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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Essential Estrogen: Grassley takes time to discuss Time

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

You might think that between health care reform, banking regulation
reform, possible cap-and-trade legislation and tweeting that U.S. Sen.
Chuck Grassley's dance card is filled. Well, think again. A press
release sent out tonight by his office provides the prepared text of a
floor statement offered today in which Grassley takes on a Time
Magazine cover article on sustainable agriculture and "cheap food." In
the title of the speech Grassley gets to the heart of the matter,
describing the article as "skewed." ... While I do not 100 percent
agree with Grassley's assessment of Walsh's report, I do agree with
quite a bit of it. There continues to be a disconnect between
consumers and producers of food. That is, a lot of light has been
shown on certain agricultural practices that seem unnecessarily cruel
to those who don't understand why they are done.

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The Iowa Republican: The Iowa Film Office: We've seen this script before

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

For those of us who still enjoy reading the newspaper, there has been
more than enough column inches recently about the Iowa Film Office,
the state tax incentive that has lured the film industry to Iowa, and
the serious lapses in that program. The Governor is incensed, the
State is on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars, the State
Auditor and Attorney General have been called in, and some of the
people responsible for the debacle have been fired. After reading two
articles in the Des Moines Register regarding this unfortunate reality
show, it has became apparent how the remaining acts of this script
will play out. The story will seem familiar to anyone who has watched
government botch a program and then scurry to offer up a scapegoat.

Bleeding Heartland: Right to target SEIU in war against ACORN

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The Congressional Democrats' stampede to join Republican efforts to defund ACORN was stupid on many levels, as Paul Rosenberg explained in this post. Among other things, Rosenberg argued, Democrats empowered and validated the GOP's strategy of demonization. They may have thought cutting off ACORN's funding would cause Republicans to stop exploiting the issue, but of course, the opposite is true. Congressman Steve King (IA-05) has been one of the leading warriors against ACORN for at least a year, and lately I've been getting anti-ACORN links regularly from his Twitter feed. I saw on Iowa Independent today that David Weigel of the Washington Independent cornered King at the How to Take Back America Conference on Friday. Weigel asked King about the "next natural target" in the campaign to "defund the left."

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Where was Governor Culver during filmgate?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

By Rep. Rod Roberts ... Over the past week Iowans have discovered how
some self-interested film producers exploited a state program that was
intended to boost the state's economy. Film producers claimed tax
credits for purchasing expensive luxury vehicles, such as Mercedes and
Range Rovers. Some film producers inflated their production costs to
receive larger-than-deserved tax credits, while others didn't even
bother to provide receipts for their purchases to substantiate their
tax-credit claims. The State Auditor and Attorney General are only
beginning to learn about the scope and extent of this egregious tax
fraud, and I am anxious to hear the conclusions of their
investigations so Iowans can get to the bottom of what went wrong.

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Hawkeye Review: The worst job in Iowa politics...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

It's day one for John Frew today. Welcome to our nightmare...
Governor Culver's new Chief of Staff will have his hands full to say
the least. Back in July when the appointment was announced, Chet
Culver had formidable challenges ahead and in just weeks since, our
chief of state has been rocked with a series of significant political
and administrative setbacks. ... In only 8 months, Chet Culver's
approval rating has plummeted by 37%. Even Democrats are getting
tired of his incompetence and COS (Chief of Staff) Frew won't have the
luxury of a honeymoon in his new position. In fact, many Iowans would
vote to take our governor to "divorce court" if such an option were
available to us right now. Although John Frew is considered a
political "heavyweight" by senior party officials, I'm not sure he can
reverse the damage path and prevent the inevitable consequences that
lie ahead for the Governor.

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Essential Estrogen: Christian Fong plans closed door gubernatorial tour

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Christian Fong, who I believe is the youngest of the Republican
hopefuls set for a 2010 gubernatorial primary, issued a press release
about an upcoming 17-city tour. While that in and of itself is typical
campaign fare, a note at the bottom of the announcement was unusual.
Fong will be making himself available to members of the press prior to
each event, but will not be allowing press to attend the actual
events. ... If there is one thing residents of Iowa (and New
Hampshire) are well versed in doing it is attending campaign events,
cutting through the noise and developing an opinion based on the
policy expressed. For the record, we are also not so dense as to
believe that with cameras and tape recorders whirling in the
background that what we say is private.

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Bleeding Heartland: Why I shook Bob Vander Plaats' hand this weekend

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

This weekend, I went home to my hometown of Centerville for our big annual Pancake Day festival. Although you've probably never heard of it, and it probably didn't bring in as many guests as the Dave Matthews concert in Des Moines, it's still a pretty big event for the southern part of the state. ... This being an odd-numbered year, I wasn't expecting to see any political candidates beyond our statehouse representatives and whoever is running for mayor this year. I was surprised then, to see Bob Vander Plaats round the corner of the parade route, shaking hands. He walked alongside his billboard on a clean, white pickup truck that might have belonged to a local farmer but was too nice to be a true "farm truck". Alongside him walked about six or eight people in crisp, white Team VP t-shirts handing out baseball card-sized campaign cards.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Krusty Konservative: Grading our gubernatorial candidates' handling of the IDED scandal

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Last week started much like it ended the Friday before, with a
potentially huge political scandal involving the Culver
administration's mishandling of the Film, Television, and Video
Project Promotion Program. With so much attention on this scandal,
I've decided to grade our GOP gubernatorial candidates on how they
performed last week. Just like in our struggling schools, I had to
grade on a curve because if I didn't, everyone would fail. Before we
get started, I've decided not to include Paul McKinley in these
ratings because he is not a candidate for Governor. He's made that
very clear, and he should do us all a favor and just make the
announcement. I hope he is having a good time in Italy. I'm sure
Culver wishes he was out of the country.

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Bleeding Heartland: Kiernan promises Grassley 'the race of his life'

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Iowa Democratic Party chair Michael Kiernan spoke confidently today
about a "first-round draft pick" who is ready to run against Senator
Chuck Grassley, Kay Henderson reported for Radio Iowa. ... Speaking to
reporters after today's taping, Kiernan said the big-name challenger
is "100 percent committed" to this race. Your guess is as good as
mine. A retired politician? Christie Vilsack? A celebrity in a
non-political field? Someone from the business world? (Retired
Principal Financial Group CEO Barry Griswell has ruled out running, as
has Fred Hubbell, the incoming interim director of the Iowa Department
of Economic Development.) Grassley's approval rating has fallen this
year, but it'll take a lot to convince me that we can defeat him. He's
still got a strong brand name and 30 years of constituent service
behind him.

