Friday, January 30, 2009

Final RNC Ballot - UPDATED Below - Steele wins

168 voters (including proxies)
Simple Majority needed to win.

Mike Duncan: 52

Michael Steele: 46

Katon Dawson: 28

Saul Anuzis: 22

Ken Blackwell: 20

Picture is from Patrick Ruffini via his Twitter page, the KK budget doesn't allow me to travel.

You can watch it on CSPAN
Follow Ruffini on Twitter here.
Follow Chris Cillzza on Twitter here.

Or I'll have the results for you.

Let the horsetrading begin!

Second Ballot

Mike Duncan: 48

Michael Steele: 48

Katon Dawson: 29

Saul Anuzis: 24

Ken Blackwell: 19

Third Ballot

Michael Steele: 51

Mike Duncan: 44

Katon Dawson: 34

Saul Anuzis: 24

Ken Blackwell: 15

Steele is positioned to win this unless the Southern/Conservative Vote makes a deal with Duncan.

Round Four

Katon Dawson: 62

Michael Steele: 60

Saul Anuzis: 31

Ken Blackwell: 15

5th Ballot

Michael Steele: 79

Katon Dawson: 69

Saul Anuzis: 20

Final Ballot

Michael Steele: 91

Katon Dawson: 77

My reaction to follow.

Krazy Train

Krazy, but thats how it goes…

House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen called on Speaker Pat Murphy to freeze spending on all Pork Projects like the Amtrak station in his home town of Dubuque since Amtrak doesn’t even service that community.

The money for the station has been appropriated but no contracts have been signed yet meaning the state can recoup their money rather than spending it on such a foolish project. While it’s only 300K, this is exactly the type of stuff we need to be cutting. Props to Rep. Paulsen.

Murph’s going off the rails with his crazy train…

Ahhh its Friday, and in honor of Chet Culver and Pat Murphy’s stupid pork project and terrible budgeting practices, I dedicate this to all Iowa Democrats.

I think I just channeled my inner QCI. Speaking on them its QCI’s one year anniversary. Congrats, man. But you have a little ways to go to get your stat counter to look like mine… I’m nearing 45k this month. Sorry, just feel the need to throw down once in a while.

Big Change for Iowa Democrats

While Iowa Democrats will have a new Chairman after Mike Kiernan is selected by their state central committee, they are also going to be getting a new executive director as Mike Milligan has announced he will not be back. This is a significant development. Milligan has run the day to day operation at IDP since December 2004.

More likely than not, Milligan is just moving on. He has his own consulting business, and owns Shane’s Rib Shack in Clive. Some good Q is you ask me. It will be interesting to see who fills his shoes, but one thing is for sure, Iowa Democrats are witnessing a brain drain. Many of their best and brightest are in DC with the Obama administration, and with people like Milligan moving on could be a sign that the good times are over for Iowa Democrats.

Big Killer is a Fighter

I have not heard much regarding 1st District SCC member Karl “Big Killer” Gilbertson. Karl is up in the Mayo Clinic fighting a rare form of cancer. I inquired about his condition with a few mutual friends and was pleased to see that Karl and his family are using a blog type system at Mayo to communicate with people.

While I’d never wish that anyone would have to endure something like this, it’s amazing to see the strength and faithfulness of people shine through during these tough times. It is inspirational. Karl’s posted some pics on his blog, they are classic Karl. I’m not sure they want them posted here or not. They one thing they do need is our prayers, so send one or a thousand up for the big guy and his family.

Super Bowl Picks

I have to admit it; it’s going to be impossible for me not to be rooting for Kurt Warner on Sunday. While this Super Bowl match-up isn’t what I expected when the playoff started, I think it will be a great game. With the weather supposed to be partly sunny and 70 degrees, I’m taking the Cardinals.

I respect the Steelers defense, but I’m just not sold on their offense. I think Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm have a lot of motivation in showing the Steelers they deserved a look when replacing Bill Cowher.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I’m running for Governor

After careful consideration, I’ve decided form an exploratory committee to run for Governor of the great state of Iowa. I know, I know you thought I was running for U.S. Attorney against fellow blogger Gordon Fischer, but we all know you don’t campaign for that position, unless you’re Gordo. Anyway, I think that I’ve done a good job over the past 3 years letting you know my views and thoughts on things so I figured why the hell not. I’ll now take some questions.

O. Kay Henderson: Krusty, you’re anonymous how would that work?

Krusty: Good question, good question. You see Kay part of the problem we have in Iowa politics is that our leaders lack the intestinal fortitude to stand up to people and say no. Just look at Culver’s budget proposal, it’s across the board cuts rather than targeted cuts; it’s simply our governor being lazy. But to answer your question being anonymous allows me to do what’s right for Iowa, not what keeps me popular with my friends.

David Yepsen: Krusty, since this is an exploratory committee will you have to come back and formally announce your campaign, and when will that be?


David Yepsen: Krusty, settle down, I didn’t mean to incite such anger. I don’t want you to have a heart attack or something. What would you do about the budget crisis here in Iowa?

Krusty: What’s that?

David Yepsen: The budget crisis…

Krusty: Budget crisis? Don’t talk to me about a Budget Crisis, you kidding me, a Budget Crisis?

David Yepsen: You don’t think we have a budget crisis?

Krusty: No, if Mike Gronstal says there isn’t a deficit then I doubt there one actually exists. I mean he’s really the guy in charge.

Sorry, I don’t know where that came from…

Anyway, it has been an interesting week to say the least.

Vander Plaats announces his campaign on Monday.

Northey indicates he might be interested later that day.

Then we learn that Vaudt considering it on Tuesday.

Rants takes a shot at Vander Plaats on Wednesday, we know he’s interested.

Then Bruce Rastetter decides yesterday would be a good day to walk around the capitol. Swings by the press lounge and takes a shot at BVP.

Now today we learn that a well know GOP opinion makers and syndicated blogger is throwing his hat into the ring.

This is just crazy! But what does it mean?

First, it means the GOP knows that Culver is vulnerable. Second, there are a lot of people interested in a running, but don’t want to allow Vander Plaats to run free being the first candidate out of the gate. Third, Vander Plaats is going to come under more scrutiny this time around.

Reading the early tea leaves I think the GOP primary is going to be more about issues than personality. This would be a welcomed development. Iowa has serious issues, which require serious solutions. I think Iowa Republicans are going to look past the sound bites and slogans and look for the candidate who can inspire them by what they want to do, not by what they say and how they say it.

Hold on tight, this one is going to be fun!

Fact of the day: Even with the 6.5% cut--Culver's 2010 budget is the largest in the state's history!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Yepsen worries that financial crisis could lead to Culver having a stroke

In this morning’s press conference Governor Chet Culver bristled at David Yepsen’s question about whether or not he would have to come back and make more cuts.

Again, another must read from Yepsen.

Giving Credit where Credit is due…

One of the most difficult things for me to do is communicate with my readers are some things that go on in the State Legislature. Sure I can shed some light here and there and fill in a back story on occasion, but I’m not there, I’m not in the arena as they say.

One of the guys in the arena is Rep. Christopher Rants. Now to some he’s a villain, others see him as a victim. But what is true, is that Rants is intelligent and very knowledgeable about these issues. Fortunately, he also uses his blog and twitter to communicate.

On his website blog he is starting a series of posts that offer areas where our state can save money. This is much needed information and people should go check it out.

His use of Twitter today is phenomenal. If you want to know what’s in Culver’s budget proposal go read it here. This is what he’s got thus far.

Krusty Kudos to Rep. Rants.

Culver says all $180M of his cuts fr this year carry forward to FY10, LSA & reality disagree, only $80M carry forward - can't cut a bldg 2x

Culver currently planning no changes to current FY09 budget - thinks we'll get by - daily receipts make that unlikely in my opinion

Culver does $0 fund state employee salary bill - so no matter whats negotiated, depts have $0 to pay for it. Bold move for him.

Culver budget $100M short of closing the $779M gap - he uses plug numbers, underfunds medicaid, etc... Leaves a hole for Legislature to fill

Property Tax increase #2 - Culver cuts K-12 allowable growth but not spending authority - allows districts to levy $50M more in prop tax

Property Tax Increase #1 - Culver under funds the homestead prop tax credit by $41M from last year

Culver also proposed killing the Gambler Treatment program - which is funded with gaming revenue - so I think we'll see more shifts

Culver proposes caping the research and activities tax credit - not good for business development

Culver proposes scooping the last $27M in the Senior LIving Trust - and then killing the Trust Fund program - gone forever

Culver budget exempts the AG's Victims Compensation fund of $4M from his reduction - a good move. I hope the Legis Ds follow through on it.

Culver sites $20M in savings from "improving efficiencies"... He should read my blog post on the state vehicle fleet

Culver is calls for $200M in reserve funds in FY2010, AND $56 M in reserve funds for this year as well, FY 09

Culver's budget document just hit the desks in the statehouse

Give me a break...

Waiting on Culver’s budget proposal, I’ll have more on that tomorrow.

In the mean time here are a couple things that make me scratch my head.

Iowa Independent – Independent my A$$

So we all know that the Iowa Independent is written by liberal bloggers, and we also know that Tim Gill, the gay activists from Colorado funds them along with some other liberal foundations and unions, but their story on the lottery scam the other day was beyond obnoxious.

The Iowa Independent thinks that the Iowa Lottery fiasco was generated by the Des Moines Register, saying that no legislator has been in support of the idea. Look this issue didn’t just appear out of mid air, Culver has had meetings with Dan Kehl from the Riverside Casino about it. Culver talked about it at the editorial board meeting with the Register.

“Culver said Friday during a meeting with The Des Moines Register's editors and reporters that he is exploring a possible lease of the Iowa Lottery and other state assets because the worst recession since the Depression of the 1930s could force major cuts in state programs such as education and health care. He dismissed claims by critics that campaign donations could influence a decision on a lottery lease.”

This is not some concocted issue the Des Moines Register and a few bloggers have created. And mark my word, this issue isn’t dead. Culver and the Democrats need to find massive amounts of money to be able to comply with Iowa’s balanced budget law.

Teachers Want More Money

Teachers in the Des Moines district want a 6.5% pay increase, better benefits, and more time for planning. Seriously, have they not been reading the news lately?

I think everybody would like 6.5% raise. I think everyone would like some free time every day to get their crap in order. And I think that most of us no teachers would love to have 2 months off over the summer to recharge our batteries or take on a summer job.

No I know I’m going to be torn to shreds in the comment section that teachers are important in preparing the next generation. Look I agree, but when the state budget is in disarray don’t take your case to us in the public, be pissed at Chet Culver and Mike Gronstal for not doing a good job in managing our state budget. Let me tell you all something. If our budget wasn’t in such disarray, you would get your 6.5% because I don’t know of any politician in this state that has the stones to oppose any increase in education funding.

Go tell your sob stories to Chet and Mike the next time your union delivers them that big PAC contribution.

Give me a break

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Culver suggests 6.5% Budget Cuts

Last night Governor Chet Culver announced that his budget proposal will cut most state programs by 6.5%. The governor said that he wanted to spare public safety, workforce development, human services, disaster relief, the teacher quality program, and early childhood education from a full 6.5% cut.


Just because a program is popular or worthy of funding doesn’t mean there is no wasteful spending occurring in it. For example, I’ve been in support of immediate flood relief; you know a package that funds the rebuilding and recovery process; not sneaks things like forced unionization language in the bill. The Culver and the Democrats have been good at making promises, but they have also been good at dragging their feet. People are still waiting. But the reason flood relief shouldn’t be spared from the budget cuts is simple, Culver is funding bureaucracy with it, we need to stop that and get the money directly to the people.

The same is true in any government program; there is waste to be found everywhere, so let’s do the hard work of finding it and getting rid of it. I think Culver’s approach is clumsy and might not generate good results. Using his approach we are probably going to cut some muscle and leave a bunch of fat.

There is no better time for Legislative Republicans to stand up and lead. Everyone but Mike Gronstal knows that we have a $600 to 750 million dollar hole in the FY2010 budget, so instead of sitting back and seeing what Culver proposes to cut, we need to tell the people of Iowa what we would do. This is the time when elections will be won or lost, not on some fall day in 2010. We must prove to the Iowa voters that they should trust us to lead. We do so by showing them.

Last night Steve Deace had a great segment on his radio show that everyone should listen to. Like him or not, his plead for Republicans to lead was right on. We can’t just be against something, we can’t be too cute by half, and expect the voters to reward us with their trust. We must always be advancing our conservative, free market principles. That means when Culver wants to sell the lottery, we don’t propose selling it to someone else, that’s not the issue. The issue is fixing Iowa’s budget, so instead of floating the idea of selling it to IPERS (which could come back to bite us in the ass) we should have been finding areas in the budget to cut.

It’s not easy or glamorous work, but it’s necessary if you want the voters to trust you. I hope you give it a listen.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Progress Report

There are some weeks when I wonder if it’s even worth blogging anymore. I think all bloggers go through periods like this, and it’s bound to occur to those of us who post original content on at least 260 days a year. We do so because it’s our passion, and don’t want to let our readers down.

Fortunately, there are days and weeks when it you get rewarded for your dedication. There is no better feeling than getting a shot out from another blogger, or hearing your blog being discussed on the radio. This past Sunday I was shocked when WHO’s Insiders opened up with a call out to Krusty Konservative. So while I hit rewind on the TIVO, I also emailed Dave Price a quick thank you. Check it out here.

Tonight when in put on my fuzzy slippers and cuddled up to the old laptop and pulled up the old stat counter, the traffic was through the roof. Now sure, I’m proud of what I write. I try to uphold a Jim Rome standard of posting, have a take and don’t suck. But nothing is better than seeing your stat counter put up a big number. For that, I owe Ben Smith over at the Politico a thank you.

So for all you blogger out there, and those who are thinking about adding your voice to the conversation, I urge you to do it. It’s not going to make you wealthy, and it takes a lot of time, but you can make a difference. Jump on in, the water in fine.

BVP: Retrofit or Restoration

Politics can be a tough business, but it is especially true for anyone who has ever put their name on the ballot. Thick skin and resolve are important attributes for any candidate, but especially true for a candidate making their 2nd or third attempt at running office.

The question that looms large for them is simple, what’s different this time around the block. For some candidates it can easily answered, but many candidates struggle and can never find a way to answer such a simple question.

Iowa’s political grave yard is littered with the carcasses of failed two and three time candidates. In fact, I can only think of one time in which a 2nd time candidate was successful, Jim Leach in 1976. In 1974 Leach lost to Ed Mezvinsky 56% to 46% but bounced back in 76 and won 52% to 58%. Leach’s victory didn’t set a precedent, and if victory probably has more to do with the unique campaign he waged, than just being a better campaigner. People will also tell you that his marriage to Deba between campaigns had major impact as well.

Here at how some 2 time candidates have done in Iowa.

