Good morning readers! As always, a lot happened in the political world this week. Enjoy our Sunday Grab Bag of shorter takes on a number of Iowa and national political topics:
A Moderate-Sounding Lindsey Graham Talks to Iowans
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham visited Iowa on Friday and Saturday, first stopping by Noah’s Ark restaurant in Des Moines for a meet-and-greet. His remarks focused on national security and dealing with the Baby Boom retirement through entitlement reform, but what stuck out to me was how he phrased his points.
“You need a rational immigration system,” Graham said of his plan that’s to the left of most Republican presidential candidates. “Everyone’s one car wreck from needing government, I just want it to be a sustainable government,” he mentioned – most conservative Republicans would say people in need turn to faith and family, not government first in times of crisis. “If I were honored to be President of the United States, there’s no way I know how to solve the big problems without some Democratic buy-in,” he said about working with the other party.
It certainly was a far cry from what you hear from Ted Cruz or Rick Santorum on the stump. For a few minutes on Friday, I thought I was at an event for a Democrat. Graham made well-rationed defenses of why the government taxes this and that, and pushed back against questioners who suggested we should eliminate whole government departments or programs. Of course, then he mentioned his support for a flat tax and I was brought back to reality.
Still, Graham provides a very interesting candidacy in that he’s not all about conservative red meat talking points. He actually sounded like a sane, rational public servant who cared about a government that functioned and took care of the weakest in society. Clearly he has no shot in winning the Republican primary. But seriously, his Meet-The-Press speaking style will give a welcome relief from some of the bombastic rhetoric from the rest of the primary field.
Indiana Republicans Surprised that America Doesn’t Like Discrimination
Indiana Republican Governor Mike Pence seems absolutely amazed that so many local and national businesses are upset with Indiana’s new anti-gay legislation. National corporations are considering halting their investments in the state. Conventions may be cancelled. Even the NCAA has expressed their concern over how their athletes could be treated in the state.
Pence has been absolutely adamant that the bill isn’t about discrimination, it’s only “about protecting religious liberty.” Uh, yeah, but the very specific “religious liberty” certain “Christians” want to practice is an ability to deny gay people service in their businesses. You know, kind of like how it was once legal to have “Whites Only” restaurants. It makes you think whether he seriously doesn’t get it (perhaps he knows no gay people) or has come to believe his own spin.
One wonders what could happen if we had a Democratic governor in Iowa who supported gay rights right now. He or she could point to Iowa’s leadership on marriage equality and our state’s welcoming attitude to lure business investments and talented workers to the state. Iowa’s seen success with tech companies recently – how much more could we see by promoting our impressive civil rights record? Indiana’s loss should be Iowa’s gain.
Simply put, Mike Pence is a bigot. Why do I say that? Because he signed into law a bigoted measure that legalizes discrimination in a time where the country is moving away from that. That’s usually something bigots do. No amount of fancy talking points can hide that fact. Pence shouldn’t be so surprised when people who aren’t bigots don’t accept his pathetic explanations. Those same people may be looking for a new place to live that’s more welcoming. Iowa’s pretty nice.
O’Malley Adds Stops on April Swing
As one would expect, Martin O’Malley is building out his April trip to central Iowa. He’s been slotted for a while to headline the Polk County Democrats’ fundraiser on April 10th. Two other scheduled events were revealed this week:
April 9th, 6:00pm – O’Malley speaks at Rep. Scott Ourth’s fundraiser at Summerset Winery in Indianola
April 9th, 7:30pm – Central Iowa Democrats for Action host O’Malley at Cooney’s Tavern in Des Moines/Beaverdale neighborhood
The Week Ahead
I’ve had a couple down weeks in March – there hasn’t been as many big news stories lately and I’ve been short on creative ideas. But this upcoming week will be a good one. I’ll have a preview of the 3rd District Democratic primary, a post on Iowa Caucus myths, and Cruz comes to town for 6 public Iowa events on Wednesday and Thursday. A year ago if you’d ask me if I would be hanging out at four Ted Cruz events in a day, I’d probably have responded, “Why no, that does not seem like something I would do.” Thursday should be fun.
by Pat Rynard