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August 14th, 2012

A Wild Day in Politics at the Iowa State Fair

The Iowa Caucuses concluded more than eight months ago, but the state’s spot at the center of the political universe remains very much intact. Visits on Monday from President Obama, Republican vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, and dozens of national media members propelled Iowa into the spotlight once again.

Most of the happenings took place at the Iowa State Fair. The state’s most prominent Republicans accompanied Paul Ryan for his tour. A Democrat congressman and well-known candidate also stated their case to fairgoers. It was a political-packed day.

Here is TIR’s look at Monday’s wild day at the fair, in order:

Bipartisan Bruce Braley?

The first candidate to visit the Des Moines Register’s soapbox to espouse his views was Bruce Braley. Those listening to the speech that did not know much about Braley might have thought he was the most moderate member of Congress. The eastern Iowa liberal was working hard to convince the crowd of that. Braley’s entire speech was centered upon his supposed extensive efforts at “bipartisanship”.

In fact, Braley uttered the word “bipartisan” at least seven times, claimed to work with “both sides of the aisle” at least five times, and talked repeatedly about trying to “bring us together”. He also pandered to the crowd of mostly Republicans by calling Paul Ryan “my friend”.

During the first minute of the speech, I started to wonder if Braley had plagiarized from fellow liberal Iowa Democrat Christie Vilsack. “Growing up in Brooklyn, Iowa, and you had a problem, nobody asked you if you were Republican or Democrat,” Braley said.

Almost every Vilsack speech includes almost the exact same language, exchanging Brooklyn for her hometown of Mt. Pleasant. Later on Monday at the soapbox Vilsack said, “None of us really cared if we were Republicans, Democrats of independents.”

Braley also claimed he was working with Republicans on the Farm Bill. “I decided that I want to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to bring that bill to the floor, and if the leadership in the House isn’t willing to do it, then we’re going to try to make them do by doing something called a discharge petition. And I’ve got Republican and Democratic colleagues who are working with me,” he said.

That statement drew a rebuke from fellow Iowa Congressman Steve King. “Bruce Braley has no discharge petition to move a House Ag Committee farm bill, not one single signature, including his own. Political games,” King tweeted Monday night.

Despite what he led fairgoers to believe, if you look at Bruce Braley’s record, you see he votes in unison with his mentor, Nancy Pelosi. In fact, a Des Moines Register article that Braley proudly trumpets on his own website proclaims, “He is more liberal than 80 percent of the House on social issues and 84 percent on foreign issues, according to the Journal analysis of votes cast in 2011.”

Two years ago at the State Fair, Braley was extolling the virtues of ObamaCare. This year, there was not one mention of that or any of the other unpopular Obama administration policies that Braley supports. His State Fair speech was a sham.

Thousands Cheer for Paul Ryan

While the media focused on seven ultra-liberal idiots in the crowd, they ignored the other 3,000-4,000 people who jammed the soapbox area to hear the GOP vice-presidential hopeful. Paul Ryan kept his cool throughout the distractions and delivered a substantive speech.

Ryan promoted Mitt Romney’s five-point plan for putting the middle class back to work, which the campaign claims will create 12 million new jobs. The Wisconsin congressman also praised Romney’s track record while taking a few jabs at President Obama. Ryan’s role is to promote his running mate and his speech did just that.

“This is a man who actually knows how to create jobs. That man in his life has created jobs, started small businesses, turned around failing businesses. That’s the kind of leadership and experience we want to have in the White House,” Ryan said to cheers from the crowd. “This is a man who knows that if you have a small business, you did build that small business.”

The sheer size of the crowd was astounding. The midway at the state fair was completely jammed with a mass of humanity wanting to listen to the vice-presidential hopeful. Ryan has definitely brought a lot of excitement to the Romney ticket. It’s a shame that a few lunatics felt the need to disrupt the speech. They do their cause more harm than good with that kind of behavior.

Christie Vilsack Distorts and Attacks the Fair Tax

Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack took the soapbox stage at 3 pm. A paltry crowd of maybe 100 people lingered around to listen to the congressional hopeful.

Vilsack delivered her usual, empty stump speech, with two wrinkles that I had not heard before. She talked about the need to balance the federal budget. That’s very interesting since two months ago Vilsack called a balanced budget amendment “a gimmick”. Her opponent, Congressman Steve King, supports that amendment.

Vilsack also decided to attack the Fair Tax, another issue Steve King supports. In typical political style, Vilsack distorted what the Fair Tax is all about. She claimed it would be an enormous tax increase on Iowans.

Of course, Vilsack’s attack omits one crucial detail: the prebate. The idea behind the Fair Tax is to eliminate the federal income tax and replace is with a 23 percent sales tax. To offset the sales tax on essential items, every American with a valid social security card would receive a monthly prebate.

To discuss the Fair Tax while purposely omitting any discussion of the prebate reeks of the type of politics that Vilsack claims to detest. Her soapbox speech revealed, once again, that Christie Vilsack is a complete hypocrite.

Obama Shuts Down the Bud Tent

President Obama decided he also wanted to visit the Iowa State Fair. Obama swung by the Bud Tent in the evening. Of course, that was after Obama’s secret service cost vendors thousands of dollars.

Senator Chuck Grassley tweeted the details: “How does PresO justify havin secret service shut down the bud tent @ the state fair nd the owner told me he loses 50,000 n 1 nite.”

What a shock. Barack Obama hurts small businesses. Just another day in Iowa.

About the Author

Kevin Hall

Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor’s office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad’s 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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