In 1980 Chuck Grassley defeated Stephen Rapp 50.8% to 49.2%
In the 1982 rematch Grassley won 56% to 44%

In 1980 T. Cooper Evans defeated Lynn Cutler 51% to 48 %
In the 1982 rematch Evens won 55% to 45%

In 1986 Neal Smith defeated Robert Lockard 61% to 39%
In the 1988 rematch Smith won Lockard 68% to 32%

In 1992 Jim Nussle defeated Dave Nagle 50% to 49%
In the 1994 rematch Nussle won 56% to 43%

In 1994 Jim Ross Lightfoot defeated Elaine Baxter 49% to 47%
In the 1996 rematch Lightfoot won 58% to 41%

In 2002 Leonard Boswell defeated Stan Thompson 53% to 45%
In the 2004 rematch Boswell won 55% to 45%

In 2004 King defeated Joyce Schulte 63% to 37%
In the 2006 rematch and 59-37 in 06

Now I understand that Vander Plaats has never been the gubernatorial nominee, but I think the list above clearly shows how difficult it is to be a two or three time candidate. After listening to Vander Plaats this morning on WHO radio, he didn’t say anything new or different from his previous campaigns, which leads me to think he is simply a restoration candidate.

A restoration candidate is one that restores themselves to their original condition after years of wear and tear. The Bob Vander Plaats on the radio sounded just like the one from 2002, just a little better known. For Vander Plaats to be successful he needs to retrofit his campaign with new ideas and new proposals. A lot is different from early 2001 when he first started running for office, and I’m still waiting to see what changes he has made.

I think Vander Plaats has a steep hill to climb. While being the first candidate in the race has its advantages, it can also be difficult to keep a level of excitement for your campaign. I think the jury will be out on Vander Plaats till other candidates emerge. There is no doubt that he can run a campaign against a sitting congressman or someone with a record, but how would he fare against someone who isn’t an elected official? Time will tell.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vander Plaats Announces 2010 Campaign

Tomorrow morning (Monday) Bob Vander Plaats will announce his 2010 campaign for Governor on the Jan Michelson Show on WHO Radio. Vander Plaats will also appear on the Steve Deace show in the afternoon. I have also been told that two special guests will be joining Bob for his announcement. I think it’s safe to say that Mike Huckabee will be one of those guests. His 2010 campaign marks his third attempt for the office.

In 2002, Vander Plaats finished 3rd (31.6%) in a close primary race behind Doug Gross (35.8%) and Steve Sukup (32.3%). While that race was extremely tight with Gross just beating the 35% threshold, it’s also important to know that Gross assembled his campaign in January of 2002, while Vander Plaats and Sukup dueled it out between themselves for all of 2001.

In 2006 Vander Plaats was the main primary challenger to then Congressman Jim Nussle. Nussle commanded most of the spotlight in 2005 by assembling a strong campaign team and showing off his fundraising abilities. The May merger of the Vander Plaats and Nussle campaigns came as a surprise to many. While Vander Plaats campaign was running on fumes, Nussle apparently didn’t want to spend his war chest on defeating Vander Plaats so a deal was struck.

From my viewpoint the Nussle-Vander Plaats tickets never took off, it just simmered. The awkward merger never made sense to many, and it also didn’t help that 2006 turned out to be a horrible year from Republicans. Nussle-Vander Plaats lost to Culver 53.7% to 44%.

Many thought that have been the last of Vander Plaats, but signing on with Mike Huckabee’s Presidential Campaign was thought to be going nowhere proved to be a good move for Vander Plaats. As Huckabee surged in Iowa, Vander Plaats was by his side, which is why it’s a safe to sat you will probably hear from Huckabee tomorrow.

State Rep. Jodi Tymeson will serve as the Campaign Chair
Former State Auditor Dick Johnson will serve as the Campaign Co-Chair

Vander Plaats has a goal to raise $250k in the next 5 weeks.

Below is the intro to his the email his campaign has sent out:

Welcome to Team VP 2010!

Today is an exciting day! Perhaps you tuned in to the Jan Mickelson show on WHO Radio this morning, saw the news on television, read it in the newspaper, or heard it from a friend. Allow me to tell you personally. Today, we are excited to announce the formation of Team Vander Plaats 2010, a Candidate’s Committee for a run for governor. Iowa needs leadership and we need your help to take back Terrace Hill.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chet: Good at drinking, bad at providing leadership

My staff placed me in a padded cell yesterday after they figured out that I wasn’t about to cool down over Culver’s plan to see the lottery. During my confinement, a tasty story about Governor Culver appeared on the Politico.

The governor of Iowa, Chet Culver, was spotted double-fisting at the Recording Industry Association of America party at Ibiza.”

Iowa’s budget situation would drive anyone to drink. I’m starting to wonder if Culver has a problem with the bottle. I posted a few weeks ago that Culver was our drinking with Bill Knapp on a Thursday night. At that time he had made it known that he wasn’t able to submit his budget proposal to the legislature. Now we see Culver double fisting it in DC, providing further embarrassment to our state, and we are still without his budget proposal. That sentiment is catching on.

Speaking of fisting…

Ummmm, yeah I’m not going to add anything to that.

How long will Joe last?

Look at President Obama’s body language. I think Joe’s on borrowed time. We all know he just can’t help himself. He’s not going to change. I put the over/under on Biden’s time serving as VP at
2 years.

Caroline Out: Tax Issues, Nanny Issues, and Marriage Issues to blame

And don’t forget she’s as dumb as a box of rocks. If her name wasn’t Kennedy she would have never, ever been considered. Read the NY Post Story here.

Just say NO!

I was happy to see our Republican leaders speak out against Culver’s lottery scam. Props to them. That said I don’t like the idea of selling the lottery to IPERS, just leave it alone. It provides the state with $60 million every year. It’s bad business to sell it for pennies on the dollar for some quick one time cash advance. We have to stop doing this.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Limited Time Offer

Do you have too much credit card debt? Are those bill collectors calling you at all hours of the night? Krusty Konservative can help.

If you are an Iowan making $40,000 you are pre qualified to receive $274,000.00 right now! Think of what you could do with that money. All you have to do is route your annual salary ($40k a year) to us at Krusty Konservative and we will send you a check for $274,000.00!

Wait, that’s not all!

In addition to your payment of $274,000.00 we will also pay you $8,800.00 a year!

That’s a total value of $705,200.00!!!

Call now to order.

Laugh all you want, but this is exactly what Chet Culver and Mike Gronstal are proposing. So while that poor Iowan making $40k a year thinks, that $274k looks tempting, he’s actually agreeing to give up $40k a year for $14,391.84 a year.

That my friends is getting fleeced. You know what’s funny, these are the same people who were outraged by the car title and payday loan places, yet they are the ones knocking down the door to sign one of these stupid deals.


Just to warn you, I might be going into a posting craze we have not seen since TouchPlay…


Yepsen: Iowa Lottery Scam is a Done Deal

Grab the pitchforks!

David Yepsen writes in his column today (a Krusty Must Read BTW) that the Lottery Scam is a done deal, and its just a matter of time before the deal is done. He points out that Iowa would be giving up 2.8 billion dollars in future revenues to receive $200 million now, and 22% of the adjusted gross profits, the same rate Iowa casinos pay.

This is outrageous.

Yepsen correctly states the following:

Take $200 million from a lottery sale, add some creative accounting by not obeying the state budgetary laws, and stir in several hundred million from Uncle Sam's coming bailout to the states and - Voila! - Iowa's budget shortfall evaporates. Culver and his pals can safely get re-elected in 2010.

This isn’t about doing what’s right for Iowa, its about slapping a band-aide on a problem in order to make sure the big lug and his lug nuts get reelected in 2010.

Getting to know Chet

How does the old saying go? You can learn a lot about someone from looking at their checkbook register. I think that’s true, you can see what organizations, churches, and charities they support, and what else they spend their money on. Well the same is true in politics; you can learn an awful lot from looking at campaign disclosure reports.

So let’s see if there is anything else we can learn about Governor Culver from his most recent report.

Total Dollars raised: $1,027,517.49
Total Number of Donors: 409
Number of Donors of a $1000 or more: 133
Of that 133 how many are PACs and Special Interest Groups: 50
The 133 $1000 plus donors made up $743,050.00 of the million dollars he raised.
$457,500.00 of the $743,050.00 came from just 16 donors.

