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:
Rubio Announces, I Guess
Poor Marco Rubio. Already facing an uphill battle to gain credibility and win the Republican nomination, his announcement on Monday was completely overshadowed by the week’s all-out Hillary Clinton coverage. He let the media know weeks in advance which day he’d announce, but was helpless in breaking through cable news’ obsession with Clinton’s road trip and Chipotle stop.
Some wonder whether Clinton views Rubio as the biggest general election threat. He’s young, Hispanic and represents a new generation that would provide a stark contrast to Hillary Clinton, who he calls “a leader from yesterday.” If that’s actually the case, then mission accomplished Team Clinton by crushing his roll-out (though I’m sure that wasn’t the main reason, and maybe not even discussed as one). I personally am quite interested in Rubio’s candidacy, so hopefully there will be some good opportunities soon to revisit his views and chances.
Those opportunities haven’t happened yet. Unlike Clinton’s first-week charm offensive where she spoke with real voters, Marco Rubio immediately headed off to speak to big donors, hitting a number of high-priced fundraisers last week. He’s only visited Iowa once this year, and that was just for a brief book-signing in West Des Moines. I spoke with his staffer at that event, and it didn’t sound like they had done a round of meetings with Iowa activists while there. Rubio’s first return to Iowa as an official candidate will be at this upcoming weekend’s Faith and Freedom Coalition event. The evangelical crowd isn’t Rubio’s natural base, though he’ll need to convince at least some of them. Still, one would hope he’ll build out a larger visit while here.
Martin O’Malley Stakes Out the Progressive Message
While Clinton was enjoying her announcement tour, Martin O’Malley spent the week reminding Democratic voters of his policy differences with the former Secretary of State. On Friday he criticized the Trans-Pacific Partnership fast-track, saying, “Bad trade deals have sent American jobs and American profits abroad.” At an economic speech at Harvard, he called for a $15/hour minimum wage. He also specifically hit Clinton’s changing views on gay marriage and immigration.
Hopefully this indicates O’Malley is still more likely than not going to really run for President. If he wasn’t, I don’t see why he’d keep poking Clinton in this way, even if it’s still not too harsh of criticism yet.
Clinton’s First Videos Offer Interesting Clues
I’ve been intrigued by Hillary Clinton’s social media postings and what clues they may indicate to her larger campaign message. Her first video (after her announcement one) posted to her Facebook page featured Clinton speaking in Monticello about Paid Family Leave. I have predicted for weeks that that policy will form the centerpiece of her campaign. Her second video showed one of my former precinct captains from Council Bluffs, Mike Yowell, thanking Clinton for her stance on gay marriage. They posted that one a day after O’Malley’s comments on gay marriage, perhaps a coincidence, perhaps not.
Check them all out here:
Attention: The Daily Mail Is NOT A Credible News Source, Des Moines Register
You know what the strongest indication is that Hillary Clinton had a great first week? The best anyone could do is point to a ridiculous story in the Daily Mail to criticize her appearances. The Daily Mail ran an insane piece claiming Clinton’s first meeting was completely fake because the people she met with were – get this – Democrats! Democrats who were involved in campaigns before (now why on earth would someone running for President want to talk to those folks), like the president of the University of Iowa Democrats. What a scandal! (Also, in the article they misspelled Troy Price as “Troy Prince” in a photo, but perhaps Troy is actually part of British royalty that he just hasn’t told us about.)
Seriously, even if the story itself wasn’t obviously completely stupid, there is absolutely zero reason to cite The Daily Mail. It is Britain’s trashy, sensationalist, oft-sued tabloid that no one takes seriously. The Des Moines Register ought to know that, and it’s ridiculous that they’re giving credit to a publication that tried to needlessly smear good Iowans.
The Week Ahead
After a week and a half of non-stop presidential news, I’ll be returning to an Iowa focus this coming week. Which is nice, because I’ll finally be able to regroup a bit. There’s no major political events on the calendar this week until Saturday with the Republican cattle call at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Spring Kick-Off, which is attracting nine candidates. But there’s still plenty going on in Iowa politics. I’ll take a look at the fascinating 1st District fundraising numbers. I’ll swing back by the Statehouse for either a piece on the stalled education funding or a look at another new legislator. And Run Warren Run’s Iowa efforts will be a focus as I reconsider their purpose in the post-Clinton announcement world.
As always, thanks for reading and sharing!
by Pat Rynard