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Iowa Independent: Harkin's U.S. Attorney picks head to Senate for confirmation

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

The recommendations of two Iowa attorneys as the next U.S. Attorneys
for Iowa have been formally approved by the White House, and their
names have been sent to the U.S. Senate for consideration and possible
confirmation. In March, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) recommended
Stephanie Rose to lead the Northern District and Nick Klinefeldt to
lead the Southern District. Upon learning that his two recommendations
would now begin the formal confirmation process, Harkin said, that
both candidates "are superb attorneys who have the character,
experiences and expertise to vigorously and fairly enforce the law."
Both of Iowa's U.S. Senators -- Harkin and Chuck Grassley (R) -- will
now file paperwork with the Senate Judicial Committee in relation to
the two candidates.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Rasmussen poll shows Culver losing to Branstad, Vander Plaats

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The Republican polling firm Rasmussen Reports surveyed 500 "likely
voters" in Iowa on September 22 and came up with bad numbers for
Governor Chet Culver. Former Governor Terry Branstad leads Culver by
54 percent to 34 percent, and Bob Vander Plaats leads Culver by 43
percent to 39 percent. Culver's approval rating is 43 percent, with 53
percent of respondents disapproving of the job he is doing. Topline
results and favorability ratings are here. Culver was viewed very or
somewhat favorably by 43 percent of respondents and viewed very or
somewhat unfavorably by 50 percent. Branstad's favorability was 64
percent, and his unfavorable numbers were just 29 percent. Vander
Plaats was viewed favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 30
percent.

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The Iowa Republican: What is the Des Moines Register hiding?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Governor Chet Culver can't turn around without being confronted with
new poll results that show him losing badly in a head-to-head match-up
with former Governor Terry Branstad. In early July,
TheIowaRepublican.com poll show Culver losing to Branstad by 16
points. Later that month, a poll commissioned by the Iowa First
Foundation showed him losing to Branstad by 19 points. Now, the latest
Rasmussen poll shows him down by 20 points. The latest round of
polling numbers paints a much more disturbing picture for Governor
Culver and his re-election team. While he continues to get pummeled by
a well-known former governor, he also trails the lesser-known Bob
Vander Plaats by four points. No matter how Culver and his team want
to spin his poll numbers, the first term governor might be the first
incumbent to lose re-election since 1962.

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Price of Politics, Etc.: Iowa lawmaker says legislators knew of film issues early summer

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics, Etc.

As we continue to follow "who knew what, when" in the movie mess, film
industry scandal, whatever the headline of the day is...I offer this,
for what it's worth. On Tuesday, Governor Chet Culver in Cedar Rapids
said at least three times he learned of the tax credit fiasco either
"last Tuesday" or "last week". When I asked him to clarify later on
during his news conference, he said he had heard about possible
problems before then and that's why he said he directed his legal
counsel to push for the audit/review/investigation (whatever the
proper term would be here) that now-former Iowa Dept of Economic
Director Mike Tramontina discussed in a memo last Wednesday. I talked
with State Senator Rich Olive, a Democrat from Story City, Wednesday.
He chairs the government oversight committee, which declined to look
into the movie mess as its already-scheduled meeting Thursday morning.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Like a good neighbor, Fred Hubble is there

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Mike Tramontina was removed from his post as the Director of the Iowa
department of Economic Development because some movie producers used
state money to purchase a Land Rover and Mercedes. His replacement,
Fred Hubbell, lives in a million dollar house and probably drives has
a Land Rover and has Mercedes in the garage collecting dust. Hubbell
will probably use his new state gig to give him a little spending
money to throw around. With the embarrassment of the IDED scandal,
it's safe to assume that Governor Culver is going to keep a close eye
on the department. In fact, Culver is so serious that he tapped his
good neighbor, Fred Hubbell, to run it. Hubbell basically lives in the
backyard of Terrace Hill. He bought the property in January of 2007,
the same time that Culver took office.

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Bleeding Heartland: High-profile showdown coming in Senate District 37

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Next year's campaign in Iowa Senate district 37 will be closely
watched statewide and may draw some national attention. Republican
State Representative Kent Sorenson has decided to challenge first-term
Senator Staci Appel instead of seeking re-election to Iowa House
district 74. The socially conservative Sorenson made a splash this
summer with his open letter imploring Senator Chuck Grassley to
provide "principled and bold leadership" to advance the Republican
Party platform. Appel is assistant Senate majority leader and chairs
the State Government Committee. Her husband is one of the seven Iowa
Supreme Court justices who unanimously struck down our Defense of
Marriage Act in April. ... My opinion on this matchup hasn't changed
since Robinson first discussed the prospect in May: Bring it on.

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DailyKos: GOP congressman: Same-sex marriage is socialist

Excerpted from this post at DailyKos

Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) latest lunacy, this time claiming that
same-sex marriage is socialism: "They want public affirmation. They
want access to public funds and resources. Eventually all those
resources will be pooled because that's the direction we're going. And
not only is it a radical social idea, it is a purely socialist concept
in the final analysis." Let's tease this out for a moment. First, if
Steve King thinks same-sex marriage is giving homosexuals the same
rights as heterosexuals and he thinks that same-sex marriage is
socialism, that must mean he thinks opposite-sex marriage is also
socialism, right? In other words, marriage is a socialist institution,
and married men and women are the communist menace. But wait, it
doesn't stop there. Because same-sex marriage is illegal in most parts
of the country, the obvious implication of Steve King's comment is
that gays are the only capitalists America has left.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Christian Fong for Governor: Hollywood vs Underwood

Excerpted from this post at Christian Fong for Governor

I'm from the small town of Underwood, Iowa. Cradled into the Loess
Hills, it is a typical small Iowa town, with regular, hard-working
families. It's the Iowa I know. But the Iowa that the state government
knows apparently looks more like Hollywood than Underwood. Tax credits
for new luxury cars? Last second deals funneling hundreds of millions
of dollars to film producers? Par for the course in Des Moines these
days. ... Truth be told, we all like to see Iowa portrayed in a
positive light on the big screen. We like seeing our local artists
have opportunities. It is why the Iowa Film Office exists. But there's
a time and a place, and 2009 was not it. We're a state recovering from
the second largest natural disaster in US history, and in a year with
yawning structural deficits and plunging revenues plugged by $830
million of ill-advised, long-term bonds. Hollywood tax credits are a
very low priority.

