Leonard Boswell’s staff knows their boss is in deep, deep trouble. Unable to run a constant smear campaign against Tom Latham, like they did two years ago against Brad Zaun, the Boswell camp is forced to defend the congressman’s liberal record. That is why they have a meltdown if anyone dares ask a question about the votes he has taken in recent years.
Such was the case Wednesday at the Iowa Energy Forum in downtown Des Moines. The event featured appearances by Boswell and his November opponent, Congressman Latham. Both gave brief speeches on U.S. energy policy and took questions from the moderator. The two were not on the stage at the same time.
Following Boswell’s meandering speech, some of which was completely off topic, and a lot of which he read off a script, the 3rd District congressman held a brief media availability. TheIowaRepublican joined the half dozen or so reporters gathered around Boswell.
After a few questions, his staffers tried to pull the congressman away. Boswell ignored them and continued on. Then TheIowaRepublican asked the following:
TIR: “Congressman, do you still support Cap and Trade?”
Boswell: “Do I still support Cap and Trade? Yeah.”
As Boswell continued with his answer, one of his staffers attempted to interject and asked if I was with the media. “Yes,” was my reply. Boswell tried to explain that he voted in support of discussing Cap and Trade, but not necessarily voting for it. Or something.
Here is the exchange in its entirety:
Once Boswell was done, three of his staffers asked what outlet I worked for. The answer was emblazoned in a logo on my shirt. When I replied, “The Iowa Republican,” the Boswell camp went on the attack. “You’re not media.” “You’re just a blogger.” “You’re just a Republican blogger.” “What a joke.” “You’re a tool.”
My reply: “OK. You stay classy.” Which of course, they did not do. One of Boswell’s lackeys scurried to the Iowa Energy Forum staffers to see if I was a credentialed media member for the event. Much to their dismay, I was. In fact, the Iowa Energy Forum formally invited TheIowaRepublican to cover the event.
I signed in on the media checklist when I arrived. The forum staff also provided me with the wi-fi password, assisted me with setting up, and told me if there was anything else I needed, to let them know. So, obviously, Boswell’s staff also feels the Iowa Energy Forum is beneath them, since they have the unmitigated gall to treat us lowly bloggers like actual members of the media.
Now, keep in mind, this was a forum on energy policy. My question was certainly relevant. Cap and Trade, designed to supposedly combat global warming by capping carbon emissions, would have destroyed America’s fragile economy. Despite huge majorities in Congress and a 2008 campaign promise from Barack Obama, the Democrats could not push the controversial bill through.
Leonard Boswell voted for Cap and Trade. Tom Latham voted against it. Cap and Trade remains a relevant issue that, unfortunately, Boswell was not asked about during the forum. Iowans deserve the right to know if Congressman Boswell still supports the legislation.
This is not a Republican vs. Democrat issue. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty used to support Cap and Trade. I asked him the exact same question during his presidential campaign. Unlike Boswell, Pawlenty renounced it as bad policy.
So, what is Leonard Boswell’s campaign afraid of? His liberal record, obviously. I provided Boswell with an opportunity to back away from the unpopular legislation, as Pawlenty did. Instead, Boswell twisted the story so much that, although there might have been a shred of truth in his answer somewhere, I cannot find it.
“We didn’t have a final bill,” he claimed. Not true. Congressman Boswell signed onto the idea of a cap and trade energy tax in 2007. He co-sponsored the legislation, H.R. 1590, and proudly boasted about supporting the bill.
Two years later, H.R. 1590 was encompassed into H.R. 2454, aka The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. According to what Boswell told the media at the time, he expressed concerns to Nancy Pelosi that the bill “would hit his region harder than others, driving up rates”. Despite knowing of the negative impact the legislation would have on Iowans, Boswell voted for it.
Apparently, though, since the question didn’t come from a “real media” member, it’s not a legitimate question. Because Congressman Boswell’s staff obviously does not believe blogs count as “real” media. I wonder if the Boswell campaign feels the same way about our liberal friends John Deeth and DesMoinesDem, who runs Bleeding Heartland. And the Huffington Post. They’re just bloggers, after all. Not “real” media.
But wait, if blogs are irrelevant, why does the Boswell campaign have links to blog articles on their website? No hypocrisy there.
I cannot imagine any of the Republican campaigns in Iowa behaving the same unprofessional way toward a liberal blogger as Boswell’s did toward TIR. To claim DesMoinesDem or John Deeth are not “real media”, as Boswell’s staffers did, is a travesty. No entity in the state covers state house and state senate races more comprehensively than those two blogs. I have tremendous respect for the work they put in. Obviously, Leonard Boswell’s staff does not.
As for TheIowaRepublican.com, not to toot our own horn, but almost every single U.S. media outlet that covered the 2012 Iowa Caucus campaign linked to our site at some point, asked us our opinion or for background information, or interviewed our founder Craig Robinson for a story. I’m not exaggerating.
The New York Times interviewed Craig just last week. ABC News thought so highly of TheIowaRepublican that they flew Craig to New York to join the panel for their Sunday morning news program, “This Week”, just two days before the 2012 Iowa Caucus. Obviously, the work we do here is respected around the country, but beneath Leonard Boswell’s lackeys.
It wasn’t Boswell who threw a childish hissy fit over a simple question about energy policy at an energy forum, but these are the people Congressman Boswell surrounds himself with. Boswell has been courteous to TheIowaRepublican in the past and we have responded in kind. I also interviewed Boswell previous to joining TIR and always treated him with respect.
I don’t like Leonard Boswell’s politics and despise the slimy campaign methods he used two years ago. But I respect Boswell’s position as a sitting congressman. However, I have no respect for the staffers who accompanied him Wednesday at the Iowa Energy Forum. It was a sad display of unprofessionalism. And I got sucked into it as the sniping devolved into profanities from both sides. That part I regret.
However, I do not regret asking Leonard Boswell a question about energy policy at an energy forum. Not only was I credentialed media member at the event, but Leonard Boswell is my congressman.
It is painfully obvious that Boswell’s staff does not respect the office he holds, or the congressman’s constituents. As his constituent, I have every right to ask him a question regarding policy matters. At that event or any other time.
I guess I can’t really blame the Boswell staff for their infantile behavior. Tom Latham is destroying Boswell in fundraising, Iowa Democrats are more interested in helping Christie Vilsack, and since Boswell will lose his job 88 days, so will his overpaid and unprofessional staffers.
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