Thursday, September 29, 2011

No Winners in Coup Attempt

No Winners in Republican Coup Attempt

That didn't last long:
A state Republican senator’s call for a vote to oust his party’s leader who is on a 37th-anniversary trip in Italy with his wife has been canceled.

The meeting was called for today by Sen. Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock.

Dix, who has not returned calls this week and this morning seeking comment, did not specifically say in the e-mail that he is seeking to knock Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley of Chariton from the top spot but his peers have said that is their understanding of his intention.
Thus the third coup attempt against a sitting Iowa Senate Republican leader in five years has ended with a whimper rather than a bang. Craig Robinson at TheIowaRepublican says the attempt failed because Dix was "unable to secure the necessary votes to oust McKinley."

Dix forgot the Ralph Waldo Emerson Rule about coup d'etats: "When you strike at a king, you must kill him." If he didn't have the votes, he shouldn't have called the meeting. (Or DID he have the votes, only to lose them when it went public?) The very public airing of dissatisfaction, followed by the failure, leaves the very ambitious Dix in a weakened position.

But it's not a win for McKinley either, as his own weak position is exposed. Robinson again: "As the leader of his caucus, he is the number one fundraiser Republicans have, yet he’s vacationing, and major Republican donors have not heard from the Senate Republican Leader in months." There's a persistent rumor that big money is waiting to come into the Iowa Senate GOP's coffers, but it's contingent on new leadership.

One more gem from Robinson:
"There is no way to sugarcoat what has transpired in the last few days. If you don’t realize how dysfunctional things are, all you need to know is that the Republican House Leaders are leading the effort in Senate District 18, not Senate leadership."
Some of that's an accident of geography, as half of Senate 18 is the district of Speaker Kraig Paulsen. But some of that is disengagement by the vacationing McKinley. In fairness, this is supposed to be off-season for legislative elections, but when you're in leadership and a situation like this occurs, you need to change plans.

So Republicans are off to a bumpy start in the Battle of Marion. First, Senate 18 Republicans nominated the weakest and least well known of three candidates, now this. Meanwhile, Democrats are united, unanimously nominating a 100% name ID candidate, former TV anchor Liz Mathis, last night.

Caucus seasons invariably divide parties, as usually stable alliances are splintered by the high stakes of the presidential contest,. But there's more going on here, and this week's events are just one more piece of evidence that the internal strife in the Iowa GOP is at seam-bursting levels.

No comments: