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Friday, May 29, 2009

God, Politics and Rock 'n' Roll: On the Sotomayer nomination: Common sense will win the day

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

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley predicts Sonia Sotomayer will be
confirmed as our next US Supreme Court justice ... which pretty much
settles the case. But that doesn't stop special interests from playing
infantile identity politics. Let me refer back to my post on the
common sense of the American people -- while the media and our
political leaders play the race card, the voters have already
indicated that race and gender isn't important in the next Supreme
Court justice ... judicial experience and legal credentials are what's
to be considered. Eventually, confirmation hearings will begin and
Sotomayer will answer important questions that will speak to the
concerns of the American people.

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Bleeding Heartland: Good news for water quality in Culver's final bill signings

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Governor Chet Culver signed more than two dozen bills on May 26, the
last day he was able to take action on legislation approved during the
2009 session. Two of the bills made up the last piece of the I-JOBS
program, four more are aimed at helping veterans and Iowans on active
duty, and the rest cover a wide range of issues. Some good news for
water quality was buried in the long list of bills and veto messages
signed on Tuesday. ... Culver signed Senate File 432, which regulates
the application of manure on frozen and snow-covered ground.
Environmental groups were up in arms about this bill when it passed
the Iowa Senate, because it was intended to "circumvent Iowa
[Department of Natural Resources] rule-making regarding the winter
application of manure on frozen ground."

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The Iowa Republican: Larson to the dark side?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

There has been a throw down of sorts over who the Iowa Department of
Economic Development (IDED) selected to market the state. IDED
selected Burson-Marsteller, one of the world's largest and most
expensive PR firms. The CEO of Burson-Marsteller is Mark Penn, Hillary
Clinton's chief strategist during her presidential campaign.
Burson-Marsteller got the $3 million dollar deal with IDED because of
its affiliation with a Des Moines based firm lead by Chuck Larson,
Jr. Larson is a former legislator, U.S. Ambassador, and is partners
with Karen Slifka, another GOP operative, and Joe Shannahan, a
Democrat operative. Larson is slated to be the general strategist the
PR IDED. Iowa based Integer Group will still handle the tourism PR
work.

Iowa Political Alert: Behn, former senator for Carroll, considers gov run

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

Republican State Sen. Jerry Behn of Boone, who represented Carroll
County for most of two terms before redistricting after the 2000
elections, says he's "seriously considering" running for governor in
2010. Behn said he's talking with supporters and others about a
possible bid. He joins what is a growing list of potential candidates
that includes State Rep. Rod Roberts, R-Carroll. Behn said he had no
firm timetable in mind at this point for making an announcement. A
social conservative with strong credentials in the pro-life community,
Behn spent much of the interview hammering Democratic Gov. Chet Culver
on fiscal and economic matters. Culver is borrowing too much money and
spending the state's future away, Behn contends.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Herd on the Hill: Flexing the line-item veto muscle

Excerpted from this post at Herd on the Hill

It is unfortunate that the Governor sided with bureaucrats and
business as usual instead of the taxpayers and transparency this week
when he used his line item veto authority on the budget this year. He
struck cost saving measures that would have provided at least some
transparency. While the Governor struck cost saving measures he did
sign into law the largest budget in Iowa's history that leaves the
taxpayer staring at a $900 million hole for next year, according to
the nonpartisan Legislative Service Agency. This is reality and
unfortunately the Governor and his Democratic allies at the Capitol
this year stuck their collective heads in the sand like an ostrich
hoping good times will come again.

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Iowa Independent: Majority of Iowa's federal stimulus money apportioned

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

More than half of the nearly $445 million headed to Iowa as part of
the federal stimulus package has been assigned to projects, according
to a report issued by the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee. Of the money allocated, all of it comes from the portion
directed towards highway infrastructure projects. Iowa is set to
receive $358 million and has already obligated $226.6 million, a
little more than 63 percent. "Obligated" funds are projects that have
been given federal authority to go forward. There are 155 projects out
to bid, 59 projects currently under contract and 20 projects already
underway, the report said.

24-Hour Dorman: County bonding update

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

Linn County Supervisor Lu Barron and county staffers visited The
Gazette's editorial board this afternoon to discuss issues surrounding
the possibility of floating bonds to expanded the county's
Administrative Office Building, or AOB. Last week, supervisors talked
about using new powers granted by the Iowa Legislature allowing
counties and cities hit by disasters to sell bonds without first
seeking voter approval. That sparked some controversy, because the $11
million AOB project being discussed includes costs that go beyond
simply repairing flood damage. One piece of the project involves
adding a new floor to the building to house offices, including new
digs for the supervisors. I wrote about the issue last week. Now,
Barron says disaster bonds are just one of several options being
considered.

John Deeth Blog: Counting the vote on Sotomayor

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

My first bet on the Sotomayor nomination was, she gets confirmed
80-20. Now that I think it through, I'm guessing more like 70-30. I
looked at the Senate roster and I just can't think of 20 Republicans
who'll vote for her. Traditionally, the President got the man (always
a man) he wanted for the Supreme Court. There were exceptions, to be
sure, like the Fortas-Haynsworth-Carswell trifecta of failure in 1968
and 1969. But it wasn't until Bork and Thomas that the modern high
stakes circus atmosphere of confirmations became more or less
permanent. The Dems will be unanimous, including the occasionally
unreliables (Ben Nelson). ... Sotomayor can cross anyone off the list
who either has national ambitions (DeMint, Ensign, Thune) or is
worried about a primary back home (Vitter, Murkowski, Bob Bennett of
Utah, maybe even McCain?). Grassley was a no vote in Sotomayor in 1998
and my guess is he's more worried about tending to his base than he is
about the general election.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Essential Estrogen: Iowa's senators take party line stance in Sotomayor nomination

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Iowa's two U.S. Senators -- Chuck Grassley, a Republican, and Tom
Harkin, a Democrat -- are floating party line stances in their first
two statements regarding Pres. Barack Obama's nomination of Judge
Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court. "A lifetime appointment
requires a thorough vetting, and I expect Judge Sotomayor to receive
fair and deliberative consideration," Grassley said in a statement
released this morning. "The United States Senate has a responsibility
to carefully review nominees to the Supreme Court. The Judiciary
Committee should take time to ensure that the nominee will be true to
the Constitution and apply the law, not personal politics, feelings or
preferences."

