicken: Letting the GOP hang itself

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

President Obama's economic stimulus package is taking heat from the
Republicans who want it to include tax cuts, tax cuts, and some more
tax cuts too. Some of us lefties are exasperated as the prez chants
his mantra of bipartisanship.But consider this possibility: Obama's
giving them enough rope to hang themselves. A couple weeks of this,
and he turns the tables: "See? You can't work with these people. They
represent the same old politics as usual, the same old answers that
didn't work. I gave `em a chance and they blew it." Obama tipped his
hand Friday with the "I won" line, and he's got the votes in the
House.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Krusty Konservative: BVP: Retrofit or restoration

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Politics can be a tough business, but it is especially true for anyone
who has ever put their name on the ballot. Thick skin and resolve are
important attributes for any candidate, but especially true for a
candidate making their 2nd or third attempt at running office. The
question that looms large for them is simple, what's different this
time around the block. For some candidates it can easily answered, but
many candidates struggle and can never find a way to answer such a
simple question. Iowa's political grave yard is littered with the
carcasses of failed two and three time candidates. In fact, I can only
think of one time in which a 2nd time candidate was successful, Jim
Leach in 1976. In 1974 Leach lost to Ed Mezvinsky 56% to 46% but
bounced back in 76 and won 52% to 58%.

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Bleeding Heartland: Budget deficits & campaign debts

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The state of Iowa is facing a budget deficit, but it's our Governor
who is trying to pay off his "debts." This lottery episode is an
argument for public financing of election campaigns. When rich donors
drop $25,000 or so into a candidate's pocket, an implicit IOU has just
been created. The best way to pay off these "debts" is with public
money, either tax cuts for the donor class, state contracts for the
contributors personally (see Bill Richardson), or sale of state assets
like the lottery. The common objection to public financing for
elections is "We don't want tax dollars going to politicians." This
myopic argument forgets that politicans gain control of ALL the tax
dollars once in office and too often use those dollars to pay back
their "investors" (see Bernie Madoff).

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Iowa Insider: Vilsack -- A quick study so far

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Insider

It appears U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has been hitting the
briefing books. The new leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
fielded federal ag policy questions for nearly an hour Monday morning
in his first presser. Vilsack gave long, detailed answers on biofuels,
farm payment limits and even talked about the importance of the Forest
Service. The Pittsburg-native-turned-Iowa-small-town-mayor also talked
about the need to revitalize rural America, especially through
broadband Internet access. "The capacity of folks in rural communities
to have access to the Internet cannot be underappreciated or
underestimated," Vilsack said. "You can't open yourself up to world
markets, to new opportunities, unless you have access to that tool."

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FromDC2Iowa: Economic sorrows and solutions

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

How Best to Stimulate an Economy ... As the American people, their
elected representatives, and the mainstream media focus on the
deteriorating economy and the President's "America's Recovery and
Reinvestment Plan" (President-Elect Barack Obama, "American Recovery
and Reinvestment," January 8, 2009, Whitehouse.gov/The
Agenda/Economy/The President's American Recovery and Reinvestment
Plan) most of the commentary comes in the form of numbers rather than
names -- the stock markets' percentage changes, the number of bank
failures, the unemployment percentages, the number of mortgage
foreclosures, and the corporate earnings (or losses) reports.

Views from the Linn County Auditor: Weigh in on my salary

Excerpted from this post at Views from the Linn County Auditor

One week from tomorrow, i.e., at 4pm, Tuesday, February 3rd, the Linn
County Compensation Board will meet at Westdale Mall. The purpose of
the meeting is to determine the salaries of Linn County's ten elected
officials, i.e., the five supervisors, the auditor, treasurer,
sheriff, recorder, and county attorney. The eligibility requirements
for these officials are remarkable when compared to the private
sector. You must be an eligible elector, i.e., 18 years of age, a US
citizen, and reside in Linn County -- except supervisors must reside
in the district which elects them. The county attorney must be
admitted to the bar, which means s/he graduated from law school and
passed the bar exam. The sheriff must be a certified peace officer or
obtain certification within one year of being elected. Remarkably
simple.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Krusty Konservative: Vander Plaats announces 2010 campaign

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Tomorrow morning (Monday) Bob Vander Plaats will announce his 2010
campaign for Governor on the Jan Michelson Show on WHO Radio. Vander
Plaats will also appear on the Steve Deace show in the afternoon. I
have also been told that two special guests will be joining Bob for
his announcement. I think it's safe to say that Mike Huckabee will be
one of those guests. His 2010 campaign marks his third attempt for the
office. In 2002, Vander Plaats finished 3rd (31.6%) in a close
primary race behind Doug Gross (35.8%) and Steve Sukup (32.3%). While
that race was extremely tight with Gross just beating the 35%
threshold, it's also important to know that Gross assembled his
campaign in January of 2002, while Vander Plaats and Sukup dueled it
out between themselves for all of 2001.

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Radio Iowa: Selling state assets

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

Governor Culver has said in tough times, it makes sense to consider
selling state assets to help see the state through the current budget
crisis. He uses a plural word there -- assets. But the only asset
discussed, to date, has been the Iowa Lottery. So what might this list
of assets (plural), include? Republicans like Senator Paul McKinley,
the minority leader in the state senate, say it makes business sense
in tough times to dump/sell assets which are a drain on the state
budget. ... I've asked a spokesman in the governor's office, via email,
for a list of other assets Governor Culver is considering for the
auction block. He hasn't replied yet, so in the meantime, let's you
and I come up with a list. 1. Terrace Hill, the governor's mansion,
sits on some prime real estate in Des Moines.

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John Deeth Blog: Primarying Chuck Grassley?

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

I know it sounds nuts but let's tune into the guessing game the
internets is playing. It starts with Charlie Cook, who writes: "A
fellow who oversees lobbying in all 50 states for a major corporation
recently told me about a certain Republican U.S. senator up for
re-election in 2010, someone generally regarded as fairly conservative
who might face a serious challenge from a very conservative fellow
Republican." ... Several commentators conclude that it is, indeed, our
own Chuck, with the obvious challenger being Steve King. I'm not
buying it. King's crazy but not stupid, and why would he primary
Grassley two years after walking away from a run against Harkin? But
still: the religious wing of the party doesn't adore Grassley and has
a chip on its shoulder about his fraud investigations touching some
church-scam fundraising.

