Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Profiles in Courage - and Not

Profiles in Courage - and Not

I have a vivid memory from a decade or so back when Tom Vilsack was speaking to a bunch of us People's Republic of Johnson County. He said something about raising taxes, implying it would be a Very Bad Thing. But at the words "raises taxes," applause broke out, followed by a spontaneous chant of "Tax-The-Rich! Tax-The-Rich!"

That's my reality, and we're rather disappointed in our man Obama at the moment. Maybe accepting the Billionaires for Bush (remember them from the 2003-04 cycle?) tax cuts is Part Of The Deal, but if he's making that deal he should be asking for a hell of a lot more than extended unemployment, START and the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell. We should be talking about public option, a stimulus big enough to stimulate, and repeal of not just DADT but DOMA.

So my President, God bless him, is hardly a contender for a chapter in a hypothetical 21st Century Profile in Courage here.

The guy who does deserve that chapter is Mike Gronstal. Called a "dictator" by once and future governor Branstad for blocking the marriage inequality amendment, he offered the perfect one line response:

“Dictators are people that make efforts to take away other people’s rights. I’m not going down that road.”

Don't get me wrong; I'm just as proud of my Johnson County senators, Bob Dvorsky and Joe Bolkcom, for standing up to Branstad's over the top attack. But they're from the People's Republic. Mike Gronstal's from Council Bluffs, where both House districts in his Senate district just went Republican. He's the only Democratic Senator in Steve King's entire Congressional district.
Speaking of which, Bleeding Heartland posts this four district congressional map that actually makes sense. Sets up a Boswell-Latham fight (which I think Latham wins), protects Braley and Loebsack, and cedes the west to King. I'd vote for this map, but would Leonard's legislative friends scuttle it? Dirty little secret of Iowa redistricting: Legislators don't decide based on the congressional map that everyone outside the dome is looking at. They look at their own districts, and there's maybe seven people in the state who can comprehend the big picture of the House and Senate map.
End of tangent. So Gronstal is taking far more risk than Bolkcom or Dvorsky, which makes his leadership on marriage equality all the more significant.

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