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Archive for April 8, 2011

Christie Vilsack Should Sack Steve King Not Dave Loebsack

Battle of the Sackses: Christie Vilsack Should Sack Steve King Not Congressman Loebsack

BFIA could not disagree more with Bleeding Heartland's analysis of
Christie Vilsack's claim on the second District.  Perhaps Vilsack is not even considering such a preposterous notion. We hope not.  We hope that she would not consider needlessly causing turmoil among Democrats and dredging up old political wounds for no apparent reason. We ask, what possible value would there be for anyone but Republicans by primarying a successful 3rd term Democratic congressman?  

Congressman Dave Loebsack has been an extraordinary representative for Iowa, knocking off an entrenched, 30-year GOP incumbent Jim Leach in 2006 in a stunner that absolutely no one predicted. He won re-election in 2008 without even campaigning, and then won re-election again in 2010 against a well-funded right-wing tea party candidate.  He ultimately survived the national GOP comeback and fared better than the other members of the Iowa delegation with 51% of the vote.  Even Bruce Braley in a highly democratic district came scarily close to being defeated by another well funded GOP hack (who spent an ungodly amount of money on deceptive attack ads).

In election year 2010 Congressman Loebsack won a clean sweep of the district's major newspaper endorsements, each one, including the conservative CR Gazette, and also including the challenger's own hometown paper, the Ottumwa Courier, commenting on what an upstanding hard-working congressman Dave Loebsack has been. One who has truly made his first priority representing his constituents' interests.

Congressman Loebsack has an excellent progressive record.  He is the only one in the Iowa delegation to:

1) be a member of the Progressive Caucus
2) co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA
3) co-sponsor HR 676, Rep. Conyers' single-payer bill 

Dave's ADA (Americans for Democratic Action) voting record in 2010 was 95%.

Bleeding Heartland's assertion that it is some kind of no-brainer that 2nd District primary voters would see the choice as being between “the wife of the Ag secretary” over an  “academic” sounds like wishful thinking to us. We think Democratic primary voters will see the choice as being between a congressman who has been a consistent, trustworthy voice of integrity in a largely corrupt congress, who worked tirelessly and successfully delivering federal funds to the flood ravaged 2nd district, and who is in his district every weekend, while the spouse of the former governor was plotting her own political future (not that there's anything wrong with that).

We like Christie Vilsack.  But if she really wants to do some good, may we suggest she put her country before her personal political ambitions and leave a perfectly good Democratic congressman where he is and take on a meaningful and useful fight somewhere else.  We would gladly help her take on Steve King.  We would be her biggest cheerleader.  But we think no possible good can come from a Loebsack primary challenge.

The image that comes to mind as one ponders this, is of 2004 when
Christie Vilsack and friends marched to the base of the capitol steps in
Des Moines to a waiting microphone and declared that John Kerry not Howard Dean would be the Democratic candidate who would beat George W. Bush. Remember?  And the accompanying smarmy ad campaign that made Dean out to be a phony progressive and evil enemy of the Iowa caucuses? They were absolutely positive that Kerry was the “smart” choice to win the general election.  

Yes, the Vilsacks' political weight and DLC money went a long way back in the day to ensure that John Kerry, rather than a true progressive, Howard Dean, would win the Iowa caucuses. And we all know how that turned out. Can you say “four more years of George W. Bush?” 

It seems to us that if Vilsack went after Steve King with the same zeal that they went after Howard Dean with, she would surely be successful in retiring a conservative Republican who has been an embarassment to Iowa.

We hope this is all just an ugly rumor because it would be ugly if Vilsack chooses to try to unseat a fellow Democrat. There may be times when an office holder needs to be primaried but this is NOT one of those times.  We hope she will show some political courage, as Loebsack did in 2006, and take on a Republican who does need challenged, Steve King.  This would energize and unite Democrats, and quite possibly result in sending another Democrat to Washington in 2012 from Iowa.

Christie Vilsack, if you did that, our hats would be off to you!

Please Join Special Guests:

Senator Tom Harkin &
Congressman Bruce Braley

For a brunch fundraiser in support of:

Congressman Dave Loebsack

Hosted by:

Mike Liebbe and Bev Strayhall

Saturday, May. 14th, 2011
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

United Steel Workers Local 105
880 Devils Glen Road
Bettendorf, Iowa  52722

Host $250; Supporter $100
Freewill donation to attend

RSVP to Brian Fritsch 319.432.8503 or

Iowa's Hope for 2012

Hope for 2012

Paul Deaton

tedium of politics is sapping the joy from Spring. April 2011 has
been reminiscent of the scene in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel of
summer, The Great Gatsby, wherein Nick Carraway rides the train
between Long Island and New York City through the ash heaps of a
barren, industrial landscape. Why so? In a year of divided
government, we knew not much would get done. Living through the
actuality of it, the posturing, the pandering, the desultory speeches
and inaction has made us weary. The expectation become reality has
tarnished whatever shine may have existed in the imperfect world of

news from the governor's office on Wednesday was that he signed a
bill to enable a “physician assistant or an advanced registered
nurse practitioner to sign a death certificate.” It is hard to
engage when the news is that the government realized it doesn't take
a doctor to say the patient is dead.

If we had hoped there would be
new interest in the start of the 2012 presidential campaign, it has
been a fizzle. When President Obama filed papers with the Federal
Election Commission last Monday, we knew
his campaign staff organizing had begun before last Christmas. The
launch was low key and anti-climactic, and probably appropriate. With
Organizing for America, the 2008 presidential campaign never really

A swarm of drones has been unleashed from the
Republican hive to create a large field of presidential candidates.
If we don't know their names, it doesn't matter. Republican hopes
will be fueled by the Heritage Foundation, the American Future Fund
and the decisions of corporate board members around the world. A
candidate having a personality may get in the way. They could put up
Gumby without changing the election outcome and Gumby may have better
chances than the likes of Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney.

gathering of military veterans discussed how we could make a
difference on Wednesday. We discussed ideas and made plans. No one
was interested in bird dogging Michelle Bachmann about the cost of
militarism during her visit to Iowa next week. No one gave a reason. Instead, we planned
outreach to high school students and ended the afternoon by standing
a drink for a soldier home on leave, returning to Afghanistan on
Sunday. Supporting each other is what veterans do best, and therein
may be a path out of Spring doldrums.

We are all in this
together, those who condemn the president, those who support him and
everyone in between. At the core of our veteran's gathering was
turning the question away from “what's in it for me?” towards “what's
in it for us?” Broader application of this idea may be what's
needed to awaken us from the white noise induced sleep caused by
partisan bickering.

Inspiration has been lacking from
partisan politics. The future of our movement lies not in backing
candidates, but in a hundred meet-ups where we gather with friends,
family and strangers to take the future of our country into our hands
once more. Politicians are transitory, but when we stand together,
something endures, and that is our hope for 2012.

Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend
editor of Blog for Iowa. E-mail
Paul Deaton