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2010

Bad Attention: Iowa GOP House Candidate Under Fire for LGBT, AIDS Smears

by: The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 14:09:08 PM CDT

(Note: at least one other Republican state legislative candidate thinks the Iowa GOP was wrong to rebuke Jeremy Walters. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

[cross-posted at DLCC.org]

A Republican candidate for the Iowa House has found himself under recent scrutiny for some reprehensible comments he posted on his Facebook page.

The Iowa Independent broke the story Tuesday, revealing that Jeremy Walters, who is running against the Democratic Majority Leader of the Iowa state House, posted some incendiary remarks regarding AIDS and homosexuality on his Facebook page last week (he’s since removed them in a belated fit of remorse, but that’s what screenshots are for). Walters wrote that when the Bible says homosexuals should be “put to death; their blood shall be upon them,” the “blood” is actually AIDS.

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 695 words in story)

Iowa to form new insurance pool for people with pre-existing conditions (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Sat May 01, 2010 at 10:11:49 AM CDT

Governor Chet Culver announced Friday,

Iowa will accept $35 million in federal funds over the next four years to operate its own temporary health insurance plan for high-risk individuals.  This step will help cover uninsured Iowans as the country transitions toward implementation of federal health insurance reform.

"Every Iowan should have access to affordable health care," Governor Culver said. "This action is an important first step in reaching this goal.  These funds will allow Iowans who have been among the uninsured for extended time periods to get coverage, in spite of health problems and without waiting periods for existing conditions."

Iowa will establish a new pool alongside its current high-risk pool structure that will comply with the federal requirements. Under the terms of the federal funding formula, Iowa will be eligible to receive a grant of approximately $35 million in reimbursements to subsidize the cost of the fund until 2014. The state's next step will be to submit a plan for federal approval.

Here are more details about the program:

Consumers will be eligible for the new pools if they have a pre-existing medical condition and have not had insurance for at least six months.

They will pay premiums that parallel rates being offered by commercial insurers to healthy people on the individual market. Many existing high-risk pools charge such high premiums that many people cannot afford the coverage. Today, high-risk pools in 34 states cover only about 200,000 people.

Individuals who sign up for the new pools also will not have to pay more than $5,950 a year out of their pockets for medical care, according to the legislation.

According to this backgrounder posted at Iowa Independent, the new high-risk pool could serve more than ten times the number of people could affect many people not enrolled in Iowa's current high-risk pool:

"This is an opportunity for the state to show whether it is ready to put a critical component of health reform - covering people with pre-existing conditions - on a faster track," said Andrew Cannon, research associate for the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project and author of a new policy brief on the topic.

Cannon said more than 34,500 Iowans could be eligible for Iowa's existing high-risk pool or a new one the state may create if the state chooses to act now. The federal health-reform legislation allocated $5 billion nationally to states to provide temporary coverage as a bridge to full implementation of health reform, which will require all insurance companies to accept applicants without consideration of a person's medical condition by 2014.

Iowa created its high-risk pool program in 1987, now known as the Health Insurance Plan of Iowa (HIPIowa). It serves 2,732 state residents.

High-risk pools such as HIPIowa are designed to help individuals who do not have health insurance through work, do not qualify for Medicaid and cannot afford or qualify for individual coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition. HIPIowa's premiums are about half as expensive as the standard rate for plans sold on the private market, Cannon said, but in many cases those premiums still exceed potential enrollees' ability to pay.

UPDATE: The Des Moines Register quoted HIPIOWA Executive Director Cecil Bykerk and State Senator Jack Hatch as saying federal funding will allow about 1,000 people to be covered in the new high-risk pool before 2014. That's a small fraction of the number of Iowans who might be eligible for the program, according to the Iowa Policy Project's estimate.

The Des Moines Register quoted Rod Roberts and spokesmen for Terry Branstad and Bob Vander Plaats as saying they oppose participation in this new federal program. I don't know how quickly the new pool will be up and running, but I'd like to see the Republican nominee for governor explain to Iowans with pre-existing conditions why they should have to go without affordable insurance coverage until 2014. Remember, the federal government is subsidizing the cost of operating the new pools.

