Monday, October 05, 2015

Think Small

Art Small passed away over the weekend and I don't really want to minimize his death in a catch-all post, but Jeff Charis-Carlson already covered the basics.

Small's last hurrah was as Chuck Grassley's 2004 challenger. Art did the party a favor by stepping up when literally no one else was willing, and he didn't get the credit he deserved at the time for that stand-up act of citizenship.

Art's slogan that year was "Think Big, Vote Small," perhaps inspired by the legendary Volkswagen ads of the Mad Men age?

Small would have been a formidable Grassley challenger three cycles earlier, in 1986. That was the year Art left the legislature in an attempt to run for lieutenant governor - which was, at the time, an independently elected office with significant responsibility. Art fell short in the primary.

Between Small's passing and the death last week of Joe Johnston, it's really feeling like the end of an era...
I've dropped off the radar in the past week, falling behind enough on the news that even Yet Another Mass Shooting failed to get me writing. It's hard to write the same post over and over and over...

Caucus chair recruiting has moved from the low hanging fruit, mass email stage to the gentle arm twisting stage. 46 chairs lined up, 11 to go...
The yard on the left, spatially and ideologically, is mine. Early voting for the November 3 election started today and we saw a dozen Iowa City voters (including myself)  and one small towner at the office. Stop by and say hi to me, Travis Weipert and the crew.

Mark "Chickenman" Chelgren is announcing his candidacy against Dave Loebsack tomorrow, with a Free Beer! event in Iowa City. I have a feeling that in a presidential year, a race between an incumbent who's stronger than people think and an often abrasive state legislator is going to look an awful lot like Dave Hartsuch vs. Bruce Braley in 2008. By the end of that one, they weren't even inviting Hartsuch on stage when John McCain visited his home county...

It's funny; Republicans like to dismiss Loebsack as a fluke, but no one gets to term FIVE as a fluke. Meanwhile, Chelgren won his first term in the worst Democratic year in two decades by blindsiding an unsuspecting incumbent. by a whopping TEN votes. Then in 2014, his Democratic challenger made the most boneheaded unforced error of 2014*; instead of merely recycling Chelgren's "survey" mailer, he filled it out with smart ass answers and sent it back.  Would have cost us the state Senate if it weren't for Kevin Kinney.

* Only because Brandon Bostick in the NFC championship was technically calendar year 2015.
If Amy Poehler had shown up, Darrell Hammond's head would have exploded from critical Hillary mass. Val The Bartender - we hope this is a recurring character - pulls off the second best presidential candidate intro of SNL musical guest ever.  (No one will ever top Steve Forbes having to say "Ladies and gentlemen, Rage Against The Machine.") And at some point we need to see if Kyle Mooney can do a decent Bernie Sanders.
Speaking of Bernie. I met with some international visitors today through UIowa's CIVIC program, something I do periodically and always enjoy. We have a local blogger panel of myself, libertarian Joseph Dobrian, and Nicholas Johnson who's one of the more prominent local Sanders supporters.  They both liked my theory of the overlap between Sanders and Paul support.

My national readers don't get that theory. Only people who really know Iowa City seem to get that theory. If you had wanted to be at ground zero of the Sanders/Paul singularity, you would have gone to the Edward Snowden tele-lecture at the Englert last week.

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