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Bleeding Heartland: More fallout from film tax-credit scandal

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Governor Chet Culver took more steps on Monday to deal with the
scandal surrounding Iowa's tax credits for the movie industry. ...
Naturally, Republican legislative leaders are blaming the "governor's
lack of oversight and failure to properly manage the film tax credit"
for the problems. Several people I've spoken with share Bleeding
Heartland user American007's view that this scandal is going to become
a major headache for Culver, like wrongdoing at the Central Iowa
Employment Training Consortium was used to attack Governor Tom Vilsack
and other Democrats a few years ago. It's not clear to me how Culver
could have or should have micromanaged the film tax credit program.
Upon learning of problems, he has acted promptly and appropriately. If
the governor were resisting change to this program, protecting the
officials who screwed up, or blocking an investigation, that would be
a different story.

Offenburger.com: Ah, those "golden memories" Iowans have about Terry Branstad's 16 years as governor

Excerpted from this post at Offenburger.com

Former Governor Terry Branstad's flirtation with running for that
office again - nearly 12 years after he left Terrace Hill and nearly
16 years since he was a candidate - was a bad idea when we first
started hearing about it in mid-summer. It's an even worse idea now as
autumn begins. I say that despite the Des Moines Sunday Register just
having reported new Iowa Poll numbers that political columnist Kathie
Obradovich says provide a "green light for Branstad." And I say that
even though when Branstad was serving an unprecedented four terms and
16 years as governor, I was one of his most outspoken supporters. I'm
an active, loyal Republican who still really admires Branstad's
career of public service and his subsequent success in leading the
renaissance of Des Moines University as its president. But as for him
running for governor again? Enough is enough.

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Politically Speaking: Johnson pushes Branstad to run for governor

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

The Draft (Terry) Branstad Political Action Committee has operated for a few weeks with the goal of pushing the former Republican governor to seek a fourth fifth term ... after two Democratic governors have held the post since Branstad departed. Branstad, 62, has said he's make making a decision in October on whether to leave his post as president of Des Moines University to return to politics. This week Draft Branstad has announced some Republican state legislators who've joined the team. Yesterday it was Jeff Kaufmann of Wilton, this morning it's David Johnson of Ocheyedan from far Northwest Iowa State Senate District 3.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hawkeye Review: DED: Just the tip of the iceberg...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

I'm sure you've heard of the idiom, "It's only the tip of the
iceberg." Certainly, Iowan's have every right to be concerned when we
learn of systemic corruption in government. Governor Culver was
backed into a political corner in the past few days with no options
available other than to demand the immediate resignation of DED
(Department of Economic Development) Director Mike Tramontina. To be
blunt, Culver should have fired Tramontina in lieu of his resignation.
... I propose to you that the real story yet to be revealed is the
billions in waste, mismanagement and fraud that is built into our
state budget and in some cases, cleverly and deceptively hidden deep
within the bowels of state government by a combination of incompetent
or corrupt department managers.

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The Iowa Republican: Kent Sorenson to challenge Appel in Senate race

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

State Representative Kent Sorenson has decided to give up the seat he
won in the Iowa House of Representatives last year and will instead
look to knock off another Democrat incumbent, Staci Appel. Sorenson's
decision to run for the Senate seat 37 sets up an intriguing matchup
which is likely to garner state-wide attention. In 2008, Sorenson
defeated State Representative Mark Davitt by 163 votes. Sorenson's
victory surprised many Republican insiders that year. Since his
campaign wasn't on their radar as a potential pick-up, Sorenson was
left to himself to orchestrate a winning campaign. With the help of a
dedicated volunteer base, Sorenson pulled off the upset of the night
when he sent Rep. Davitt home after serving three terms in the Iowa
House.

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John Deeth Blog: Sorensen vs. Appel

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

...I guess that means Sorenson isn't going to primary Chuck Grassley.
Yep, Sorenson is that breed of Republican, a "Chuck Grassley's too
liberal" type. So he'll no doubt be running against Justice Appel as
much as Senator Appel. (And as we saw in House 90, people have lots of
stuff other than gay marriage on their minds.) This could also mean a
comeback attempt by Democrat Mark Davitt, who Sorenson knocked off in
a 2008 upset. ... Recall that in 2008 the Iowa GOP scuttled a lot of
other efforts at end game and concentrated on the House, the only
thing the felt they had a shot at winning. In the early stages of
2010, it looks like they're throwing everything they have at the
governor instead.

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Bleeding Heartland: Iowans not eager to overturn marriage equality

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Marriage equality is here to stay in Iowa, if the latest statewide
poll for the Des Moines Register is any guide: "Forty-one percent say
they would vote for a (constitutional amendment to) ban (same-sex
marriage), and 40 percent say they would vote to continue gay
marriage. The rest either would not vote or say they are not sure."
... Selzer and Co. surveyed 803 Iowans between September 14 and 16,
and the poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. I recommend
clicking through to view the chart showing the breakdown by party
affiliation on this issue. Among independents, only 44 percent either
oppose or strongly oppose the Iowa Supreme Court's decision that
cleared the way for marriage equality, while 32 percent "don't care
much" and 22 percent either favor or strongly favor it.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Bad poll numbers + major scandal = chaos for Culver

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Earlier this summer, Michael Kiernan, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, warned Iowans to be weary of polls that were conducted by TheIowaRepublican.com and the Iowa First Foundation. Kiernan said, "They ask loaded questions to get desired results." Kiernan made this statement in an effort to diminish the coverage of the polls by traditional media sources. The polls by TheIowaRepublican.com and the Iowa First Foundation were both conducted by reputable pollsters who have been involved in numerous races all across the country. For the most part, the Iowa First Foundation's poll echoed the findings of TheIowaRepublican.com poll, yet Kiernan, and some in the media, discredited the polls because of who commissioned them. This past weekend, the Des Moines Register released the results of its poll, which was conducted between Monday and Wednesday of last week.

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God, Politics and Rock 'n' Roll: Conservatives are the new radicals

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

As a Republican, I've gritted my teeth at the sarcasm, snarkiness, and
outright hostility directed at GOP leaders over the past few years by
the left. But I've respected the opposition's right to express
themselves freely and passionately. Now that Democrats are the new
Establishment, it's the right adopting the tactics of the left. "And
the 1971 agitator's handbook 'Rules for Radicals' -- written by Saul
Alinsky, the Chicago community organizer who was the subject of
Hillary Clinton's senior thesis, and whose teachings helped shape
Barack Obama's work on Chicago's South Side -- has been among Amazon's
top 100 sellers for the past month, put there in part by people who
'also bought' books by Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck, and South Carolina
Republican Sen. Jim DeMint."

