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Monday, August 31, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Doug Gross reignites debate over the direction of the Republican Party

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

We should have known that it was only a matter of time before the
cultural and ideological tug-of-war within the Republican Party would
resurface. Truth be told, ideological debates are prevalent in both
political parties. It just seems that Iowa Republicans do a poor job
in keeping their turf battles in-house. Former GOP gubernatorial
nominee Doug Gross penned an op-ed for the Des Moines Register
yesterday, and it is likely to become another distraction which the
traditional media will have a hay-day covering. Gross' message to the
GOP is the same one he has been preaching since the conclusion of the
2008 Iowa Caucuses.

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Bleeding Heartland: The bottom line on health care

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

From the very beginning of the Obama caucus campaign continuing
through the general election, I gave more money, more time, and stuck
my neck out further than I ever had before for a Presidential
candidate, and I've worked hard for quite a few. I will not invest my
energy in a cause that has no bottom line, no goals which the
president will not compromise, nor any clear cut progress toward true
reform. I respect Barack Obama for the great things he HAS done, but I
refuse to work for his version of health care reform when he has no
clear goal other than to pass something - anything - that may get
through Congress, regardless of content.

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Hawkeye Review: The Big Lug's very bad day...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

I might be channeling the late Governor Ann Richards of Texas who
quipped a very memorable moment at the 1988 DNC convention: "Poor
George, he can't help it... he was born with a silver foot in his
mouth!" Today, the flagship of the MSM (New York Times), ran a feature
story on the slow flood recovery in Cedar Rapids ... Poor Chet, he
can't help it, he governs with a sand bag in his mouth! This is indeed
a very bad day for Chet. Someone on team Culver is popping Excedrin
right now and don't be shocked if another lamp wasn't swept off the
floor deep within the bowels of the Governor's office today.
Metaphorically speaking, it appears that Governor Culver has
sandbagged himself into a corner with regards to his miserable
performance on flood recovery issues. Politics 101: This will be in
textbooks very soon. "What not to say to the New York Times."

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Iowa Political Alert: Clearing some air with Congressman King

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

Kiron pol takes fair shot at 'Taking Note' ... It is no news flash to readers of "Taking Note" (in the Carroll Daily Times Herald) that this column has been used with some frequency in the last 13 years to vigorously challenge our congressman Steve King. A skilled orator and turner of phrases, King often presents views in provocative fashion. This column has pulled no punches on calling out the congressman where we find him wrongheaded. In a strongly worded but civil exchange with me following his town-hall meeting in Carroll on Wednesday, King, a Kiron Republican who represents Iowa's 5th Congressional District, offered reasonable criticism. Put another way, the congressman called me out. And he has a point.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Bob Vander Plaats and his "inflammatory" language?

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

Why is the Iowa Democratic Party so infatuated with the Republican gubernatorial candidates more than nine months away from the primary? I realize that they are probably anything but proud of their standard bearer's performance lately and are trying to distract us from that fact, but come on, accusing Bob Vander Plaats of using "rhetoric of armed extremists" is a bit of a stretch. It's one thing to go after Christian Fong for an ad that the IDP believes is misleading (which might be a fruitful effort if Fong was recognized in more than one area of Iowa) but it's another thing to accuse Vander Plaats of "inflammatory speech" when the issue at hand was about President Obama's health care plan.

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Politically Speaking: Is Harkin ducking Sioux City?

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Some Northwest Iowans contend U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin is ducking the area since the senator has not held a town hall meeting to talk health care reform. Harkin ticked the area 65 miles east in Storm Lake two weeks ago, but that wasn't an event set up to hear out Iowans -- he did that later in the day even farther east in Fort Dodge. People I've seen in town halls this week say they've been calling Harkin's office to see if he'll hold a meeting in Sioux City (or nearby) before the congressional recess ends in a week and a half. They want the ability to hold forth on health care reform, like the opportunities with U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley and Congressman Steve King this week. The Siouxlanders say the Harkin staffers aren't giving firm answers on the senator's schedule.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Republicans rally around Burgmeier in HD 90

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

The special election in House District 90 between Republican candidate
Stephen Burgmeier and Democrat Curt Hanson is now less than a week
away. If Republicans are able to pick up the seat, they will gain a
critical vote in the Iowa House that should help fend off a number of
labor union bills that would devastate Iowa's economy. A win by
Republicans in HD 90 would also create a tremendous amount of
political momentum for House Republicans if they are able to capture
the seat. On the Democratic side, a victory will allow them to claim
that the anti-Culver sentiment that Republicans have been talking
about for most of the year doesn't really exist despite all of the
recent polls that show that, for the first time in decades, Iowans
would rather vote for a Republican candidate than a Democrat for
governor.

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Iowa Independent: Anonymous Branstad attacks continue

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Less than a week after a group calling itself "Iowans for Truth and
Honest Government" distributed fliers around the Des Moines area and
at the Iowa State Fair assaulting former Gov. Terry Branstad's 16
years in office, an anonymous Web ad along the same lines has emerged.
The video, titled "Terry & Chet: What's the Difference," is the only
video posted by someone using the name "TerryAndChet." It runs through
a series of issues and compares the current and former governor's
stances, eventually drawing the conclusion that Branstad is not a true
conservative. The ad hit on several of the same themes as the fliers,
including sales tax increases, nominating the Supreme Court Justice
that authored the same-sex marriage decision and increasing state
spending.