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24-Hour Dorman: While you were sleeping

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

Gov. Chet Culver wielded his veto pen just before a midnight deadline
last night to take final actions on the work product of the 2009
legislative session. The press release popped on my BlackBerry around
midnight. ... One item that Culver vetoed would have provided more
transparency into how state tax credits for businesses are being used
and whether we.re getting any bang for our bucks. We would have gotten
a list of companies that receive $500,000 in research and development
credits. We could have followed our money. But Culver says that would
prompt a court challenge from companies that want to remain secret
recipients. The governor also signed legislation that will slice
nursing home fines for facilities that self-report errors and make
changes. Advocates for the elderly opposed the legislation.

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The Iowa Brigade: Huckabee to keynote Vander Plaats' event

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Brigade

Mike Huckabee to Keynote Vander Plaats' Event in Spirit Lake on June
10 ... Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, whose stunning victory in
Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses fueled a strong bid for the 2008
Republican presidential nomination, will be the keynote speaker at a
June 10 fundraising event in Spirit Lake for likely 2010 gubernatorial
candidate Bob Vander Plaats. "If the old saying that you're known by
the company you keep is true, I couldn't be more proud than to be
associated with Mike Huckabee," said Vander Plaats, a Sioux City
businessman who served as Iowa chairman for Huckabee's presidential
campaign. "Iowans love Mike Huckabee and they respect his common-sense
approach to politics and public policy that favors Main Street over
Wall Street.”

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Bleeding Heartland: An early look at the 2010 Iowa Senate races

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Conservative blogger Craig Robinson argued last week that "Iowa
Republicans Have Plenty of Opportunity in the State Senate" in 2010.
The GOP has almost nowhere to go but up. Republicans currently hold 18
of the 50 seats in the Iowa Senate, fewer than at any previous time in
this state's history. After making gains in the last four general
elections, Democrats now hold 19 of the 25 Iowa Senate seats that will
be on the ballot in 2010. Also, several Democratic incumbents are in
their first term, having won their seats during the wave election of
2006. To win back the upper chamber, Republicans would need a net gain
of seven seats in 2010, and Robinson lists the seven districts where
he sees the best chances for the GOP. I generally agree with John
Deeth's view that only a few Senate districts are strong pickup
opportunities for Republicans next year.

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The Iowa Republican: Campaign 2010: The money race

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

In his latest financial disclosure this past January, Governor Chet
Culver raised just over $1 million for his reelection campaign. The
year before, Culver raised a similar amount, and he currently has just
under $1.5 million in his campaign bank account. Those in the
traditional media have made a big deal out of the Governor's
fundraising ability. This past Sunday, Charlotte Eby began her article
about potential Republican candidates for governor with the following
sentence, "Challenging an incumbent governor who's led Iowa through a
historic natural disaster and who is a prolific campaign fundraiser
might seem like a daunting task." Prolific fundraiser? Really? An
incumbent Governor should easily raise $1 million per year, and that
is also the number that Republican challengers should aim for by the
end of this year.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Iowa Republican: McKinley flirting with gubernatorial run

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

The Iowa Republican has learned that State Senator Paul McKinley is flirting with a gubernatorial run. McKinley is the latest addition to the list of possible Republican gubernatorial candidates, which is beginning to get lengthy. ... Out of all the candidates who have shown interest, McKinley may be in the most difficult position of all of them. McKinley just finished his first session as the Minority Leader in the State Senate, and with that position comes the responsibility to recruit candidates and raise significant funds to help them get elected, which means he has to make up his mind sooner rather than later on a gubernatorial run. Below are the positives and negates that McKinley brings to the table in a gubernatorial campaign. Positives: Conservative Credentials ... Always On Message ... A Statesman ... Negatives: No Marriage Amendment Bill Filed in the State Senate ... Limited State-Wide Name ID ... Lack of a Donor Base ... Limited Geographical Advantage.

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Constitution Daily: If Northey runs what about Bob and Rants?

Excerpted from this post at Constitution Daily

With Bill Northey hiring political operatives Tim Moran and Marcus Branstad, speculation of Northey running for governor is at an all time high. Since none of us really know his true plans and can only speculate, I thought I'd take a look at what a Northey for Governor effort would mean for Bob Vander Plaats, Christopher Rants, and the invisible candidate of Doug Gross. ... Northey also has done an excellent job balancing the Sec. of Agriculture position with appealing to the conservative base. Since BVP has made it his mission to be the most conservative candidate in the race, Northey will have to answer the life and marriage questions with conviction, but since he is trusted by Republicans, he will only have to answer them once. Northey also has a leg up on BVP in many people's view because he's held elected office and has run his department well. Basically, he has experience and BVP does not. ... For Rants I'm afraid a Northey run would all but take him out of the race. I'm not saying he should drop out if Northey runs but I think he will find it hard to find his niche.

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Bleeding Heartland: Northey hires "high-profile staffers"

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Over at The Iowa Republican, Craig Robinson reports that Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey "has recently employed Tim Moran and Marcus Branstad to work on his behalf." ... Robinson speculates that "Either Secretary Northey is about to run the most extensive and expensive Secretary of Agriculture re-election campaign in Iowa's history, or he is exploring a run for governor." Although I think Northey would be an underdog in both a Republican gubernatorial primary and a general election matchup with Chet Culver, hiring quality staff makes sense. He's got enough money in the bank to pay their salaries. He now knows no other candidate for governor can hire Moran and Branstad. They can work on building up Northey's name recognition and support around the state. If Culver's poll numbers continue to slip this year, Northey can jump in to the governor's race without having to spend time searching for key staffers.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Haley Barbour headed to Iowa for RPI event

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

The Iowa Republican has learned that Mississippi Governor Haley
Barbour is coming to Des Moines to headline an event for the
Republican Party of Iowa. The Republican Party has yet to release the
details of this event, but it is expected to be held on Thursday, June
25th. Just yesterday, Congressional Quarterly had an article saying
that Barbour will not rule out a 2012 presidential run. Barbour was
elected to a second term in 2007. Because of term limits, Barbour
cannot seek a third term as governor. Barbour was the Chairman of the
Republican National Committee in 1994 when Republicans captured
control of both the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

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Iowa Independent: Larson out, Lamberti on fence for 2010

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Former Republican state senator Chuck Larson, who was appointed by
President George W. Bush to be ambassador to Latvia, tells Lee
Enterprise political reporter Charlotte Eby he will not run for
governor in 2010, citing his two young children as the reason. Larson
becomes the latest in a series of Republicans to publicly put to rest
rumors of potential gubernatorial aspirations next year. Monday, state
Auditor David Vaudt said he would seek re-election rather than throw
his hat in the ring to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Chet
Culver. Former Gov. Terry Branstad and Vermeer Corp. CEO Mary Andringa
said they were not running earlier this month, and Iowa Ag Secretary
Bill Northey appears to be leaning towards running for re-election as
well.