Bleeding Heartland: Latham, King vote against student loan reform

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The House of Representatives passed the Student Aid and Fiscal
Responsibility Act on Thursday on a mostly party-line vote of 253 to
171 (roll call here). Iowa Democrats Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack and
Leonard Boswell all voted for the bill, while Republicans Tom Latham
and Steve King voted against it. ... (T)he House Education and Labor
Committee's estimates on how many students in each Congressional
district will be able to receive Pell Grants during the 2010/2011
academic year under this reform. The estimate is 16,355 students in
Iowa's fourth district (Latham) and 16,301 students in Iowa's fifth
district (King). Overall, just four Democrats voted against the bill:
Allen Boyd (FL-02), Paul Kanjorski (PA-11), Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin
(SD-AL), and Mike McMahon (NY-13).

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Iowa Independent: Braley resists bashing Baucus bill, focuses on final product

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Although some members of the U.S. House have voiced firm opposition to
the long-awaited initial health care reform bill presented this week
by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), chairman of the Senate Finance
Committee, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) isn't necessarily among
them. The process is not a sprint, he reminded reporters on his
Thursday morning conference call, but more of a marathon in which the
finish line must remain the top priority. "I'm not at all happy with
some of the things that were left out of the Senate (Finance
Committee) bill, but the reality is that this is not the final Senate
bill. It is the chairman's mark," Braley said. "It was the product of
work by six senators and, in the end, we're not sure how much the
Republican senators contributed to this chairman's mark since none of
them support (it)."

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Krusty Konservative: Krusty endorsement: Christian Fong

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

I know many of you think I hate Christian Fong. Let me be very clear,
I don't hate the kid, I just don't think he is ready to be Governor of
the State of Iowa. Yesterday, Fong's campaign issued a press release
regarding the mess that IPERS is in. After reading it I wondered why
he's running for Governor and not State Treasurer. ... Look, I'm not
kidding. Iowa Republicans have a tremendous opportunity to take out an
entrenched incumbent in Michael Fitzgerald. His stewardship of the
IPERS fund is beyond embarrassing. I would like to see nothing more
than Republicans find a young, smart, articulate, candidate to run
against him, and nobody fits that bill better than Christian Fong.
Hey, I'd rather be the Governor too, but at age 32 Christian Fong has
an entire lifetime to pursue higher office. I can't think of a better
situation for Fong to start his political career. In fact if he would
happen to abandon his gubernatorial campaign and run for State
Treasurer, I would wholeheartedly endorse his campaign.

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IowaHawk: Farm boy

Excerpted from this post at IowaHawk

State Highway 9 is a two lane strip of asphalt that cuts across the
northernmost tier of counties in Iowa, from Larchwood to Lansing. If
you drive its 320 miles, as I have done many times, you will not be
dissuaded from the stereotype of Iowa as a flat boring expanse of
cornfields. The few points of interest include Lake Okoboji and the
headquarters of Winnebago in Forest City. It takes you near Mason
City, the model for "River City" in Meredith Willson's The Music Man,
and the site of the plane crash that claimed Buddy Holly after a
February 1959 concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake. About an
hour of cornfields east of there, when you reach the outskirts of
Cresco, you will see a sign welcoming you to the hometown of Norman
Borlaug. ... Norman Borlaug died Saturday at 95, leaving a
humanitarian legacy equaled by few in history. By some estimates his
life's work saved over a billion human beings from starvation. That
life work was farming, and it took him from a 106 acre spread outside
Cresco to grain fields around the planet.

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John Deeth Blog: Will Iowa City progressives sit this one out?

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Under-rated songwriter Larry McMurtry once wrote a song with a chorus
"I'm not from here, I just live here," in which he decries the
aesthetic decline of his adopted town. ... In my early years here,
candidates liked to call themselves "lifelong resident" in their
campaign literature, or if that wasn't possible, advertise a 30-plus
year longevity in town. It was a code word against candidates who
Weren't One Of Us, the Julianna Johnstons and Rusty Martins who showed
up on mid-1990s ballots. Those terms have popped up again in this
year's council race as "Lifelong Resident" Terry Dickens and "32 Year
Resident" Susan Mims face off against students Jared Bazzell, Jeff
Shipley and Dan Tallon. Assuming Dickens and Mims lead the October 6
primary, as seems likely, the November 3 election will be a faceoff
with clear-cut lines. Town vs. Gown for the first time in the 34 years
since Iowa City adopted its current convoluted district election
system.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Iowa Independent: Grassley: Dems are pushing me away from negotiations

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate are pushing an artificial deadline for health care and, thus, pushing Republican lawmakers away from negotiations, Sen. Chuck Grassley said Tuesday in a statement. Grassley also returned to two debunked rumors about the health care bill, that it will provide money for abortion and that it will provide health insurance for illegal immigrants, as reasons why he cannot support the legislation in its current form.

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True Blue Iowan: Grassley is the new Lucy holding the football

Excerpted from this post at True Blue Iowan

Sen. Max Baucus worked hard to find a "bipartisan compromise" with Grassley and two other Republicans. In the end he gave them everything and got nothing in return. I'll join the chorus of others who say, "Fine, if Republicans won't play ball let's go back and make this a Democrat sponsored bill with full public option, cost controls and tax the rich to pay for it." This insightful blog sums up our Chuck Grassley: "what this really means is that in order to meet Grassley's definition of bipartisanship, Dems must effectively hand over to Republicans total veto power over health care reform. It's that simple."

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Bleeding Heartland: Seeking Republican willing to denounce armed rebellion

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Now that we're done with the Joe "You Lie" Wilson sideshow, I want to talk about a different kind of Republican disrespect for normal political disagreement. Having been raised by a Republican of the now-extinct Rockefeller variety, I am often struck by how extreme the GOP has become. Chuck Grassley and Terry Branstad were on the far right in the early 1980s, but many Iowa conservatives now consider them "moderate" or even "liberal." Mainstream extremism in the Republican Party is depressing on many levels.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Perseverance could pay off for the GOP's second tier

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Many people have speculated that once former Governor Terry Branstad
enters the gubernatorial race, the current field of Republican
candidates will shrink substantially. Some speculate that a Branstad
candidacy would clear the entire field except for Bob Vander Plaats.
The chances of a two person primary between Branstad and Vander Plaats
are slim. While a Branstad candidacy will winnow the field, I believe
that at least three candidates will remain throughout the remainder of
the primary. Both Branstad and Vander Plaats should be considered top
tier candidates in the Republican gubernatorial primary. If Branstad
enters the race, he will bring with him a large, dedicated group of
supporters.