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Herd on the Hill: Lights. Camera. Action - but not too much action.

Excerpted from this post at Herd on the Hill

"If you build it, He will come." The Iowa Legislature, in a
bi-partisan fashion in 2007 and in 2009, passed film tax incentives to
surpass what other states were offering to lure Hollywood into Iowa.
Well, the film industry has arrived in Iowa - and it is big business
for the state - bringing in film crews, movie stars and the best of
Iowa jobs and opportunities. But wait ... like every good Hollywood
movie, there is a plot twist ahead. Dozens of film advocates and
Iowans are now worried that a law change passed by Iowa Democrats
capping the tax credits in the closing days of the 2009 session will
effectively kill the tax breaks and this new Iowa industry.

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John Deeth Blog: Harkin the Senior Junior Senator

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

I can't add anything eloquent to the eulogies of Ted Kennedy. So I'll
fall back on trivia. After 23 years John Kerry is the senior senator
from Massachusetts. That makes Iowa's Tom Harkin, sworn in one day
after Kerry, the junior senator with the highest seniority. Or the
senior junior senator. At least until Grassley has to run next year.
Technically, it's a tie, as Jay Rockefeller was sworn in the same day
as Harkin. But Harkin's ex-House status outranks Rockefeller's
ex-governor status. (Correction: Rockefeller got sworn in two weeks
late in 1985, choosing to complete his term as governor. Either way
Harkin's ahead.) ... It's a far cry from Iowa's revolving door senator
days of the 1970s, when retirements (Hickenlooper, Hughes) and defeats
(Miller, Clark, Culver, Jepsen) saw no Iowa senator re-elected from
1966 to 1986.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Center for Competitive Politics: Party censors in Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Center for Competitive Politics

Top officials at Iowa's Democratic and Republican parties are
responding to two instances of political speech in remarkably similar
ways -- threatening litigation, government investigations and other
intimidation tactics. The first case involves a flyer critical of
former Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, a rumored potential candidate
for governor in 2010. Jeff Boeyink, the Republican Party of Iowa's
executive director, told state media he plans to ask the Iowa Ethics
and Campaign Disclosure Board to investigate the organization
supposedly behind the flyer. Iowa has relatively strict independent
expenditure filing guidelines, requiring groups to submit to
government regulation -- which usually requires retaining a lawyer --
if they spend over $100 on a direct mailing, brochure or ad.

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Hawkeye Review: Campaign preview: IDP and Culver invoke "Rule 11"

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

With a sitting Governor who is extremely vulnerable, there's no doubt
that the IDP and team Culver will be invoking "Rule 11" from Saul
Alinsky's book, Rules for Radicals, published in 1972. In fact,
forget the prediction, it's already happening... Rule 11: Pick the
target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don't try to attack
abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible
individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame. Yesterday,
IDP Chair Michael Kiernan immediately attacked the statewide radio ad
unveiled by GOP gubernatorial candidate Christian Fong. ... For all
the valid criticism directed by the Republican party at Governor
Culver, you can expect Frew to immediately attack and challenge the
messenger.

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Bleeding Heartland: Looks more like a lieutenant governor candidate to me

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

State Senator Jerry Behn of Boone is officially launching his
gubernatorial campaign today, after appearing at numerous Republican
events around the state this summer. Radio Iowa posted Behn's news
release here. It's nothing you haven't heard before: he wants to rein
in "excessive spending" and let Iowans vote on a constitutional
amendment to ban same-sex marriage (as if we subject minority rights
to a majority vote in this country). Behn also touts his experience as
a farmer growing corn and soybeans.

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Krusty Konservative: Looking at a Griswell vs. Grassley race

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

I read somewhere on-line that Barry Griswell might be the Democrats'
dark horse candidate against Sen. Chuck Grassley. Griswell, the
recently retired CEO of Des Moines-based Principal Financial Group,
has also been involved in numerous community activities and causes in
central Iowa. Griswell has been involved as the President of the
Greater Des Moines Community Foundation and served on the United Way
of America board of trustees. ... There is no doubt that Barry
Griswell is an Iowa success story, but will his success in business
make him a good political candidate? I'll be the first to say, I don't
think Barry Griswell is the candidate that Iowa Democrats are looking
for. It just seems like an odd fit.