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Essential Estrogen: Two words never spoken in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Did I get your attention? What two words came to your mind? Let's see
if you can guess what I am thinking. Iowa is being crisscrossed daily
by several Republican men on a mission. They want to be the next
Governor of Iowa. ... I am sure there are others, but if you've seen one
white male rich republican, you've seen a bunch. Bunches and bunches
and bunches. Ok, now I will tell you two words you will never hear any
Republicans be responsible for if we continue to be "bass ackward".
Madam Governor. What is the problem with this Party? Not even one
woman is being considered or whispered about?

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: I wonder where Rants and Vander Plaats stand on this stimulus spending

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Nearly every day I see reports on this or that program in Iowa
receiving additional funding thank to the federal economic stimulus
bill, passed in February over loud Republican objections. This news
caught my eye on Monday. Iowa will receive about $7.5 million out of
$100 million appropriated to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development's Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program: "Polk County
will receive $3 million to eliminate lead in 206 housing units;
Marshalltown will get nearly $2.6 million to remove lead from 150
housing units; and Sioux City will be awarded nearly $2 million to
create 75 lead-safe housing units." Two potential Republican
candidates for governor next year happen to be from Sioux City:
businessman Bob Vander Plaats and State Representative Chris Rants.

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The Iowa Republican: Iowa Republicans have plenty of opportunity in the state Senate

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Now that some time has passed since the legislative session has
adjourned and the Republican gubernatorial primary has started to take
shape, it's time to start looking at legislative races in which
Republicans could pick up seats in both chambers in the 2010
elections. Today we delve into the State Senate. Currently,
Republicans hold 18 of the 50 seats in the State Senate. While only
half of those seats are up for election in 2010, 19 of those 25 seats
are currently held by Democrats. On one hand, it shows just how
lopsided the Democrat majority is in the Senate, but on the other
hand, it provides Iowa Republicans plenty of opportunity to pick up
seats in this chamber in the next election.

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John Deeth Blog: How low can Republicans go?

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

... It's almost sad to watch the Republican Party's ongoing death
spiral. The moment any Republican even hints at distancing the party
from the Bush legacy or moderating their policies, they're immediately
declared persona non grata. Friday another sailor deserted the sinking
ship. Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is a pretty conservative guy (how else do
you get elected governor of freakin' Utah) but he's hinted that maybe
just maybe the GOP should rethink its homophobia. But now Huntsman is
on Team Obama as ambassador to China, a high-profile job for which
he's apparently extremely qualified. Huntsman's defection makes both
teams more conservative, in the paradox you see in the old joke: When
Ole and Lena moved from Sweden to Norway they increased the average
intelligence of both countries.

Iowa Insider: Lawyer wants evidence suppressed in Waterloo lawmaker's drunken driving case

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Insider

The lawyer for a state lawmaker from Waterloo facing a drunken driving
charge is asking to suppress evidence in the case, arguing police
should have told his client he could lose his driver's license for
failing or refusing a chemical sobriety test. Rep. Kerry Burt, a
first-term Democrat, was arrested by Ankeny police in the early
morning hours of February 11 for first-offense operating while
intoxicated. A police report said Burt's blood alcohol level
registered .129 percent at the time of his arrest. He was laid off
from his job as a firefighter with Waterloo Fire Rescue after losing
his driver's license. In a court filing, defense attorney Matthew
Boles said police should have warned Burt he could lose his commercial
driver's license if he fails or refuses a chemical test.

24-Hour Dorman: Re-think the bonds

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

State lawmakers can hand out power, but not the instincts to use it
wisely. An example: Last month, legislators gave local governments in
disaster areas the power to issue bonds without asking voters'
permission. This week, the Linn County Board of Supervisors left the
impression it lacks the instincts to use this power wisely. The board
proposes floating $9.5 million in bonds to expand and remodel the
county’s Administrative Office Building. That's over and above the
$2.2 million in flood damage the Federal Emergency Management Agency
will pay to fix it. The $9.5 million will cover, among other things,
the addition of a new top floor. This lofty perch will house offices,
including new digs for each supervisor.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Krusty Konservative: Who benefits the most from Vaudt's decision not to run for governor?

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

With State Auditor Dave Vaudt opting to seek re-election rather than a
gubernatorial bid, it looks like Iowa Republicans might have to decide
between Bob Vander Plaats and Christopher Rants in next June's primary
election. While there is still plenty of time for additional
candidates to emerge, each day that passes increases the possibility
of a two-man primary between the candidates who are already out there
laying the ground work for a gubernatorial campaign. The reason why
many people were intrigued by a Vaudt candidacy was because of his
expertise on the state budget. Vaudt has warned the governor and
legislature for years to get the state's spending in line with its
revenues, but for the most part, everyone ignored his warnings.

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Herd on the Hill: Spend it while you got it

Excerpted from this post at Herd on the Hill

Yesterday, State Auditor David Vaudt released his report on the
growing revenue and spending problem the state is facing. Iowa will
receive federal stimulus money that will, for one time only, help to
alleviate the bleeding. But if Iowa continues at the current rate, in
2011, the budget will be 61% less than the previous year. That's huge!
Auditor Vaudt gave a good example: for every $1.00 brought into Iowa,
the state spent $1.14. Doesn't seem like a lot, but boy does it add
up. The bonding numbers are worse. For every $1.00 borrowed, Iowa will
end up spending $2.18 to pay it back. How is this fiscal
responsibility?

