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March 8th, 2015

Kevin’s Korner: Summit’s Plummets, Donald Ducks and Heightened Hypocrisy

Chris Christie RNC

Greetings and welcome to Kevin’s Korner. A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.

It was a fascinating Saturday at the first Iowa Agriculture Summit. 900 attendees, 250 media members, 10 presidential hopefuls and a partridge in a pear tree … We’ll provide an in-depth look at the Summit tomorrow here on TIR, but here are a few awards from Saturday I’d like to offer:

Best performance: Yes, I said performance. Campaigning is largely a performance and the best one on Saturday came from, perhaps surprisingly, Chris Christie. The first presidential candidate to take the floor was very direct in his answers, responded in detail and provided succinct analysis. Christie also smacked down a couple of obnoxious protestors, which he does better than anyone, all while repeatedly ripping President Obama’s stances. It was a very strong showing for Governor Christie.

Best Filibusterer: Ted Cruz. Moderator Bruce Rastetter vowed to not allow candidates to filibuster during the 20-minute discussion. Cruz seemed determined to do exactly that. The Texas senator repeatedly tried to fit portions of his stump speech into the conversation. He used up much of his 20 minutes doing so.

Funniest Candidate: Lindsey Graham. The South Carolina Senator drew repeated laughter from the audience with his clever quips. The audience might not have agreed with what he was saying, but Graham’s demeanor and sense of humor came across very well.

lindsey graham

Loneliest Candidate: Lindsey Graham. He was wandering the hall during the lunch break, prior to his speech, but very few attendees came up to talk to Sen. Graham. Almost every other presidential candidate was swarmed during their brief appearances, by both media and attendees. Graham wasn’t.

“The Why Are You Here?” Award: George Pataki. I wasn’t aware the former New York governor was considering running for president. The way he promoted amnesty for illegal immigrants (no fines, just 200 hours of community service) led my skeptical side to suspect Pataki was there to prop up fellow immigration reform proponent Jeb Bush, who is certainly running.

Trump Iowa Summit

“The Why Aren’t You Here?” Award: Donald Trump ducked out of a major Iowa event. I’ve seen this movie before.

Worthless Trivia Tidbit of the Day: From Iowa Congressman David Young. “We have a vacuum in the White House.” … Well, I would hope so. That’s a pretty big house to clean without a vacuum … What? Oh … Nevermind.

It’s a shame no Democrats other than former Lt. Governor Patty Judge accepted the invitation to speak at the Iowa Agriculture Summit. I think it would have been fascinating to hear their take and I believe they would have been treated fairly by Bruce Rastetter and the audience … The overwhelmingly Republican/conservative crowd was very respectful to Patty Judge …

Loebsack State Fair

Along those same lines, I was sitting in a Des Moines coffee shop a few days ago when a scruffy looking gentleman with a racing hat came over and said hi. It took me a second to realize it was Iowa’s lone Democrat federal official, Dave Loebsack

I’ve never met Loebsack before but he obviously recognized me. Tall, dorky gingers with goatees are apparently rare commodities. Especially while the sun is out … I thought it was a classy thing for Loebsack to do. Although we might disagree ideologically, we can still be cordial to each other.

That doesn’t mean we won’t point out their failings. Like when Democrat congressional hopeful Ravi Patel drew a whopping crowd of three during a stop in Linn County on Saturday … Three … Even worse, he posted it on Facebook

Ravi Patel no crowd

We’re still trying to confirm if the crowd of three outnumbered the people who paid to see the movie Patel produced.

Some prominent Iowa Republican officials are lending their support to Scott Walker’s burgeoning presidential campaign. State Senator Brad Zaun told me weeks ago he was backing Walker, but asked me to hold off on reporting it until it was officlally announced by the campaign. Zaun and three other legislators publicly endorsed Walker this week …

So did Marshall County Treasurer Jarrett Heil and Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart … Heil is the only Iowa official, perhaps in history, to serve as his county’s treasurer, recorder and auditor simultaneously … Airhart is chairman of the Iowa Republican County Officials Association. And a sub-par fantasy football player … All these officials are good gets for the Walker campaign.

Al Gore is coming to Iowa in May to “train” climate solvers. And by train, he means show them how to get rich and hypocritically increase their own carbon footprint while telling the rest of the world to reduce theirs.

Hillary Angry Benghazi

Hypocrisy, thy name is Hillary. As her private email scandal gets deeper, so does the chasm between what the rules are for the Clintons and what the rules are for everyone else …

As a U.S. senator, Hillary trashed the Bush administration in 2007 for having private email accounts. As secretary of state, she fired an ambassador in 2012 for the same …

But now we’ve found out then-Secretary Clinton exclusively used private email addresses during her four years at the State Department, in direct violation of policy and possibly the law. All of this was an obvious attempt to keep her dealings as a public official completely private.

Easter Cross

Finally, please say a prayer for my friend Tom Brand and his family. Tom’s 18-year old son Alex passed away a few days ago and the family is obviously going through a very difficult time …

I worked in radio with Tom down in St. Joe, MO. He is a great guy and family man, one of the top farm broadcasters in the nation and serves as executive director of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. God be with them.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for dropping by. We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

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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