As of April 30, officials in 28 states had informed the federal Department of Health and Human Services of plans to create new high-risk pools, while officials in at least 15 states had declined to participate for fear that federal funds may be insufficient to cover the operation of these pools until 2014.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

IA-Sen: Grassley Embarrasses Majority of Iowans; Less Than Half Would Re-Elect

by: Senate Guru

Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 10:32:54 AM CDT

{Originally posted at my blog Senate Guru.}

New polling by Research 2000 finds that Republican Chuck Grassley is far more vulnerable than the conventional wisdom gives him (dis)credit for.

When asked if Grassley should be re-elected, only 42% said re-elect, while 31% said it was time for someone new, and 27% were not sure.  (Remember, being unsure about an incumbent of twenty-nine years bodes poorly for the incumbent.)  Among independents, only 39% said re-elect.  Not too hot.

The money question of the poll was:

When Senator Chuck Grassley says President Obama and Democrats would QUOTE "pull the plug on grandma" UNQUOTE do you think that does Iowa proud in Congress or embarrasses Iowa?

By more than a 2-to-1 margin (53% to 26%), Iowans responded that Grassley's comments embarrassed them rather than made them proud.  Among independents, the embarrass-proud ratio was an overwhelming 61-21.  Research 2000 broke down the responses by Congressional district.  Outside of right-wing radical Steve King's 5th Congressional district (which saw a 30-51 embarrass-proud ratio), every other district was overwhelmingly embarrassed by Grassley's remarks.  The other four Congressional districts ranged from 53-64% embarrassed while only 19-24% proud.

Very interestingly, while only 35% of respondents favored the Senate version of the health care reform bill, while 56% opposed it, 62% of respondents favored a public option (a 2-to-1 margin over the 31% of respondents that opposed a public option); and, moreover, by more than a 3-to-1 margin, Iowans want Democratic Senator Tom Harkin to fight harder for a public option and would respect him more if he did.

The message from these numbers is clear: Iowans are open to voting for an alternative to Republican Chuck Grassley, would support a public option (and many who opposed health care reform in Iowa simply feel that it didn't go far enough), and were embarrassed by Grassley's dishonest kowtowing to the teabaggers with his "pull the plug on grandma" routine.

The Iowa Independent reminds us:

The "pull the plug on grandma" statement, which was part of the death panel meme Pulitzer Prize winning Web site PolitiFact named its "Lie of the Year," dogged Grassley throughout the last few months of 2009 and was cited by at least one of the three Democrats vying to unseat him as the reason for entering the race.

Grassley's own numbers must be telling him that his lies could constitute a politically fatal flub given how freaked out he got over the discussion of his comments and how he tripped over himself backpedaling:

By the end of the year, though, Grassley was blaming media reports for his association with the death panels meme. In a letter to a constituent forwarded to The Iowa Independent, Grassley said some "commentators" took his comments and twisted them as saying that health care reform would establish death panels.

"I said no such thing," Grassley said. "As I said then, putting end-of-life consultations alongside cost containment and government-run health care causes legitimate concern."

Who was that Democrat who cited Grassley's comments as a reason for entering the race?  Attorney and Democratic former gubernatorial nominee Roxanne Conlin.  She got into the race in late 2009, so this past quarter's fundraising report will be the first test of her campaign's financial viability.  Word is, she's a fairly prodigious fundraiser.

On top of that, Grassley has handed her the issue and according message frames on which to run.  Notably to me, Conlin has five grandchildren.  In other words, she is a grandma.  I think it would be powerfully resonant for Conlin to put out an ad highlighting Grassley's "pull the plug on grandma" comments that embarrassed a majority of Iowans and to close the ad (while talking to the camera, surrounded by her five grandchildren) with the line, "I'm Roxanne Conlin, and I approved this message because I'm a grandma and I'm embarrassed that Chuck Grassley is talking about pulling the plug on me."

Keep a close eye on IA-Sen; I'm expecting a competitive race that will surprise the traditional media.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

RNC Targeting Boswell (again)

by: matt h

Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 11:00:29 AM CDT

(No time like the present for progressives to call Congressman Boswell's office advocating health care reform with a strong public option. Boswell's official website explains his primary concerns on health care. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Politico's Ben Smith posted a list of conservative House Democrats who will be targeted by a new RNC radio ad on healthcare. The list includes IA-03's Leonard Boswell.