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Bleeding Heartland: Rename the Archie Brooks Community Center

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Former Des Moines City Council member Archie Brooks was sentenced to
one year plus one day in prison, plus a $400,000 fine and two years of
probation, for his role in misusing about $2 million funds at the
Central Iowa Employment Training Consortium (CIETC). Brooks was the
board chairman of CIETC at the time. Depending on how you look at it,
Brooks' sentence seems long or short. It's long when you consider that
billions of taxpayer dollars spent in Iraq can't be accounted for, yet
there is not even a serious investigation (let alone prosecution) of
those who may be responsible. On the other hand, Brooks is getting
off lightly compared to Ramona Cunningham, who did not cooperate with
prosecutors and got 7 years in prison for her role in the CIETC
crimes. Also, the former CIETC treasurer was sentenced to two years in
prison followed by three years of house arrest.

Friday, January 23, 2009

In Flyover Country: Why it matters: Culver's pay-to-play scandal

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

Iowa is in the midst of a scandal. There is no better word for it. And nobody cares. Yepsen writes a must-read column today regarding the sale of the Iowa Lottery. The title -- "Lottery giveaway seems a done deal" -- should make you shudder. It IS a done deal, and it's the stupidest, most outlandish thing we've seen in a long time. What in the world could Chet Culver, Mike Gronstal and Patrick Murphy be thinking? They would give up nearly three BILLION dollars for a one time shot of $200 million this year - that's the cost of selling the lottery. That's the cost of getting re-elected in 2010 which, as Yepsen notes, when you inject federal dollars, they will have "solved" the budget problem and sailed to victory in 2010. The scandal? The guy buying the lottery gave Culver $25,000 in campaign contributions!

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God, Politics and Pock 'n' Roll: Gitmo closing: Sad... or not bad?

Excerpted from this post at God, Politics and Pock 'n' Roll

Some Republicans are expressing concerns about President Obama's executive orders today involving the shutdown of Guantanamo Bay and the apparent change in policy regarding torture. Thoughts: First, I am a realist and understand that President Obama needs to be keeping campaign promises AND wants to redefine our image in the eyes of the world. ... the whole "I-don't-want-terrorists-in-my-backyard" is going to be seen as simplistic grandstanding by my party. If there are legitimate security concerns related to these orders, let's raise them and treat the public like educated adults.

Bleeding Heartland: Iowa Democrats in Congress trust Obama with bailout money

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The House of Representatives passed a symbolic "disapproval" measure on Thursday to oppose the release of the second $350 billion tranche to the Treasury Department's Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), more commonly known as the Wall Street bailout. About a third of House Democrats joined most of the Republicans (including Iowa's Tom Latham and Steve King) in this measure. However, all three Iowa Democrats (Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack and Leonard Boswell) voted against the disapproval resolution, meaning they are on record not opposing the release of another $350 billion to the TARP. The House action was merely symbolic because last week a similar "disapproval" resolution failed in the U.S. Senate.

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Politico: Shenanigans: Hangover edition

Excerpted from this post at Politico

It was hangover day yesterday on the Hill. That goes for you, too, darling pols. You know who you are. Some of you even moved the daily staff meeting an hour later because -- well, you know why. So here are some Inauguration tidbits that we have not blogged: At the Creative Coalition party Tuesday, Sting -- once again -- introduced his song of the Inaug, "Brand New Day," by saying he wrote it for the millennium but it was about "eight (effing) years too late." The crowd roared. Also seen at the Creative Coalition bash, after being on TV all day long: Norah O’Donnell. The governor of Iowa, Chet Culver, was spotted double-fisting at the Recording Industry Association of America party at Ibiza.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Generation Republican: Bi-partisanship is not working in flood relief

Excerpted from this post at New Generation Republican

I have tried to keep a very positive attitude about trying to work
with all legislators in creating better government policy. But, I am
flat out frustrated with the events of this week. The Rebuild Iowa
committee was established to help create good policy for funding flood
and tornado victims around the State. This Committee has had two
meetings, both explaining the destruction and devastation through
video and citizens addressing their perils. I feel for these people,
many have lost their homes and their belongings and have waited over
6-months for government relief! This is the crux of my anger, I heard
these sad stories and it begs the question, why didn't the state
legislature act shortly after the flood?

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Bleeding Heartland: Norris to leave Iowa Utilities Board, work for Vilsack again

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

John Norris will become Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack's chief
of staff at the US Department of Agriculture, Iowa Independent
reported today. Norris was Vilsack's chief of staff early in his first
term as governor. In November, Norris's wife, Jackie Norris, accepted
an offer to become chief of staff for First Lady Michelle Obama.
Before Barack Obama announced his plan to nominate Vilsack to run the
USDA, John Norris indicated that he was interested in being appointed
to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Norris's departure means
that Governor Chet Culver will need to make two appointments to the
three-member Iowa Utilities Board this spring. Norris currently chairs
the IUB.

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Krusty Konservative: Odds and ends

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Odd -- Iowans for Tax Relief scheduling a press conference in Des
Moines at the same time of former legislator Mary Lundby's funeral in
Cedar Rapids. Look, I know the world doesn't need to stop because of
her funeral but it's also good to show some respect whether you were a
fan of hers or not. Senator Gronstal and Speaker Murphy both showed
some class by canceling most of the committee meetings so people could
attend the services. So what was the big deal, ITR is following up on
President's Obama's pledge to provide more transparency in government.
They introduced the Iowa Taxpayer Transparency Act of 2009, basically
calling on the state to spend $40k on a website that would allow
people to see where their tax dollars are being spent.

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Iowa Political Alert: Obama should be more inspiation than answer

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

Watching people react to President Barack Obama is both inspiring and
disturbing. Our new president clearly has potential to bring a
cease-fire to at least some the nation's culture wars so we can focus
on the big picture, rally to be ready for the next generation of
competition against India and China. And as someone who has seen
Obama's charisma in person I can report it is as radiant as televised.
During one interview with the Daily Times Herald it was heartening to
hear that Obama himself finds the "American Idol" treatment, a bit
over the top. "There's been some places where people have grabbed us,
and you couldn't get out of the place," Obama told me early in Iowa
Caucuses campaigning, with a laugh. "Here (in Denison), I think,
people were more measured, and I like that."

