In case you hadn’t noticed, I needed a little time off and there is no better time to do it than the week between Christmas and New Years. With the Branstad administration taking shape and two State Senate Districts picking replacements its not been the sleepy holidays of past years. While I missed out on a lot, with a little hard work we can catch up quickly.
No offense to Kim Reynolds or Larry Noble, but I think their replacements will allow Senate Republicans to be much more aggressive. Jodi Ernst is a bit more conservative than Kim Reynolds was and Jack Whitver is bound to be more aggressive than Noble.
The new faces in the Senate will be great for conservatives in Iowa, but it might not great for Sen. Paul McKinley’s reign as the Republican leader in the Senate. If the leadership vote would have taken place after the replacements for Noble and Reynolds were in place, I believe that McKinley might not have had the necessary votes.
This is not a dig at McKinley, it’s just the reality of the situation. Sometime in the next two years I believe that the Republicans in the Senate will select new leadership, especially when campaign time rolls around.
Did Strawn Get Screwed?
While we are talking about the Senate races, does anyone else feel bad for Matt Strawn? Strawn was persuaded to run for a second term as RPI Chairman, then days later Branstad selects Noble and creates an opening in the Senate in Strawn’s district. I can’t speak to Strawn’s desires, but if politics is in his future, that Senate Seat might have been more attractive than the RPI chairmanship.
I’m grateful that Straw is taking one for the team, but I’d love to know if he knew about Noble’s seat being open before he made his decision to stay at RPI.
A lot of people scratched their heads when Branstad selected Debi Durham, who is already Branstad’s Economic Development head, to lead the Office of Energy Independence. I’m for limiting the size and scope of government, but the decision to give Durham a duel roll has nothing to do with saving the administration money. Instead, I’m told that Durham needed the extra position to justify what she’s going to get paid.
Doug Glass? Err Jason Gross? What? Oh Jason Glass
While I’m talking about the recent Branstad picks, I was also a little disappointed at Jason Glass’ resume. Glass is Branstad’s pick to head the Department of Education. I hope he’s great, and maybe the fact that he young means that he will be willing to shake things up a bit. If he does, Glass will be a great selection. I guess it was a head scratcher because I didn’t think the pick would be so young and inexperienced.
The One Iowa Award:
Apparently, Chet Culver and Patti Judge created something called the One Iowa Award sometime last year. The award is to “highlight individuals and organizations that are helping to eliminate intolerance and prejudice in our society, and bring our state together.” I was shocked to see that One Iowa has won the One Iowa Award. Isn’t this really just One Iowa giving itself an award?
If you had to say who was the most successful Republican in the last election, Haley Barbour’s name would be in the conversation. The trouble of being successful in politics is that it puts a target on your back. It didn’t take long for those who have presidential aspirations (Myth Romney anyone?) to take aim at Barbour.
Since the election Barbour has been attacked for using Mississippi’s private jet for his own political purposes and for also being a racist. What a way to celebrate huh? Barbour is a big boy and I’m sure he can handle it. While I doubt Barbour will ever be president, its fun to sit back and watch this guy operate. So what to you do when called a racist? You pardon two black sisters so long as one is willing to give her sister a kidney.
Not only does he come off looking sympathetic to the black community, but it’s also a pro-life move that will save the state money. Only Haley Barbour would see this move on the chessboard.
Please Send Bob Vander Plaats Money
Every time I turned around last week, Bob Vander Plaats was soliciting money for IFPC or whatever it’s called now. Seriously, it was worse that the Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign. Now its not odd for an organization to e asking for cash before the end of the year, but the sudden onslaught of fundraising appeals made them seem desperate.
I also thought it was weird that they only needed $8,000 to “restore the integrity of the Iowa Supreme Court.” If you ask me I think they needed the 8k to meet payroll.
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