I don’t know about you, but I’m underwhelmed by the performances of all three of our Republican gubernatorial candidates in the first two debates.
Think about it.
After the first debate we were all talking about how Bob Vander Plaats finally took a shot at Terry Branstad. It only took him seven months to do it. Oh sure, he sent out some zingers in a couple of press releases, but its different when you do it yourself. I’m glad Bob found the stones to take on his opponent directly, but that’s what any candidate has to do if they want to win.
To quote a longtime Iowa politician, Leaders need to Lead, Teachers need to Teach, and candidates who are in second place need to attack the frontrunner. Sorry, I guess that last part is mine.
I know there are a lot of Vander Plaats supporters out there celebrating the Bob 3.0, the aggressive candidate for governor, but shouldn’t he have been doing this for months now? Excuse me if I can’t get excited about a candidate who is now aggressive a month away from an election. Never mind the fact that everything he has attacked Branstad on is basically old news. At this rate, I’m going to put money on Vander Plaats bringing up Joy Corning in the next debate.
Team BVP and his supporters should have stolen a few pages out of Marco Rubio’s playbook. The Florida primary isn’t until August 24th, but Rubio attacked Crist early and often. His aggressiveness paid off. I’ll be really honest, if Rubio would have sat back and waited until the closing months of the campaign to be aggressive, Charlie Crist would still be a Republican and he would be the frontrunner in the race.
Now before all of you Vander Plaats people go crazy on me, I have problems with Branstad too.
Terry Branstad is not a good speaker, but I think he holds his own in these debates. In fact if I were Bob Vander Plaats, I would take whatever money I had and buy a 15-minute block of time on TV and give it to Branstad and have him give a speech. Branstad is good at giving 2-minute answers in a debate, but struggles in every speech I’ve seen him give.
Branstad’s campaign also fails at responding to the news of the day. They were silent on the concealed carry bill. Vander Plaats sent out a press release urging the governor to sign it, while Roberts applauded Culver when he did. Branstad said nothing. Arizona passes a tough new illegal immigration law and once again Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts respond to it, while Branstad is relatively quiet.
What I really don’t understand is why all three of the candidates have failed to weigh in on Culver’s Fort Dodge gambling fiasco and John Frew’s sweetheart deal from the City of Cedar Rapids. Isn’t corruption worth talking about? I guess not.
I have to say, it’s probably a good thing we have a contested primary on the Republican side this year because I don’t think any of these candidates are ready for prime time. Branstad and Vander Plaats made huge tactical errors in the last debate, and Rod Roberts seemed almost invisible. I wouldn’t be high-fiving around the office if I worked on any of these campaigns.
Is this really the field of candidates I have to pick from? Yikes.
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