Text of the ad:

Most Americans agree. It’s time to take action to reform our healthcare system. But the dangerous experiment President Obama and the Democrats in Congress want just can’t be the right answer. The question is what Congressman Boswell will do.

Look at their record. The stimulus package cost us hundreds of billions without creating new jobs. The national debt has more than doubled.

If Barack Obama and the Democrats get their way, the Federal Government will make the decisions about your health care. And, their plan costs a trillion dollars we don’t have. You have to pay a new tax to keep your private insurance. It’s too much, too fast.

Call Congressman Boswell at 202-225-3121, that’s 202-225-3121 and tell him to say no to this dangerous experiment.

Of course, the quote "Most Americans agree. It's time to take action to reform our healthcare system" is not followed by any Republican proposal or idea to actually fix healthcare. I hope Boswell doesn't cave on this, and it's heartening to know that he still supports a public option. Boswell's support is an apparent break with other members of the Blue Dog Coalition, whose opposition to a public option was deconstructed in this Paul Krugman article yesterday.
Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Bob Krause in 2010

by: Pistachio

Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 11:45:04 AM CDT

I recently took a break from politics after the election in November, but politics is a very addicting thing, as many of you know.

At a recent event in Des Moines I had a chance to listen to Howard Dean and meet with Senate Candidate Bob Krause, about a single payer option.

I had been in contact with Mr. Krause since 2007, online mostly, as he headed the Iowa Democratic Veterans Caucus, and was a tireless worker for veterans in Iowa. Mr. Krause really wowed me, not only by his record (which you can find here http://www.krauseforiowa.com/positions.asp) but also because he is really motivated to win this race even though it will definitely be an uphill climb.

Ever since the end of the 2008 election I had wondered about this seat. I thought I would take on a "wait and see" approach because of the rumors of Vilsack running for senate and the very daunting task of knocking off someone like Grassley, who finished something like 70% t 20% in 2004. But, Bob Krause is the real deal, he is campaigning now as if if it was October 2010, and I believe he is what we need to put up the best possible fight against Chuck Grassley.

Here is Bob's Website: http://www.krauseforiowa.com/home.asp

And his facebook Link if you wish to catch up with him through there

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/profile.php?id=1500601293&ref=ts

 

Thank you for your time and attention

 

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

What if Iowa had politicized redistricting?

by: possumtracker1991

Sun Jun 07, 2009 at 13:06:03 PM CDT

(Thanks to the diarist for a fun trip to an alternative universe. For an outstanding overview of some realistic post-census Iowa maps, check out ragbrai08's post on redistricting. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Iowa is among the small number of states that use a bipartisan (or nonpartisan) commission to perform redistricting every 10 years. The resulting maps are often very competitive and fair when compared with those of many other states.

However, I started thinking anout what would happen if, hypothetically, the party in charge of the legislature controlled redistricting rather than the commission. What would such a map look like? How would the current incumbents be affected?

The map the I created was designed to help Democrats because currently the legislature is under Democratic control and the governor is a Democrat. In this hypothetical scenario, Republicans cannot block the plan through filibusters or avoiding a quorum. Since Iowa is set to lose one of its districts after the 2010 census, my plan uses four districts rather than the five that currently exist.

My main goals were to:

-Maintain Democratic advantages in eastern Iowa

-Protect Leonard Boswell

-Dismantle Tom Latham's district and force him to run against Steve King

(Note from desmoinesdem: current map and ridiculous-looking gerrymandered map are after the jump.)
There's More... :: (5 Comments, 580 words in story)

Is the Big Lug in big trouble?

by: American007

Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 18:58:10 PM CDT

(Worth keeping an eye on. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

There's a batch of poll data out from SurveyUSA, and it's bad news for the Big Lug.
 

Governor Culver doesn't break even in the poll of 600 adults. 47% of voters surveyed said they disapprove of Gov. Culver's performance as governor, with 46% approving, and 7% not sure. 

What's particularly troubling is that Culver only has support from 59% of Democrats surveyed and 41% of self-identified independents. 

Seperate polls found that Sen. Grassley edges out Sen. Harkin as the state's most popular politician. Grassley carried a 71% approval rate, with Harkin ten points behind at 61%. One interesting fact from that set of polling: Grassley has a 66% approval rating among Democrats. 

