Sunday, March 02, 2014

Week In Review: February 24 - March 1

I realized Friday that I'd missed, or had the wrong angle, on the story of the week. My personal distaste for Sally Mason blinded my to the fact that students had taken the opportunity, shifted the agenda, and made the sexual assault issue the top  headline across the state.
 I'm Not The Only One: Mark Barabek of the LA Times looks at Hillary and Iowa. So I'm just a crazy blogger with a dumb hat: Listen to these grown-ups.
Above all, there is firm resistance to any notion that Clinton deserves Democrats' support: for coming in second to Obama in the 2008 nominating fight, for faithfully serving him as secretary of State, for offering the tantalizing prospect of once again making history, this time by installing the first woman in the Oval Office.

"Iowans haven't really changed between 2008 and today," said Janet Petersen, a state senator from Des Moines who attended an Iowa kickoff last month by the pro-Clinton group Ready for Hillary, but remains far from committed. "They still want to engage in a conversation … and get to know the candidates for president.

"Iowans want a candidate that wants the job," Petersen added. "They're not used to having to … actively recruit people to run."

One thing Clinton would have to overcome in Iowa is memories of 2008, among them a leaked strategy memo recommending she skip the caucuses; a helicopter tour across the state — "a pickup truck might have been a little more effective," David Nagle, a former congressman and Iowa Democratic chairman, suggested dryly; and the large entourage and other trappings that proved more off-putting than impressive to voters.

Perhaps the biggest question is whether, after looming so large as a national and international figure, Clinton is ready for the small time.

"She's got to campaign in places where's there only a few people," said Jack Hatch, a state senator from Des Moines and Democrats' leading candidate for governor. "She has to be seen as not entering an auditorium but sitting down and listening to voters ... in their homes, in cafes, in small towns. I know it will be difficult for her and her campaign, but it's what Iowans want."

Clinton going to 2008 calendar cheater state Florida this week is basically a middle finger at the Iowa caucuses. And speaking of caucus haters: John Dingell, D-General Motors, the longest serving congressman in history, in finally retiring, but spouse Debbie Dingell, DNC member and one of the leasing First In The Nation foes, is near-certain to replace him. I still miss Lynn Rivers, the Ann Arbor progressive who John Dingell beat in a redistricting pair-up primary in 2002.

But for the record I've now, finally, had a couple people ask where I'd rather see Hillary Clinton than Iowa. Not a joke or insult; must ask in person.

Another one we'll need to discuss in person: a local trial in a stalking case that got zero media attention but a lot of social media discussion. The accused has an autism spectrum disorder and his father, who lives out of state, is getting the local mental health community involved.

For entirely legitimate reasons, I know more about this case than I can say in public. I also have family members on the spectrum so I have an above average understanding of the condition. All I'll say is there is a LOT more to this case than "prosecuting the mentally ill."

I understand why most Democratic legislators voted Yes on a silencer legalization bill that has no future in the Senate, but a hat tip to the 16 No votes including my rep, Mary Mascher. Of note: Congressional candidate Anesa Kajtazovic was a No while rival Pat Murphy was a Yes.

Of course the real bombshell in that race was on the other side as favorite Walt Rogers dropped out and dropped back into his legislative race. All hands agree this makes Rod Blum the favorite over perennial candidate Steve Rathje and Some Gail Boliver.

The Iowa Republican dropped da bomb on him today, tracking donations from Boliver to Bruce Braley. Ask Congressman Peter Teahen how well donations to Dems go over in a GOP primary. Will that go over better than the news that House 99 primary candidate Steve Drahozal ran for the House in Johnson County in 2000... as a Libertarian?

TIR also reports "(Republican state central committee) member/Paulistinian Joel Kurtinitis appears to be considering a challenge to Rep. Clel Baudler in House District 20." Baudler is the biggest legislative barrier to medical marijuana and a libertarian is likely far better on the issue. (Also note this seat went uncontested in 2010 when district resident/Iowa CCI leader Barb Kalbach decided to instead challenge Patty Judge at the state Democratic convention instead. Just saying.)

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