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May 5th, 2013

Kevin’s Korner: Who’s Running, Cruz Control and Obama’s Guns

Greetings and welcome to Kevin’s Korner. Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.-Albus Dumbledore

So, the good King is out, as expected. Like I said Friday night: Whoever else is interested, jump in. The water’s warm … Here are my quick thoughts on the folks we know have expressed interest in running for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate. At least, the credible ones … You will not find this kind of incisive analysis anywhere else:

Matt Schultz

Strengths: Popular across Iowa GOP spectrum. Won statewide election. Voter ID.

Weaknesses: Cubs fan.

Matt Whitaker

Strengths: Solid resume. Good presence. Played football for the Hawkeyes.

Weaknesses: Played football for the Hawkeyes.

Rod Roberts

Strengths: Former state rep. Well-respected. Full-spectrum conservative.

Weaknesses: BVP still thinks Roberts cost them the 2010 gubernatorial primary, despite the math.

Joni Ernst

Strengths: High-ranking military veteran. Well-liked state senator. Former county auditor.

Weaknesses: Both of her hometown’s city limit signs are on the same post.  

David Young

Strengths: Countless political contacts through his many years as Chuck Grassley’s chief of staff.

Weaknesses: All his speeches and white papers will be in the same style as Chuck Grassley’s tweets.

Mark Jacobs

Strengths: Successful businessman. Capable of self-funding if he needs to.

Weaknesses: 87% of the people reading this are saying, “Who is Mark Jacobs?”

I imagine we will also see someone from the BVP wing, possibly Bob himself, and someone from the Paulistinian wing.

Let’s compare the GOP’s many choices to the Dems’ chosen one:

Bruce Braley

Strengths: Close relationship with Nancy Pelosi. Endorsed by Tom Harkin. True liberal.

Weaknesses: Close relationship with Nancy Pelosi. Endorsed by Tom Harkin. True liberal.

Another Braley weakness is that impending disaster called Obamacare. Bruce wholeheartedly supported it, therefore causing many Iowans’ insurance premiums to rise, as fellow Obamacare backer Chuck Schumer admitted last week.

King and Branstad together

There has been much ado in the media this week regarding Governor Branstad’s slip of the tongue about us not needing another congressman in the U.S. Senate. It was a brain fart. He was talking about Braley, not his good friend Steve King

And yes, Branstad and King are good friends and longtime allies … Want proof? Look who ran King’s campaign last year. And look at who nominated Kim Reynolds at the 2010 state convention to help thwart the BVP coup … My guess is Branstad and King have already discussed this amongst themselves and all is well between them. If not, it would be a good idea for TEB to call SAK and say “imsry”.

Iowa Democrats claim Medicaid expansion will save us money and is less expensive than Governor Branstad’s Healthy Iowa Plan. As usual, they’re wrong … They also claim if we don’t use it, our federal tax dollars will go to another state. Wrong again … This Wall Street Journal article refutes both notions … The truth is, Branstad is doing the nation a huge favor by rejecting Medicaid expansion …

Whether it’s the federal government or the state government paying for it, it’s your tax dollars. Not only is Iowa in better shape financially than the federal government, history has shown the feds rarely lives up to their promises to fund state programs. It’s too bad other Republican governors aren’t showing the same courage as Branstad:

Key paragraph from the WSJ article: “When a state declines to expand Medicaid coverage to more people, no other state will receive its share of funds and federal spending declines. Based on figures from the Congressional Budget Office and analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Washington was expected to spend roughly $950 billion expanding Medicaid between 2014 and 2022. Each state that declines to expand Medicaid relieves strain on the overall federal budget for this entitlement.”

Not that saving the federal government money means anything to Iowa Democrats. After all, gubernatorial wannabe Jack Hatch summed it up a few weeks ago when he said, “I don’t give a f*** about the debt” … Allegedly.