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Bleeding Heartland: Fallons blast "sham" hearing on ethics complaint

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Last week the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee voted unanimously to
dismiss Ed and Lynn Fallon's complaint against State Senator Merlin
Bartz, who used his official website to promote this petition last
month. The petition sought to pressure Iowa's county recorders to
refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Fallons
contended that Bartz failed to comply with the Senate Code of Ethics,
which requires legislators to "encourage respect for the law." They
also questioned whether taxpayer money was used to support the website
where Bartz promoted the petition drive and urged volunteers to send
copies of their signature lists to the Iowa Family Policy Center.

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Hawkeye Review: Is Iowa still the Education State?

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

This is the best time of year for Iowa's top industry. Farming?
Manufacturing? No, we're the Education State. This week, schools turn
out yet another vintage of our top-selling product. Will "Iowa 2009"
vintage be among the best ever? Too early to tell, but concurrent to
the college and high school graduation parties many of us will attend
for family and friends, a lot of data is being released. And it is not
all good news. The National Center for Education Statistics released
the oft-quoted "National Report Card" in the last couple of weeks. The
result? Despite skyrocketing spending, and good progress amongst
elementary school aged kids, U.S. high-school students' progress has
stalled, with no significant gains in reading or math for over 35
years.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Vaudt rules out running for governor in 2010

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Who's a Culver-skeptic now? State Auditor David Vaudt announced today
that he won't run for Iowa governor in 2010. It's bad news for
Republicans who were hoping to recruit a candidate known for expertise
on fiscal matters. ... At a press conference, Vaudt cited Iowa's budget
problems as his reason for not running: "I know that if I were to run
for governor, there would be some that would try to discredit
important financial information that I'm providing to Iowans. They
would do that by simply questioning the motives, since I would be
running for governor." The last thing he wants to do, Vaudt said, is
diminish his ability to keep Iowans informed about what's happening
with state finances. Other factors might also have influenced Vaudt's
decision.

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The Iowa Republican: Does the middle determine who wins?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Those on the right and the left hate hearing about the middle. Whether
we are talking about issues or candidates, it is inevitable the
question comes up. Who really determines the outcome of elections?
Many will say the middle does and we need to run moderate candidates.
But they often leave the grassroots without a candidate. I've worked
in numerous campaigns for conservatives and everyday Republicans. I've
seen the phone banks filled with young and old but I've never seen
them filled with moderates. From my conversations with our friends on
the left, the same can be said for Democrats. But with campaigns, the
grassroots is only one piece of the puzzle.

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God, Politics and Rock 'n' Roll: Memo to GOP: Stop running angry nerds

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

Joseph Phillips takes on the argument that the GOP needs to lean more
left in order to win votes. His point is well-taken, given that
Republican party identification is up... and this latest poll doesn't
indicate a large, leftward lurch by Americans. So how does the GOP win
its upcoming elections? I like to break things down simply: stop
running angry people for office. Or nerdy people. Or worse... angry,
nerdy people. Let me give you an example that will make some of my GOP
friends shudder: people LIKE Barack Obama. Look at the polling data.
Most Americans oppose President Obama's positions on multiple
issues -- but continue to like him personally. While that frustrates
many of my friends on the right, the point is clear: a candidate must
be an able messenger, first and foremost, in order to persuade voters
on the issues.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Iowa Independent: Role of national labor groups in 2010 still unclear

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

After my report earlier today about the outlook for organized labor going into 2010, one unanswered political question remains: After Democratic majorities failed to move key components of organized labor's agenda from 2007 to 2009, will national labor groups continue to direct resources to Iowa Democrats, or will they move on to other states where large investments seem more likely to pay dividends? In recent years, national and international unions have played a significant role in Iowa elections. In 2008, AFSCME International donated $346,000 to the political action committee of its Iowa local, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Iowa Council 61.

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Krusty Konservative: Did someone say image problem?

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

When Doug Gross released the results of his poll last month, one of the
main things he talked about the branding problem that the Republican Party
of Iowa has. He said it was backwards looking, not welcoming, and so on
and so forth. I actually thought it was good for Gross to bring up those issues
so that Republicans can do a better job communicating the principles of their
party. You know who else has a branding problem? Doug Gross. I don't need
a fancy poll to tell me that either. Gross has spent the better part of a month
telling Iowa Republicans that his opinion matters more than theirs. It's almost
as if he has become some sort of overbearing parent that constantly is
critiquing his kids, but is guilty of the same sins.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Iowa Defense Alliance: The narcissism of Doug Gross

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

Doug Gross is quickly becoming an embarrassment to Iowa Republicans.
The former gubernatorial candidate has been relentless in his quest to
find a candidate for Governor that he finds acceptable. However his
search has not yielded the results that he has hoped for. And to top
this off he has been constant in his lecturing of the party faithful
that they need to compromise their beliefs in order regain the seats
of power in Iowa government. And time after time he has been dealt
setback after setback. I applaud Mr. Gross for his desire to be
involved in the Republican Party, but the time has come where his
efforts have become more of an embarrassment rather than an asset. The
names of several of his potential candidates for Governor have found
their way into the public light. Former Iowa Governor Terry Branstead
is one of those names.

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The Iowa Republican: Politics and policy

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

We live in a world of over-dramatization led by the 24 hour news
sources. We have an attention span of about 15 seconds and without a
ticker at the bottom of the screen we fall asleep. Whether it is
politics or sports, we've come to expect information overload as the
norm. I have to admit that I'm a fan of this because my personality
drives me to boredom very easily. But there is a major drawback. We
begin to crave drama because the normal news is too boring. This
website can serve as a great example. If you look back at any of the
author's articles you will see the ones being critical of or dealing
with individuals, not issues, get much more traffic. As a blogger it
is almost impossible to ignore this fact. If I write an article on how
the Department of Education needs to be abolished to save hundreds of
millions of dollars, I may get 200 views. But if that same day I were
to write an article on how Republican X failed the conservatives, I
could expect over 500 views and 50 comments.

