Living in Iowa, a swing state with the first in the nation caucus, we’re used to getting the full court political press. Our mailbox is frequently near to overflowing with glossy print ads about one candidate or another, our doorbell rings with the arrival of hordes of volunteers, and our phone rings more than any other time of the year.
As active engaged voters, the effort is wasted on us as we’ll be voting for Democratic slate regardless. What does add the slightest bit of levity during this barrage of attention are the few misdirected mailings and robocalls.
For example, we got a call earlier today from Bill Clinton. Nice to hear from Bill–if it wasn’t a recording I would have thanked him for bringing up global warming in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. The thing is, he was urging us to get out and vote for Tammy Baldwin, the senate candidate from Wisconsin. Um, we have a 319 area code, I’m pretty sure there aren’t that many Wisconsin voters with out of state area codes.
Also got a call from Paul Ryan today. He went on and on and on about how he and Mitt Romney wouldn’t kick the can down the road, they would do their damnedest to destroy Medicare just as soon as possible. Okay, I might have read that last part into what he was saying. We have also gotten a number of mailings from the Romney campaign, all addressed to my wife… Should I be worried that there is something she isn’t telling me?
An ad from the Jewish Council for Education & Research Super PAC:
Sorry, my friend, but there’s no time to snore.
And out-of-touch millionaires just declared war.
On schools, the environment, unions, fair pay.
We’re all on our own if Romney has his way.
And he’s against safety nets, if you fall, tough luck.
So I strongly suggest that you wake the f&%k up.
The Rapid Response team at the DNC put together this video of Romney himself adding commentary to Romney’s latest ad. Disclaimer: I readily acknowledge that the “I like to fire people” line is taken out of context. Still, the videogets to the hypocrisy and outright lies that fuel this campaign.
Thanks to Polentical
Billy Bragg performing “There is Power in a Union.” It is important on this day honoring labor that we remember all the good that unions have done for workers and for our country as a whole. All that more important as corporate interests across the country are pushing to stamp out the last vestiges of organized labor.
“Money speaks for money, the devil for his own
Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone
With our brothers and our sisters, together we will stand
There is power in a union”
Yet another year has gone by with me not making it to the state fair. Given Hank William Jr.’s comments during his performance this year, I guess I feel pretty good about that.
Surprising no one, Williams got in a good old ignorant jab at the President towards the end of his set:
Hank Williams Jr. brings country hits and political jabs to the fair by Joe Lawler for Metromix Des Moines, Aug. 2012
Following the song “We Don’t Apologize For America” a chant of “USA, USA” broke out amongst the crowd. Williams smiled, telling the crowd that he was their mouth piece and adding:
“We’ve got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the US and we hate him!”
Now, like I said, no one should have been surprised by this outburst. Recently Williams has begun to augment his cashing in on his father’s name with public statements about the President that are equal parts hateful and misinformed. What I was surprised and disappointed about was the crowd’s reaction:
The cheers that followed were loud and enthusiastic.
Seriously, what were the fair organizers thinking? I disagree with rejecting musicians simply because of their political views, but courting them and promoting them in spite of frequent vocal misinformed and destructive rantings seems like poor practice to me.
As an aside, I felt the same way when Coralville had Charlie Daniels perform at 4th Fest a number of years back after his 9/11 response song stoked racial/religious hatred with the lyrics “This ain’t no rag it’s a flag / And we don’t wear it on our heads.”
Iowa Republicans have laid bare their bigotry by openly calling for the ouster of State Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins who is up for a retention vote this fall. Now I’m no lawyer, but I’m pretty sure the legal reasoning behind the same-sex marriage ruling that has Iowa Republicans all hot and bothered is pretty cut and dry. Correct me if I’m wrong, please!
Iowa GOP chairman urges “no” vote on Iowa Supreme Court justice by O. Kay Henderson for Radio Iowa, Aug. 1, 2012
The chairman of the Iowa Republican Party has issued a “call to action,” urging Iowa voters to toss an Iowa Supreme Court justice off the bench.
To my mind, Iowa Republicans and anyone who votes to oust Justice Wiggins based on the marriage equality ruling give up the right to call themselves constitutionalists, constructionists, originalists, or non-bigots.
In other news, my heterosexual marriage has remained strong despite the ability of same sex couples to marry here in Iowa.
As we already know, Branstad is doing what he can to get an early jump on making state workers look bad prior to this year’s contract negotiaions. His primary target is health insurance–remember how he magnaminously offered to allow state workers to voluntarily contribute 20% to their policies. The point that this would be nothing but a backhanded paycut is well explained by Mike Owen of the Iowa Policy Project in a recent blog post:
Once and for all, let’s get one thing straight: Health benefits are part of compensation for work performed. Benefits are not “free,” any more than a paycheck is “free,” and it is absurd for anyone to suggest otherwise. Public employees receive those benefits because they put in the hours and provide the services as agreed upon by both employee and employer. They are not a gift.
I am a public school teacher and a union member. Twice in the last four years our union has agreed to moving to a slightly less expensive insurance package in exchange for seeing more money put towards salaries in our district. This has, no surprise, been controversial–but the move was made each time with the understanding that any savings from the change to our insurance would be transferred to salaries. As do all unions, we negotiate the total package–not just salary with insurance tossed in as a gift!
For the record, my wife is a state employee, so I do have something of a personal stake in this. Regardless, it is a fallacy to argue that health insurance is somehow separate from salary.