So what does it mean? Culver is in the pocket of special interest groups and a few large donors who want something. While I always find the above interesting, there’s always something else. Like Tom Gill, they guy who targeted Danny Carroll in 2006. He’s not getting his friends to send in small checks anymore, he’s just giving IDP, Gronstal, McCarthy, Murphy and Culver big contributions. But the most telling sign in the disclosure is how he paid his bills, especially his campaign credit cards.

Simply put, Chet Culver has poor money management skills. It took him till February to pay his to VISA bills from December 2007. He repeatedly is paying finance charges on his credit cards meaning he was either late in paying them, or isn’t paying them off every month, which is stupid when you have over a million bucks in the bank. What a waste of money.

While on the surface these are all minor things, but this is the guy who wants to put $700 million on our state credit cards. He say’s we will pay it back with gambling revenues, which seems to be the answer to everything these days. I think I remember him wanting to pay teachers with gambling revenue during the 2006 campaign. Anyway, my point is Chet Culver is the LAST person we should trust with our state finances. If you need proof, just check out his online discourser, don’t bet on Chet.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Odds and Ends

Odd – Iowans for Tax Relief scheduling a press conference in Des Moines at the same time of former legislator Mary Lundby’s funeral in Cedar Rapids.

Look, I know the world doesn’t need to stop because of her funeral but it’s also good to show some respect whether you were a fan of hers or not. Senator Gronstal and Speaker Murphy both showed some class by cancelling most of the committee meetings so people could attend the services.

So what was the big deal, ITR is following up on President’s Obama’s pledge to provide more transparency in government. They introduced the Iowa Taxpayer Transparency Act of 2009, basically calling on the state to spend $40k on a website that would allow people to see where their tax dollars are being spent. Look I’m all for more transparency, and $40k to provide this information to the people of our state is a good value. What I don’t understand is why they had to have this press conference today, at the same time as the funeral. Even if it was at 9 or 10 a.m. it wouldn’t have created much of stir. Now instead of talking about the proposal, we have stories like this from Kay Henderson, and this from my friends In Fly Over Country. Am I missing something here?

I was hoping for a statement on why the gas tax is the wrong thing to do, or maybe a proposal that forces county governments to bring their property assessments in line with what the property would bring in the market.

Radio Iowa Story about the press conference with audio.

The End – Well it looks like the Hollywood celebrities are ending their 8 year long strike against America. It’s too bad really, no more Michael Moore movies. Anyway this dude lays it out better than I ever could. It’s your Krusty Must Read of the Day.

You are either with us or against us.

Yesterday Governor Chet Culver’s 2008 campaign disclosure finally showed up on the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. There are a couple different aspects that require discussion. I’m going to start with the easy stuff first.

Culver raised $1,037,791.00 last year.
Culver spent $546,292.49 in an off year.

Since his election he has raised $2,519,789.11, and spent $1,027,517.49 or 40% of what he has raised. That’s a big number if you ask me. One would have thought that Culver would be building a war chest; instead he is paying out-of-state consultants at a hefty clip and leaving himself wide open for a serious challenger in 2010.

In looking at his expenditures besides the out-of-state consultants one thing strikes me as out of place. Culver is renting a condo for $800 bucks a month and the Park Place Condos in Des Moines. The explanation next to the expenditure states that it’s for consultant housing. Now I know plenty of consultants, but I don’t know any who require their client to provide them for a place to live. So what’s the deal Governor? What’s going on at your campaign condo?

I have to say I wasn’t surprised at the lack of journalism going on at the Register. They reported what the Governor had raised, but didn’t look deep at all. Sure they tell their readers that AFSCME and a number of PACs and other unions gave to his campaign, but what about Dan Kehl? You know the guy they wrote about last week when they did a story about Kehl giving Culver $25,000 in 2007 and wondered if his generosity had anything to do with his willingness to lease the Iowa Lottery. Yet they skip the fact that he is one of a few people who gave Culver $25,000 in 2008. More interesting is the fact that Culver received the $25,000 for Kehl this past November after the election. Around the same time that Kehl met with Culver to float his Iowa Lottery bailout plan.

It also seems that Polk County Democrat Chairman, Tom Henderson is very interested in chairing IDP; he gave Culver $2000 in December. Looks like Chet has his Pay to Play thing down. Way to represent the Midwest!

So while all of that is disturbing in its own right, what should really bother my fellow Republicans is the fact that major Republican donors are some of Chet’s biggest donors.

A month or so ago we had a healthy discussion about how the Republican Party needs to be more inclusive. In saying that I made clear that both moderates and social conservatives must coexists if we want to win elections. Another part of that argumentwhich I didn’t discuss is the simple fact that you are either with us or against us.

For example, when Joy Corning contributes to Planned Parenthood, she is funding the enemy. Planned Parenthood is simply a branch of the Democrat Party. They don’t sit on the sidelines, so when you contribute to their cause, you are funding their ability to attack our Republican candidates. So it is inconsistent to fund Planned Parenthood and be support our Republican candidates. It would be like giving bullets to the British but fight for the Continental Army only to be killed by one of the bullets you provided the Brits.

Our stalwart GOP donors are funding the enemy. The largest contribution Governor Culver received from any individual was $25,000. 44% of what Culver raised came from just 16 people or organizations.

Gary Kirke gave Culver $25,000

Gary Sandquist gave Culver $25,000

Dan Kelh gave Culver $25,000

Denny Albaugh gave Culver $25,000

To put this in perspective, these guys (REPUBLICANS!) are giving as much as Bill Knapp or Jerry Crawford gave to Culver. THEY ARE GIVING CULVER THE SAME AMOUNT AS AFSCME DOES. Heck, Bonnie Campbell only gave Chet $12,500! And it’s not just the four Republicans mentioned above that gave to Culver; those are just the big fish. These are all guys who all supported Jim Nussle, and heck Kirke was Nussle's finance chair.

Now we all know that Kehl has a motive, he wants to buy the Lottery. Kirke wants a casino license in Ottumwa, Sandquist wants an increase in the gas tax, and maybe Albaugh wants illegals to help keep his private golf course in tip top shape, but this is a major problem for the GOP.

We have a hard enough task in uniting our Party let alone seeing our major donors supply the ammunition for our enemy to shoot us with. Not only is this disheartening, it’s stupid. On one hand these donors give to individual Republican candidates in lesser amounts and some also give to other GOP organizations, yet they turn around and give equal amounts or more to Culver.

Now I’m not saying that they have to support every GOP candidate who walks through the door, they can sit out a particular campaign if they choose to. Heck, they could give Culver a token contribution of $1000 and I'd be fine with it, but to be on his list largest donors is unacceptable. Whose side are you on? What do you believe in?

Pick a side, be for something.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One Word: Ambiguous

My reaction to President Obama’s inaugural address is split. On one hand it had plenty of lofty rhetoric which is to be expected in a speech of this stature. On the other hand, George W. Bush could have given the same exact speech. As a Republican looking for clues on how President will govern, I didn’t find much substance.

In a political sense, being ambiguous can help one successfully navigate through rough times, but in the day an age in which we live, where people what to know information sooner rather than later, being ambiguous can been seen as being secretive or alternative motives. Maybe Obama wanted it this way, or maybe this is how he will lead.

We all have our own opinions on George W. Bush’s presidency, but there is one thing that I did like, you always knew where he stood. So while people of many different stripes celebrate Obama’s election, we now enter into a time of uncertainty in terms of what our leaders are thinking. For those like me looking for a glimpse of what direction Obama will take our country I think we will have to wait and see.