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24-Hour Dorman: Harkin likes junk food tax

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin said this morning that the idea of using a tax on
sodas/junk food to help pay for health care reform is generating some
fizz in Capitol Hill. "It's on the table. It could be," Harkin said
during his weekly conference call with print scribes. "And quite
frankly, I'm pre-disposed (to it). "That's what's making people
unhealthy and obese," he said. Harkin rejected the notion that a
government tax on food choices could play into the hands of critics
trying to shoot down the broader health overhaul. Actually, Harkin
said, all the tax would do is help us listen to our "DNA." Harkin says
we're all wired genetically to be healthy, but our sugar-coated
society steers us to make bad choices.

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Iowa Independent: Grassley closes door on supporting public health plan

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Yesterday we mentioned that Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the senior
Republican on the Finance Committee and a fierce opponent of public
health plans, had left the door open to including a public option in
the sweeping health care reforms he's currently drafting with panel
Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.). Today, Grassley all but eliminated the
possibility that he would support such a plan, warning that it would
be the first step toward a health care system controlled entirely by
the government. From a speech today on the Senate floor: "[S]ome say
that we can avoid these [payment] problems by putting the
government-run plan on a level playing field with private insurers. ...
So my question is this -- when this new government-run health
insurance plans starts to cost too much, is Congress going to start
breaking its promises?

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Attack of the misleading talking points

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

It's only been a few weeks since the Iowa legislature's 2009 session ended, and I'm already tired of hearing Republican attacks on the $830 million infrastructure borrowing program (I-JOBS). The bonding proposal was among the most important bills passed this year. However, to the Party of No it was a terrible idea because paying back $830 million in bonds will cost a total of $1.7 billion. Iowa Republicans "support funding infrastructure projects on a pay-as-you-go basis." In other words, while the economic recession is bringing down state revenues, we should sit tight and only improve our infrastructure when the state has the cash to pay the full cost up front.

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Coralville Courier: Governor Culver wastes taxpayer money with photo op travel

Excerpted from this post at Coralville Courier

Gov. Chet Culver will be in Iowa City on Thursday to sign job creation legislation into law. I-Jobs is an $830 million, three-year plan to create jobs, strengthen the state's economy and rebuild state infrastructure. The initiative will be directed toward transportation projects, improvements to the Iowa Veterans Home and community colleges, flood recovery projects not covered by federal funding, water quality improvements and alternative energy infrastructure. "I-JOBS will help us work our way out of this recession by putting Iowans back to work and revitalizing our state's aging infrastructure," Mr. Culver stated in a press release.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Passenger rail: Reviving the dinosaur

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

In the early part of the century passenger rail service was the
preferred method of long-distance travel. Then along came more
advanced methods of transportation; the automobile and the airplane.
These methods quickly replaced rail as the most common methods of
transportation. This precipitated a sharp decline in rail service
until the 1970s. It was in 1971 that the federal government decided
to create Amtrak, the government sponsored passenger rail service that
we know today. Over the years Amtrak has proven to be nothing more
than a money pit. Amtrak has failed miserably in the quest for
self-sustainment. Instead it has relied heavily upon massive cash
infusion from the federal government to keep it operating.

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The Iowa Republican: Rants v. Vander Plaats

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Even though we all know there will be more candidates in the
gubernatorial race than Bob Vander Plaats and Christopher Rants, I
thought it would be good to compare the two candidates at this point.
Many of you know I was fairly rough on Vander Plaats on my old site
and I'm not going down that road again. Now if he or any other
candidate starts bucking the platform, the gloves will be off. But
please try to be civil in this discussion because with this website,
we have a better ability to vet these candidates and educate other
Republican voters on the issues. The nice thing about these two
candidates is that they are well known. I think Rants is better known
on the issues because he's had to put up votes and even decide what
legislation was brought up in the House when he was Speaker of the
House.

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Price of Politics, Etc.: Gross doesn't think Vander Plaats is winning candidate

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics, Etc.

Republican Doug Gross knows what it's like to lose a race for
governor. Democrat Tom Vilsack beat him in 2002. Gross doesn't want
his party to lose again. By the way, despite rumors circulating that
Gross wants to be his party's nominee again next year, he insists he
is not going to run for governor. Bob Vander Plaats, who has failed
twice before in his attempts to become governor, is the closest person
to a "candidate" for the Republicans. He told me he is running unless
his health or his family's health became a concern. O.K., back to
Gross... Gross and some allies paid for a statewide survey of what
Iowans want in a candidate.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Politically Speaking: Iowa GOP guv field jockeying

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Yesterday I wrote about Christopher Rants continuing to journey the
state as he mulls a bid for the 2010 Iowa governor's race. Today we
have a well thought out column by Carroll's Douglas Burns on why State
Rep. Rod Roberts could do well with the GOP electorate. As said
before, I covered Roberts when he was on the Carroll School Board and
he definitely possesses the skills Burns points out. I spoke downtown
with a political junkie this morning on whether Rants will enter the
field. I suspect he will. I've previously discussed in a post how Iowa
social conservatives might pick among Bob Vander Plaats of Sioux City
and Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King if both pursue
gubernatorial campaigns.

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The Iowa Republican: Enough "re-branding" -- Start the campaign already

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

We love polls. Each and every time one of these snapshots in time is
produced we dig right in to the cross tabs. The eternal optimist looks
for some glimmer of good news even if it is a stretch. But it's there.
The polling pendulum swings back and forth between enthusiasm and
fatigue, between right and wrong. That said, polls are polls. The only
poll that really matters is the one that occurs on election day, not
on May 7. Favorable and unfavorable ratings of our current elected
officials are interesting and help tell a story. Issue polls are less
so because of the 24-hour news cycle. Nonetheless, the GOP and their
pollsters are producing survey after survey at fever pitch.

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Iowa Independent: FEC rules in favor of American Future Fund

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

The Federal Election Commission has rejected a complaint by the
Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party alleging Iowa-based American
Future Fund violated federal election law by failing to register and
report as a political committee. The complaint alleged the
conservative non-profit aired a television advertisement advocating
the re-election of former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. Under federal
election law, the organization is prohibited from engaging solely in
"express advocacy," which would include asking voters to vote for or
against a certain candidate. The ad in question didn't ask voters to
vote for Coleman, but rather asked voters to "call Norm Coleman and
thank him for his agenda for Minnesota."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

24-Hour Dorman: Rants for governor?