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Krusty Konservative: You are either with us or against us

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Yesterday Governor Chet Culver's 2008 campaign disclosure finally
showed up on the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. There are
a couple different aspects that require discussion. I'm going to start
with the easy stuff first. Culver raised $1,037,791.00 last year.
Culver spent $546,292.49 in an off year. Since his election he has
raised $2,519,789.11, and spent $1,027,517.49 or 40% of what he has
raised. That's a big number if you ask me. One would have thought that
Culver would be building a war chest; instead he is paying
out-of-state consultants at a hefty clip and leaving himself wide open
for a serious challenger in 2010. In looking at his expenditures
besides the out-of-state consultants one thing strikes me as out of
place. Culver is renting a condo for $800 bucks a month and the Park
Place Condos in Des Moines.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Fair Tax would stimulate growth in the economy

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

"The federal government is bloated, inefficient and spends too much of
your hard-earned money. Not coincidentally, the federal government is
also the largest employer in America. Now President-elect Barack Obama
and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi want more taxpayer dollars to pay for
additional, unneeded government workers." ... I needed some good news
today and Rep. Steve King provided it for me. King sees what the
Democrats want to do with additional taxing of Americans and
increasing the numbers of government workers. It is time for us to
give Rep. King and others our support for their efforts to change the
tax system. It won't be easy but our current way of tax, spend, and
tax some more is not working. King will find support with promoting
the Fair Tax from Mike Huckabee and others.

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Constitution Daily: Gut check time

Excerpted from this post at Constitution Daily

At 11:00 am central time today, the United States officially swore in
its first socialist president. Most of us are wondering what the first
few policy issues Obama will address are. Will it be the massive
socialist economic stimulus package or repealing Bush's Executive
Order on embryonic stem cells? Or will he use his massive political
capital to force socialized health care down our throats? Maybe he
will just chip away slowly at our rights in order to lull us all into
submission. We have a very tough fight ahead of us starting today –
right now. We don't have to wait for his honeymoon to wear off. We all
know Democrats didn't with Bush. We have to take it at Obama and his
liberal allies with more vigor than the left has ever come at us. We
can't let the public forget about ACORN, Rev. Wright, and Bill Ayers.

Radio Iowa: An interesting ITR decision

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

Iowans for Tax Relief has scheduled a news conference in Des Moines,
Iowa, tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. The timing is interesting, as many
legislators will be in Cedar Rapids, attending the funeral of former
state Senator Mary Lundby of Marion. The funeral is scheduled to
start at 1 p.m. It appears the leader of Iowans for Tax Relief has no
plans to pay his respects to Lundby at her funeral, as according to
the news release Iowans for Tax Relief president Ed Failor, Junior,
will be in Des Moines leading the news conference. Lundby was a
Republican and in April of 2006 she took over as Republican leader of
the Iowa Senate in what many considered a surprise move. Republicans
in the senate met privately and ousted their leader, Stewart Iverson
(a longtime friend of Iowans for Tax Relief), installing Lundby as
Co-Majority Leader of the Iowa Senate.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Radio Iowa blog: In Memoriam: Mary Lundby

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa blog

Lundby's former colleagues in the Iowa Senate passed a resolution this week, honoring her. I wrote a story for Radio Iowa. It was both a difficult and an easy story to write -- easy because Lundby's life was rich with action and substance; difficult because she was a woman who made no secret of the fact she was interested in seeing other women, including me, move up the ladder of success. Nearly every Christmas I received a card from Lundby with a handwritten note inside about the importance of my work and the example I was setting for young women. I always understood the admonition between the lines, too -- you've got a position of responsibility; don't screw it up. Lundby was a gifted politician. Unlike many of today's politicians, she did not sound off on every issue. When she spoke, people listened because it was a rare circumstance. Brevity was her hallmark.

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Essential Estrogen: Open thread for Mary Lundby

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

As I'm sure most already know, Mary lost her battle with cancer yesterday morning. Her services are scheduled for Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. at St. Joseph's in Marion. This thread is a place for you to share your thoughts about Mary's pioneering effort for women, about how she behaved as a legislator, about your memories of her. In the years following my son's death, I did a lot of nature walks and hikes. More than anything I wanted the quiet solitude found while marching among the trees. On one of those trips, I came around the bend of the trail and nearly ran right into Mary. Neither one of us spoke on that hike, but we walked side by side. When we returned to the parking lot, we hugged and cried. To this day I don't know what was on her mind -- and I likely wouldn't confide it here if I did -- but I was glad to be there for her as she was for me.

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The Marion Contrarian: Mary's dash

Excerpted from this post at The Marion Contrarian

Mary Adelaide Lundby passed from this earth at 9:23 a.m. this morning. I have said all that needs to be said regarding Mary and her tremendous impact on my life in the weeks leading up to this moment. My life will never be the same because I have had the chance to share a friendship with this women over the last twenty years. My heart is breaking today. Each year on Mary's birthday (Groundhog's Day) a few of us that have "grown up" politically under her tutelage will be having beer swilling session to celebrate her life. At her request, I will also do that tonight.

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John Deeth blog: Transitions

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth blog

The first presidential transition I remember was 1974. We had just been on our family vacation, five hour drives with the news at the top of every hour on every station back in those days, and even at age 10 I could tell something big was going on. Nixon was the only president I had ever known; I remember vaguely Ike's death in 1969 but I don't remember Johnson ever being president. The day we got home was the night of the speech, and I watchedit live. I don't remember if I watched Ford getting sworn in but I remember the line "Our long national nightmare is over." Words that Obama could say tomorrow as well. Compared to that high constitutional drama, Ford to Carter didn't seem like such a big deal. All I really remember was the very pointed walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. And the dueling pardons: Tokyo Rose in the dying hours of Ford, the draft resisters in the first moments of Carter. (Pardons... I'm still sweating that one. Then again, I'm not going to believe it's real until I hear the Hussein tomorrow. Cheney may still have a secret martial law plan or something...)

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Krusty Konservative: A time of Hope

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

One might expect an old krusty konservative hack like me to sit back and mock what President Obama has accomplished, but I'll be doing none of that. Instead, my eyes will be fixed on the inaugural festivities as I take in this historic moment in our history. Barack Obama is no longer the Democrat nominee; he is now our American President. I sincerely hope that as our President, Obama can unite us as a people. ... Now I know that the Hollywood types were early supporters of Obama, and I understand their excitement, and I have no problem in celebrating our peaceful transition of power. I just wish we would celebrate like this for every new president, not just the ones who Hollywood supports.

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Bleeding Heartland: Could Clinton or Edwards have beaten Obama in Iowa?