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Blog for Iowa: Grassley challenger Tom Fiegen talks to Blog for Iowa about wedge issues and Fiegenomics

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

... As a bankruptcy lawyer, I see people in dire straits every day,
and I heard him saying that it's not that bad - if you look at the
Great Depression, it's not that bad, 10% unemployment is not bad -
and my first reaction is, who are you talking to, buddy? The second
thing is, as I look at what the President is trying to accomplish, I
see that there are people who either call themselves Blue Dog
Democrats or the Republicans that don't believe in the President, they
don't believe in the things he ran on, and they are resisting change.
A second factor besides disgust with the incumbent, is a desire to
help the president enact many of the programs he talked about,
especially health care. Third, I would say that I have something to
add to the U.S. Senate, to be one of the 100 people in the room,
talking about the problems facing the country, and what can we do to
solve those problems.

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Iowa Independent: Journal reporter looks back at Branstad's last primary campaign

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Former Gov. Terry Branstad is getting a lot of attention lately as he
ponders a return to politics after more than a decade out of office.
And with a an appearance in northeast Iowa to speak at a fundraiser
for state Sen. Pat Grassley on his schedule, Sioux City Journal
political reporter Bret Hayworth decided to take a look back at
Branstad's last competitive campaign, the 1994 GOP gubernatorial
primary. The race, which saw Branstad challenged from his left by
moderate Republican Congressman Fred Grandy after 12 years in office,
was contentious and, at times, ugly. Hayworth came across a Journal
story about Grandy packing up his Congressional office after narrowly
losing the primary 52 percent to 48 percent.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Popular Progressive: Weighing the public option v. health care cooperatives

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

Because of increasing pressure from both the right and left, Congress is in the position of either a public option for health care reform, a private health care consortium/cooperative, or not doing either and adding a trigger mechanism that would kick in if the private sector failed on benchmarks to ensure all Americans have access to affordable health care. I have written about the public option in general and will compare the benefits of it against the cooperative and exchange options. Finally, I will discuss the trigger option. According to Consumer Watchdog.Com "a carefully constructed 'public option' to private insurance would provide an antidote to the market consolidation that has propelled premium increases and administrative inefficiencies, shrunk coverage and degraded quality."

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God, Politics and Rock 'n' Roll: Health care debate makes public "sick" of incumbents

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

I'm a political junkie, so I always need to remind myself that the normal working class Americans doesn't pay NEARLY the attention to the political back-and-forth that Tara and I do. ABC News reports that the public opposes President Obama's health care reform plan--even after his speech. Good news for Republicans, right? Nope. Instead, the angry debate is increasing the number of Americans who identify themselves as independents to a record high. Analysts who think the "tea party" movement is a GOP thing--or resort to the now-cliched defense of "racism!"--are ignoring the larger frustration felt by working class citizens.

Hawkeye Review: Still rubbing my eyes...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

Years ago, had you approached me in the midst of the Culver/Nussle campaign and predicted a Culver victory... to be followed a few years later with a Harkin steak fry featuring guest speaker, "Senator Al Franken," I would have called in the men with white jackets to have you restrained! ... Like the title of this post states, I'm still rubbing my eyes in disbelief. However, we're not confronted with a skit from Saturday Night Live. This is political reality we're dealing with and now Iowa's own Senator Tom Harkin is chair of the powerful Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Over one million voices appeared on the national mall Saturday to protest health care reform and yet the message was somewhat "muzzled" by a main stream media that failed to practice journalism and cover the story of the weekend.

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John Deeth Blog: Senate candidates Krause, Fiegen work Steak Fry

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

"He's gonna get the election of his life next year," State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald said of Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. Fitzgerald got a big whoop from the crowd at Sunday's Tom Harkin steak fry. The two main Democrats hoping to take on Grassley were also on hand, working the edges of the crowd hoping to gain an edge with the party faithful. Former legislators Tom Fiegen and Bob Krause are hoping to give Grassley his first tough race since he was a challenger in 1980. But first they need to get past each other. Krause and Fiegen, neither of whom spoke from the podium, didn't have a negative word for each other Sunday, preferring to keep the focus on Grassley. "Philosophically, we're very close," Krause said of Fiegen. "In terms of style, I'm a fairly aggressive campaigner."

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Blog for Iowa: Harkin Steak Fry with jokes

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

As we drove into Indianola Sunday, shortly after noon, we started to
tense up, wondering where the protesters were going to appear. Bracing
ourselves, we continued across town. Spotting the "Harkin Steak Fry"
sign on the corner, we kept going, and right before the Warren County
Fairgrounds, there was a small gaggle of people with some signage. We
were by them too quickly to even read the signs, so we weren't even
sure whose side they were on. That was it. There was to be no further
assault on our senses for the rest of the day - on to the Democratic
oasis that would be the Harkin Steak Fry (well, you couldn't really
have a Harkin Tofu Steam, as the star of the day, the junior Senator
from Minnesota, Al Franken, would later joke). First speaker, Michael
Mauro, Secretary of State. He reminded us that there are indeed
important philosophical differences between Dems and the GOP when it
comes to voting.

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The Iowa Republican: Draft Branstad on radio

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

The Draft Branstad group, which is headed by former state legislator
Sandy Greiner, has launched a state-wide radio ad titled "Real
Leadership." TheIowaRepublican.com has learned that the ad will run in
the Sioux City, Omaha/Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Waterloo, Cedar
Rapids, and Davenport markets. "This past week, I have heard from
people all across this wonderful state, thanking me for launching
Draft Branstad PAC. The encouragement has been overwhelmingly positive
and encouraging. Iowans know Governor Terry Branstad is a proven and
trusted leader who can help our state rebound in these difficult
times," commented Sandy Greiner. Greiner continued, "An outpouring of
support from individuals across the state has enabled this grassroots
movement to go on the airwaves with this new radio ad. To learn more
about this growing grassroots movement, please visit our website or
find us on Twitter or Facebook."

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Essential Estrogen: Officials say goodbye to native son who fed the hungry

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Dr. Norman Borlaug, a son of immigrants who fled to the U.S. when
faced with famine in Norway and a man who taught people throughout the
world how to increase crop production, died late Saturday night in
Texas from complications of cancer. The Iowa native, who is credited
as being the father of the Green Revolution, was 95. Borlaug was
raised in Iowa, on a family farm near Cresco, and later attended the
University of Minnesota. He was an avid wrestler and incredible
agricultural scientist. The Nobel committee honored Borlaug in 1970
for his contributions to high-yield crop varieties (primarily wheat
and rice) and his contributions to developing countries. He is
believed to have averted a global famine following WWII by helping
create and promote high-yield wheat in India and Pakistan -- his
process for development being later applied to rice and other crops
throughout the Middle East and Asia.

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Price of Politics, Etc.: Steve King supports Joe Wilson

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics, Etc.