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FromDC2Iowa: Teddy

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

I have just heard the Kennedy family's announcement that Senator
Kennedy died late last night, August 25, 2009. If you are too young to
know the details of his life, they will probably be brought to you at
some time during the next week or so. There is no need for me to
repeat them here. But I would like to add my own personal comment. For
his tragic death is, for me, a personal as well as a national,
political and public policy loss. It's not like we lived next door to
each other, or lunched every day. But our lives did intersect in a
variety of ways over the years. We both came to Washington in 1963. He
as a newly-elected U.S. Senator, just barely old enough to meet the
Constitutional standard, on the crest of a dramatic campaign victory
in a race the pundits swore he would lose.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Iowa Political Alert: Vander Plaats to make official announcement

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats, the 2006 Republican nominee
for lieutenant governor who is leading the field for the party's 2010
gubernatorial nomination, will officially launch his campaign on
Monday, Sept. 7 in his hometown of Sheldon in northwest Iowa. "Labor
Day is the traditional start of the election season and Sheldon is the
natural place for me to officially kick off the campaign. Sheldon is
where I learned the value of freedom and leadership. It's where my
parents, teachers and neighbors instilled a traditional Iowa work
ethic in me. And, it's where I learned that the family is the
foundation of society and it is government's responsibility to foster
a strong family instead of trying to replace it," Vander Plaats said.

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The Iowa Republican: State Senator Jerry Behn to announce gubernatorial campaign

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

At a time when many people expect the Republican gubernatorial field
to contract, another candidate is throwing his hat into the ring.
Later this morning, State Senator Jerry Behn will announce his
intentions to run for Governor. Behn will join Bob Vander Plaats, Rep.
Chris Rants, Christian Fong, Sen. Paul McKinley, and Rep. Rod Roberts
in seeking the Republican nomination. Behn, a native of Boone County,
joined his family's farming operation after finishing school, which he
continues to operate today. He is a member of the Iowa Farm Bureau and
the Iowa Soybean Association. He began his political career in 1994
when he was elected to the Boone County Board of Supervisors.

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Bleeding Heartland: Grassley partisans pack the house

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The crowd applauded Sen Grassley for merely walking into the room in
Pocahontas today. They were clearly his fans, and they filled a good
part of the Expo Center on the fairgrounds. The very first man railed
against too much government using the mandated EXIT signs above all
the doors as his example. Anybody too stupid to know the way out of
the building would likely not be smart enough read the sign, he said.
This drew another round of applause and laughter. No guns were in
evidence, but I imagine the four sheriff deputies may have had theirs.
I wasn’t close enough to them to notice. One elderly voter who got the
microphone stood right next to the Senator, accused Obama of "acting
like a little Hitler," (more applause) and said he was ready to take
his gun to Washington.

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Coralville Courier: Top 'earmarker' in Congress: Dave 'Empty Your Pockets' Loebsack

Excerpted from this post at Coralville Courier

EARMARKS: funds provided by Congress for projects, programs, or grants
where the spending purpose is to circumvent the normal merit-based or
competitive allocation processes, or otherwise curtails the ability of
the executive branch to manage its statutory and constitutional
responsibilities pertaining to the funds allocation process. a.k.a.,
pork-barrel spending. The Gravina Island Bridge in Alaska, popularly
known as the "Bridge to Nowhere," is perhaps the most famous of all
earmarks. So who is the biggest 'earmarker' in the U.S. House? Our
own Dave 'Empty Your Pockets' Loebsack. Dave has sponsored or
co-sponsored 29 earmarks totaling more than $217 MILLION in fiscal
year 2009 ranking 1st out of 435 representatives.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

John Deeth Blog: Loebsack Iowa City town hall

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

9:10 and after 45 mins of the UI wifi staring at me like a giant
middle finger, I gave up so I'm on the phone. (The site was moved from
the library to the UIowa campus because a bigger crowd was expected,
but the UI campus is wifi-unfriendly to the general public, you need a
university ID. A long time pet peeve.) The crowd is split but
intermixed. The Dems have preprinted Obama font signs; some say THANK
YOU. The Rs are more handmade a big banner from the gallery says "it's
not about health care, it's about govt control of your life." I count
maybe 300 people so far. Ed Flaherty has a GRASSLEY RETIRE sign. One
woman with a "Obama is not my doctor" shirt.

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Blog for Iowa: Congressman Tom Latham feeds fear, perpetuates falsehoods at town hall meeting

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

A few wingnuts knocked at the door of Tom Latham's town meeting in
Emmetsburg today, but Latham did not come out to play. One woman in a
Patriot Party t-shirt greeted arriving voters with a handout listing
ways to stockpile food for the coming disaster. It did not say what
disaster she was expecting. One man wondered how long before the
government starts implanting computer chips into our bodies. Another
wondered if the Congressman could go to the floor of the House and
read the Constitution aloud to his colleagues. Of course there were
the usual sneers at Speaker Pelosi and Senator Kennedy, but I don't
think the name Obama was mentioned by anyone. Latham deflected all
these ideas and insults without offending the people who injected
them.

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The Iowa Republican: Branstad's lead over Culver nears 20 points

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

In a recent poll conducted by Hill Research Group for the Iowa First
Foundation, former Governor Terry Branstad beat current Iowa Governor
Chet Culver in a head-to-head match-up by 19 points. Branstad was
supported by 53% of respondents, while Governor Chet Culver only
garnered 34%. Branstad was the only prospective Republican general
election candidate who beat Governor Culver in a head-to-head matchup.
The results of the Iowa First Foundation poll validate the findings of
TheIowaRepublican.com poll that was conducted in early July. In
TheIowaRepublican.com poll last month, Branstad beat Governor Culver
in a head-to-head match-up by 53% to 37%. The troubling news for
Governor Culver and his re-election team isn't that a potential GOP
candidate beats him by nearly 20 points, it's that Culver's polling
numbers continue to slide.

