Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday's Reads

Thursday's Reads

I promised I won't draw maps, but I will share them. Craig Robinson at TheIowaRepublican has dropped fourteen of them. It's an imagination-expanding must read because he's done a good job at making no assumptions. Most folks doodling maps seem to start with a scenario in mind, such as a Loebsack-Braley pair, or "there HAS to be a western district like King has now just bigger."

No there doesn't.

What happens in reality is that the entire map is torn up and drawn from scratch. I have never, for example, heard someone drop a scenario where Johnson County ends up in Braley's district, while Loebsack ends up with Linn and Scott. Or maps where three members are in one district. One scenario I didn't see, Mrs. Vilsack: Polk combined with Henry. There are, however, scenarios where Black Hawk and Henry are together. (Polk and Johnson never end up together; anything based in the east ends by Jasper.)

Also at TIR: speculation on who if anyone the GOP heavy hitters will endorse come caucus time. What's most interesting is Branstad.

For my money the smart move for any Iowa governor is to Protect The Caucuses first rather than backing any one candidate. Presidents come and go but the caucuses are (we hope) forever.

The actual track record of Iowa governors is either safe front-runners or no pre-caucus endorsement.

Branstad 2.0 and 4.0 (the one drawing the pension, not the one drawing the salary) stayed neutral in `88 and pre-caucus endorsed caucus winner and nominee Bob Dole in 1996. Tom Vilsack went with Gore pre-caucus, but as a Bill Bradley guy I can tell you there was significant institutional pressure for Gore on Democrats at all levels (Actual quotes: "We [sic] want to keep Gore from having a primary," "all the GOOD Democrats are for Gore.") And as I like to remind folks, Johnson County was the top Bradley county in the nation.

But I digress. In 2004 Tom Vilsack stayed neutral, though Christie was on team Kerry. Similarly, Mari Culver was with Edwards through 2007 while the governor was Officially Neutral. (Chet's Obama endorsement, a month after the caucuses, was either a meaningless joke or a national get on the bandwagon move that had nothing to do with the caucuses.)

I think in the privacy of his straw poll Terry will vote for Mitt, but we won't hear about it.

After all that Republican stuff you need a shot of Democratic info and snark; UnderTheGoldenDome is a great new spot for that.

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