If I had to guess, Obama is going to be better known for how he reaches out to the Right, than what he does for the left. I think Obama will continue the Bush foreign policy, notice no calls for troop withdraw in his address. So one could say that where Bush reached out to the Left on education, immigration, and prescription drug coverage, Obama will work with the right on issues concerning foreign policy, and economic policy. Just a guess.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rest in Peace

Another State Legislator from Cedar Rapids has passed away. This morning Rosemary Thompson who served in the Iowa House from 1995-2000 passed away. Thompson filled the House seat vacated by Mary Lundby when she ran for the State Senate.

A time of Hope

I think it is very appropriate that today we honor the life and accomplishments or Martin Luther King, Jr., and tomorrow they eyes of the world will watch our country inaugurate its first African-American president, Barack Obama.

One might expect an old krusty konservative hack like me to sit back and mock what President Obama has accomplished, but I’ll be doing none of that. Instead, my eyes will be fixed on the inaugural festivities as I take in this historic moment in our history. Barack Obama is no longer the Democrat nominee; he is now our American President. I sincerely hope that as our President, Obama can unite us as a people.

There is one thing that has gotten under my skin concerning the lead up festivities to Obama’s inauguration. Yesterday Bono, Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder, Usher, Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce headlined an inaugural concert. In addition to the musical talent on display Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks gave speeches at the event. There is no doubt that events like these inspire hope and goodwill during this time of transition, but I wonder if John McCain would have seen such a celebration if he had been elected.

Now I know that the Hollywood types were early supporters of Obama, and I understand their excitement, and I have no problem in celebrating our peaceful transition of power. I just wish we would celebrate like this for every new president, not just the ones who Hollywood supports.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rest in Peace

Former State Legislator Mary Lundby passed away this morning. You can read the Register’s story here. While some grimaced at some of her political beliefs, her style of politics is something we could use more of here in Iowa and across the country. There was never any doubt where she stood.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Krusty for US Attorney

I know you just spit up your hot chocolate when you read that, but I’m not joking. If I assert myself, go to law school, and pass the bar before the next Republican is sworn in as President, it could be a definite possibility, especially if I got onboard with the winning candidate early on. You know the game, its pay to play baby!

You have probably heard by now that Gordon Fischer is campaigning to be the next US Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa. If you are a long time reader of this blog, you will remember that we spent the early days debunking Gordon’s attempts to tie our honorable Republicans like Tom Latham and Steve King to any national scandal possible. You also might remember Gordon’s countless posts about alleged push polls too. But my favorite time was when he took his Alaskan vacation which provided the perfect opportunity to expose him as the political hack he really is.

Now my friend Gordon, who I do like by the way, wants to be US Attorney. Do we really want a political operative, a guy who has run the day to day operations of the Iowa Democrat Party, who obviously has a political bias, to serve in such a highly regarded capacity? I mean he spent considerable time tussling with an anonymous blogger. I would think a US Attorney candidate would be above such things, and I also think it is a bit tacky to actively campaign for the job anyway.

The other thing that concerns me is that we already have an Iowa Attorney General who only focuses on filing lawsuits against businesses. Would Gordon use his cool looking badge to come after a particular anonymous blogger who disagrees with him, and focus on driving business out of the state like his buddy Tom Miller has?

Ab better question to ponder might be, how would Gordon have dealt with the Marshalltown immigration raid or the CIETC scandal?

Look there is one thing I know, I would make a terrible US attorney because I’m a political hack. If Gordon has dreamed of being named US Attorney since birth, than he made some bad career choices in my opinion. Instead of running a political party and spewing political venom on his blog, he should have settled on being active in the Democrat Party in a different, less public way or ran for office.

Don’t make me go all Gopal on you Gordon…

Iowa Dems want to sell the Lottery

An Iowa casino operator wants to “lease” the Iowa Lottery for the next 49 years and it seems very evident that Speaker Murphy, Senator Gronstal, and Governor Culver are sold on the deal. The offer from Dan Kehl would pay more than $200 million up front and then allow the state to tax the adjusted gross revenues at 22%.

Last year the lottery provided the state with 57.2 million in profits, under the new deal the state would only would have received $22.4 million. If you ask me it seems like an awful lot to give up per year for a one-time payment of $200 or so million.

Don’t fool yourself; this is only about the one-time payment and nothing else. Our Democrat leaders are looking for a quick fix so they can continue to get reelected. I find it fully that on one hand Senator Gronstal claims there is no $600 million dollar deficit, yet he wants to sell the lottery for quick cash.

More later today.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I’m Twitterpated

So yeah, you can now follow me on Twitter. I guess you can thank new RPI Chairman Matt Strawn for that. You see Strawn sent a “tweet” and I wanted to read it but ended up with my own Twitter page, then somehow people began following so I felt pressure to tweet them specially. So if you really want to follow the boring life of an anonymous blogger, you can do so here.


Since I have cold induced writers block, I’m going to do what Governor Culver did in his Condition of the State address and supplement my weak content with some videos.

Lack of SUVs in DC

Apparently the Governor of Missouri is driving to the DC for the Obama Inauguration because there is a lack of SUVs for use during that time period. I wonder if Iowa taxpayers are paying a trooper to drive Culver’s SUV to DC since it has a specially modified seat that allows the Governor to be more comfortable due to his bulkiness.

Congratulations, you get a week’s vacation! Unpaid… RAT FARTS!

Gannett Corp announced that it’s going to require “most” employees to take an unpaid week of vacation to help the company out. I guess I already thought that was happening, until recently David Yepsen would write one column a month. Speaking of the “Dean”, David will know whether or not he gets the gig as the director of The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University on February 12th. Good luck David, because it would be tough watching you get fired or having to do some actually reporting if you stay at the Register.

Bush says Goodbye tonight, I say Good riddance.

I’m just sick of hearing him talk about “Helicopter Drivers” and the other stupid things that come out of his mouth. I mean wasn’t this guy a pilot in the Air Nation Guard? I mean k’mon. I would be nicer about things like this if he didn’t oversee the massive growth of government on his watch, and his Chicken Little approach to the bailout.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Don’t worry about the details, its easy.

After listening to Governor Culver’s Condition of the State speech I’ve had a very simple question stuck in my head. How many families out there are sitting around the kitchen table at night talking about building a huge addition onto the house as a way to combat our bad economy?

We all know that isn’t happening. Everywhere you look Iowa families are cutting back on their spending, yet our Governor refuses to do just that. Yesterday Governor Culver proposed borrowing $700 million bucks that would be used for infrastructure projects. The press lauded him for the “bold” proposal, and his Democrat colleagues were quick to endorse the idea as well, meaning it’s probably going to happen.

Is going in debt really our best and only solution? If it’s really that easy why haven’t we done it in the past, or why haven’t we done it during more prosperous times? Simple, because it’s risky, and is probably something any good financial advisor would warn families not to do.

IPERS, which already had solvency issues before the financial crisis, has seen a third of its assets disappear. Shouldn’t the state make sure it can fund its commitment to it workers before it takes on a massive amount of debt?

Iowa’s K-12 education system needs to know very soon how much money the state will allocate to them for their 2009-2010 fiscal budget. The legislature has already earmarked 4% allowable growth, but many districts are concerned that the legislature could cut that funding to 2 or 3% allowable growth. The uncertainty that is being caused by the lack of any budget projections from the Governor is wreaking havoc on some school districts. I don’t think Culver said hardly anything about education in his speech yesterday. Should we be borrowing $700 million when our schools are in the dark about what level of funding they will be receiving? I don’t think so.

I know what the Democrats and the liberal media are telling us, that all of this will be paid with gambling revenues. Heck is you read the paper, gambling revenues is the states version of the Easy Button. Polk County has a $1.6 million shortfall, yet they want to retrofit Vets auditorium for more convention space, how do they propose to pay for it? Gambling Revenues! I believe that some gambling revenue already goes into the general fund, yet under Culver’s new proposal requires that $56 million in gambling revenues a year would be allocated to pay for his $700 million dollar infrastructure plan.