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

IA-Sen: Will Chuck Grassley Be the Next Senate GOP Retirement?

by: Senate Guru

Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 14:04:27 PM CST

(Thanks to Senate Guru for the cross-post. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

{Originally posted at Senate Guru.}

Just twelve days into 2009, we already have four Senate Republican retirements, including two in the last week.  And there may still be more to come.  With Florida's Mel Martinez, Kansas' Sam Brownback, Missouri's Kit Bond, and now Ohio's George Voinovich all out, who's next?  My money is on Iowa's Chuck Grassley.  Let's re-visit the prescient words of The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder from December 3, 2008:

But... more Republican retirements are expected, including at least two in blue states (Chuck Grassley of Iowa and George Voinovich of Ohio. (A Voinovich spokesperson denies the retirement rumor.))

Ambinder put those words out almost a month and a half ago.  In fact, it's particularly interesting that, after reporting that the retirements of both Grassley and Voinovich were "expected," it was noted that a Voinovich spokesperson denied the retirement rumor.  Of course, this suggests that Grassley's office did not deny the rumor.  Surely, Ambinder must have contacted both offices over the course of his research.  Grassley's office could have denied the rumor, but apparently chose to remain silent.  Now, if Voinovich's office went so far as to actively deny the rumor, despite the Voinovich retirement announcement now having come to pass, what should we make of Grassley's silence?  Maybe the Iowa media should be a little more tenacious in asking Mr. Grassley what he thinks at this point his 2010 plans will be.

Further, being a Senate Republican in an ever-weakening minority cannot be fun.  I have not seen a single analysis of the 2010 Senate map that suggests that it favors Republicans, meaning that it is likely that Democrats will achieve a 60+ seat majority in 2010, further relegating Senate Republicans to the realm of powerlessness.  Recalling a scene from Spring 2001, when then-Senator Jim Jeffords famously left the Republican Party, being out of the majority is something that deeply affects Grassley:

The mellower Republicans want to beat Jeffords about the head and neck with a semi-frozen flounder. For example, during his press conference, Jeffords admitted that the current chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Charles Grassley, "dreamed all his life of being chairman. He's chairman a couple of weeks, and now he will be no longer the chairman."

OK, I admit, it takes a very strange person to say as a small child, "Daddy, when I grow up, I want to be the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee." Still, a dream's a dream, and by tipping the balance of power to the Democrats, Jeffords snatched Grassley's away from him. And, yet, if Grassley were to, well, you know, Grassley would be the one to go to jail.

With such a sizable Democratic majority in the Senate, Grassley must know that he'll never be Finance Committee Chairman again.  It will be several cycles, at least, before Senate Republicans even have a reasonable shot at getting back to 50 seats.  Does Grassley want to spend another six years, including the first years of his 80's, in a guaranteed minority in which the only question is whether or not the GOP could sustain a filibuster?

This passage from Voinovich's retirement statement stood out to me:

In addition, Janet and I have concluded that once my second term is complete, we should devote ourselves to our children and grandchildren. We have been blessed with good health, but we're no spring chickens. In 2010, I will be 74 years old and will have served 44 years in public office, having been elected to more public offices than any other person in Ohio history.

On Election Day 2010, Chuck Grassley will be 77 years old.  If Grassley ran for and won another term, he would be 83 years old at the conclusion of that term.  Grassley has a wife (his marriage to whom will celebrate its 55th anniversary in September) and five children, so who knows how many grandchildren.  Grassley has been an elected official for fifty years (Iowa state House 1959-1974; U.S. House 1975-1981; U.S. Senate 1981-present).  After having spent more than half a century as both an elected official and a family man, I don't think anyone would be surprised if he opted to give all of his time and energy to the latter designation after giving so much to the former.

I would imagine that spending your day playing with your grandchildren is a lot more enjoyable than spending your day waking up at 5am to catch a shuttle from Des Moines to Washington in order to take votes you know your caucus will lose, unable to make any progress on your desired agenda, and then staying up until midnight with policy meetings, political fundraisers, and personal fundraising calls that will all be in vain anyway given the relative weakness of your caucus' minority.

Mr. Grassley, do you really want another six years of this?

Discuss :: (2 Comments)
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