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Price of Politics, Etc.: Republican Party wants Ethics Board to check out anti-Branstad fliers

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics, Etc.

The Republican Party of Iowa Executive Director Jeff Boeyink told me
that on Monday he plans to ask the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure
Board to check out the mysterious group behind some fliers harshly
criticizing former Governor Terry Branstad. Boeyink told me he has
never heard of the group, Iowans for Truth and Honest Government. The
group urges Branstad not to run again with unflattering words and
phrases about his days in Terrace Hill. Boeyink told me, "The governor
is not even a declared candidate." He added, "It shows a lot of people
are concerned about his potential candidacy." What do you think of the
flier? Is all fair in "life, love and politics"? Or does this go too
far?

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Iowa Independent: Anti-gay marriage group endorses Burgmeier in HD90

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

In what's shaping up to be a hard fought race in House District 90,
Republican Stephen Burgmeier has received the endorsement of anti-gay
rights organization Everyday America. The race between Burgmeier and
Democrat Curt Hansen to fill the seat left open when Democratic Rep.
John Whitaker accepted an appointment to serve as the Iowa director of
the Farm Service Agency could become a showdown between special
interests and political parties on both sides, and it is seen by many
as a blueprint for the general election battles that will take place
in 2010. The Iowa Independent has already reported that conservative
group Iowans for Tax Relief is involved in the campaign already, with
two members of its leadership team making up Burgmeier's campaign
organization.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: My thoughts on Adel

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

The primary purpose behind Town Hall Meetings is to allow the public
to have an avenue where they can express themselves to their elected
officials face to face. It allows citizen's to ask a question directly
to the official. This is an excellent method for our legislators to
correspond with us, the residents of the district. In recent days we
have seen Town Halls across the country erupt with passion and
activism in quantities that we have not seen in quite some time. As
Craig Robinson pointed out on The Iowa Republican, it would seem that
an apathetic public has awoken and nothing will contain their passion
or their outrage. Unlike some other Iowans roaming the halls of
Congress in Washington Senator Charles Grassley's Town Halls have
maintained an openness and respect for the constituents that has
rarely been witnessed this month.

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The Iowa Republican: Leonard Boswell lies to his constituents at lone town hall meeting

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

In his only scheduled town hall meeting, Congressman Leonard Boswell
told a crowd of 100 people that he might not vote for the health care
reform bill. Boswell, who is considered to be the most vulnerable
congressional incumbent in Iowa, told the audience, "I can't answer
that because we don't have a bill." However Boswell's congressional
website tells a different story. The front page of Boswell's website
states, "As a Member of Congress, representing the Third Congressional
District of Iowa, I am committed to working with my colleagues in
Congress and with President Obama to create real reforms that will
help Iowans and all Americans receive health insurance and access to
their family doctors. Since H.R. 3200, the America's Affordable Health
Choices Act of 2009, was introduced on July 14th, I have been in
various meetings analyzing this bill with the needs of Iowans in mind,
voicing my support and criticism for the many provisions in this
monumental bill."

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John Deeth Blog: Latham worst at Progressive Punch

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

By at least one measure, Tom Latham is the worst member of Congress.
Watchdog group Progressive Punch has released its yardsticks, and
measuring member voter scores vs. voting behavior of the district,
Latham ranks number 434, with one seat vacant. While Steve King is
considered Iowa's arch-conservative based on his rhetoric, in a highly
polarized House Latham's actual voting record is very similar. Latham
ranks below Steve King because the 4th district is labeled as "leaning
Democratic" based on Barack Obama's narrow win, while King's 5th CD is
safely Republican. So Latham ranks 77 points worse than his district
for a last-place rank. Progressive Punch is notoriously tough; Dennis
Kucinich gets a three star "acceptable" rating. All five Iowa members
get a one star "intolerable," but the distinctions are clear.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Krusty Konservative: Krusty town hall: Starring Grassley, Chet, and Glover

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Wow, there is a lot to get to today. Sorry for my prolonged absence. I
was on the golf course enjoying the summer temperatures that finally
arrived. Grassley vs. The Mob: I'm blown away by the number of people
who turned out to express their feelings about ObamaCare. For all the
people who emailed me saying that I went too far the other day in my
article about Grassley, the frustration that was contained in my
article was only small fraction of what Grassley was confronted with
yesterday. Trust me on this one, Grassley still needs to get up and
walk away from the table. Until he does that, nobody can convince me
that he's going to do the right thing.

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Bleeding Heartland: Look how Grassley repays Obama's compliments

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

At yesterday's town-hall meeting in New Hampshire, President Barack
Obama had nice things to say about Senator Chuck Grassley. ... Look at
how Grassley talks about health care reform and tell me whether Obama
should praise Grassley's efforts. Grassley told a crowd in Afton that
the U.S. has the best health care system in the world and that he
won't nationalize healthcare or "do anything that allows Washington
between a doctor and you." Grassley also claimed that Obama "is
pursuing a partisan bill." While in Winterset, Grassley promoted the
latest bogus Republican talking point about killing Granny. Yes, he
went there.