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

On January 3, 2008, roughly 240,000 Iowans attended Democratic precinct caucuses, and at least 90,000 of them ended up in Barack Obama's corner. However we felt about Obama during the primaries or the general election campaign, whatever we think about his substantive and symbolic actions since the election, we can all agree that he would not be taking the oath of office tomorrow if Iowa caucus-goers had put him in third place, or even a distant second. I started writing this diary several times last year. I kept abandoning it because emotions were so raw on Democratic blogs that I felt the piece would only ignite a flamewar. Since more than a year has passed, I decided to try one more time. I do not mean to start an argument or pretend that I have all the answers. I just enjoy thinking about counterfactual history. ... When I asked former staffers and volunteers an open-ended question about what might have changed the outcome in Iowa, nine times out of ten the first thing people brought up was the failure to anticipate how large the voter universe would be. Howard Dean's new-voter strategy had flopped, and most experienced hands assumed that Obama's would fail too.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Price of Politics: Grassley vs. Vilsack

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics

Tom Vilsack's apparent easy U.S. Senate confirmation would take away
one of those potentially "sexy" match ups two years from now: Tom
Vilsack vs. Charles Grassley. But some Iowa democrats aren't giving up
the Vilsack vs. Grassley dream. They'd like Christie Vilsack to get on
the ballot. After Tom's appearance before the Senate Agriculture
Committee, I asked Sen. Grassley about it. He told me expects
democrats to throw everything they have at him because of their strong
2008 election and their current 110,000 voter registration edge in the
state. He doesn't expect a "second-tier" opponent like he had last
time around (Colonel Sanders look-a-like candidate, Art Small, offered
a token contest against Grassley in 2002).

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New Generation Republican: Iowa disaster funding

Excerpted from this post at New Generation Republican

I am on the Rebuild Iowa Committee, we had our first meeting and heard
about what has occurred over the last 6-months in rebuilding the flood
and tornado ravaged areas. I was amazed to see the massive destruction
and all the work that has been completed to date in getting all these
communities back to a somewhat normal way of life. The Rebuild Iowa
committee wants to aggressively push through the $43 million spending
bill to continue this reconstruction. I fully agree that more money is
needed. However, this begs the question, why did we have to wait
6-months before entertaining a bill from the legislature?

Iowa Defense Alliance: Repugnant bills of 2009

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

As Iowans watch the new session of the Iowa House of Representatives
and the Iowa Senate they do so with the expectation that these two
governing bodies will accomplish something. Right now the
accomplishments that Iowans want is to cut state spending, reform our
education system, stimulate the Iowa economy, and many more issues.
From the appearance of some of the bills that have been introduced
into the legislature this year will be no different than years passed.
Apparently our state legislators feel that it is more important to
propose a large quantity of bills versus bills with high quality. As
such I felt that it is the Iowa Defense Alliance's civic duty to
report to you, our readers, the outrageous and irrelevant pieces of
legislation along with highlighting the legislator that has sponsored
the bill.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Crooks and Liars: C&L chat: Please welcome netroots hero Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Crooks and Liars

One of Blue America's earliest and most heartfelt successes came in
2006 when we helped Bruce Braley turn Iowa's first CD from red to
blue. After a stellar first term, Bruce didn't need help being
re-elected. His 64% win in November was the highest margin of any
candidate in the state (including Senators Harkin and Obama!). His
success has been especially sweet because of the way his candidacy
started out. You may recall that in 2005 Rahm Emanuel was running
around the country sabotaging progressives and bullying anti-war
candidates. He managed to ruin Democratic chances in district after
district with his wrongheaded insistence that voters backed his own
pro-war position in Iraq and that progressive candidates needed to
soft-pedal their opposition to Bush's (and Emanuel's) agenda.

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Bleeding Heartland: King and Latham vote against health care for children (again)

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Great news, everyone! Today the House of Representatives approved an
expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). In
Iowa, this program is known as HAWK-I, and it provides coverage for
thousands of children whose families are not poor enough to qualify
for Medicaid, but not wealthy enough to purchase health insurance:
"The child health bill would provide $32.3 billion over four and a
half years to continue coverage for seven million children who now
rely on the program and to extend coverage to more than four million
who are uninsured." ... Representatives Bruce Braley and Leonard Boswell
joined Loebsack in voting for the bill, which passed by a comfortable
margin of 289-139. But as you can see from the roll call,
Representatives Steve King and Tom Latham voted no.

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Essential Estrogen: Pettengill - Answers to more PACs as a Republican

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Dawn Pettengill represents the 39th House District at the Iowa State
House. She has served on both sides of the aisle. Her first term she
served as a Democrat. She was re-elected to serve another term as a
Democrat. In May of 2007 she wrote a letter to her constituents to
inform them of her switch to the Republican Party. It's not often that
politicians switch parties. She makes an interesting case study. This
afternoon I was given the PAC donations total from her campaigns in
2004, 2006 and 2008. Her 2004 donation total from PACs was $44,155.
She collected $37,050 for her 2006 campaign. The largest amount of
funding from PACs came during her 2008 campaign, $56,625.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: GOP's future mapped out

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

I think we are all thankful that the Iowa legislative session has
started again and it gives us a chance to focus on Governor Culver and
the other Democrats instead of coming to terms that we are going to
have a new presence in the White House in less than a week. Ignorance
is bliss, but looking at the map above tells me that we have to get
off our butt and do something. Granted we had a younger, charismatic,
history making candidate on the blue side and an older, boring
candidate on the red side; Republicans still need to do better with
the next generation of voters. While listening to Steve Deace
yesterday (no, I'm not going to quote him) his 22-year-old producer,
Rebecca, chimed in on what the younger voters are looking for.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Herd on the Hill: State of the State Leaves us in a state

Excerpted from this post at Herd on the Hill

Governor Culver gave his annual State of the State address today,
primarily focusing on disaster relief in Iowa. He even showed a
dynomite video to illistrate the disaster hardships Iowans have faced.
This professional piece of videography leaves us scratching our heads
as to how it was paid for. Hopefully some secret donor was nice enough
to cough up the cash, but that's doubtful. So as some Iowans will
never live in their houses again or see their businesses rebuilt, they
can rest assured that a fancy video documenting their hardships was
made for posterity. Money well-spent, no doubt... Culver also placed a
lot of blame. He blamed the feds for getting us into this economic
mess and in the next breath advocated for teamwork and consensus from
both parties in 2009.

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Krusty Konservative: Don't worry about the details, it's easy

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

After listening to Governor Culver's Condition of the State speech
I've had a very simple question stuck in my head. How many families
out there are sitting around the kitchen table at night talking about
building a huge addition onto the house as a way to combat our bad
economy? We all know that isn't happening. Everywhere you look Iowa
families are cutting back on their spending, yet our Governor refuses
to do just that. Yesterday Governor Culver proposed borrowing $700
million bucks that would be used for infrastructure projects. The
press lauded him for the "bold" proposal, and his Democrat colleagues
were quick to endorse the idea as well, meaning it's probably going to
happen.

