The past few days have proven there really is no “off-season” when it comes to politics. And, really, there never should be. Events, issues, problems, solutions…we in the media should always track them. That being said, let’s catch up on a few things. Here are my observations:
Republican Party of Iowa’s Ronald Reagan dinner headlined by Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
–Cruz doesn’t like the establishment. He also doesn’t follow Reagan’s 11th Commandment, even at a dinner named in honor of Reagan, the former Iowan. Cruz took on the establishment, strategists, senate Republicans, etc.
–Governor Terry Branstad (part of the establishment?) offered quick praise for Cruz at that dinner. But he also spent much of his speech time praising other governors: Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Texas’ Rick Perry. Branstad makes no secret that he prefers executive leadership of governors to solve problems, not members of congress. Wonder what Cruz thought of the speech as he looks ahead to 2016?
–In their speeches, Iowa Republican Party leaders seemed to offer a middle finger to those who rip on the party’s focus for being too heavily Tea Party/anti-establishment. Maybe their message of “just deal with it because we are right and you are wrong” may be a better (nicer than a flipping the bird analogy) description.
Bruce, Blues and BBQ
First District Congressman Bruce Braley and his organizers wanted to make sure we knew 1,200 people came to his event, which this year he held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. They also wanted us to know that was twice as many people as those who attended Cruz’s event. Besides Braley, at least two others made sure I knew the crowd difference. Numbers noted.
Braley mentioned Cruz several times. Tea Party’s a buzzword for Democrats right now with polls showing relatively small support for Tea Partiers across the country right now. Cruz talked about Obamacare and its website/policy problems often during his speech Friday night. Braley never mentioned Obamacare, good or bad.
Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords sent a surge of energy through the crowd when she spoke on stage at Braley’s event. She spoke less than a minute. But you could feel the sensation she sent with her words. She said she’s still undergoing speech and physical therapy after nearly dying from getting shot at an event two years ago. Words still don’t come easy for her. But her words electrified the crowd.
Her husband, Mark Kelly, the former astronaut, showed why some want him to get into politics. He, too, never mentioned Obamacare by name. But he did call out Tea Partiers like Cruz for partially shutting down the government and for behaving like the little sore loser kid who takes his ball home because he doesn’t get his way. The crowd ate it up faster than the barbecued pork plates.
Curious to see if Braley and other Democrats will more willingly talk about Obamacare’s problems in the future or if they will avoid talking about it altogether, while they wait to see how the rollout proceeds as more facets of Obamacare become active. No doubt Republicans will continue to try to tie Democrats to the early issues of the program.
And, no, I didn’t try the barbecue. I am a big fan of it. But there was no time to eat. Had to get my stories on the air and get back home to watch my beloved Cardinals in the World Series. Too bad Sunday night they left their bats at home. Again.
Bill Knapp’s donations
Knapp had made a gazillion dollars in real estate, development, etc. over the years after founding Iowa Realty back in 1952. He’s given nearly that much to Democrats over the years. A few times, he told me he’s given to Republicans, but not too often. He told us Sunday morning on The Insiders this time he’s putting his checks behind Republican Governor Terry Branstad. Of course, technically, Branstad hasn’t said he’ll run again next year. But, well, you know. Knapp’s news definitely got the attention of Democrats since the show aired. It doesn’t fill them with much optimism about their party’s chances next year to defeat Branstad. But there’s still a year to go until election day. By the way, I got an email complaining that the only reason we had Knapp on was to promote Branstad? Sorry, dude, not the case. I’ve actually tried to have Knapp on for a long time. He’s not much for giving interviews. And he surely doesn’t jump up and down for the chance to be on tv. But he agreed to do this. And someone had told me that he had backed Branstad. Knapp didn’t approach me about the topic. In case you wanted to know…
Have a great week.