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Iowa Independent: Bob Krause makes cable news debut

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Former state Rep. Bob Krause (D-Fairfield), who is running against
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, was on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show
Wednesday night. While Krause faces stiff odds in his bid to defeat
Iowa's senior senator (assuming he wins the nomination), Democratic
activists who are unsure of the challenger's readiness for prime-time
may take comfort in watching the video, which I've posted below.
(Krause comes in about half-way through the segment, which is about
Grassley's misleading allusions to the debunked "forced euthanasia"
meme.) Krause is not the only Democrat hoping to challenge Grassley
next year. Former state Sen. Tom Fiegen (D-Clarence) is expected to
enter the race any day now.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hawkeye Review: Now it's obvious, the campaign has begun...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

Leadership is in demand Iowa. For a state that is so desperately trying to recover from devastating floods, how is it that we suffer too from a "drought of leadership?" It became obvious to me yesterday when I noted the press release from the Governor's office showcasing the trip by Governor Culver to Eldora today to tour and view the storm damage. This is where those who are paid to handle the Governor's leash are fatally flawed in their perspective and what it informs us of is their utter disdain for the spirit of the Iowa people. You see, we don't show up with press releases (designed to have media and cameras in place), we just show up!

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The Iowa Republican: Branstad's silence is deafening

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

For almost a month now, the possibility that former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad might come out of retirement and run for governor has all but frozen the GOP gubernatorial race. Branstad has been more visible across the state as of late, attending Rotary Club meetings, county GOP meetings, and fundraisers for political candidates. He's also been careful not to sound like a candidate for governor. In a story that ran in Monday's Quad City Times, Margaret Hough, Branstad's long time assistant, said that the former Governor isn't granting any interviews until he makes up his mind. Hough's statement is telling on a number of levels. First, it confirms that Branstad is seriously considering a comeback.

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Bleeding Heartland: Rants misses the point of the Power Fund

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

State Representative Chris Rants promised to run his gubernatorial campaign on "Diet Coke and Casey's pizza and ethanol," but attacks on Governor Chet Culver are the real fuel for his political ambitions. He's been bashing Culver's economic policies all summer. His latest target is the Power Fund, which Rants would ax to help balance the state budget. Culver and his office have repeatedly cited a study by the Green Jobs Initiative Committee, which estimated that Iowa has more than 8,700 "green jobs," a substantial increase in the past few years. Culver has credited the Power Fund with helping create thousands of jobs, while Rants says Culver is misleading Iowans because fewer than 100 jobs can be directly attributed to Power Fund grants.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Iowa Republican: An early look at the 2012 caucuses

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

I have been putting off writing about the 2012 Republican presidential
campaign for some time now. Even though I got my start in Iowa
politics back in 1999 with Steve Forbes' presidential campaign and
have continued to make my living in Iowa politics since then, I have
to admit that all the presidential chatter starts way too early in
Iowa. If I had my way, we would focus making sure Governor Culver is
the first incumbent Governor to lose re-election since 1962. I also
wouldn't mind letting people know that there is a government program
out there that allows you to trade in your clunker of a congressman
for fresh new leadership. The best part of that program is that it
doesn't cost you a dime and could actually end up saving thousands of
tax dollars, but like many things in life, things don't always go my
way.

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Bleeding Heartland: No more bailouts for factory farms

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

If your widget factory produces too many widgets, you will be stuck
with extra inventory, affecting your bottom line. In contrast, if your
factory farm contributes to excess production of pork, high-level
elected officials will ask the federal government to bail you out. I
learned from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement today that last
week nine governors, including Chet Culver, "requested $50 million of
taxpayer money from the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) to buy
over-produced pork off the market. This follows similar requests made
by the National Pork Producers Council in early May and Iowa Secretary
of Ag Bill Northey in June." ... There's no reason to exempt
corporate agriculture from basic laws of supply and demand. Taxpayers
already pay too much to subsidize factory hog farms.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Clarke County Farm Bureau supports taking land from farmers

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

Farm Bureau members support proposed lake ... Surprise, disgust and
anger are some of the feelings I had when I read the Osceola-Sentinel
Tribune Letter to the Editor by the "Board of Directors, Clarke County
Farm Bureau" stating that they were in support of the proposed lake in
Clarke County. This local group now has publicly communicated that
they have chosen to support the land grab for recreational use
disguised in the need for water. I share a portion of the letter
below. ... Obviously the Clarke County group believes that taking land
is for the good of all the county residents. I do not know the thought
process behind what the Clarke County Iowa Farm Bureau used to decide
what 'betterment' is by choosing to support the lake project but after
checking out the Iowa Farm Bureau website I must conclude that yet
another group bites the dust for not living up to what they stand for.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

The Iowa Republican: An apathetic electorate awakens, Democrats in disbelief

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

The video and audio footage from various congressional district
townhall meetings are streaming in from every corner of our country.
From Pennsylvania to California and all points in between, it is clear
that the American people are frustrated with their representatives in
congress and oppose the Obama administration's rush to nationalized
healthcare. However, Democratic leaders, including Iowa Senator Tom
Harkin, don't believe that the outrage over President Obama's
healthcare plan is real. Sen. Harkin and others are out trying to
convince people that the uprising of people who are opposed to
President Obama's health care reform package has been ginned up by
Republicans and people like Rush Limbaugh.

