March 9th, 2009

An Open Letter to Bob Vander Plaats

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Written by: Krusty Konservative

Dear Bob,

Since you announced you candidacy for Governor on January 26th, I’ve probably been one of your loudest critics. I understand your stance of not responding to “anonymous bloggers.” It would be the same stance I would take if I was in your position. Yet, you did somewhat respond to my criticism when you were on with Steve Deace this past Friday afternoon. After listening to you and reading some emails that I have received from those involved with your campaign, I think that maybe I need to do a better job of letting you know why I do what I do.

In my opinion, my criticism of your campaign has been fair. I hope you realize that I critique your campaign not in an effort to see it fail, but to make you a better candidate. As a former coach of a high school basketball team, I’m sure you can understand what I’m talking about. No matter how good and talented the players on the team may be, they all need guidance and motivation to be the best players that they can be.

I’ve never been the star athlete, but every team I have been on has had one. I’ve been on teams where our star athlete takes the criticism from the coach and elevates his game to a level that none of us thought possible. I’ve also been on a team where the star player let his talent go to his head. He refused to take constructive criticism and instead sought to see the coach get fired. Needless to say, we didn’t do so well that year.

My criticisms of your campaign have been as follows:

Since this is your third time running for the Republican nomination for Governor, what can you tell me, the voter, will be different this time around? My other criticism of your campaign has been that you don’t have any issue positions on your website, and that you have not weighed in on the current issues facing our state. I really don’t think those questions are out of line, nor are they in any way unfair.

I will acknowledge that you are far better known than you were in 2001, and I also think you have grown as candidate. While you may not appreciate my critiques of your campaign, I’ll be the first one to tell people not to underestimate your campaign. There is also no doubt that being involved with Mike Huckabee’s campaign here in Iowa has its advantages.

All of the things mentioned above will help you, but I tend to think that elections are won and lost on issues and the direction you want to take the state. This is what I think you need to focus on. What would Iowa be like under Governor Vander Plaats? That’s a question I’m not sure how to answer.

Would Governor Vander Plaats advocate for reduced taxes? If so, what types of tax reform are you looking to advance. What would you do reduce the size and scope of state government? I was happy to get your press release on reforming K-12 education. I agree with you that we need to get more dollars into the classroom rather than increasing bureaucracy. And, I was pleased to see your opposition to an increase of the gas tax.

I thought your interview Friday with Deace was probably the best I’ve ever heard from you. You spoke about spending, cloning, and the union agenda. These are the types of things I want to hear from all of our Republican candidates. Your talk about reforming government is exactly what I want to hear.

Now, I understand that this is the phase of a campaign where candidate’s focus on raising funds. In fact, when announcing your campaign, you stated that you hoped to have raised $250,000.00 by March 2nd. If you have reached that goal, I’ll be the first to congratulate you. At the end of the year, Culver had just less than $1.5 million cash on hand, so many would view your ability to raise $250k in the first six weeks of your campaign as a sign of strength.

It is obvious that I’ve gotten under your skin. That has never been my goal in writing what I have over the last six weeks. My goal in all of this is to make sure our Republican candidates understand that they need to communicate better and reach out to more and more people. All I want is to send Chet Culver home in November of 2010.

I don’t back candidates on a whim; it usually takes me a little time to get there. I hope you understand my criticisms are not intended to cause you grief; my criticisms are intended to help you raise the level of your game, and it looks like it may be working.



P.S. Don’t worry, I’m not expecting a response.

About the Author

Krusty Konservative
Herschel Krustofski is the pseudonym for the anonymous author of Krusty Konservative, a blog which focuses on Iowa Politics. Created in February of 2006, Krusty Konservative is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the Iowa blogosphere. Since its conception, Krusty Konservative has never shied from tackling controversial issues, and providing insight to the inner workings of Republican politics in Iowa.

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