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FromDC2Iowa: How could we have seen economic disaster coming? Let me count the ways

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

Curious as to how we got into this financial mess -- or, otherwise
put, just how many signs there were that it was coming, signs that
were ignored by our public officials and the MBA-educated CEOs who
have left their crime scenes with millions in tow? The University of
Iowa's Jason Cox has compiled 87 pages of names, dates, places and
details of our downward spiral. Jason Cox, "Credit Crisis Timeline,"
The University of Iowa Center for International Finance and
Development (last updated December 3, 2008). It was brought to my
attention by an editorial in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, and is well
worth perusal by anyone seriously interested in "credit crisis"
issues. There is much to admire and be thankful for in our soon-to-be
President Obama, but a willingness to prosecute -- even to
investigate, and document -- the serious, even unconstitutional,
wrongdoing of others is not among his virtues.

Bleeding Heartland: Iowa voting machines "totally nuts"

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The University of Iowa's professor Doug Jones, a world leader in
voting machine oversight, has today described the Diebold voting
machine audit logs as "just totally nuts." Diebold machines count most
of the votes in Iowa elections. The audit logs are supposed to reveal
what the machine has been doing as it proceeds through the stages of
ballot reading and counting. Audit logs came under scrutiny in
Humboldt County, California when a public auditing process discovered
that votes had not been counted in the official results. Those
official totals had come from Diebold (now hiding behind the name
Premier) vote counting software. Wired.com interviewed Jones, who
said, "These audit logs could give us some assurances [about an
election] if they were genuinely designed so that a casual bystander
could look at them and understand them..."

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

24-Hour Dorman: Jumpin' Jack K wants a gas, gas tax

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

Iowa Senate President Jack Kibbie, D-Emmetsburg, opened the 2009
session with a call for increasing the gas tax: "I support efforts
that result in a gas tax increase. Success in that endeavor will mean
better roads, jobs, and an economic boost to Iowa's families and
communities." ... Kibbie is an old school Democrat who drove a tank in
the Korean War and doesn't do shades of gray. He served in the Senate
in 1965, when Democrats took over the Statehouse and tackled little
stuff like abolishing capital punishment, passing a state civil rights
law, cutting the number of school districts in half, creating the
community college system and reforming the Legislature. He doesn't
take polls to see where he stands on issues.

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Essential Estrogen: Ten women to watch

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Yes Virginia, Republicans do elect some women to hold political
positions. There are only 10 Republican women to watch this year. The
good news? Everyone makes it into the top 10 list of Republican Women
who will make a difference. Who are these women? Senator Nancy
Boettger, District 29; Senator Pat Ward, District 30; Senator Kim
Reynolds, District 48 (Newly elected); Representative Linda Upmeyer,
District 12; Representative Renee Schulte, District 37 (Newly
elected); Representative Dawn Pettingill, District 39 (first time
elected as a Republican); Representative Annette Sweeney, District 44
(Newly elected); Representative Jody Tymeson, District 73;
Representative Betty De Boef, District 76; Representative Linda
Miller, District 82 (Minority Whip).

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Bleeding Heartland: IA-Sen: Will Chuck Grassley be the next Senate GOP retirement?

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Just twelve days into 2009, we already have four Senate Republican
retirements, including two in the last week. And there may still be
more to come. With Florida's Mel Martinez, Kansas' Sam Brownback,
Missouri's Kit Bond, and now Ohio's George Voinovich all out, who's
next? My money is on Iowa's Chuck Grassley. Let's re-visit the
prescient words of The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder from December 3, 2008:
"But... more Republican retirements are expected, including at least
two in blue states (Chuck Grassley of Iowa and George Voinovich of
Ohio. (A Voinovich spokesperson denies the retirement rumor.)" ... In
fact, it's particularly interesting that, after reporting that the
retirements of both Grassley and Voinovich were "expected," it was
noted that a Voinovich spokesperson denied the retirement rumor. Of
course, this suggests that Grassley's office did not deny the rumor.

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John Deeth Blog: Grassley quitting? NOT

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

In the aftermath of George Voinovich's Monday retirement announcement,
Senate Guru thinks Chuck Grassley will be the next senior Republican
to bail: "With such a sizable Democratic majority in the Senate,
Grassley must know that he'll never be Finance Committee Chairman
again. ... I would imagine that spending your day playing with your
grandchildren is a lot more enjoyable than spending your day waking up
at 5 am to catch a shuttle from Des Moines to Washington in order to
take votes you know your caucus will lose" ... What Senate Guru misses
is that one of those grandchildren is exactly why Grassley will NOT
retire in 2010. As the Legislature convenes today, Rep. Pat Grassley
starts his second term at age 25. He's too young to take over for
Grandpa next year... but in 2016, assuming all goes according to plan,
Pat's got a decade of legislative experience under his belt at age 33.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

HawkeyeGOP: A new day at RPI

Excerpted from this post at HawkeyeGOP

I think that this is an exciting new day at RPI. This is a leadership team that I believe we can unite around. Matt has shown his willingness to listen to Republicans all over the state in his Pizza and politics tour. While I do not personally know Jim Kutenbach, I have heard great things about him from many of my friends and colleagues. Matt is an up and coming leader in this party, a young businessman who will do a great job as RPI treasurer. Bill is a dedicated hard worker and he will be an excellent secretary.

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Krusty Konservative: Strawn, Kurtenbach, Randall and Schickel -- Oh my!!!

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

It seems that some people are a little miffed that a "Dark Horse" candidate emerged in the race for Co-Chair and also won. Most people like an unobstructed view of the road ahead of them, but the world of politics is the last place one could look for such a situation. The election of Jim Kurtenbach caught many off guard, outside of a few anonymous dissenters it will be difficult to find people who are upset with his new position at RPI. ... As a Strawn Administration takes shape there are a couple of things that I think are critical for him to accomplish early on. The first is reaching out to those who supported Danny Carroll. Danny had some passionate people on his side and we can't afford to lose them.