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

The first time I met state Rep. Christopher Rants was at a Perkins restaurant on Gordon Drive in Sioux City in 1997. I was the new Statehouse scribe at The Journal and he was in his third House term representing a chunk of Siouxland. He ordered pancakes. Just coffee for me. A few minutes into the interview, Rants told me matter-of-factly that he would eventually become speaker of the House. That sounded really brash at the time, considering that although Rants was well-regarded among majority Republicans, he was hardly a sure bet to run the place. But there was something about this smart, ambitious guy that made me think he might pull it off. Less than three years later he was House majority leader. By January 2003 he had the speaker's gavel in his hand.

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Iowa Political Alert: Does Roberts have right stuff for gov run?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

Early GOP vetting starts for 2010 with Carroll-area legislator in mix ... Iowa Republican strategist Tim Albrecht sees a canyon-sized opening for his party in the 2010 gubernatorial race in which a potential double-digit-sized list of challengers to Democrat Chet Culver is building. One legislator in the mix, although not formally announced, is State Rep. Rod Roberts, a Carroll Republican who has served west-central Iowa for a decade in Des Moines. Albrecht said Roberts, a social conservative, has the style and skills to hold the GOP's right base while reaching out to moderates and Democrats.

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Bleeding Heartland: Boswell is not vulnerable in 2010

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Yesterday Taniel at the Campaign Diaries blog posted about 68 Democratic-held U.S. House seats that could potentially be competitive in 2010. Iowa's third Congressional district is not on that list. IA-03 did not make Stuart Rothenberg's list of competitive House seats for 2010 either. The National Republican Congressional Committee released a list of 51 targeted Democratic-held House districts in January. Lo and behold, IA-03 is not on that list either. I realize that Boswell only won the district with 56.3 percent of the vote in 2008, but I don't hear any chatter from Iowa Republicans about recruiting a candidate to run against him. The focus is on the governor's race and the Iowa House.

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Hawkeye Review: The Iowa Capitol is like "Hotel California"

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

Budgets came at us quickly with little time to read and digest. Policy is often included in budget bills. This year, several pieces of legislation that had "died" in committee were miraculously resurrected for the standings bill. Some of the risen dead included discussion on federal deductibility, mental health mandates, puppy mills, deer tags, franchise fees, workman's compensation and others. These ghosts of proposals past came to light just in time for weary eyed legislators to observe. The majority party caucused for hours trying to find the right language for 51 votes. After the early death of prevailing wage, the majority needed to assure passage of their policy.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Time for Braley's Populist Caucus to speak up on health care

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Congress is getting to work on the details of health care reform,
and a major battleground will be whether to include a strong public health
insurance option for all Americans. Republicans like Senator Chuck
Grassley are revving up their scare tactics about "government-run" health
care. Coalitions of Democrats who back a public option are also taking
shape in the House and the Senate. The new Populist Caucus led by Congressman
Bruce Braley (IA-01) has yet to weigh in on the specifics of health care reform.
That needs to change soon if Braley is serious about turning this caucus into a voice
for the middle class in the House.

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Iowa Collegiate Republican: New poll: Vote for your preference to run for governor on the GOP ticket in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Collegiate Republican

It isn't a secret that Governor Chet Culver is in some trouble. His approval
ratings are beginning to dip amidst support for tax increases like the elimination
of federal deductibility and constant position changes on issues he once
claimed made him a moderate voice. Furthermore, Culver is not living up
to his promise to provide a business climate that is competitive for students
who are graduating from Iowa's colleges and universities. The state is 49th in
the nation in establishing an environment that is friendly and competitive to
attract companies and business to the state. With statistics like that it is no secret why over 50% of graduates in the state continue to look to other states besides Iowa for their professional employment.

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Krusty Konservative: Rants inches closer to making gubernatorial run official

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

This weekend Rep. Christopher Rants sent out the following email to fellow
legislators letting them all know what many people already suspect, he’s running
for Governor. ... While this confirms much of what we already know, it also gives
us some new information. First, Rants' family supports his run for Governor. This
is significant. Without the support of your family, running for Governor would be
nearly impossible. Second, Rants seems to be finished in the State House. "Either
way we are all home together be it at Terrace Hill or Sioux City," Rants writes.
Does this mean its Terrace Hill or bust? Third, Rants is actively raising money
and has someone on board to help him. If Rants has one advantage it's his ability
to raise money. He already knows the players and has existing relationships with
many of them. While I'm not surprised that he has been meeting with donors, I'm a
little surprised that he already has fundraising events set up.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Can't we all just get along?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

While I'm sympathetic to those in the Iowa conservative movement who
don't want to compromise on issues like abortion and gay marriage (and
by compromise, I mean support things like parental consent and waiting
periods for abortion and residency requirements for gay marriage), I
just don't see the wisdom of those people who don't support these
things using valuable time and energy to discredit those who do. The
other thing that bothers me about this whole situation is that I don't
think standards are being equally applied. Some people are upset with
Rep. Steve King because they view his support of a residency
requirement as a compromise (despite the fact that King also
wholeheartedly supports a marriage amendment).

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Bleeding Heartland: Beware of Grassley's bipartisanship on health care

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

As the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Senator
Chuck Grassley will influence the shape of health care reform. For
that reason, he and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of
Montana were invited to lunch at the White House on Wednesday with
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Grassley's
message to the president and vice president, as well as to every
journalist who'll listen, is that health care reform should be done
through a bipartisan bill that can receive 70 or 80 votes in the
Senate. (See also Grassley's recent guest editorial at Politico.) Many
Democrats want to include a health care bill in the budget
reconciliation process, which would prevent a Republican filibuster.

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Iowa Independent: Personal preference is still for adoptions by dual-gender couples, says Harkin

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Despite the Iowa Supreme Court striking down a state law limiting
marriage as unconstitutional and paving the way for legal same-sex
marriage in the Hawkeye State, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin said he still
personally feels that the best environment for an adoptive child is
placement with a dual-gender couple. Harkin, in responding to a
question on the topic as a part of regular conference call with the
media by Carroll Daily Times Herald reporter and Iowa Independent alum
Douglas Burns, stammered a bit before admitting that he continues to
personally prefer child placement with and adoptions by heterosexual
couples.

