On Friday, March 9th the first-ever Drake University-IowaPolitics.com Luncheon was held. The Luncheons will be monthly features at Drake with leaders from both parties, possibly presidential candidates, and other political big-wigs talking about issues, strategies, and everything else. The first luncheon featured Iowa Democratic Party Chair Scott Brennan and Republican Party of Iowa Co-Chair Leon Mosley. Chris Dorsey, Bureau Chief for IowaPolitics.com, acted as the moderator. You can listen to an MP3 of the event here through IowaPolitics.com (be warned: it is very scratchy).
My initial opinions of the two leaders was that Brennan clearly came prepared and ready to talk about the issues as a seasoned political professional while Mosley was the down-home Republican who said what he meant, even if it was offensive or wasn’t politically correct. Largely, it made me wonder how this man could possibly be chosen to represent a party as their chairman. While his down-home style, seemingly like most ordinary Iowa Republican caucusgoers, might be appealing to some I think it was a big turnoff to those in the audience seeking a more enlightened and vigorous discussion about the issues, not just gut reactions. He did frustrate a lot of people who asked questions and did get confrontational with some in the audience over Iraq. But with such a divisive issue, that’s to be expected.
My friend Matt Clark has a write up of the event here for IowaPolitics.com (Matt’s got an internship with them and has been doing some great reporting) and I think it demonstrates Mosley’s approach to the discussion. If that doesn’t clearly show it, the audio of the event will. I’m not sure if any of you readers were there, but if you were, I’d like to hear your thoughts. Or after you listen to some of the audio, feel free to leave your reactions as well.
After the event, the staff of IowaPolitics.com collected surveys filled out by those in attendance with questions relating to who they’d want to see at future events and asking for an overall rating of the event. My suggestion for the next luncheon was to attempt to get the Caucus Directors for both the IDP and the RPI to come in and talk strategy a bit. While this early most strategy would still be speculation, talking about what has worked in the past and what hasn’t could be mighty interesting to see.