When do run out of gambling revenue to use? In FY 2008 the state of Iowa had $322,441,000.00 in appropriations and outlays from gambling revenues. Is Culver suggesting that an additional $56 million a year is going to be needed to pay for his plan, or will does he plan to eliminate using gambling revenues to fund Vision Iowa, School Infrastructure, and Capitol Complex renovations for the next 20 years?

Simply put Culver’s speech yesterday created more questions than answers. It’s troubling that the media his fellow Democrats are ready to sign the loan papers without asking any questions. What is likely to happen is another expansion of the gambling industry in Iowa, the reintroduction of TouchPlay, and a sweetheart deal leasing of the State Lottery to a casino operator. Leaving our future generations in debt and over-reliant on the gambling industry.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Condition of our State: DIRE

We all know the hardships facing our state, but what really puts Iowa in a dismal position is the fact that we our governor is incredibly weak and obviously in over his head.

Iowa is facing some of the most serious challenges in its history, yet our Governor ‘s address to the legislature and the people of Iowa lasted about 48 minutes, of which significant portions were spent on thanking or praising other “leaders” of our state, consoling victims of recent natural disasters, thanking his family and those who serve our country, especially those who have sacrificed their lives, and watching a 10 minute video about the floods. Out of those 48 minutes Culver probably spoke maybe 10 minutes about what he thinks should be done.

Even those 10 minutes were weak. Culver asked for $42 million from the Rainy Day Fund, and if you read between the lines that money is needed to keep the lights on his newly created Rebuild Iowa office, meaning a significant portion of that money is going to fund it, not to help people get back on their feet.

If you were looking for details about Iowa’s economic situation, like the 2010 state budget for instance, you didn’t get anything. Culver wants to borrow $700,000,000 and create another government entity called Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Authority, meaning a portion of this is used to grow government, not build bridges and roads.

His solution to balance the budget was also short on specifics. Culver’s plan is to nix the $37 million for the new state office building, even though I’m pretty sure that could be deemed as needed infrastructure with the sad state of the Wallace building and then take $10 million from another fund. That doesn’t get us anywhere close to the projected $600 million dollar deficit he has to deal with.

I don’t know about you but I’m pissed off. These are serious times and the Governor failed to outline anything significant in his speech. I think it is very telling that Culver acknowledged his own weakness as our Governor by ceding the most important speech of his administration to a movie producer. Obviously our Governor is unable to inspire the members or the legislature and the people of Iowa in a great time of need.

The 10 minute video Culver had produced was an embarrassment. I was waiting for Sally Struthers to emerge on the screen and ask me to sponsor a poor flood victim for less than what it cost for a cup of coffee. It was no different than that commercial Sarah McLachlan does for the ASPCA.

Culver’s speech reminded me of high school speech class, you know the kid who’s lazy and thinks he can get by with bringing in Dad’s metals from Vietnam or by showing off his new four-wheeler. The people of Iowa deserved more than what we got this morning.

Programming Note

Governor Culver will give his Condition of the State speech this morning. I will be posting after his speech. I can’t wait till he opens with the false premise that the condition of our state is strong, we all know the troubles that we are in. I’m also sure we will be reminded that we are in a much better position than most other states, while that might make some feel better it doesn’t mean anything.

During Culver’s campaign and early months in office he liked to say that those who are given much, much is expected. In his 2008 condition of the state speech he said” The Condition of our state is strong! First of all, our fiscal house is in order. The budget you passed and the one I signed was fiscally responsible.” All Iowans, except maybe Senator Gronstal, knows that isn’t the case.

The fact is Chet Culver and the Democrats have not lived up to the standard they set for themselves.

Iowa would be better off if they didn’t increase spending by a BILLION dollars last session.

Iowans would be better off if the huge tax and fee increases wouldn’t have happened, because now in a financial downturn our state government has no other option than to knock on our doors and ask for more of our hard earned money, money we need to live.

More this afternoon.

Now back to our Governor to hear him say something like, “While frolicking in fields near Effigy Mounds, I never once imagined that my path in life would take me through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then to Grand Avenue to be the Governor of the great state of Iowa….

Monday, January 12, 2009

More on Saturday’s RPI Elections

It seems that some people are a little miffed that a “Dark Horse” candidate emerged in the race for Co-Chair and also won. Most people like an unobstructed view of the road ahead of them, but the world of politics is the last place one could look for such a situation. The election of Jim Kurtenbach caught many off guard, outside of a few anonymous dissenters it will be difficult to find people who are upset with his new position at RPI.

For those who think the election of Kurtenbach was some sort of back room deal, they need to realize that this is how the past chair elections went down. And while there was much more transparency in the chairman’s race, the battle for Co-Chair gathered little attention until Paul Pate openly sought the position late last week. In addition to Kurtenbach and Part, Leon Mosley also received votes, but like I mentioned on this site the SCC members made it clear to Leon that he would not find the votes needed for reelection.

Speaking of Leon, one of the odd things that came out of the meeting was his claim that the letter I posted regarding Gopal Krishna’s removal from the party in 2000 was forged. I find the entire thing odd, I didn’t doctor the letter, and it was also supported by the Yepsen articles I posted and the minutes from the SCC meeting in which Gopal’s actions were discussed.

As a Strawn Administration takes shape there are a couple of things that I think are critical for him to accomplish early on. The first is reaching out to those who supported Danny Carroll. Danny had some passionate people on his side and we can’t afford to lose them. Party elections are like primaries, sure its winner take all, but no campaign is ever successful when the winning camp fails to reach out to those who they defeated. Reaching out is easy, its building trust that always seems to be the difficult part.

Strawn has a tough road a head of him with Republican’s being outnumbered in Iowa by over 100,000 voters and the ugly fact that Strawn will have to raise significant amounts of money in order to do anything about it. One advantage he does have is a Co-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer who have the Party’s best interest at heart. Those three also have the ability to raise funds for the party if he used in that capacity, which they should.

But all of that takes a back seat to his first task, getting Iowa Republicans to unite as a team.

Blog Updates

As some of you noticed I’ve updated my sidebar with some more appropriate subject matter as we enter into the new legislative session. If you have a blog that doesn’t suck I’m more than happy to add you to my list of Krusty Komrades. There is one catch; it needs to be active and about politics.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Strawn, Kurtenbach, Randall and Schickel– Oh My!!!

Matt Strawn was elected Chairman, I’m told he received 10 votes to Carroll’s 7.

Jim Kurtenbach was elected Co-Chairman – This is a great development.

Matt Randall was elected to be the RPI Treasurer – Again, awesome.

Bill Schickel was elected to serve as the committees Secretary – Outstanding.

There are a lot of people who have been very public with their opinion that the State Central Committee is dominated by Social Conservatives, and because of that all they care about is forwarding that type a agenda and not doing what’s best for the Party. It is time for those people to eat some crow.

There should be no doubt that this SCC committee wasn’t going to have their arms twisted by no one, and instead would simply do what they think is best for the Party. They did just that, and now we as bloggers and activists must do our party to be part of the solution as well.

Also clear for the vote today is that this SCC will not stand for any shenanigans or infighting. Gopal Krishna and Lisa Smith were stripped of their positions as Treasurer and Secretary. Gopal was just elected Treasurer last spring and Smith has been the Secretary for over a decade.

Those who needed to heed a message got one loud a clear. Let’s talk about a new positive direction for the party, it’s a great day for Iowa Republicans.

More on Monday.

RPI Chair Election Open Thread

What say you? The Register thinks it will be Strawn.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Governor Culver works overtime on his beer belly…

his condition of the state speech, and state budget will just have to wait….

With the economic outlook of our state in shambles, there is no doubt that Governor Culver’s condition of the state speech is probably going to be a downer. Nonetheless, this is probably the most important speech he will give. So I was a little surprised to see his preparation involved drinking beer with Bill Knapp at 11 p.m. at a bar last night.