Rand Paul

All eyes will be on Rand Paul this Friday when he returns to the state for what is essentially the kickoff of the 2016 Iowa Caucus campaign. The hype is already building. C-Span will cover the speech live and the Des Moines Register churned out at least three articles on Rand Paul over the past two days. In an effort to sell more papers, they quoted me in two of them … Yes, they’re that desperate over there, they’ll trying anything …

Rand is obviously running for prez, barring any unforeseen circumstances … And not surprisingly, the leadership of RPI is helping to get him in front of as many eyes as possible during his brief Iowa stopover. Johnson County central committee members say RPI Chairman A.J. Spiker called them to arrange for Rand’s early Saturday morning appearance in JoCo … The caucus season has begun. Might as well get a head start. We’ve got less than 1,000 days until caucus day …

While Rand is getting the hype here in Iowa, Ted Cruz’ is threatening to steal his thunder on the national scene. There is tons of talk about the Texas senator already becoming presidential material. And since he shares some of Rand’s libertarian leanings, but serves up a better dish of conservative red meat, Cruz is the grassroots darling of the moment …

Cruz delivered stemwinders at the NRA rally in Houston on Thursday and in another early presidential voting state, South Carolina, on Friday …  Plus, anyone who reads Shakespeare from the U.S. Senate floor is OK with me. Ted Cruz is no Olivier, but Olivier is no Kenneth Branagh, who delivered the greatest call to arms speech in movie history, IMO.

ron paul ames (468)

It took longer than I expected, but Rand Paul’s papa surprised no one when he mischaracterized the Boston and Watertown police efforts, and claimed their tactics “did absolutely nothing to catch” the Tsarnaev scumbags … The Paulistinian-in-Chief also downplayed the horrific Boston Marathon attacks, by noting that only three people were killed, while 40 people across the country are killed every day …

Ron Paul conveniently omitted the 264 people who were injured by the Tsarnaevs, many losing limbs or facing permanent disfiguration … Not one of these yahoos criticizing the Boston police has offered a solution of how they would have conducted this search better. Probably because there isn’t one.

It’s great to see Fred Thompson making waves in conservative politics again. Fred is extolling the virtues of patriotism on a new website and with a great new video. “So God Made a Patriot” is a well done take-off of the now-famous Paul HarveyFarmer” video …

And on the ninth day, God made a loon from Story City who mows the grass during a snowstorm …

Then again, it was May 2. I guess you can’t blame a guy for mowing his lawn in early May. Especially with those long promised rising temperatures due to global warming … Don’t you love the crackpots who blame the May 2 snowstorm on global warming? Al Gore has made a fortune conning these rubes, while he lives a very non-green lifestyle

I know, it snowed. It must be global warming. Next week it’ll be 70 degrees. They’ll blame global warming. Yesterday it rained. That was because of global warming too. This autumn, the leaves will turn brown and the sky will be grey. And that will be global warming’s fault too.

Dem Secretary of State wannabe, and career political hack, Brad Anderson claims requiring a photo ID to vote suppresses the vote. Anderson is also running the “Vote Yes” campaign for a Warren County casino. They’re claiming the casino will spur economic development …

Here’s the catch: If it gets built, I’m sure the casino will have some sort of photo ID requirement. Why doesn’t Hack Anderson oppose this? After all, using Anderson’s own logic, if requiring a photo ID to vote suppresses the vote, doesn’t requiring a photo ID to gamble suppress economic development?

President Obama gave a speech in Mexico last week during which he blamed that country’s gun violence on the U.S. For once, I agree with Obama. He’s absolutely right. We know of at least a couple massacres, as well as several murders and kidnappings committed by Mexican drug cartels that were done with guns given to them by…wait for it…the Obama administration … Kudos, Barack. You got one right.

Finally, our friend Ken Allsup of made a good point on Facebook last night: How will your final act be remembered? … Few of us will measure up to San Diego police officer and Marine combat veteran Jeremy Henwood. His life, up to his last act, set a standard for us all:

That’s it for this week. Thanks for dropping by. It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.-Shakespeare

Photo by Dave Davidson

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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