We all know Bob Vander Plaats is a social and fiscal conservative. His biggest mistake in the past is not going into detail about the state budget, job creation ideas, health care and education reform, and any other issue that falls under the fiscal conservative banner. Is this time different for Bob?
First, Bob was handed a media pass when the Supreme Court ruled on marriage. Bob took almost every opportunity to get out there and let the voters know what he would do. Bob continues to speak on this issue with specific ideas to change Iowa to a pro-traditional marriage state. Basically, Bob has become an expert on this issue. This doesn’t mean I agree with everything he’s saying but he obviously has thought out the issue and is letting others know of his specific ideas.
Over the past few months Bob has become the one issue candidate much like Tom Tancredo in the Iowa Caucus was a one issue candidate. I think the two are very similar in that both do talk about other issues but neither can do an interview without answering questions on their main issue. With Tancredo, if you heard his speeches, you knew he has knowledge on all kinds of topics completely unrelated to immigration but his niche wasn’t the economy or the war, it was immigration and only immigration. Bob is running into the same problem. So whose fault is it?
Well Bob is the candidate so the buck stops with him. Obviously he can’t tell the reporters not to ask the questions but he can become expert on other issues so they have a reason to ask him a question on a different topic. What’s Bob’s great idea for cutting the state’s budget? Seriously, can you answer that? Can Bob answer that? I’ve read where he wants to freeze state employee wages. That’s a drop in the bucket. I think he wants to shrink the size of government but I’ve never heard him say exactly how he’d do that.
I know Bob isn’t stupid so I’m presuming he knows he’s getting backed into a marriage or nothing campaign. But I’ve also seen his campaigns in the past where people were advising him to speak to economic issues and he’s failed to do so. Sure, he’ll offer the talking points but rarely, if ever, give specifics on what programs or taxes he’d cut. You don’t see the press actively pursuing the average Republican Joe for his answers for solving the state’s budget deficit, do you? On the issues of the economy, Bob’s answers are average Joes.
I don’t think it is too late for Bob to develop a good economic message. But I also don’t know if he has it in him. He’s had almost 10 years to offer something on the fiscal front other than talking points and has failed to do so at the level needed to turn some heads his way. If he repeats his past mistakes, he won’t make it past the Primary Election. We shall wait and see.
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