While Dems Push Public Option, Kim Reynolds Paralyzed On Privatized Medicaid

Governor Kim Reynolds stubbornly refuses to act as her Medicaid privatization is spiraling into a total meltdown. She seems paralyzed, unwilling or unable to take action to solve this looming healthcare emergency. Even the Republicans in the Legislature are now admitting that privatization is in crisis. The legislative oversight committee met recently and Republicans joined Democrats in raising questions about the mismanagement of privatization. The Des Moines Register in an editorial yesterday was extremely blunt in warning both Republican legislators and Governor Reynolds that they will likely be held accountable in 2018 for their health care disaster. “Since Reynolds is […]

What Will Congress And Trump Do In 2018?

The second session of the 115th Congress begins January 3 of 2018. Given the trials and tribulations of the 1st session of the 115th, what might the next year bring? Frankly, any comments are based upon speculation, but here are a few I think might be on the table. 1. I know this seems nuts to many, but I do think the Trump Administration will initially calm down its rhetoric, if for no other reason then a better staff is in place in the White House. I think they will have some ability to put a minor lid on Trump’s tweets and […]

Let’s Give Our Farmers Another Shot At Diplomacy In Korean Crisis

A new year is just around the corner. But instead of tipping a celebratory glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve, a big tumbler filed with Maalox seems more appropriate this time. For all of the optimism that usually accompanies a new year, the arrival of 2018 is being dogged by anxiety about war breaking out on the Korean peninsula. Unlike in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan, a war with North Korea seems almost certain to involve nuclear weapons and the tremendous loss of life that would accompany those weapons. We need the voices of reason to be heard now, but […]

With Zach Wahls And More, Iowa Dems’ Future Is On The Ballot In 2018

Few elections have ever held more longterm consequences for a state than the upcoming 2018 races in Iowa. A few of the issues at stake: the survival of public unions and Planned Parenthood, the existence of mental healthcare services, and the state’s own political identity as a purple or red state. Iowa could soon become the next Kansas for decades to come, or a Democratic wave could return balance to the Statehouse. But for the Democratic Party here, 2018 presents one more opportunity that could outlive all of those outcomes: the chance to vote into office a raft of young […]

A Holiday Test For Your Trump-Loving Uncle Bob

In his first year as President, Trump has come under criticism for his outrageous tweets, insults, serial lying and flip flopping on issues. While Trump’s popularity numbers have declined, he has maintained a solid minority that are unwavering in their support. What would it take to convince these hardcore Trump loyalists that he is a “broken promise” failed President ? Suppose Trump’s supporters were forced to evaluate President Trump’s presidential performance based on the criticisms he used to belittle Obama’s performance. Using those same measures, how might his followers react if Trump’s performance was considerably worse than Obamas? How could […]

Iowa Sets Next Special Election: January 16 In Sioux City

Who’s ready for yet another special election? The Iowa Legislature will see its sixth race to fill an open seat since the 2016 election in January, this one in Sioux City for House District 6. Voters will choose Republican Representative Jim Carlin’s replacement – he just won a promotion to the Iowa Senate in last week’s special election to fill resigning Senator Bill Anderson’s district. Governor Kim Reynolds set the election date for January 16 after Carlin made his resignation from the Iowa House official today (special elections are required to be held in a shorter time frame if they […]

It’s Not Just King: Anti-Immigrant Feelings Run Deep In Iowa GOP

Many wonder how Iowa Republicans can tolerate Congressman Steve King’s racist anti-immigrant rants. While most of the GOP doesn’t mimic King and many meekly claim they don’t agree with him, they fail to condemn or distance themselves. Iowa Republicans understand that appearing unyielding on immigration plays well to many in their party. Both Governor Reynolds’ appointment of King as her campaign co-chair and the Iowa Senate Republicans’ sanctuary bill are implicit acceptance of anti-immigrant policies. While they may not join King in his embrace of the nationalist alt-right, they will willingly play the anti-immigrant card as electoral insurance when necessary. […]

Dr. John Paschen Seeks Right Prescription To Defeat Steve King In 2018

John Paschen, one of the Democratic candidates vying for the uphill fight against Congressman Steve King in 2018, already knows a good deal about overcoming skepticism. Born in the suburbs of Chicago, he moved with his family to Iowa as a teenager, settling down on a farm outside of Camanche in Clinton County. Looking to embrace life in the rural community, Paschen got involved in 4-H, but the local instructors weren’t sure what they could task a city boy with. “What could this kid from Chicago raise?” Paschen told Starting Line his 4-H instructor had wondered at the time. “Chickens […]

This Big Entitlement Flies Under The Radar

Watching events unfold in Washington, D.C., these days is much like watching Wile E. Coyote pursue the Road Runner in the cartoons from years gone by. When the Coyote and the Road Runner were on the screen, you knew what was coming next. So it is with the federal income tax overhaul bill that Republicans in Congress are determined to approve this week and send to President Trump. We know what will be coming next: Federal budget-cutting. To hear supporters tell it, the tax changes will unleash dramatic expansion of the nation’s economy like we haven’t seen in more than […]

David Young, Rod Blum And Steve King Cave To Gun Lobby

How can these men sleep at night? Iowa’s Republican congressmen voted last week to expand the ability of unfit and unqualified people to legally carry guns freely across state lines. The gun bill they voted to be the national law of the land will legally force the opening of state borders to untrained, untested and unknown gun-toting travelers. Thursday, December 14th marked the 5th anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre. The 20 first graders, six and seven-year-old angels, were savagely mowed down by a young man that was mentally disturbed. That killer should never have had access to […]