This past weekend, Alfred Pennyworth emailed members of the media a copy of a flyer that was put on the windshields of cars at the Iowa State Fair and WHO TV 13 in Des Moines. The intrepid reporters at the Des Moines Register even looked to see if Alfred was a registered voter in Iowa. I take it they are not Batman fanatics since Alfred Pennywoth is Bruce Wayne/Batman’s butler…
If you have not yet seen the flyer you can view it by clicking here. The disclaimer at the bottom of the flyer says that it is paid for by Iowans for Truth and Honest Government. Well, they might be for truth, but an honest organization would have probably filed papers with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Discloser Board.
If you thought the flyers were bad, wait till you see their accompanying video…
Now I’ve heard a number of theories on who is behind all of this. Some people think it is the Vander Plaats people, others think it’s the Michael Kiernan and the Iowa Democrats. I don’t think this is the type of attack Vander Plaats would make. Vander Plaats is probably the only Republican in the race who has a snowball’s chance in hell vs. Branstad in a primary. If I were in Vander Plaats shoes, I would want Branstad in the race because, if he beats a former governor in a primary, it’s a big deal and people would take notice.
I thought for a while that Kiernan and the Democrats were behind it, but there is no way that Keirnan and IDP would create a video that bashed Branstad AND Culver. If it is them and they get caught, it’s probably safe to assume those responsible get fired.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that the people who are spreading this stuff are scared-to-death of a Branstad candidacy because it would end their campaign. In taking a quick look at the GOP gubernatorial field it’s easy to cross most of these guys off the list of suspects. McKinley isn’t actively campaigning, Robert’s doesn’t have a vicious bone in his body, and Behn just got in the race and why would you do something like this right before you announce? It steals media attention away for him.
That leaves Chris Rants and Christian Fong as the possible candidates behind the anti-Branstad flyer and video. We all know that Rants has never backed away from pointing out his opponent’s weaknesses or record. Rants is probably the most aggressive candidate we have, but you don’t earn that earn that distinction by doing things anonymously. Frankly, I think if Rants was behind it, he would have put his name on it.
That leaves me with just one campaign, Christian Fong’s. Now I’m not saying that Fong himself is behind all of this, but the people who are helping his campaign might be. A Branstad candidacy basically forces Fong out of the race. We know that his campaign is concerned since they recently went up on radio across the state. A strange move when you consider the primary election is ten months away. Here are some other reasons why I think it’s them.
1. While the video is rough, whoever did it has some pretty expensive software sitting around the house. Those responsible also know how use that software pretty well. This isn’t the work of some amateur. It may look thrown together, but it’s not.
2. The video really focuses on the issue of federal deductibility and also tries to bring up the ICN. Federal Deductibility isn’t going to be a contentious primary issue, but it is a very important issue to some of Fong’s backers. The ICN stuff is just odd since it’s such an old issue. So the person who’s behind this has been around the block, and if I recall the ICN was a bi-partisan effort.
3. Timing. Is its merely a coincidence that Christian Fong goes up with a Radio ad at the same time as his main primary opponent is getting pounded by anonymous attacks? I doubt it.
4. Play the Anti-Branstad video and the Stephen Burgmeier add below. Both use similar bobble heads, but both ads use identical cartoon like images of the capitol as a background.
The anonymous attacks on Branstad are designed to do one thing and one thing only, keep him out of the race. I find it kind of funny that someone thinks that Branstad would be swayed by these types of attacks. While this stuff could influence the actions of others, Branstad has dealt with this type of stuff before.
I also think the attacks would have had a greater effect if the person behind them put their name on their work. Talk about a news story! I have no problem with candidates examining the records of their opponents, but whoever is behind this doesn’t want to have a debate. They are simply on the attack.
I also find some of their tactics very distasteful. For example, some jackass thought it was OK to plaster one of Branstad’s kid’s homes with the flyer. Classy move, especially when you consider that his son is down working in HD 90 while his wife and children are at home. Look, I don’t care what people think of Branstad, when you start to bully the guy’s family, it crosses the line.
I think we need an honest and open debate between our gubernatorial candidates. That is the type of thing that would grow and unite our party. These flyers and videos do the opposite. I would hope our Republican candidates for governor would denounce these sorts of tactics. There is no reason why we can’t have an honest debate about all of our candidates. While I’m positive that no candidate will admit to having any involvement, it sure looks like Victory Enterprises, Fong’s campaign consultant, is behind the latest attack on Branstad.
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