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Popular Progressive: Political will or won't?

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

The LOST referendum is still up in the air and both sides are
claiming victory, but saying "no" to defeat. In Iowa City and
Coralville, there are votes to recount -- with paltry 7 and 8 vote
margins between the 1 cent 4 year sales tax. The county reported that
the turnout of registered voters was around 15% for Iowa City and just
over 17% in Coralville. Regardless of how it all turns out, Iowa City
and Coralville voters lost and non-voters won. Non-voters did not take
time out of their day to vote, I mean it took 3 or 4 minutes at the
highly congested precinct 17 where I was one of three people voting at
7:45 in the morning. Non-voters won because they did not expend fuel
in cars, on bikes, or on foot to make their voices heard on an issue
that one group said would be a 17% hike in their sales taxes.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: SUSA finds Culver, Grassley approval down in April

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Survey USA recently released new polling numbers for Iowa, and it
wasn't good news for Governor Chet Culver. Senator Chuck Grassley's
approval was at a multi-year low in the same poll. ... SUSA found
Culver's approval rating at 42 percent, with 50 disapproving. In
February and March, SUSA found that 46 percent of Iowans approved of
Culver's performance as governor. If you look at the graph of SUSA's
numbers for Culver since he took office, you'll see that 42 percent is
the lowest approval number SUSA has ever recorded for him. For most of
his tenure, his approval has been in the 50s. He dipped into "net
negative territory" (with disapproval exceeding approval) from
February through April 2008, then bounced back above 50 percent for
the rest of last year.

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Politically Speaking: Grassley target of latest MoveOn ad

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

We've in Iowa have heard from the progressive MoveOn.org political
action committee since the 2004 general election. MoveOn.org is back
again, as some ads are slated to highlight the importance of including
choice of a public health insurance plan in any health care reform
bill that moves through Congress. MoveOn wants U.S. Sen. Charles
Grassley to feel pressure, since he opposes the public health
insurance aspect. MoveOn.Org contends Grassley is standing instead
with "insurance companies and special interests." The ad, touted as
humorous, features two undertakers (funeral home directors I guess
would be a more acceptable term within the industry) discussing
President Obama's public health insurance option.

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John Deeth Blog: Sales tax post mortem

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

In the midst of recession, right after income tax season, and in the
wake of controversial city council actions (buh-bye Mike Lombardo),
the most anti-sales tax city in the state recognized the flood relief
need and battled to a de facto tie: a six vote win in Iowa City and a
seven vote loss in Coralville. Expect those results to hold. The
chance that outstanding absentee ballots will flip things is slim in
Iowa City and only theoretical in Coralville and Shueyville. Only
three came in on Wednesday (all Iowa City), and those numbers diminish
day by day. Almost all of the unreturned ballots were sent out under
the The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

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Herd on the Hill: Swine flu

Excerpted from this post at Herd on the Hill

The new, deadly virus has hit Iowa and hit it hard. Not only are there
reported cases of the H1N1 virus throughout the state, today, China
stated they would no longer accept Iowa pork exports. That is
devastating news. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey,
released this statement: "Iowa pork, and all pork for that matter, is
safe and China and the other countries that are banning pork imports
are not acting based on science. It is unfortunate that these
unjustified actions are being felt most dramatically by the farmers
who raise pork." ... Why are we not hearing more state officials speak
out on this? This has a huge affect on Iowa's economy and we can't do
enough to correct misconceptions about the virus and Iowa pork.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hawkeye Review: I-JOBS: A call for transparency and accountability

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

The map above represents stimulus spending from the federal government
as of last month. This information comes from Onvia Tracking Recovery,
which is the "private" version of Stimulus.gov, the federal
governments version of attempting to be accountable for the trillions
that will be spent throughout the course of this recovery phase. How
much of your tax dollars will simply dissappear? There are already
estimates showing over 8% of stimulus spending is anticipated to go to
waste. That's a staggering amount of your tax dollars already conceded
to the abyss of our federal bureaucracy. Making matters worse, a
congressional subcommittee meeting held just yesterday saw 7 of the 10
members "skip" the proceedings!

Bleeding Heartland: U.S. attorney candidate Rose didn't design Postville prosecutions

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Lynda Waddington posted an interesting story at Iowa Independent about
a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling announced yesterday. The
decision may become an issue at confirmation hearings if President
Barack Obama takes Senator Tom Harkin's advice and nominates Stephanie
Rose for U.S. attorney in Iowa's Northern District. ... My immediate
question was how this ruling might affect Stephanie Rose, whom Harkin
has recommended for U.S. attorney in Iowa's Northern District. The
president has not yet nominated a candidate for this position. Some
critics say Rose is not fit for the job because of her role in
prosecuting those detained during the Postville raid.

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Krusty Konservative: Culver's approval rating plummets to 42%

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

A new Survey USA poll is out and it delivers more bad news for
Governor Chet Culver. Only 42% of those surveyed approve of the job
Governor Culver is going, while 50% disapprove. 78% of Republicans,
31% of Democrats, and 50% of Independents all disapprove of the job
Culver is doing in leading the state. 50% of people making less than
$50k a year disapprove, and 52% of those making more than $50k
disapprove. Yikes! Making matters worse for Culver is that David
Yepsen isn't around to help manage the damage by reminding Iowans how
voters turn to Democrats in tough economic times. It's pretty clear;
Iowans have had enough of Chet Culver, and are willing to give a new
person a chance. Maybe it's time for Terry Branstad, again...

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Krusty Konservative: Is Doug's candidate his old boss?

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Many people are trying to figure out what Doug Gross is up to.
Starting this past Thursday, Gross held a series of private meetings
to go over the results of his new poll. I don't know if we should
really call it a new poll since the results from it are more than a
month old, and as we have discussed before, the political landscape in
Iowa has changed dramatically since then. Gross met with party and
legislative leaders to go over the results of his poll on Thursday
morning. I'm told that House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen, Senate
Minority Leader Paul McKinley, and RPI Executive Director Jeff
Boeyink, and party chairman Matt Strawn all attended a morning meeting
with Gross.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Anticipating 2010

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

Barring a special session the Iowa legislative session has come to a
close. Now Iowa Republicans can turn their attention toward rebuilding
the party in anticipation of the 2010 election cycle. This cycle will
be critical for all Iowans as it will determine whether the state
continues to be saddled with the financially irresponsible incumbent
Chet Culver or if the voters of the state choose to replace him. The
2010 election cycle has already begun with two candidates having
already announced their candidacy. One of which is a Governor Culver.
The other is Republican Bob Vander Plaats. As I see it there will be
several issues that I think will play a role in determining who the
next chief executive of Iowa will be.