Iowa Congressman Steve King is backing up the fellow Republican who
has become famous or infamous for his shout, "you're a liar", to
President Obama during his address to Congress last week. The Politico
reports King is sending around a letter to gather supporters to back
South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson as Democrats look to punish him for his
remark.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Harkin had the votes to pass Employee Free Choice Act

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

I mentioned on Labor Day that I haven't heard much lately about Senator Tom Harkin's efforts to reach a compromise on the Employee Free Choice Act. The EFCA is one of the top legislative priorities for organized labor and needs 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a Republican filibuster. Several Democrats who supported the bill in 2007, knowing that President Bush would veto it, either oppose the bill or have dodged the question this year. Harkin has been the lead Senate negotiator on EFCA and is replacing the late Senator Ted Kennedy as chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Speaking to the American Rights at Work group yesterday, Harkin said he had 60 votes lined up behind a compromise this summer.

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Krusty Konservative: Obama's America

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

When Governor Culver and the Democrats made it illegal to smoke in public places, including bars and restaurants, small business owners went nuts over the fact that our government could step in and tell them how to run their business. In that case, they could sell cigarettes to their clientele, but they just couldn’t smoke them inside. If they were upset over that, I'd love to hear what they have to say about Obama's speech last night. In one breath, President Obama said that government wouldn’t take over the insurance industry, but in another breath he listed a slew of new mandates that would force them out of business. Obama said that he supports the following mandates on insurance companies: They cannot deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. They cannot drop your coverage for any reason. They can no long place a cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime.

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Essential Estrogen: Iowa Democrats plan live feed from Harkin's annual steak fry

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

The Iowa Democratic Party plans to offer a live internet video stream of U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin's annual steak fry fundraiser that is scheduled for this Sunday in Indianola. Keynote speaker at the event will be the junior U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken. "We are excited to launch a new way of including our supporters who can't be a part of an important event like the Harkin Steak Fry," said Michael Kiernan, chairman of the IDP. "There is a lot of interest in Sen. Franken, and I think Iowa Democrats are looking forward to a chance to get to know this new neighbor-state senator better." The event, which is set to take place this year at the Warren County Fairgrounds, typically draws Democrats from across the state. It will mark Franken's first cross into Iowa since he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

John Deeth Blog: Joe Wilson takes one for the team

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

I can only find one explanation for the episode of Tourette's by Rep.
Joe Wilson ... during the president's health care speech: stagecraft.
Joe Wilson took one for the team. They looked at the advance script,
picked the point in the speech, and through some process Wilson's the
guy. Relatively safe district, though he got a scare in 2008. If we've
learned anything in the year of tea parties and town halls, it's that
the media loves a dramatic distraction. Even if it's by a tiny
minority. (One in this case). The stunt will backfire, of course, just
like the tin-eared official response by Rep. Charles Boustant (House
of Lords-La.) Despite the birthers and the anti-school speechers,
people still want the President to get a minimum level of respect,
especially in a State of the Union style setting. But this wasn't for
the masses. It was, as in most things GOP these days, a move for the
base.

Krusty Konservative: Chet finally gets a tutor

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Every Governor goes around talking about how many jobs he has created.
Some actually do focus on economic development and create an
environment where private companies can thrive and create new jobs.
Then there are Governor's like Chet Culver. Culver thinks that jobs
are created when we repave the street in front of my house or put in a
new sewer line. Sure it takes someone to build it, but it doesn't
create any full time permanent jobs. If you don't believe me, just pop
open the manhole cover and go down there and look for the dude working
in that sewer line. I would not be telling the truth if I didn't admit
that Culver hasn't created any private sector jobs. He is staffing up
for his re-election campaign. Unfortunately, if you are an Iowa
political operative you need not apply. Instead of putting Iowans back
to work, Culver is filling positions with out of state political
hacks.

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Iowa Independent: Critics thump Grassley for defending 'pull the plug on grandma' meme, fundraising in Miami

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is taking heat for touting his opposition to
health care reform legislation to a group of donors at a Miami
fundraiser last week. He is also facing criticism for once again
defending the debunked urban legend that a provision in a health care
reform bill currently in the U.S. House would give the government
authority to euthanize the elderly. Last month, a fundraising letter
Grassley sent to supporters found its way to the blog of Washington
Post writer Ezra Klein. In it, Grassley made it clear to potential
donors that he is strongly opposed to health care reform legislation,
despite public statements where he promises to work for a bipartisan
bill. Over the weekend, the liberal blog ThinkProgress.org reported
from a fundraising event for Grassley in Miami that once again calls
into question the senator's commitment to crafting health care reform
legislation.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Vander Plaats questioned as he officially enters gubernatorial race

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats stopped in Des Moines while on his statewide campaign announcement tour yesterday. Vander Plaats is in the midst of his third attempt to secure the Republican Party's nomination for governor. He made his official announcement in his home town of Sheldon on Monday. Vander Plaats announced that it would be a goal of his administration to repay the $750 million Governor Culver borrowed for his I-Jobs program by the end of his first term as Governor. State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald told O. Kay Henderson of Radio Iowa that Vander Plaats' proposal "wouldn't fly." Treasurer Fitzgerald indicated that paying off the bond early would violate the terms of the bond agreements, meaning the state could be assessed a fine for paying off the bonds early.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Rants' Hail Mary and Vander Plaats pushes full steam ahead

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

If someone follows politics at all they realize that bombshells are not dropped until an election draws near. In that way it will not allow the victim/opposition time to recover in time before voters go to the polls (even if the allegations are false). Christopher Rants and his week long launch of attacks on Bob Vander Plaats record as CEO of Opportunities Unlimited has unusual timing with the Republican gubernatorial primary still being a ways off. Or was the timing unusual? It was no secret that a popular former Iowa Governor was now in the mix of potential rivals for the nomination with a Draft Terry Branstad effort launching. Also, Bob Vander Plaats was going to be a media focus because of his official announcement of his candidacy.

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Bleeding Heartland: Thicke to announce bid for Secretary of Agriculture

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

After a few months of exploring the possibility, Francis Thicke is ready to announce his candidacy for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in 2010. He's scheduled press conferences in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Ottumwa on September 9. Thicke's campaign website outlines his "new vision for Iowa agriculture," which involves more local food production, on-farm energy production, and "animal production systems that are profitable, environmentally sound, and socially responsible." You can see from his bio how qualified he is for the position as an organic dairy farmer, educator and public servant. There's also a blog on the campaign website; recent posts include this endorsement from Denise O'Brien, founder of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network and Democratic nominee for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in 2006.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

John Deeth Blog: Loebsack backs public option, reimbursement reform at labor picnic

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Nick Johnson gave me a hard time for using a pen and paper to take
notes at the Iowa City Federation of Labor picnic, but after trying to
liveblog from the Blackberry at Dave Loebsack's health care forum my
thumbs were typed out. Loebsack was the big speaker at this
afternoon's picnic and while he pledged to fight hard for the public
option, he said Medicare reimbursement reform was a critical part of
health care reform for Iowa. "Right now the public option
reimbursement rate is based on Medicare," said Loebsack, "and those
rates need to get fixed so that Iowa does not get hurt in the
process." Iowa is among the states with the lowest reimbursement
rates.