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Bleeding Heartland: The Republicans' problem is what they say, not how they say it

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

... Republicans should be asking themselves why young voters are rejecting their candidates in such large numbers. Strawn's answer is that the GOP's failure to fully exploit new technology is "sending a terrible message" to young voters. I sincerely hope that Republicans continue to believe that their recent election losses are rooted in communication problems. I think the Republicans' ideology is what turns off young voters. The tendency for Republicans to campaign on "culture war" issues exacerbates this problem, highlighting the topics that make the party seem out of touch to younger voters. ... Republican campaign rhetoric in the 1980s tended not to emphasize abortion, the so-called "homosexual agenda" and other polarizing social issues. Will Iowa Republicans be ready to nominate more pro-choice moderates, or at least not demonize slightly less extreme anti-choice candidates, in 2010? Given how many party activists and State Central Committee members are also involved with anti-choice groups, I am skeptical.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

24-hour Dorman: 2009 legislative glossary

Excerpted from this post at 24-hour Dorman

In four days, the Iowa Legislature returns to the Statehouse. I'm too excited to sleep. And in order to understand the Legislature's customs and rituals, it helps to speak fluent lawmaker. So I've compiled this short glossary of legis-speak, freshly updated for 2009. I've come across many new additions to the language listening to leaders and lawmakers in recent days. Bipartisan - A thoughtful invitation to the minority party to join the majority in a politically suicidal act. Example: "We hope our dear friends across the aisle will join us in a bipartisan effort to pass a whopping tax hike." ... 50-50 chance - It would take a miracle for that to happen. ... Innovation - New 2009 definition: The act of coming up with crazy moneymaking schemes at the end of a session when lawmakers realize they can't balance the budget with conventional tricks and dodges. Example: "Let's lease the lottery and put keno in bars and sell naming rights to state agencies, like the 'Department of Agriculture, Presented by Monsanto' and the 'Outback Statehouse.'" Now that's innovation. ... Eternally optimistic - Things don't look so good. Synonym: "Denial." Quite frankly - A phrase often used by a lawmaker who is trying very hard to avoid being frank. Example: "Quite frankly, I'm eternally optimistic."

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HawkeyeGOP: RPI leadership elections -- The down ticket races

Excerpted from this post at HawkeyeGOP

... The co-chair race has not gotten any attention but it could get interesting. An anonymous commenter over at Krusty has suggested that there may be a dark horse emerging in this race. Current co-chair, Leon Mosely has declared his candidacy and in today's Cedar Rapids Gazette, Paul Pate indicated his willingness to serve as co-chair, should he not be elected chair.

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Matt Strawn: Closing arguments

Excerpted from this post at Matt Strawn

My experience in professional sports has taught me that success does not come by the work of one, but many, working together as a team. I want to be your Chairman so I can lead and inspire our Republican team and get us back in the business of winning elections -- and winning those elections without betraying our conservative principles. To my many supporters, I cannot thank you enough for your confidence. To our state central committee members and Republicans across Iowa, I'm not just asking for your support on Saturday ... I'm asking for your trust ... your trust that I can provide the leadership to return conservative and principled government back to the people of Iowa.

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In Flyover Country: And now for something productive

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

Here's five things we suggest for the new RPI Chairman. 1. Hire a good, professional E.D. Someone who will be loyal to the party as a whole, and who has the executive skills to manage a complicated enterprise like a state Republican party. It's a far more technical job than most people understand, akin to running a medium-sized small business. ... 2. Get the technology right. ... By getting the technology right, we mean the following: expanded party presence across the web with targeted online advertising in an effort to attract like-minded Internet users to a fresh, engaging suite of web properties with dynamic, changing content that is useful. ... 3. Develop some policy chops. This might not be the best thing to handle from inside the party, but don't you think that Iowa could use a major upgrade in center/right policy analysis? ... 4. Recruit great candidates. ... 5. Fix early/absentee voting. We'll probably touch off a debate here among a couple of points of view. One view is that early/absentee voting is simply spending extra money to get votes that you'll already get. The other view is that we're getting our asses kicked by the Democrats. Our view is the latter. You can't get away from the facts.

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Battleground Iowa: Culver's problems: Nussle's revenge?

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

... Iowa is only getting $11 million in federal flood relief out of the $24 billion that Congress allocated for disaster relief in approximately 19 states last year. It seems that Congress did not address how the money would be divvied up on the legislation itself, so it was left to administrative agencies (i.e. bureaucrats) to determine the formula for dividing the money amongst the states. These bureaucrats decided that they would simply divide it up based on each state's total population. This ignores the fact that some states, such as Iowa, were hit much harder than other states in terms of cost of damage done and number of people affected. ... And then the bomb dropped. According to the report, one of the bureaucrats responsible for formulating and implementing this messed-up distribution formula is Congressional OMB head (and former Iowa Congressman) Jim Nussle. ... Then the Machiavellian part of my brain started working, and an evil theory emerged. What if Nussle, not caring what anyone in Iowa thinks of him anymore (after all, we turned our backs on him by not electing him), is using his position to screw over Culver.

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John Deeth Blog: More on Grassley: A national face for the GOP

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Chuck Grassley's up-front position of skepticism on Eric Holder's nomination for Attorney General shows that, increasingly, Grassley will be carrying the ball for the GOP. Chuck Grassley, as a national face of the GOP, a soundbite guy? He's as plausible as Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, both dull and defensive. Oh, how far the Republicans have fallen since the '90s. I begrudgingly respected Bob Dole, and loathed Newt Gingrich, but both of them were fascinating and attention-grabbing. But the Republican Party has been so decimated by defeats the last two cycles that, by sheer attrition and seniority, Chuck Grassley is now one of its national leaders by default.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Questions, Comments and Insults: QCI endorsement: Matt Strawn for RPI chair

Excerpted from this post at Questions, Comments and Insults

Today... we endorse. I've really never sat down and done one of these
endorsements here. So it will be completely random (as you expect).
While this will be no surprise to anyone, QCI is endorsing Matt Strawn
to be our next Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. "Whoah G$,
this is earth shattering!" Yea, yea... keep it coming. "Real good Grant,
endorse your boss." That's all you got? ... Since I have been in
involved for the past 10 or so years... I have had a ton of mutual
friends who knew Matt. I had heard about him... knew he was a rising
star... but I didn't meet him until final push in 2004... in Iowa. I had
Central Iowa for BC '04... and had to drop off more materials in Jasper
County.

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In Flyover Country: Krishna going down with guns blazing

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

Are you watching this, Central Committee members? In a bizarre rant
during a fit of absolute rage, Gopal Krishna is setting fire to all
things G-O-P. McCroskey told you yesterday about Krishna's letter to
Steve Deace, but now in an interview with the Iowa Independent, he
pulls no punches. Let's see what our illustrious treasurer had to
say: 1. The party has yet to hit bottom - Well, maybe he would think
that since he wasn't at the meeting on Saturday, but I think the 100
people crammed into that room would beg to differ. 2. He is not and
has never been a candidate for chairman - Whatever. Buy that one and
I've got a bridge to sell you. Just because John McCain didn't have
the votes doesn't mean he wasn't a candidate for president.

