Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week In Review: November 11-17

After a week's post-election hiatus I'm trying to reheat this feature.

The biggest thing Obama got wrong in the mea culpa (that's Latin for "eat... ummmm, crow")  press conference: "Buying health insurance is never going to be like buying a song on iTunes." That assumes that people still actually pay MONEY for music. Even in a week with new Lady Gaga AND a from-the-vaults Beatles release.

Tom Harkin deviated from the conventional wisdom on the Obamacare rollout, arguing firmly that ending junk policies was a GOOD thing, indeed a better thing than "if you like your plan you can keep it." But the applause line at Prairie Lights on Friday was: "Had I been president, we'd have gone for single payer."

Harkin's main purpose for the visit was to promote Senate passage of the Employer Non-Discrimination Act and turn up the heat on the House, particularly Tom Latham and Steve King though he left the names unsaid.

Republicans are already seeing potential presidential contenders showing up in Iowa, like Paul Ryan last night at a Terry Branstad event. We Democrats, however, are only getting Hillary Clinton surrogates. Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill told Linn County Democrats last night,  "In 2016 you will rise to the occasion and nominate Hillary Clinton."

We WILL, huh? Iowans like to be asked, not told. I think I'm being seriously misunderstood on this point. I have nothing against Hillary Clinton as a potential nominee. I have a few issue concerns related to Big Wall Street and to Middle East policy, but not enough to make me non supportive of her should she win. (And no one is going to make me happy on the Middle East anyway.)

My concerns are strictly parochial. I'm an Iowan (by choice rather than birth), I love our caucuses, I want to keep them. Hillary Clinton has been hostile to caucus processes in general and to Iowa in particular, and Clintonworld believes in payback. I'd like to see her come here and mend some of those things.

Maybe she won't, and maybe she can win without doing so. But I, personally, am not going to caucus for anyone who runs with a Screw Iowa strategy, and if that means Uncommitted, so be it.

While Matt Schultz was partying is Switzerland, auditors across the state were at work, finishing their canvasses and meeting in Des Moines. Waterloo recounted its mayors race and one vote changed. A 1% margin may be the legal standard in Iowa, but the likely shift from re-feeding the same ballots into the same or similar equipment is more like 0.01%. Errors in results are much more likely to be human errors than machine errors. And a machine count, despite what people want to believe, is more accurate than a hand count. Sure, people have the right, not disputing that. But too often it's accompanied by false hope.

No recounts in Johnson County but drama in Swisher as the mayor and city clerk suddenly resign. Odds are good for a special election there.

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