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Bleeding Heartland: Social conservatives have bigger fish to fry than Grassley

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Over at the Campaign Diaries blog, Taniel wrote a good post on
Thursday debunking the "unsubstantiated myth" of a pending primary
challenge against Senator Chuck Grassley. Bill "crazier than Steve
King" Salier got this speculation going in the spring, when many among
the religious right were disappointed by Grassley's reaction to the
Iowa Supreme Court's Varnum v Brien ruling. This summer, Grassley
continued to disappoint the right by negotiating with other Senate
Finance Committee members on health care reform. State Representative
Kent Sorenson wrote an open letter to Grassley, pleading with him to
provide "principled and bold leadership". Sorenson's letter is the
most-viewed post ever published on The Iowa Republican blog, where
Craig Robinson warned last month,

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Iowa Defense Alliance: The politics of soda pop

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

By Tom Shaw, Independent Candidate for Iowa House District 8 ... While
a guest on WHO Radio's "Deace in the Afternoon" program, I was
challenged by a caller who disagreed with my decision to leave the
Republican Party and to run as an Independent. The caller believed
that I should remain as a Republican and try to change the party from
within. His thought was "What if workers at Pepsi drank Coca Cola?"
This very question solidified my belief that an organization's brand
name was less important than its product. A few years back, Coca Cola
decided that it wanted to increase its market share by enticing Pepsi
drinkers with a product named "New Coke." Now mind you, Coca Cola had
been successful for many years with its recipe and had established a
loyal customer base. But for some reason the company's leadership
chose to follow the advice of their business advisors and change the
recipe.

Iowa Independent: Iowa has its first bank failure in nearly a decade

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

A Sioux City bank founded in 1923 was one of five banks closed by
regulators on Friday evening. The closure marks the first bank failure
in Iowa in nearly a decade. Vantus Bank, which had $458 million in
assets and $368 million in deposits, was closed by the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corp., an independent agency tasked with maintaining
stability and public confidence in the financial system. Great
Southern Bank, a subsidiary of Great Southern Bancorp. Inc., entered
into an agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
(FDIC) to assume all of the deposits and certain assets of Vantus. A
such, all branches and offices of Vantus opened on Saturday as
branches of Great Southern Bank.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Iowa Independent: Grassley predicts 'scaled down' health bill will pass

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Arguing that the town hall forums of August have "changed the direction" of the health care reform debate, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), said Thursday that he nonetheless expects a bill to pass before Christmas -- though it "may be kind of miniature to what we're talking about." Grassley, on the front lines of the year's thorny health reform debate, has been impressed by the larger-than-usual public gatherings that have stolen headlines throughout the month, referring to them Thursday as "democracy in action." Still, the Gang of Six member was quick to point out that the future of health reform hinges on the collective experience of Congress, not his alone.

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The Iowa Republican: Culver lashes out against former Governor Branstad at state sponsored meeting

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Governor Chet Culver held a town hall meeting of sorts yesterday morning at the Cub Club at Principal Park in Des Moines. The event, called "Coffee & Conversation with Governor Chet Culver," was an informal meet and greet event in which Governor Culver worked the room while attendees sipped on coffee and juice and enjoyed a muffin or fresh fruit. The meeting was not supposed to be a campaign event. It was organized, staffed, and paid for with taxpayer money. Governor Culver was escorted around the room by an aide and Jim Larew, Culver's Chief Legal Counsel, who also seems to serve as the governor's political lawyer.

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Bleeding Heartland: Iowa turning stimulus road funds around quickly

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has been keeping track of how states are spending the stimulus funds allocated for roads. On September 2 the committee released a report ranking the states according to how much of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for highways and bridges had been put to work as of July 31. ... Of approximately $358 million Iowa received for highway and bridge projects, 85.1 percent was under contract and 74.9 percent was for projects already underway as of July 31. That's more than double the national average. Nationwide, about 40 percent of the stimulus road money was under contract and 32 percent funding construction that had already begun by the end of the July. Only 11 states had put even 50 percent of their stimulus road funds to work by that time.

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The Marion Contrarian: Joni Scotter - A true Republican for ALL Republicans

Excerpted from this post at The Marion Contrarian

Iowa's Second Congressional District has another GOP addition to represent it on the State GOP Central Committee - Joni Scotter, Republican Activist Extrodianaire from Marion, Iowa. Joni was my second best supporter, next to Mary Lundby, during my campaign for Linn County Supervisor. Joni is a one of a kind personality that bucks everyone up around her because of her jovial and upbeat personality. Joni loves the Republican Party and ALL Republicans...she works for the most liberal of Republicans and the most conservative of Republicans...she is a Republican first and you definitely want her on your team... she is the equivalent to 20 "normal" volunteers. She was so great during my campaign and daily inspired me to keep on doing the hard work that lead to my victory.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Opportunity lost

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

The loss that Republicans suffered in House District 90 on Tuesday was
a bitter one. Despite being a legislative district that Governor
Culver carried in 2006 and President Obama won by over 1000 votes in
the last election, Iowa Republicans were optimistic about their
chances to elect Stephen Burgmeier to the Iowa House. While hundreds
of volunteers flocked to the rural southeast Iowa district and
organizational and financial help flowed in from a number of
influential interest groups, Republicans came up short by 107 votes.
What Republicans hoped would have been a momentum builder, now has
many people wondering what Iowa Republicans need to do to win
elections. The loss is inexcusable. Never have Republicans had a
better environment to run a campaign, and the Iowa Democratic Party
has never been in more disarray.

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Hawkeye Review: House District 90 -- Now that the smoke has cleared...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

I will break my analysis of this special election into two posts. This
will serve as the first and by intention it is nothing but
complimentary. In the second piece, I may offer some critical
feedback... but in fairness to all involved, I don't subscribe to the
tenants of "Ready-Fire-Aim" journalism which some of my fellow
bloggers have been notorious for as of late. It truly requires more
information and careful study before one can and should speak with
helpful and meaningful criticism. Stephen Burgmeier is a class act.
It's as simple as that. He worked hard and was completely gracious
last night, making sure to work the room and offer his sincere thanks
to everyone present for all their hard work and dedication to this
campaign. This was a "symbolic" victory for the GOP/RPI.