It’s almost over…

In a just a few short hours members of the State Central Committee will arrive in Des Moines for this weekends meeting. While the vote will take place tomorrow morning, the last minute arm twisting takes place tonight in the nooks and dark hallways of the RPI headquarters. If I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, I think Strawn’s their man, but there is a possibility that someone could change their mind. If Strawn is successful in his bid the Co-Chair race is going to be interesting.

Despite being told that he doesn’t have the votes to be re-elected, Leon Mosley is seeking reelection according to SCC member David Chung. I trust my source that told me there is a solid block of 12 SCC members who will not vote for Mosley. However, I think there will still be a few people who vote for Mosley. Assuming that Carroll would run for Co-Chair, that means we could see a three way Co-Chair race between Mosley, Pate, and Carroll.

Now there has also been mention of a Dark Horse Co-Chair candidate from the comment section. I don’t give that rumor much credibility, but if there is a Dark Horse Co-Chair candidate its probably Ted Sporer. Sure Ted’s been AWOL for months, heck I’m starting to really wonder what the heck happened to him, but the one thing that the SCC has agreed on is Sporer’s action plan. While I think it’s highly unlikely, it wouldn’t surprise me either.

As for the Treasurer and Secretary Positions, I’m all for Matt Randall being elected Treasurer, you shouldn’t even has to ask about that…

Moving Forward

My friends over in Flyover Country has a great post the other day about what the new chair should do moving forward. I’d also like to chime in with some things that might help our party unite behind our new chairman.

The new chair and ED should organize a summit of all past RPI Chairs. Look nobody is going to have all the answers, and I’m one that believes you can learn a lot from those who have gone before you. As a party we need to do a better job of utilizing the knowledge and creativity of these people. Additionally, these people need to still contribute to the party even though they are no serve in an official role. When was the last time you saw Steve Grubbs or Mike Mahaffey at an RPI event? Our new Chair needs to reach out and bring these people back in the fold.

I also think the party needs to engage and empower more activists. There is no reason that RPI can’t create study committees on specific issues or major events like the Straw Poll and Caucuses. It seems like we always must reinvent the wheel every two, four, or eight years. We need to retain our institutional knowledge, not watch it walk out the door. Talk about the brain drain.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

State of the Race

Strawn and Carroll in a tight race. I think at the end of the day we are going to end up with both of these men serving in official roles in our Party. Pate’s entrance into the Co-Chair race is an interesting move as he is the only announced candidate for the position. SCC members have assumed that the Co-Chair would materialize out of the Chair candidates. So where’s Leon? Word on the street is that the committee has made it known that he doesn’t have the votes to get re-elected. While Leon remains popular with many activists, his endorsement and campaigning for Steve Rathje in the last election cycle rubbed some people the wrong way.

No matter what happens on Saturday, I will stick to my pledge in supporting our new chair. My friends in Flyover Country have some great ideas for the next chairman. I have some ideas of my own which I will share with you tomorrow. Give their post a read, its first class.

The Dark Horse: Linda Harrington?

I agree with those who find humor in the latest entry to the chair race. Not really what I had in mind for my dark horse. While that candidate never emerged, the recent development of Gopal not running and Paul Pate offering his services as Co-Chair not Chair proves the volatility of races like these.

Out of Nowhere QCI endorses Strawn

Grant’s endorsement is well done, and a good read. I guess one could say instead of an endorsement, I went the other direction with Gopal…

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Other Chair Election – RNC Chair

This past Monday American’s for Tax Reform hosted a debate held between the six candidates who want to head the RNC. Grover Norquist moderated the event, and he did an outstanding job. I had a trusted Krusty Korrespondent there who provided me with some insight.

The similarities between the debate going on here in Iowa for the RPI chair race, and the debate centering around the RNC race are very similar. In fact some of the questions at the RNC debate were how many “tweets” each has, and how many facebook friends they have. Again, just like here in Iowa, I don’t think these are the things that win elections, and this level of discourse sounds like something you might hear around the lunch table at your local high school. We need to be talking about mechanics not gadgets if you ask me.

Anyway here is my Krusty Korrespondent’s take on the candidates.

Mike Duncan – Current Chair seems to be the national version of Ray Hoffmann. Duncan is now pledging to be an agent of change which one would think is a tough sell for him to make. In his favor however is the fact that the 168 members of the RNC he is seen as one of them could be reelected.

Michael Steele – GoPAC Chairman and former Rudy supporter is hands down the most eloquent speaker of the bunch. However from an Iowa perspective he said some discouraging things about our state’s status during the 2008 campaign which should make us nervous.

Saul Anuzis – The Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party is always on the move and breaks the mold of what many consider to be your average Republican. People like his no-holds-barred attitude, but Michigan is a blue state and also broke the RNC rules which caused havoc in the 2008 nomination calendar. As chair of the RNC would he be enforce the rules against his own state if they attempted to move up again?

Ken Blackwell – Former Secretary of State in Ohio and gubernatorial candidate. Blackwell is also articulate and we all know how important Ohio is to the general election. While Blackwell has been supported by numerous conservative groups, he’s performance wasn’t that great on Monday.

Katon Dawson – Chair of the South Carolina GOP, has turned around his state in a short period of time. Dawson represents the southern conservative, and with South Carolina’s status of 1st in the South firmly in place he probably wouldn’t be hostile towards Iowa. Dawson wasn’t memorable on Monday.

Chip Saltsman – Former Chair of the Tenn GOP, Bill Frists main man, and Huckabee’s campaign manager. Anyone who stereotypes Chip by only looking at his work with Huckabee would be doing themselves a disservice. Chip is young, bright, and has some major accomplishments under his belt, like beating Al Gore in his own state in 2000. Chip did a great job on Monday, but it might not matter. It seems as if the RNC members are going to discount him as a candidate which is unfortunate.

So who will our Committeeman and Committeewoman support? All signs point to Dawson followed closely by Blackwell who is followed up by Saltsman. Both did attend the debate on Monday, which could explain why they were not at the RPI forum on Saturday. I’m glad they were there.

Who would I vote for? Blackwell. Those Ohio guys always seem to have our back and Blackwell is a conservative who shouldn’t bother the moderates in our party.

Vilsack to Commerce?

Seems like it’s an option being explored. We all know that Tom doesn’t have any farm experience, but did come from an Ag state so I was supportive of him in that position. I think Commerce is a real stretch for him.

Dear Gopal

Yesterday, Gopal Krishna let it be known that he is not running to be Chair of the Republican Party of Iowa, and never has been a candidate. He also took a little time to call his colleges on the State Central Committee immature and that the reason he would not run is because he doesn’t want to be their babysitter.

If you ask me, it looks like Gopal is the one who needs to grow up, get his facts straight.

First, while I question some of the actions taken by the SCC, they are all good people who want to do what’s best for the party. Unfortunately, we have lacked a strong chairman for the better part of a decade meaning the committee has been adrift. I’m actually one of the few who think this committee is a lot better than the previous one.

Additionally, it is no secret that the Iowa Christian Alliance is responsible for helping get most of these members elected to the SCC. So if Gopal is upset with maturity level of many of the members, he can thank himself for putting them in their current position.

Secondly, Gopal calls out members who don’t attend meetings. Yet it was Gopal who didn’t show up at State Central Committee meeting when he was Co-Chair 19 years ago, and he also didn’t attend the 1999 Straw Poll, yet he has the audacity to call other people out for their attendance record.

Gopal might be able to fool the media that he was never a candidate, but will never fool those who understand how these campaigns for chair are run. There is no doubt in my mind that Gopal was a candidate. However, this chair election has been very different that the previous ones. Usually a perspective candidate will reach out to the SCC members, but if they can’t garner the 9 votes needed they don’t pull the trigger. While it might not have been Gopal reaching out to other SCC members, there was an effort on his behalf. What happened is that Gopal is unable to get the 9 votes he needed, so of course he’s not running.