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Krusty Konservative: The other chair election -- RNC chair

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

This past Monday American's for Tax Reform hosted a debate held
between the six candidates who want to head the RNC. Grover Norquist
moderated the event, and he did an outstanding job. I had a trusted
Krusty Korrespondent there who provided me with some insight. The
similarities between the debate going on here in Iowa for the RPI
chair race, and the debate centering around the RNC race are very
similar. In fact some of the questions at the RNC debate were how many
"tweets" each has, and how many facebook friends they have. Again,
just like here in Iowa, I don't think these are the things that win
elections, and this level of discourse sounds like something you might
hear around the lunch table at your local high school. We need to be
talking about mechanics not gadgets if you ask me.

Politically Speaking: Is Seymour getting a political pass?

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

A month prior to the 2008 election, it was learned that State Sen.
James Seymour, R-Woodbine, had been arrested for soliciting sex in Des
Moines. The arrest came in mid-2002, right before his first election
in Senate District 28, which covers many western Iowa districts.
Seymour had been nominated to be on the '08 ballot before the arrest
disclosure was made, and Democrats sought having a few write-in
candidates to take the seat, figuring the news would keep Republicans
from voting for Seymour. But he won the election, although the
write-in candidacy of Lenee Sinnett of Ida Grove and others got more
than 7,000 votes, a sizable amount. Some Dems told me they figured
Seymour would resign his post, but that doesn't seem likely, as the
Legislature gavels in in five days.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Braley named vice chair of DCCC

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Bruce Braley was elected to Congress in 2006 with the support of the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue" program.
In 2008 he helped manage the DCCC's Red to Blue efforts. For the next
election cycle, he's been promoted again: "The DCCC today named the
second of its three Vice Chairs - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) will
serve as Vice Chair for candidate services, responsible for the DCCC's
offensive efforts including recruitment, money, and training." ... Last
month, Van Hollen named Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida the DCCC
Vice Chair for incumbent retention. Given her refusal to endorse three
Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents in south Florida, it
was appropriate for Van Hollen to remove her from a leadership role in
the Red to Blue program.

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Krusty Konservative: Presumptive 2012 Iowa Congressional districts

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

With the 2010 campaigns currently stuck in neutral, I decided to make
a different type of prediction this year. While I certainly have my
eye on a few gubernatorial possibilities like Mark Pearson and Matt
Whitaker, neither have made any moves that would indicate that a
statewide campaign is looming. Currently the only candidate out there
is perennial candidate Bob Vander Plaats. The candidate who I was most
likely to name this year if I went that direction was Chuck Grassley.
Sure he's already an icon in this state, but I get the sense that we
will see a more engaged candidate Grassley this cycle which is very
much needed. Instead of predicting a breakout candidate, I've decided
to make an early guess in how Iowa's congressional districts will look
after the 2011 redistricting where Iowa will lose one of its seats in
Congress.

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Hawkeye GOP: The silly season

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye GOP

I am ready for the race for RPI chair to be over. I think we have a
great set of candidates and the party is well positioned to prepare
for 2010 and beyond. There are two updates today. First Gopal. I and
others on the State Central Committee were lobbied to support a
Gopal/Sporer ticket for chair/co-chair. In my previous post, I
declared that the Gopal/Sporer ticket was a non-starter. It is now
official, right from the elephant's mouth. In a letter published on
Steve Deace's blog, Gopal wrote: "Having not received any formal
training on how to bring order to a kindergarten class and having
realized that the Republican State Central Committee lacks maturity of
mind and strength in spine, I decided not to seek the position of the
Party Chair." ... I guess Gopal was never in the race in the first
place. So the race is down one but in order to maintain equilibrium in
the cosmos, there is a new candidate in the race.

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Essential Estrogen: PURSE PAC aims to be inclusive, grow Republican Party

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Ed Tibbetts of the Quad-City Times has a report on how the PURSE PAC,
a women's political fundraising organization founded in the fall of
2008, hopes to draw more women to the Republican Party of Iowa. "Some
of the group's leaders met with Quad-City-area Republicans Monday at a
reception hosted at former state Sen. Maggie Tinsman's home. 'We are
of the belief it's going to take a lot of people doing a lot of
different things to change the results for Republicans in Iowa,' said
Diane Crookham-Johnson, chairwoman of the new group..." The group plans
to seek out Republican women to work on and donate to political
campaigns and to run for office themselves. The idea is to focus on
common interests, such as limited government and lower taxes and not
on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. There are other
groups that do that, leaders say.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Iowa Independent: Smoking ban, campaign finance make list of bills released to public

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

A ban on smoking in casinos, an expansion electronic campaign finance
filings and subpoena power for the Iowa Civil Rights Commission are
among prefiled bills approved by their sponsors for release to the
public. Rep. Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown, is proposing a bill that
would expand the statewide smoking ban passed last session and end the
law's exemption for casinos. Supporters of the ban have long wondered
about the fairness of the casino exemption, but legislative leaders
have repeatedly said there will be no tinkering with the Smokefree Air
Act in 2009.

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Bleeding Heartland: Jennifer O'Malley Dillon will be the DNC's executive director

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Congratulations to Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, who according to the
Washington Post is President-elect Barack Obama's choice to be the new
executive director of the Democratic National Committee. She will be
"running the party's day-to-day operations, including fundraising."
The job is particularly important because Obama's pick for DNC
chairman, Tim Kaine, still has a year to serve as governor of Virginia
and presumably won't be a hands-on manager at the DNC. Many Iowans
know O'Malley Dillon from her work on John Edwards' presidential
campaigns. She worked in field before the 2004 caucuses and was
Edwards' Iowa campaign director before the 2008 caucuses. After
Edwards left the presidential race, she became the director of
battleground states strategy for Obama's campaign.

John Deeth Blog: What about the OTHER state party chair race?

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

For all the public buzz over the race for Iowa Republican Party chair,
the corresponding contest has been extremely quiet. Iowa Democratic
Party chair Scott Brennan has announced he's stepping down, with his
replacement to be elected Jan. 31. But Iowa's lefty blogs aren't
buzzing the way the rightosphere is over next weekend's hotly
contested GOP chair race. The same dynamic has happened in the
national party chair races. Republicans, suffering from the
navel-gazing divisions of defeat, are in a heated six-way race for
national chair. Meanwhile, over the weekend, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine
was smoothly eased in at the DNC to replace Howard Dean, with but a
nod from the president-elect.