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Bleeding Heartland: Survey USA finds record low approval for Iowa leaders

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

... This statewide poll of 600 adults was conducted on August 26 and
27 and is said to have a margin of error of 4 percent. It's the first
time any pollster has found the president below 50 percent approval in
Iowa, and the first time any pollster has found the governor's
approval in the 30s. ... Looking at Survey USA's trendlines for Culver
since he took office, I noticed that Culver's disapproval number is
basically unchanged this summer, but his approval number has dropped
significantly from 42 percent in June and 44 percent in July to 36
percent in late August. Before anyone panics, remember that Survey
USA's approval numbers for Culver tend to run low compared to other
pollsters. In early July, the poll commissioned by The Iowa Republican
blog found Culver's approve/disapprove numbers to be 53 percent/41
percent.

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Essential Estrogen: Former female legislator pushes re-gov movement

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

A former female member of the Iowa House has launched a movement to
"draft" former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad into the upcoming Republican
gubernatorial primary. The announcement, which I found on facebook,
quotes Greiner as saying, "Everywhere I go, everyone asks me how can
we get Terry Branstad to run for Governor? Like so many Iowans, I
desire experienced leadership in these challenging times our state
faces. Therefore, I decided to organize an effort to encourage
Governor Branstad to run." A video, primarily comprised of photos of
the younger Branstad, is available on the newly launched Web site, and
there is also a twitter account for the movement. Greiner, a resident
of Keota who represented Washington County and portions of Johnson and
Jefferson counties during her term in the legislature, chose not to
seek re-election in 2008 and her seat was taken by Democrat Larry
Marek.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: House district 90 results thread: Hanson wins!

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

It's a nail-biter in Iowa House district 90. Democrat Curt Hanson
carried Jefferson County, which includes Fairfield. Republican Stephen
Burgmeier ran up a big margin in Van Buren County. ... Democrats will
retain a 56-44 majority in the Iowa House for the 2010 session. From
the Secretary of State's office: There were 8,046 total votes (I had
heard predictions that 6,000 to 7,000 people would vote in this race).
Hanson won 3,932 votes (48.9 percent), and Burgmeier 3,825 votes (47.5
percent). Click the link for the breakdown by county. Only four votes
separated the two candidates in Wapello County. Jefferson County was
the key for Hanson -- he led by more than 600 votes there, while
Burgmeier led by just over 500 votes in Van Buren County.

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The Iowa Republican: Draft Branstad movement launches

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

A former state legislator who served under Governors Branstad,
Vilsack, and Culver has launched a Draft Branstad movement to
encourage former Governor Terry Branstad to seek the Republican
gubernatorial nomination next spring. Sandy Greiner, a Republican from
Keota who served 16 years in the Iowa State Legislature, announced
today that she is leading an effort to encourage former Branstad to
run for governor. "Everywhere I go, everyone asks me - how can we get
Terry Branstad to run for Governor? Like so many Iowans, I desire
experienced leadership in these challenging times our state faces.
Therefore, I decided to organize an effort to encourage Governor
Branstad to run. He is an experienced, proven leader Iowans can rely
on, and has an outstanding record to campaign on if our efforts can
help convince him to run," said Greiner.

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Politically Speaking: Thune hops river for ag event with Harkin

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

The two-hour field hearing of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee is underway here in Sioux City on the topic of biofuels development. U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, set up the hearing and invited U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. As the event began at Western Iowa Tech Community College, Harkin thanked Thune for hopping across the river to take part. He also thanked his colleague from across the partisan aisle for work on creating a new Farm Bill last year. I went to see the two Senators appearing together, which has never happened in Siouxland to my knowledge. They're appearing at the same site as Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King picked eight days ago in holding his city town hall meeting.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: One day left in House district 90 campaign

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Democrats and Republicans were busy in Iowa House district 90 over the weekend, making calls and knocking on doors to GOTV for tomorrow's special election. Democrats had an early lead in terms of absentee ballots returned, and according to the field organizer for the Fairness Fund, efforts to collect outstanding absentee ballots continued. We won several Iowa House seats in 2008 through big leads in early voting. A strong absentee ballot showing will be crucial for Curt Hanson, because the national political environment for Democrats is less favorable now than it was last November, conservative interest groups are heavily invested in this race, and same-sex marriage has galvanized the Republican base in Iowa.

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The Iowa Republican: 8 simple rules: If Branstad wants to unify the Republican Party while running again for governor

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Will he or won't he? The constant speculation over Terry Branstad coming out of retirement and running for a fifth term as Iowa governor continues. However, in my mind the speculation has been over for weeks now, because he's running and the signs saying so are obvious, not the least of which is the fact either he or his people have contacted and/or met with nearly every Republican constituency group of consequence in the last few weeks. So assuming he is already in and we're just waiting for him to make it official, the discussion now turns to what must he do to unify a very fractured Republican Party and do something a lot of Iowans in recent polling data would like to see done -- defeat Lt. Governor Debt Culver.

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The Real Sporer: The Gross Poll: Insight into the decade of defeat

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

Doug Gross' recent poll demonstrates the distinction between a boxer and a puncher. The whole premise of the poll assumes that we Republicans are a one punch palooka whose only chance is the haymaker from Hell. Given the economic collapse our nation faces, and Iowa's role as arguably the worst business climate in the nation, there really cannot be any argument that the economy is our best punch. To require polling data to confirm the foregoing tautology bespeaks a level of either or both political or ideological insecurity that is almost in itself disqualifying from leadership. This insecurity has caused us defeat, followed by even greater defeat because it has afflicted so much of our Republican leadership. So, like a smart boxer, let us lead with our best punch. The next question is to decide on precisely what is that punch.

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Iowa Independent: Hubbell will not challenge Grassley

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Fred Hubbell, chair of the Iowa Power Fund Board and a former insurance executive, will not enter the race to unseat U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley in 2010. In an e-mail to the Iowa Independent concerning rumors that he is considering a campaign for the Democratic Senate nomination, Hubbell simply said "No, I am not interested." Hubbell's name emerged after Des Moines Register columnist Marc Hansen wrote in a recent column that a well-known and independently wealthy candidate is "75 percent ready to join the race." Speculation originally revolved around former Principal Financial Group Inc. CEO Barry Griswell. But in a message to members of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Griswell said he has no intention of running for elected office and will instead continue as the non-profit's chairman.

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Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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