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Hawkeye Review: An open letter from "the mob" to Americans concerned about health care reform

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

Contrary to what you may have heard, Republicans are highly concerned
about health care and ready to meet at the table to discuss reform and
enhancing the way we deliver health care services in our country. We
need to amplify our main point however: As we make our voices heard
this month, there's a loud and clear signal from a majority of the
American public to our elected officials and the White House... "Not
like this!" H.R. 3200 (America's Affordable Health Choices Act) is all
told, 1017 pages of terrible legislation which to our dismay, most of
our elected representatives have failed to thoroughly read, study and
comprehend.

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Iowa Independent: Salier renews threat of Grassley primary

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

If U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) continues to work with Democrats
on health care reform legislation and energy policy, he will face a
primary in 2010, conservative activist Bill Salier predicted during an
interview on WHO-AM. Speaking with controversial radio host Steve
Deace about a recent letter criticizing Grassley penned by GOP state
Rep. Kent Sorenson of Indianola, Salier said it is not surprising
political observers believed it was the first shot of a coming primary
challenge. "If this were 8 to 10 years ago, then yes, I would have
been surprised by that reaction because Grassley was the dominant
force in Iowa politics, in both parties," he said. "Grassley was the
dominant force and had an enormous amount of loyalty."

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: The Iowa Legislature can't enforce its own disclosure rules

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement on Wednesday filed an ethics
complaint against the Iowa Pharmacy Association, which entertained
Governor Chet Culver and numerous state legislators in February but
did not disclose the reception until after journalists started asking
questions five months later. State Representative Kerry Burt, who
attended the event, was arrested later that night for drunk driving. ...
This emerging and growing political scandal raises new questions about
the ability of the House and Senate Ethics Committees to accurately
monitor and regulate these types of events. In 2005, state lawmakers
voted to strip oversight powers from the nonpartisan State Ethics and
Campaign Disclosure Board and task the House and Senate Ethics
Committees with oversight responsibilities. Since then, the number of
reported filings have gone down, as has the reported amount of money
spent at lobbying events.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Boswell breeding mistrust

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

Iowans are angry. They are angry at the direction this state and this
nation are going. They are appalled at the speed with which Congress
has been spending our tax money. They are angry about supposed
solutions to some of our problems will only serve to hinder our
nation. You can see this anger and outrage building across the State
of Iowa and across the United States. From the numerous tea parties
springing up nationwide to the outbursts at Congressional town hall
meetings the frustration that the electorate feels is profound.
Yesterday morning that anger and frustration was on full display in
the rural community of Knoxville, IA.

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Hawkeye GOP: Atheists deserve freedom of speech

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye GOP

I saw over at the Des Moines Register that Des Moines Area Rapid
Transit (DART) has pulled ads placed by an atheist group off their
buses. The ads said: "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." The
ads were sponsored by a group called Iowa Atheists & Freethinkers.
According to the Register, DART began receiving complaints as soon as
the ads went up. As a Christian, I don't see the ad as offensive. The
Bible tells me that there are people who don't believe in God. They
are indeed not alone. My concern is that if DART can reject their ad
because of complaints over its religious content, perhaps my ad will
be next.

The Iowa Republican: The trouble with the truth

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

When Chet Culver ran for Governor in 2006, he told Iowans that he was
a man of "deep religious faith." He ran television ads showing his two
children on his lap reading the Bible, and he also ran a series of ads
on a number of Christian radio stations across the state. Culver's
faith seemed authentic. He was the only candidate in the Democratic
primary to openly oppose gay marriage, a position that he continued to
advance after winning the primary and being elected to office. ...
Culver's strong position on marriage lasted until the day the Iowa
Supreme Court issued its decision that allowed gay marriage in Iowa.
Where did that man of deep religious faith go to? Now that months have
passed since the Courts ruling, Governor Culver is once again publicly
talking about his faith.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Krusty Konservative: I-Jobs money for golf courses and the Meskwaki Nation?

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Governor Chet Culver has deemed his $830 million I-Jobs scheme a
success. You see, since 136 communities from 47 counties have their
hands extended for some "free" money, Culver deems the program to be a
huge success. Unfortunately the money isn't free. We will be paying it
back for decades. In a press release sent out yesterday Culver said,
"These applications, from communities and organizations all across our
state, show there is both great interest in and need for the
opportunities supported by I-JOBS. Throughout Iowa there are hundreds
of projects ready for construction that address real infrastructure
needs in these communities, as well as improve our economy, create
jobs, and continue our efforts to work our way out of the recession."

