PRICE OF POLITICS, ETC: Insiders Post-Game

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Here’s what we learned from this weekend’s The Insiders…

Former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker, current U.S. senate candidate, said he didn’t want the partial shutdown of the federal government (Yes, I use the word, partial, since much of the government remains open). But Whitaker supports a temporary shutdown in the attempts to defund Obamacare. Whitaker didn’t offer the end game to this mess. Perhaps, no one has one at this point. Who knows? Obamacare is the law. Why would President Obama work to get rid of it? It is his signature legislation. That seems to be the core of the challenge for Republicans who detest Obamacare. Will they really refuse to vote to “reopen” the government if Obama never caves? Or will they get some kind of major spending concessions or other reforms to placate enough members instead? Keystone Pipeline?

Whitaker couldn’t say whether Governor Terry Branstad has a personal favorite in the U.S. senate race. Whitaker said, of course, he would like to be that choice. But he couldn’t say whether Branstad privately backs Red Oak State Senator Joni Ernst for the job. Interestingly, Ernst’s campaign sent out a release late Sunday afternoon detailing two events she holds Monday, one in the state capitol and the other in Cedar Rapids. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds will join her. Hmmm. Reynolds personally lobbied Ernst to run for the state senate when Reynolds became lt. governor. So, too, did the governor, for that matter. Neither Reynolds nor Ernst’s campaigns would confirm Reynolds will endorse Ernst Monday. But I don’t think Reynolds is standing up with Ernst to say she is backing Whitaker. Yes, that’s sarcasm.

During the segment with Whitaker, I talked about the decision to shut down and barricade the war memorial monuments in D.C. We showed a picture of eastern Iowa Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley, the U.S. senate candidate, holding onto a gate. The conversation may have made it seem like Braley was putting up the barricades. But an Iowa tv crew showed Braley actually helped veterans get past the barricades when they traveled to Washington for the Quad Cities honor flight. My apologies if anyone got confused/mislead.

We talked a little sports on the Insiders extra. Whitaker, the former Iowa Hawkeye football player, did praise Iowa State Coach Paul Rhoads for that post-game rant following the brutal loss in Ames to Texas Thursday night. But he also repeated some famous words from legendary wrestler/coach Dan Gable, too.

Jeff Boeyink also doesn’t want you to listen to the rumors about him. Boeyink quit last month as Governor Branstad’s chief of staff. That came at a time when Brian London, the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, had quit and two state troopers got busted for speeding with the governor in the back seat. But Boeyink said his departure to go to work for megafirm, LS2group, was coincidental, not that he had to go because the speeding SUV story kept getting new life in the news.

Norm Sterzenbach, like Boeyink, made his first appearance on the show. Sterzenbach is the former executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party. These days, he is part of a big firm himself, Groundswell Public Strategies. I called Norm “Sterzenberg” on the show. This may not make sense, but here is the reason… My son is all about this book, “Busy Town.” That’s what we call it. It’s Richard Scarry’s “Cars, Trucks and Things That Go.” We read it every night. Along with reading the story, you are supposed to find the character “Goldbug” on each set of pages. To be funny, I call him “Goldberg.” Somehow, I think that’s what caused me to butcher Norm’s name on the show. Sorry, Norm.

Sterzenbach is working on State Rep. Tyler Olson’s gubernatorial campaign. Watch the video and see if you think Sterzenbach (i.e. Olson) is taking a different approach than fellow Democrat Jack Hatch’s gubernatorial campaign. Hatch has pushed the storyline that Branstad has become arrogant and no longer has a handle on how to run the state. Olson’s approach seems to be more that Branstad has been in office too long, uses the same ideas from the past and needs to let someone else come in with new solutions. Agree or disagree?

The two also addressed what has to be the biggest statehouse scandal in years, Kent Sorenson, the now former state senator from Milo. A supreme court appointed investigator found Sorenson took money to back Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign and took even more money to switch to Ron Paul’s campaign in the final week before the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. It was all part of an elaborate scheme the investigator found and filled in a few of missing parts that Sorenson’s former Bachmann co-workers and numerous stories from the had already laid out.

Sorenson resigned from the senate after the investigator’s findings went public. I’ve heard from no one sticking up for Sorenson since. I’ve invited Sorenson to come on The Insiders to tell his side of the story as local, state and federal investigators look into all the findings against him. So far, he hasn’t responded. Stay tuned.

Boeyink held little back with what he thinks of what’s going on with the Republican Party of Iowa. The RPI encouraged Iowans to not let authorities conduct random searches on their vehicles and also asked them to record with their phones if authorities do stop them. Boeyink joins a growing vocal list of those unhappy with the party’s direction these days. Whitaker, too, said he was “concerned” with the party.

Finally, our Quick 6 took on everything from Ted Cruz 2016, back pay for furloughed workers and dessert after dinner.

Thanks for watching. I always appreciate your feedback, even when people send stuff like this sometimes:

“The Sunday news show THE INSIDERS – I watch while CBS is in commercial break. I find it very difficult as THE INSIDERS needs a moderator that can stop in with guidelines when one or both of the guests do not respect each other’s opinion or time to speak. Case in point – Doug Gross, seriously let Tom Henderson speak and keep your hands in your lap and out of his space. Is bullying the method you always have to resort too? Come on WHO show some character and do the debating with fairness.”

For the record, Doug and Tom like each other. But either way, I suck. Apparently.