While waiting for the local news to come on before dinner, a Rick Perry commercial played on television. In case you haven’t heard of him, he’s running for president along with a number of other Republicans. He was telling us what we need to do about that socialist Barack Obama. Seriously? Number one, if the president is a socialist he sure isn’t showing it. He seems to be busy trying to hold the country together during a time of partisan gridlock unlike anything in history. Number two, conspicuous by their absence during the news hour was everyone else in the Republican field. Think they know something about Iowa grassroots politics Perry doesn’t?
Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak, Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee, demonstrated he knows something about Iowa grassroots politics, and how Barack Obama can win in 2012, when he was in Iowa City earlier this afternoon. He stopped at the Market Street office of Obama for America where he spoke to about 45 supporters. He said, a politician needs to “look Iowans in the eye and talk common sense because that’s what delivers results.” It got the audience’s attention.
Also in attendance were Christie Vilsack, candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the fourth district; Sue Dvorsky, Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party; Iowa State Senators Bob Dvorsky and Joe Bolkcom; Terry Dahms, chair of the county party and former lawmaker and local favorite Dick Myers, among others. Media present included the CBS/FOX affiliate and John Deeth who posted on the event here. The room was packed.
Rybak explained the focus on Mitt Romney by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel at the recent party fundraiser in Des Moines, which Deeth covered here. What was more telling about Rybak’s talk was the clear sense that a narrative is developing to combat the media attention the Republicans have been having in their primary contest.
The formula is pretty simple. 1). Tell the truth. 2). Tell the story. While it would have been better politically for the president to pander to his base, what he did, according to Rybak, was, “take on the toughest, most complicated issue (in health care) and delivered.” President Obama did this with the Iraq war. He did this over and over during the beginning of his term. 3). Mayor Rybak said, “there is no more free lunch for these people,” referring to the Republican field of primary hopefuls. The DNC is ready to fight back when they misrepresent the president’s record of accomplishment, and so should we when talking to our friends and neighbors. 4). Rybak asked each of us in the room to pick 10 people we know and have that uncomfortable conversation about the 2012 election between now and the end of the year. This campaign, like the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign will be people-to-people, and that is how Democrats will win, according to Mayor Rybak.
A year can be a long time in politics. With Rybak saying that “when they throw an elbow, I’m going to throw it right back,” we know that the Democrats are ready to fight back and do what is necessary to help win the 2012 election.
Mayor Rybak had such a persistent smile and positive outlook, it was hard not to sign up. He thanked Iowans for taking Michelle Bachmann off Minnesota’s hands, smiled and said he would be back. Iowa will be seeing a lot of Mayor Rybak in the days ahead.