Daily Archives: May 1, 2009

Salier vs. Gross – The GOP’s Next Move?

A group of veteran Republicans led by Doug Gross shared poll results with media today indicating the road to a GOP comeback runs through the economic issues Iowans care about most.

The Hill Research survey found that bread-and-butter pocketbook issues were far more important than social issues, such as gay marriage, to Iowans polled. And 50 percent think the state is on the wrong track, which presents an opening for Republicans in 2010.

From the Radio Iowa story:

Gross says as a result the party is “clearly focused on the kinds of agenda items that can provide for a winning coalition for us.” He says that gives Republicans a “tremendous opportunity to gain control of the Iowa House and make substantial gains in the Iowa Senate. Gross says the polling shows the coalition that’s looking for a change in leadership includes social conservatives — so they don’t have to overlook social issues.

Gross says it’s “just fine” to have candidates who are fiscally and socially conservatives, who for example might be in favor of an amendment to ban gay marriage. “But what we need to make certain that we do, in addition to that, that can’t be our only issue, that can’t be the issue we lead with, what really unites the Iowa electorate, even what our poll found, even beyond Republicans, beyond independents, including some Democrats, is fiscal conservatism,” Gross says.

Well, that’s one approach. Broaden the party’s appeal.

Or, you can go on a witch hunt against any politician, including longtime Republicans, who didn’t do enough to solve the “constitutional crisis” of gay marriage. Pass the litmus test or get out.

Conservative enforcer Bill Salier, former state Rep. Danny Carroll and their allies are picking door No. 2, according to a post they signed at The Iowa Republican:

If Iowa’s elected officials in both parties don’t get their act together, they won’t need to worry about their majority or minority status. They will need to begin to consider instead that they may find themselves without the votes to exist at all. The Iowa Constitution clearly states, “All political power is inherent in the people.” It’s time we the people took our political power back from those who abuse it.

Whatever happens, citizens of Iowa affiliated with both parties, who believe in and understand the Constitution, must run for office. Unless the next legislative session produces a different outcome, 2010 may be the year of the primary. After the last four months, it seems that many of the politicians who currently serve in the House and Senate are not up to the task.

So there you have it, Republicans. Unite for a comeback focused on issues that actually impact Iowans or go on a divine retribution spree that chases even more people away from the GOP.

Yeah, that’s a tough one.


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Indian Creek Art Opening

Indian Creek Elementary School was the epicenter of the north Marion art scene Thursday night.

The annual art show was a magnet for the local glitterati. And, in my opinion, some of the most exciting, cutting-edge pieces were produced by Tess Dorman. I may be biased, however.


Tess is shown here displaying her sock puppet. I found it to be a raw, unpretentious expression of the muffled, agst-ridden screams of a materialistic society collapsing upon itself. I also felt a keen sense of loss, mostly because that’s one of my socks.

So what did the artist have to say?

“Her name is Goldie Socks,” Tess said.

Brilliant. Heartbreaking.


Next, we have this piece, offering bright colors composed on a common brown paper grocery sack. Obviously, this symbol of free expression is trapped by the conventions of a world that turns to the supermarket, instead of to nature, for its sustenance. Sad, so sad.

“It’s a bird,” Tess said.


This self-portrait of Tess as a princess is clearly an in-your-face flourish against the suffocating gender identities and unrealistic expectations imposed by society. A crown yes, but at what cost?

“That’s supposed to be me,” Tess said.

Tess also made a very colorful T-shirt and a clay sculpture of a turtle.

They were really good. Again, I may be biased.

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Friday Reads — Sprouting

Pretty quiet morning to end a big news week. Major developments are scarce, unless you count the fact that our Participation Garden is finally sprouting. Well, the rabbits think it’s big news.

Speaking of food and plants and stuff, The Des Moines Register has a good read by Philip Brasher this morning on U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his approach to his new job.

The crux: Advocates of organic farming and other agricultural/food reforms have been surprised by his performance. They figured the former Iowa governor would be a reliable friend of big ag and agribusiness and build CAFOs on the mall.

Instead, he’s been a regular Tommy Organicseed, planting gardens all over D.C. and appointing a deputy who is a leader in the organic movement. From Brasher’s story:

“He has a much broader understanding of agriculture and food systems than I think some of his critics had expected,” said Ben Lilliston of the Institute for Agriculture and Food Policy, a group that advocates a shift to smaller-scale, diversified farms that rely less on chemical inputs and biotechnology.

Lilliston said the USDA’s organic garden is a powerful symbol showing that the department now “recognizes and values the importance of people growing their own food and connecting with food in a deeper way.”

This is sort of what some Iowa Vilsack fans were trying to tell these heirloom sceptics shortly after he was nominated. Now they know.

So you can grow organic chard in D.C., but can you grow the Republican Party without moderates?

Jason Hancock dives into the subject at Iowa Indpendent, the latest attempt to interpret Republican efforts to find themselves in the wilderness. “Moderates” such as Doug Gross, Terry Branstad etc. have been talking amongst themselves lately about finding and funding a GOP candidate for governor.

This establishment activity is ticking off  “true” conservatives, who have now wrestled control of the party away from these squishy compromisers who used to control the governor’s office and the Legislature. So they actually want to govern the state. That’s typical of moderates.

Gross has called a press briefing this morning to share polling data and a vision for the party’s future. I bet he says Republicans should try to make their party bigger, more appealing to young people and more focused on the kind of economic and tax issues that Iowans actually care about. Again, typical.

And finally, you need to read the Omaha World Herald’s account of 89-year-old Joe Beacom’s encounter with two young, would-be robbers. He chased away the loser punks by faking a heart attack. But you’ve got to read the whole thing.

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