Bleeding Heartland: Grassley's ties to health and insurance PACs are no joke

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Jon Stewart had a go at Senator Chuck Grassley on Tuesday's edition of
The Daily Show. The "debt and deficit dragon" segment is worth
watching if you missed it. I can't embed the video here, but you can
watch it at TheDailyShow.com or at Radio Iowa. While I enjoy laughing
at Grassley as much as the next person, Paul Blumenthal's reporting on
Grassley for the Sunlight Foundation blog this week is more important
than mocking Grassley's bizarre visual aids and mixed metaphors.
During the second quarter of 2009 alone, Grassley "pulled in $165,100
from health and insurance PACs." Blumenthal posts the details here. It
appears that a large chunk of that money came from two fundraisers
that interest groups opposing health care reform held for Grassley in
late June.

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Politically Speaking: King: Dems haven't halted earmarks

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

This afternoon Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King announced
nabbing $750,000 to help expand U.S. Highway 20 from two to four lanes
in western Iowa. King has been a big proponent of the Highway 20
improvement for economic development reasons and he got an earmark in
HR3288, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related
Agencies Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2010. King actually voted
against the bill on July 23, but wants the public to know he worked
for the highway. This is very timely, because yesterday after King's
Downtown Rotary Club appearance where he slammed health care reform,
I asked him specifically about earmarks...

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John Deeth Blog: Bike ban: Culture war on the county road

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The "Citizens for Safety Coalition of Iowa" (sic) (CSCI) effort to ban
bikes from Iowa's rural roads is about more than the accidents and the
liability costs. It's an interesting bank shot in the culture war.
Sure, there are legitimate worries about bike vs. car safety. Though
as a biker who's been hit (just a bruise), drivers need to worry more
about liability while bikers have to worry about death. But that's not
why this is being pushed right now. Bikes are a cultural symbol with a
lot of connotations. And it's the connotations that are unpopular with
older rural voters--also not coincidentally one of the few remaining
groups that leans Republican. This culture war rhetoric goes unspoken
in the "Safety Coalition" rhetoric.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Iowa GOP outsourcing special election to special interests

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

When your party suffers a net loss of seats in the state House and Senate for four elections in a row, it's time to try something different. In the case of the Republican Party of Iowa, that apparently means outsourcing operations for the September 1 special election in Iowa House district 90. In a July 31 e-mail blast, Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn encouraged activists to contact "Matt Gronewald, our Legislative Majority Fund Director," if they would like to volunteer for Stephen Burgmeier, the Republican candidate in district 90. However, Burgmeier's campaign website tells the real story.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Stephen Burgmeier for Iowa HD 90

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

The resignation of John Whitaker (D) in Iowa HD 90 has left a vacant
seat and the special election to fill it will be on September 1. This
district includes Van Buren County and parts of Wapello and Jefferson
Counties. While this is a Democrat leaning district, in light of what
has been happening it could very well turn into a swing district.
Stephen Burgmeier has received the Republican nomination for this
district. He and his wife, Betty, reside in Lockridge and are
partners in the Hooter Lane Farms sow farm, and farm over 300 acres of
land. Burgmeier is a three time elected Jefferson County Supervisor,
currently serving as chairman, a past district director of the Iowa
Pork Producers, an appointed delegate of the Pork Act boards, and a
Jefferson County Farm Bureau board member.

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Iowa Independent: Huck PAC failed to file disclosure with state campaign board

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Huck PAC, the political action committee of former Arkansas Gov. Mike
Huckabee, failed to file proper disclosure forms with the Iowa Ethics
and Campaign Disclosure Board (IECDB) after it donated $2,500 to the
gubernatorial campaign of Bob Vander Plaats, the board's executive
director said Tuesday. Charlie Smithson, executive director of the
IECDB, said his staff has informed him that Huck PAC did not file the
Verified Statement of Registration (VSR) with his office within 15
days of making the $2,500 contribution to Team Vander Plaats. Filing a
VSR is required if an out-of-state or federal committee makes a
contribution in excess of $50 to an Iowa committee.

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Radio Iowa: Iowa delegation & corduroy jackets

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

Iowa's five congressmen have joined to sponsor a bill that calls for
creation of commemorate coins wihch would be sold to benefit the
Future Farmers of America. According to the FFA's website, there are
about half a million FFA members in the country today. There are an
estimated 12,000 FFA members in Iowa, many of whom own one of the
organization's iconic navy blue corduroy jackets. Congressman Bruce
Braley (D-Waterloo) sent out a news release about the bill. Braley
spokesman Jeff Giertz says Braley did not own one of those corduroy
jackets, but Braley's dad was in the FFA. ... Spokespersons for
Congressmen Steve King (R-Kiron) and Dave Loebsack (D-Mount Vernon)
say neither was in FFA.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Krusty Konservative: Stuck with stupid

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

I'm With Stupid. We are all with stupid. It's because we elected
stupid as our Governor... Governor Culver is all excited because the
state's revenue for July 2009 was $4.7 million above what it was at
the same time last year. While gross tax receipts are up 1.2%, the
non-partisan Legislative Services Agency says that net receipts are
down 6.1%. The LSA also says that the increase in sales tax receipts
was due to the change from a local option school infrastructure tax to
a statewide school infrastructure tax. Governor Culver, who is
responsible for creating a $1 BILLION budget gap for next year's
budget, did acknowledge is his press release that the state continues
to have a negative growth rate.