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24-Hour Dorman: Gronstal-Murphy visit

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

Been out most of the day following around legislators touring the
flood zone and meeting with residents. But I couldn't miss out on our
Gazette editorial board meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mike
Gronstal and House Speaker Pat Murphy. Quickly, the highlights:
Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, said some kind of flood recovery
legislation will move quickly, by late January or early February. It
may include direct assistance from the state's Economic Emergency
Fund, aka, the rainy day reserves. He wouldn't say how much money
would be available, assigning it only the shadowy value "X." Stay
tuned. Gronstal clearly did not like persistent questioning from the
board on why leaders blew off calls for a special session last fall to
deal with recovery needs.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

HawkeyeGOP: RPI chair forum

Excerpted from this post at HawkeyeGOP

... I would estimate 150 in attendance. Conspicuous in the room were the large number of Danny Carroll supporters wearing white t-shirts with DANNY written across the front. ... There were 12 voting SCC members present along with party co-chair Leon Mosely. Stryker over at Flyover Country is critical of those members who were absent. I would remind my readers that the meeting was called with only a few days notice during a busy vacation travel season. ... Two candidates stick out for their absence: First, Polk County GOP Chairman Ted Sporer. ... Ted was the first to publish a plan for what he would do if elected chair. He probably set the bar for the other candidates who have now all published their own plans. Ted was the first. More recently G$ over at Questions Comments and Insults broke the news of Sporer joining Gopal as co-chair on a combined ticket. Ted has been absent from his blog for a while and is apparently absent from the chairman's race as well. Second, Gopal. The top of the Krishna/Sporer ticket was also absent from the forum. ... At this point, the Krishna/Sporer ticket is a non-starter -- you heard it here first. ... As I talked to SCC members and guests, there seemed to be a lot of support for both Matt Strawn and Danny Carroll.

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In Flyover Country: What a meeting!

Excerpted from this post at In Flyover Country

The fact that so many showed up early on a weekend is a good sign. Nobody was there to spur division, rather everyone was unified for a common cause. Huh. Could use more of that these days and it warms our hearts. The biggest news is that fraud Gopal wouldn't show his snake, fink, coward face at the meeting. We are very pleased with this development. He has no business being there. ... Everyone there seemed to deliver a good performance. Strawn stressed fundraising, which is vitally important since we're broke. Pate stressed winning elections, which is vitally important since we haven't. Carroll stressed governing which is vitally important since we can't. Because we lose. Which is Danny's biggest problem as well. He has a great site at http://dannycarroll.com/ but the problem is, it's still his site from when he ran twice unsuccessfully for the Statehouse. Not smart, and we're not sure why he thinks this is OK.

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Krusty Konservative: Without a vision the party will perish

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

... I spent some time this weekend reading the reaction and commentary of the candidate forum on various blogs and newspapers. ... If Gopal Krishna's absence from the forum means he is not running for chair, then there are three candidates in play, Danny Carroll, Matt Randall, and Matt Strawn. Now I know there are some who mock me for still mentioning Gopal as a serious candidate. I do so not because I'm naive, I do so because unlike Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney who refused to kill off John McCain when he was down, I want to see my prey mounted in my trophy room, not stealing a victory. ... I'm disappointed in the lack of vision the candidates offered. It seemed to me the debate was centered on the party platform, internal communication between the state party and county organizations/activists, and the use of new technologies. Those issues have been debated continuously in blogs, but I was disappointed that the issues debated ended there because even if executed perfectly, I doubt they make a major impact on outcome of the general election. Missing was any substantive discussion of fundraising. Sure every candidate says it's important and claim that they can raise significant amounts of cash, but to effectively raise money you have to give the donor a reason to give.

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Blog for Iowa: Iowa GOP needs (more than a) sound byte

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

The Republican Party of Iowa Central Committee and a forum of 75 activists and officeholder from around the state have been listening to some ideas from six contenders that would like to succeed Stew Iverson as GOP state chair. If one were to wish that the party continues its march into oblivion, best hope that they will be swayed by the absolutely neat on-message idea suggested by contender Paul Pate, a former Secretary of State and past mayor of Cedar Rapids. As Pate sees it, the debacle suffered in the last election can be attributed to nothing more than a failure in trash talk. Pate told the assembled faithful that "People are getting desensitized to it (the old Democrat tax and spend message) ... What we have to do as a party is come up with that sound byte. That's what it comes down to: What is the sound byte for '09 and 2010?" ... If Republicans cannot get past their favorite mantras and self-centered outlook, like other parties that got hung up on themselves, the GOP will fade into oblivion.

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Bleeding Heartland: What kind of politicians make history?

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The Des Moines Register ran a piece on New Year's Day called Culver resolves to leave as premier Iowa governor: ... I don't know a thing about Horace Boies, but the piece got me thinking about what Culver would have to do to go down in history as the best governor Iowa ever had. What makes a governor, or any elected official, memorable in a good way for decades after leaving office? Some politicians make history instantly by being the first something-or-other to reach a particular position. Whether Barack Obama turns out to be a great president or achieves as little as Millard Fillmore, he'll be remembered for centuries as the first black man elected president. Culver's not going to be remembered for being the first of anything. Some politicians are good at winning elections but don't leave much of a legacy. Terry Branstad never lost an election and served four terms as governor of Iowa, but he's not going to make anybody's "best governors ever" list. ... If Culver does an adequate job governing Iowa through a difficult economic stretch, he should be able to win re-election. But if he wants to be remembered 50 or 100 years from now, he's going to have to do something big to change business as usual in this state.

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Popular Progressive: The crystal ball: State Legislature's top 9 issues for 2009

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

With 2009 just around the corner, who doesn't enjoy a little prognostication? The National Conference of State Legislatures has proposed its top 9 issues of 2009. My read on how they will play out in Iowa are below each issue. Issue #1 - State Budgets Gaps ... What this means in Iowa: As we have already heard, the Governor wants to make a 1.5% across-the-board cut to the state budget, as we have about a $450 million gap between the income we expect and the services the state provides. We have also heard that a committee is considering a move to allow municipalities more leeway to put a local income tax in place. This will be tough to resist for cities who are starving for cash, but will likely bring odd bedfellows together on the taxpayer's side. Couple this with the aftermath of last year's floods and it will be tough to pass big ticket legislation.

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Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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