IA-03: McCaskill wants Vilsack to run for Congress (updated)

Via John Deeth’s blog, I see Jake Wagman has a scoop in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“Tell Christie I think it’s a great idea,” [Senator Claire] McCaskill said to [U.S. Secretary of Agriculture] Tom Vilsack after a press conference at the ADM grain elevator in St. Louis. “Tell her I’ll come up and knock on some doors!”

McCaskill’s endorsement is not without some complications, and not just because Iowa’s caucus status make its state politics of national import.

Census results will force Iowa, like Missouri, to shed one of its congressional districts in 2012. That means if Vilsack, who recently left her day job, runs, she’ll have to challenge an incumbent — most likely U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, an eight-term Democrat and Missouri native who represents the Des Moines area.

McCaskill knows a thing or two about primaries; she successfully challenged Missouri’s incumbent Democratic governor in 2004. I doubt the backing of a neighboring state’s senator would count for much if Christie Vilsack ends up running against Boswell in the redrawn third Congressional district, but it would be an ironic shift in alliances. In early 2008, McCaskill endorsed Barack Obama for president, just when Hillary Clinton’s campaign was riding the momentum from winning the New Hampshire primary. Both Tom and Christie Vilsack had campaigned their hearts out for Clinton before the Iowa caucuses. Boswell had also endorsed Clinton for president and pledged his support to her as a superdelegate. He continued to back Clinton in the spring of 2008, even though he was under pressure to switch after Obama carried IA-03 in the Iowa caucuses.

Because she is from Mount Pleasant, Vilsack could decide to challenge Representative Dave Loebsack in the 2012 Democratic primary to represent the second Congressional district. However, my hunch is she won’t run for Congress at all if she doesn’t like the look of the new IA-03.

Share any thoughts about Iowa’s 2012 Congressional races in this thread. Can’t wait to see that map on Thursday morning.

MARCH 31 UPDATE: I stand corrected. The proposed IA-02 map is a dream come true for Christie Vilsack. It’s an empty, Democratic-leaning district containing Mount Pleasant. IA-03 is much less appealing, heading south and west from Polk County without any of the Democratic-leaning neighbors (Story, Jasper, Marshall).

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Year in review: national politics in 2009 (part 1)

It took me a week longer than I anticipated, but I finally finished compiling links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage from last year. This post and part 2, coming later today, include stories on national politics, mostly relating to Congress and Barack Obama’s administration. Diaries reviewing Iowa politics in 2009 will come soon.

One thing struck me while compiling this post: on all of the House bills I covered here during 2009, Democrats Leonard Boswell, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack voted the same way. That was a big change from 2007 and 2008, when Blue Dog Boswell voted with Republicans and against the majority of the Democratic caucus on many key bills.

No federal policy issue inspired more posts last year than health care reform. Rereading my earlier, guardedly hopeful pieces was depressing in light of the mess the health care reform bill has become. I was never optimistic about getting a strong public health insurance option through Congress, but I thought we had a chance to pass a very good bill. If I had anticipated the magnitude of the Democratic sellout on so many aspects of reform in addition to the public option, I wouldn’t have spent so many hours writing about this issue. I can’t say I wasn’t warned (and warned), though.

Links to stories from January through June 2009 are after the jump. Any thoughts about last year’s political events are welcome in this thread.

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Q. When is it bad for a member of Congress to be a multimillionaire?

A. Only when that member of Congress criticizes government policies that benefit the super-wealthy at the expense of most taxpayers.

See also Missouri blogger Clark on the same subject.

Speaking of hypocrisy, note the conspicuous absence of Republican outrage over $18 billion in taxpayer dollars from the Wall Street bailout being used to pay bonuses to corporate executives.

That figure is larger than the total value of all earmarks Congress approved in 2008.

As Michael Bersin observed, it’s also more than the price tag of the automakers’ bailout that so many Republicans lamented.

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Well, this is a first

I got noticed by Markos on the front page of Daily Kos!

Unfortunately, it was to attack and take out of context what I wrote in this post at MyDD yesterday.

Markos didn’t like my opinion that it would be a political mistake for Barack Obama to choose a woman running mate other than Hillary Clinton.

Actually, “didn’t like” is a bit of an understatement:

This is such a crock of shit. After all the talk of Clinton breaking glass barriers, are her supporters still so hung up on her loss that they’re willing to create a new glass ceiling for women candidates, one that excludes anyone not named Hillary Clinton?

Fact is, the party is united behind Obama. In the latest Research 2000 national poll shows that Obama wins Democrats 82-9 percent, which is little different than McCain’s 83-10. In 2004, Kerry won Democrats 89-11, and Obama will be up in that range when all’s said and done. There are no more “party unity” concerns.

Throw in the fact that Obama has locked down the Latino vote, is winning women handily, has shown surprising strength in the Mountain West, the midwest, and even parts of the South. He has locked down the Democratic strongholds. It’s clear that Obama doesn’t need Clinton on the ticket.

I never said Obama needed to choose Hillary or that he is having problems uniting the party.

And of course I was not a Clinton supporter at any time and have not been advocating for her selection as VP (though Obama could do a lot worse).

Markos goes on to say,

I’ve got several people on my list of veep possibilities that would certainly reinforce Obama’s core message of change, and several are women (mainly Sebelius and McCaskill). I don’t have any inkling where Obama is going with this thing, but I do know that being forced to take women off his shortlist lest he offend some Hillary supporters is asinine. I doubt Clinton fought to shatter one glass ceiling to replace it with another.

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius makes sense in that she is a two-term governor. I also like that she stepped in to block coal-fired power plants from being built.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill would be a terrible choice in my opinion. She has less relevant experience than Obama and is on the right wing of the Missouri Democratic Party. She has a much less progressive voting record than Hillary Clinton in the Senate.

My comment in this thread at Daily Kos:

for the record, here is what I said

and did not say.

I did not say Obama needs to pick a woman. In fact, at the end of that very post I said I’d offer it to Wesley Clark if I were Obama.

I did not say Obama has a problem with women voters.

I did not say Hillary is the only woman qualified to be on the ticket.

However, she is the only woman who was the preferred presidential candidate of 17 million plus voters.

I do think that in light of this year’s extraordinary primary battle, it would be a political mistake for Obama to choose a woman running mate other than Hillary.

If Hillary were the nominee, I would also advise her against choosing a black man for VP other than Obama (though many would be qualified, such as John Conyers or Charlie Rangel).

To do so would be viewed as a slap in the face to Obama.

Also, Hillary wasn’t my first, second or third, choice, so I appreciate not being referred to as one of her supporters.

This comment got buried under an avalanche of comments agreeing with Markos and misrepresenting what I believe, but I wanted to set the record straight here.

Use this as a thread for more idle speculation about whom Obama should and should not choose as a running mate.

Several commenters at MyDD made the case for Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, who was an early Obama supporter. I don’t think we have a very deep bench in Virginia. It’s not worth giving up a governor to put Kaine on the ticket.

I still think that if Obama does not want to choose Hillary (and it looks like he doesn’t), he should choose someone close to the Clintons–and not Florida Senator Bill Nelson or Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. Not only are they both too conservative for my liking, we would lose a Senate seat if either of them became vice president.

UPDATE: Yet another report indicates that Hillary Clinton is not on Obama’s short list for VP. As I’ve said, I don’t think he would choose her unless he felt he couldn’t win without her, and he probably can win without her.

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