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Eastern Iowa Conservative: Does Iowa need Terry Branstad?

Excerpted from this post at Eastern Iowa Conservative

The buzz around the Iowa political scene the past few days is that
former four-term Governor Terry Branstad is mulling another run for
Governor. The immediate question that comes to my mind is, are we
really at that point? I mean no disrespect to the former Governor, but
for a party desperately trying to overhaul it's image as being current
and relevant this just seems like going back to the well to me. A lot
has changed over the last 15 years since Branstad last ran for
Governor. For starters, the internet is much more crucial to launching
a campaign as news came out today that the former Cyclone Conservative
and Sen. McKinley aide Don McDowell registered the
'branstadforgoveror.com' domain.

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Bleeding Heartland: Fong announces ten campus coordinators

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Republican gubernatorial candidate Christian Fong responded to a
weekend of renewed speculation surrounding Terry Branstad by
announcing that his campaign has recruited campus coordinators at all
of Iowa's leading universities and several colleges. ... The message to
Republican bigwigs is clear. Fong is serious about this campaign and
is building a strong organization in the GOP's weakest area: the youth
vote. Since colleges will be on summer break by the time next June's
primary rolls around, Fong's campaign will have to implement an
aggressive absentee ballot strategy. Early voting happens to be
another area where Iowa Republicans have been getting mauled in recent
years.

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Politically Speaking: 2010: Can GOP count on gains?

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Shortly into President George W. Bush's second term, by mid/late-2005
the possibility of the Republican Party seeing electoral losses in
2006 began to be discussed. That's what happened. In 2007, the
perception that the 2008 elections would again be favorable for
Democrats took hold, and lo, it occurred. We're hearing a lot now
that, with the dropping national approval rate of President Obama at a
time of energy and health care reform measures and some unease with
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver here over the state budget, 2010 is tracking
well for Republicans. After all, history has shown presidents
typically see a paring back in the number of federal seats held by his
party.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Branstad no longer ruling out governor's race

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Less than three months after saying he would not run against Governor Chet Culver next year, former governor Terry Branstad now tells the Des Moines Register he is "not ruling it out." ... A Branstad candidacy would force some of the lesser-known Republicans from the race, but the GOP field will not clear for him. Bob Vander Plaats will stay in, and he plays to the social conservative constituency that saved Branstad's bacon in his tough 1994 primary against Congressman Fred Grandy. I think there would be a niche for a third candidate who might emphasize Vander Plaats' poor general election prospects and Branstad's record of fiscal mismanagement as governor.

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Blog for Iowa: Tom Harkin stumps for Curt Hanson at fundraiser in Jefferson County

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

... Senator Harkin provided an update of the debate over health care reform in Washington. He spoke about the need for Democrats to take the lead, about bi-partisanship and about the difference in approaches between his committee (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) and that of Senator Baucus (Finance), asserting that Health Education, Labor and Pensions, had a more Democratic approach to creating the legislation they moved out of committee last week. Senator Harkin also discussed what citizens can expect of a Democratically sponsored Health Care Reform bill.

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The Iowa Republican: An open letter to Senator Charles Grassley

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

By Representative Kent Sorenson ... as I watch you carry out your duties in the United States Senate as of late, I must confess that not only am I puzzled by some of your recent decisions, but so are thousands of your constituents across the state of Iowa as well. ... despite all of these obstacles, and the fact that I went house-to-house in a Democratic district clearly and plainly defining where I stand on every issue in our party's platform, my campaign defied conventional wisdom and emerged victorious on Election Day. ... Ours is a party that should stand for the strong convictions in its platform, because it is supported by a grassroots that consists of people who share those strong convictions. ... That's why many of us back home here in Iowa are troubled with some of your decisions as of late.

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HawkeyeGOP: Platform, principle or party

Excerpted from this post at HawkeyeGOP

... Anyone who served with me on the platform committee knew that I was a conservative. A social conservative, a fiscal conservative and a constitutionalist. However because of my self-imposed neutrality in our conventions most in our district did not really know that I was a conservative. That changed one year at the district convention. ... Our proposed platform, in the section on Republican Party and Commendations contained the following plank: "We support a ban on party funds, including soft money, at all levels for candidates who support abortion." ... The motion to remove the plank had prevailed by one vote. I don't remember the exact number but let's say it was 300 yea to 299 nay. Well, I had been looking for a way to make a statement for my principles within what I considered my ethical duty as chair. I announced the vote as follows: "The vote is three hundred in favor to two hundred ninety-nine opposed. The chair casts a NO vote creating a tie. Therefore, failing to achieve a majority, the amendment fails — the plank shall be retained." I had taken a stand on my principles and cast the deciding vote. At that point the place erupted. It was about as close to a riot as we Republicans get.

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Andy Szal

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