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Bleeding Heartland: Let's try this one more time

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

I'm still waiting for some Republican, any Republican, to explain the
concept of judicial review to religious conservatives who refuse to
accept the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling in Varnum v Brien.
GOP moderates led by Doug Gross have been warning that Republican
candidates won't win in 2010 if gay marriage is their only campaign
issue. But I haven't heard anyone challenge the assertion by many
conservatives that the Supreme Court's decision is just an opinion
with no legal force. Since no Republican has stepped up to the plate,
I'm offering a brief lesson on judicial review after the jump.

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Radio Iowa: King, Latham on "Rural-R-Us" group

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

Iowa's two Republican congressmen have been named to a panel of 15
Republican congressmen and one Republican congresswoman who represent
rural parts of America. The House Republican leader calls the group
the "Rural America Solutions Group." Congressman Steve King, a
Republican from the small western Iowa town of Kiron -- population 273
-- is part of the group, as is Congressman Tom Latham, a Republican
from the large central Iowa town of Ames -- population of 50,731 and
home to Iowa State University. Latham, though, grew up in a small
town, as you'll read in his news release below. First, though, is the
news release from King's office because it arrived in my email box
first.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

John Deeth Blog: Replacing Boswell by the numbers

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Congressional vote rating site Progressive Punch has added a new measurement to its cluster of counts that illustrates even more clearly why Leonard Boswell neds to be replaced though retirement or primary. The new measure is called "Progressive Score vs. District Tilt," and it looks at the partisan leanings of a district compared to the member's voting record. It's a five star system, with more stars being better. ... Bruce Braley is number 154. He's at -7.28 for a one star "intolerable." A harsh description, but even Dennis Kucinich rates only an "acceptable" three stars. The number is what's significant. And by the numbers, Leonard Boswell is near the bottom of the Democratic list, number 194 of 221 ranked Democrats (freshmen aren't listed). With a Leaning Democratic district, Boswell should be at 80 percent progressive. Instead, his lifetime record on crucial votes is only 64.06, for a score of -15.96.

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The Iowa Republican: The Iowa GOP's Image Problem

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

With the legislative session over, Iowa Republicans are now debating how they should brand themselves as they move forward towards the 2010 elections. ... The Iowa First Foundation poll provides a lot of good news for Iowa Republican as we look forward to the next election, but it also provides a sobering look how the Republican brand has been tarnished. The Good News: More Iowans have a more favorable impression of our Republican officials than they do of Iowa Democrats. ... The Bad News: ... While Republicans out-polled Democrats on traits like trustworthiness, the economy, management of government bureaucracies, and common sense, the traits listed above make it easy to understand why Republicans lag behind Democrats in voter registration. Who wants to be part of a political party that isn't open or welcoming, that's seen as arrogant, backwards-looking, or even racist?

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True Blue Iowan: The Iowa effect

Excerpted from this post at True Blue Iowan

In two days two polls have been released from CBS/New York Times and ABC/Washington Post. Both show (for the first time) that more Americans support gay marriage than oppose it. For the NYT poll it is a 9% jump since the last poll. In polling sea changes like this don't happen without a cause. In this case the cause is clear: The Iowa effect.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

The Iowa Republican: What is Doug Gross up to?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

This afternoon, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Gross
will gather a group of establishment Republican at his downtown office
in Des Moines. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the findings
of his recent poll on what direction the Republican Party should go if
it wants to be a majority party again. According a March 21, 2009
article in the National Journal, Gross says that his poll costs
$100,000. I'm not a pollster, but I'm pretty sure that would pay for
multiple polls. ... If you want more information on Doug's poll, my
liberal friend over at Bleeding Heartland recorded the poll when
he/she/it was polled a month ago. The fact that a liberal blogger was
included in the polling sample about what direction the Republican
Party needs to go casts serious doubt on the validity of the poll
results if you ask me.

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Iowa Insider: How long will battle between Culver-Senate GOP continue?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Insider

Gov. Chet Culver has appointed his chief of staff to serve as director
of the state's Department of Human Services after the Iowa Senate
rejected his nominee. Charlie Krogmeier, whom Culver called a "veteran
public servant," was tapped to lead the DHS. With 5,700 employees, DHS
is the state's largest agency and oversees programs that include
Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, child protection and child support
collections. The Iowa Senate refused to confirm Gene Gessow as the
department's director when Republicans withheld their support. They
complained about Gessow's handling of a case in Atalissa where
mentally retarded men were found living in substandard housing.

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Politically Speaking: BVP set for Huckabee's show

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Bob Vander Plaats of Sioux City, who all but certainly will pursue a
2010 Iowa gubernatorial run, will be on the television show this
weekend of good friend Mike Huckabee. Huckabee, the former Arkansas
governor who won the 2008 Iowa Republican Party caucus, has a show
titled, of all things, "Huckabee," on Fox News. Vander Plaats will
appear on the show running three times on the weekend, with the first
one coming at 7 p.m. Saturday. Vander Plaats will talk about the
arrival of same-sex marriage in Iowa, a reality of four days now.
(You don't see us in the media out doublechecking with county
courthouses anymore -- passe.)

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Bleeding Heartland: Eat pork that's not factory-farmed

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Government officials and pork industry representatives are working
hard to convince the public that it's still safe to eat pork despite
the rapidly spreading swine flu virus that may have already infected
two Iowans. They are correct that there is no risk of contracting the
flu from eating pork. Some Mexican news reports have linked the swine
flu outbreak to conditions in factory farms owned by the Smithfield
Foods corporation. Smithfield released a statement saying the company
"has no reason to believe that the virus is in any way connected to
its operations in Mexico."

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Mike Schramm
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