Finally, Gopal painted himself as a victim of lies and hate spread by a few blogs.

I guess he might be talking about me. While I understand that he probably didn’t like seeing all the stuff from the 2000 election cycle back in circulation for public consumption, I’m not the one who wants to reinvent history, Gopal is.

I did not make up the fact that the State Central Committee sent out a letter to county leaders about Gopal’s behavior which lead to his dismissal from the Party which was signed by Leon Mosley and Steve Scheffler and a majority of the SCC members at the time.

I did not magically produce a couple of Yepsen articles that deal with Gopal’s actions on the SCC in 2000 that are eerily similar to Yepsen’s columns this year about the dysfunction within RPI.

I did not make up the fact that he skipped out on the Straw Poll and wasn’t present at the SCC meeting which lead to his forced resignation.

Gopal, I have not lied about your past; I have simply made sure people knew about it. Sorry you if you cannot accept the truth. You might be glad to know that I held back at times, because I wanted to keep the debate about your “candidacy” for chairman about the facts.

Other Chair Business – Let the maneuvering begin!

I’ve heard through the grapevine that 2 potential chair candidates might pull from the race. One is Matt Randall, which doesn’t surprise me. Matt’s a good guy who is smart enough to know whether or not he’s got the votes or not. His vote is extremely valuable as the race between Strawn and Carroll is tight. The other rumor out there is that Paul Pate will not run for chairman, but for the Co-Chair position.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Presumptive 2012 Iowa Congressional Districts

With the 2010 campaigns currently stuck in neutral, I decided to make a different type of prediction this year. While I certainly have my eye on a few gubernatorial possibilities like Mark Pearson and Matt Whitaker, neither have made any moves that would indicate that a statewide campaign is looming. Currently the only candidate out there is perennial candidate Bob Vander Plaats. The candidate who I was most likely to name this year if I went that direction was Chuck Grassley. Sure he’s already an icon in this state, but I get the sense that we will see a more engaged candidate Grassley this cycle which is very much needed.

Instead of predicting a breakout candidate, I’ve decided to make an early guess in how Iowa’s congressional districts will look after the 2011 redistricting where Iowa will lose one of its seats in Congress. I wanted to take this approach for a couple of reasons. One, I find it fun. Two, as a party we need to always have an eye to the future, and three, redistricting should effect the rebuilding effort that RPI will go through this cycle.

Now, for you hardcore government employee geeks, I did this while watching football on a piece of paper while enjoying my favorite beverage. I also realize that the new 4th CD has a larger population than that of the other 3 districts, but remember, I’m trying to predict what the map will look like, so I intentionally made the new 4th more populous now, because counties like Polk, Dallas, Linn, and Scott will continue to grow while the rest of the state is stagnate.

Here are some of the things I found interesting:

I intended to keep Linn and Johnson County in the same district but doing so proved to be difficult. Keeping the two counties together became difficult. Then I remembered that the first redistricting plan in 2001 spit the two, and the new 2nd CD is very similar to the 2nd CD in the first attempt for the 2001 redistricting.

There has been a lot of discussion about the possibility of the new 3rd district would stretch south to pick up Wapello county, giving former 2nd congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks a new district to run in. That scenario is almost impossible. The 2nd CD did see significant change however, but if you are looking for a Republican candidate my search would probably start in Scott County.

I think this redistricting plan proves most difficult for Loebsack. Running in a much larger more diverse district could get him in a lot of trouble. On the other hand, King, Latham, and Braley all would do well in their districts.

I will be writing more about this in the coming weeks. I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

First District (Salmon)
19 Counties
Population: 743,729
24.9% of state pop

Second District (Yellow)
22 Counties
Population: 742,687
24.9% of state pop

Third District (Blue)
12 Counties
Population: 741,372
24.8% of state pop

Fourth District (Purple)
46 Counties
Population: 756,017
25.3% of state pop

(Click on map to enlarge it)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Without a Vision the Party will Perish

With the Republican Party of Iowa electing a new chairman this coming weekend, I’ve decided to postpone my prediction post. Don’t worry; it can wait a day or two. I think the selection of the leader of our party is far more important than me trying to accurately predict the future, which you all know I’m good at anyway.

I spent some time this weekend reading the reaction and commentary of the candidate forum on various blogs and newspapers. Again, kudos to the six people who participated, we need more dedicated people like them who care deeply about the future of our Party. As I’ve reminded my readers time and time again, these races are complicated and can change on a whim.

If Gopal Krishna’s absence from the forum means he is not running for chair, then there are three candidates in play, Danny Carroll, Matt Randall, and Matt Strawn. Now I know there are some who mock me for still mentioning Gopal as a serious candidate. I do so not because I’m na├»ve, I do so because unlike Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney who refused to kill off John McCain when he was down, I want to see my prey mounted in my trophy room, not stealing a victory.

For the most part Saturday’s forum was a healthy exercise. However I’m disappointed in the lack of vision the candidates offered. It seemed to me the debate was centered on the party platform, internal communication between the state party and county organizations/activists, and the use of new technologies. Those issues have been debated continuously in blogs, but I was disappointed that the issues debated ended there because even if executed perfectly, I doubt they make a major impact on outcome of the general election.

Missing was any substantive discussion of fundraising. Sure every candidate says it’s important and claim that they can raise significant amounts of cash, but to effectively raise money you have to give the donor a reason to give. That’s what was lacking. It’s not good enough to just say we need your money to win elections. What are we raising money for? To pay staff, the electric bill, fund an early voter program. For the new chairman to be effective in fundraising, they must be able to articulate the purpose for the party. I can’t answer that for any of the candidates right now. If forced to tell a donor what their contribution is go toward I’d say internal party communication, YouTube videos, a glossy cover on the party platform, and staff salaries. I doubt many donors will be excited about that.

It’s also important to realize that in the last election cycle the RNC gave 1.7 million to the party. Sure that money was for the McCain effort, but in 2010 Iowa Republican’s will not get a dime from the national party. So how are we going to fill that void? We will be on our own to build a statewide infrastructure to help our candidates.

Our next chairman needs to focus on cutting the Democrat’s voter registration advantage, building a voter database that is comparable or better than the Democrats, and determining what the party can provide our Republican candidates at all levels to help them be successful. While this debate is one that rightfully includes the activists of our party, the focus of the discussion needs to be about voter, more specifically how register and turn out more Republican voters.

Some scoff at the idea that the SCC can still look outside of the six candidates who participated in Saturday’s forum for our chairman, I think it is their responsibility to find the best person for the job, not give it to the person who wants it the most. Many people were not happy with our 2008 US Senate candidates, or some of the candidates who ran for Congress because we limited ourselves to those who were willing to run, choosing not to go out and encourage or ask the best and brightest people in our party to run.

The best way to unite the party is to make sure our next chairman is the absolute best person possible for the job.

Good read: Steve Deace has a good write up on the chairman forum.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

No Go for Gopal?

I was unable to attend the RPI Chair forum held in Des Moines today. From all reports it seems that the forum was very well attended and seen a positive thing for the party to organize. The photo above is from the Des Moines Register.

Probably the most interesting development was the fact that Gopal Krishna was a no show. To some that might indicate he’s not running. Many think that it will be difficult for him to find the necessary votes. I on the other hand think it is probably more a display of arrogance. Why go to a public forum when there are only 17 SCC members who vote, and most if not all of them have had the opportunity to grill these candidates one on one.

All I know is if Krishna is a the Chair a week from today there are going to be A LOT of upset activists who know more about his checkered past with RPI than his plans to re-build it.

Krusty Kudos to the six candidates who participated in today’s events. The comment section is open since I’m sure there was more than one New Years Resolution to be a better citizen in the blogosphere.