There has been a lot of debate on the right side of the blogosphere here in Iowa about the state party, our Republican philosophy, and our candidates. Over the course of her primary campaign and now in the general election campaign, Dr. Marriannette Miller-Meeks has proven herself to be the real deal and showed it in last night’s KCRG-Cedar Rapids Gazette debate vs. Congressman Dave Loebsack.
As someone who has followed this race for some time, I had high expectations for Miller-Meeks. We all knew going into the debate that she is intelligent, relentless, and a tireless campaigner, but sometimes something happens in the bright lights of a television studio in a debate setting and a candidate that you think is superior struggles and fails to deliver the performance their campaign needs.
Miller-Meeks didn’t have that problem last night. You could instantly tell that she was comfortable and confident on stage next to Loebsack and it took her very little time to show the voters in the 2nd Congressional District that voters have a different option than Dave Loebsack in November, and it’s a good option, her!
The second question of the night was about Miller-Meeks moniker of Loebsack of “Do Nothing Dave” and her assertion that congress has failed to lead on the issues that matter to all Americans. Miller-Meeks didn’t back down from her claim, she reinforced it by saying that we didn’t see leadership in dealing with the floods or the bailout bill from Loebsack. She contrasted that with Latham’s actions calling for instant action before Congress took their 5 week vacation. Later in the debate she talked about Pelosi visiting the district right before Congress went back into session. Pelosi promised instant action, but week after week went by, and not until the financial crisis was upon us did they finally address the issue by tacking it on to the bailout bill. When it came to discussing leadership, Miller-Meeks mopped the floor with Loebsack last night.
Loebsack countered by telling us everything he has done talking about this committee and that committee. He then said he was proud of the Grassley-Loebsack tax relief bill. Miller-Meeks instantly fired back by saying, “Let me borrow a famous line, I know senator Grassley, he’s campaigning with me tomorrow, and Congressman Loebsack, you’re no Senator Grassley.” Loebsack then countered that he had sponsored a bill with Steve King.
After watching the debate, the differences between the candidates is very clear. Congressman Loebsack has always looked for a government handout. His support of the bailout bill and socialized medicine are true to his big all inclusive government ways. Miller-Meeks on the other hand believes in personal responsibility, free markets, and a smaller less intrusive federal government. Throughout the debate Miller-Meeks talked about Loebsack’s reliance on special interest money, something he said should be banned in his last campaign, and his blind support of Nancy Pelosi.
In her closing statement, Miller-Meeks noted that she’s not a politician, political activist or a political science professor, she’s just a frustrated citizen who believes that her life experiences can help heal to partisan bickering in Washington DC. She said that America isn’t divided, Congress is. She then retold some of her background of growing up poor in a military family, and with hard work and determination she put herself through college and medical school. She said we need visionary leadership, and a representative who has a finger on the pulse of their constituents.
When scoring the debate it goes to Miller-Meeks hands down. Loebsack didn’t make a gaffe or anything but this debate ended up to be Miller-Meeks coming out party. This debate wasn’t on IPTV or some local access channel; it was a network debate in primetime on the main station in Cedar Rapids. I don’t know what a 30 second ad goes for in primetime these days but that debate was extremely valuable to Miller-Meeks.
With less than two weeks to go until Election Day Miller-Meeks has positioned herself to be a good alternative to Loebsack. For all the attention that Becky Greenwald has received in her race against Tom Latham, it’s the 2nd District race between Loebsack and Miller-Meeks that is the one to keep your eye on. Loebsack got knocked around last night and is in trouble.