As we near the holiday season, there’s a lot for Iowa elected officials, candidates and activists to be thankful for. Some will look back at the year as the breakout moment of their political career. Most will just be happy when 2017 is finally over. Unless next year turns out to be worse. Which it probably will be.

For now, let’s take a brief look at what various Iowa politicos should be thankful for as the year starts to come to close.

Governor Kim Reynolds should be thankful for…

Being Iowa’s governor in the age of Trump. Were it not for the state’s lurch to the right this past year, Reynolds’ election hopes for 2018 would be in serious jeopardy. Her early governorship has been nothing short of an utter disaster. Iowa’s privatized Medicaid program is a complete failure. The state has borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars for a busted state budget. Iowa’s GDP growth now ranks dead last in the nation. DHS still can’t adequately protect children. If she had this kind of a record in a swing or blue-leaning state, she wouldn’t even be competitive in the gubernatorial campaign. Her best hope is the Trump voters stick to pure tribalism and only see the “R” next to her name next November.

Ambassador Terry Branstad should be thankful for…

Getting the hell out of the state when he did.

“Acting” Lt. Governor Adam Gregg should be thankful for…

Democratic activists who harp on about his “acting” title anytime his name is brought up. There’s not a single voter in the entire state who cares about the legal nuances around Gregg’s appointment. Meanwhile, Republicans have been able to present him as this down-home country boy with little to no resistance. If Democrats were less concerned about showing off how smart they are by citing Iowa code and instead talked about how that “ordinary Iowa guy” Gregg was a corporate lobbyist, then Democrats might run an effective messaging attack for once.

Senate Leader Bill Dix should be thankful for…

His ability to raise so much money for his Republican incumbent senators and candidates. Otherwise, he might be out of a job by now. Senators’ complaints about Dix’s lack of communication with his caucus over the sexual harassment scandal are starting to come to light, and it seems like the senate majority leader is all out on his own on this. The imperial-style rule is a terrible way to run a legislative caucus, but money does solve a lot of problems – money the other Republican senators may not raise if Dix was ousted.

Fred Hubbell should be thankful for…

Iowa’s lack of campaign contribution limits. We won’t know until January what the Des Moines businessman’s fundraising haul is, but we know it’ll be big. Iowa’s campaign finance rules are some of the least restrictive in the entire country. Usually that’s benefited Iowa Republicans. This may be the first campaign cycle in a long time where it overwhelmingly favors the Democrats, were Hubbell to win the primary. If that happens, it’ll be fun to watch the Republicans in the state suddenly get very concerned about campaign finance reform.

Nate Boulton should be thankful for…

The Iowa Legislature coming back into session soon. Boulton exploded onto the Iowa politics scene just weeks into his first term with wall-to-wall TV coverage of his collective bargaining defense. No one can compete with Hubbell’s statewide advertising right now, but Boulton can try to recapture the earned media domination once the Iowa Senate is back in session.

All Iowans should be thankful for…

The two healthcare professionals running in the Democratic primary, Dr. Andy McGuire and ICU nurse Cathy Glasson. The way things are going with Iowa’s Medicaid program, the only way for Iowans to get healthcare with government assistance in the future may be by going to checkups in the governor’s office.

Chuck Grassley should be thankful for…

Twitter’s new 280 characters limit. Now Iowa’s senior senator has twice as much space to rant about Hy-Vee’s Market Cafes and the History Channel or give updates about UNI volleyball. It will be sad, however, if the new # lmt means CG wnt use his shrthnd any more 4 u kno what.

Rob Sand should be thankful for…

His hometown crowd. Democrats’ new state auditor candidate saw around 200 people come to his campaign kickoff in Decorah. That’s more than what many of the gubernatorial candidates got during their announcements.

Heather Ryan should be thankful for…

Anyone who still takes her seriously. At this point, her congressional campaign has basically devolved into one big piece of performance art, and, like most art, it’s terrible. She and her supporters have embarrassed themselves by shouting and yelling at the Polk County Democrats during the past couple monthly meetings. This Monday the attendees turned on Ryan as she insisted she didn’t want to file the frivolous lawsuit that she did, earning her boos and heckles. Whatever sympathy she might have still held onto went out the window when she sued the entire Polk County Democrats Central Committee for truthful comments that chair Sean Bagniewski made. And this was right after the committee voted to reinstate her speaking slot. That’s the type of thanks you get when someone’s entire persona is based on vindictiveness and drama.

Polk County Democrats should be thankful for…

Holding an event in December where no candidates will speak. In fact, there will be no speakers at all at their holiday party. Democrats are certainly excited for their large primary fields for governor and congress, but man, can it ever make simple meetings drag on and on when so many of them speak.

Iowa Caucus Aficionados should be thankful for…

The return of 2020 hopefuls to the Hawkeye State. It seemed like we were getting a nonstop stream of potential presidential candidates in August and September, but then it dried up a lot. However, Congressman Eric Swalwell, Jason Kander, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and John Kerry (!) will all be back (or were just here) in late November and December. De Blasio headlines Progress Iowa’s holiday fundraiser and Kerry will speak at a Tom Miller fundraiser (Kerry’s not running, but it’s still fun).

Iowa Starting Line is thankful for…

All of you, our loyal readers who share our stories online. It’s been a very successful year for Starting Line, and I really am appreciative for the community we’ve built up around the website and for all of you who keep coming to us for your Iowa political news and analysis. It makes the long hours and frustrating days well worth it.

 

by Pat Rynard
Posted 11/22/17

2 thoughts on “What Should Iowa Politicos Be Thankful For This Year?

  1. And we Iowa Starting Line readers are thankful this blog, thoughout the year with insightful essays and good writers (like you, Pat!), and we’re thankful that we still (mostly) have our health (even if the parties in power here and in DC are working overtime to rid us of that…)
    Happy Thanksgiving to all from our household to yours!

  2. Too bad the taxpayers can’t be thankful for Bill Dix’s fundraise prowess like we would be if he used those funds to pay the Republicans’ damages to Kirsten Anderson!

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