Stop using professed respect for Jews as cover for racism and Islamophobia

Prominent Iowa Republican Jamie Johnson resigned yesterday as leader of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships, after CNN exposed a pattern of racist statements and “inflammatory remarks about Islam” between 2008 and 2016.

Johnson told CNN his past comments “do not represent my views personally or professionally”; “Having witnessed leaders from the entire faith spectrum work to empower their communities I now see things much differently.”

Whatever Johnson believes today, his generalizations about lazy, promiscuous, drug-using African Americans and Muslims who “want to cut our heads off” didn’t attract any special notice, let alone condemnation, in Iowa GOP circles. Republican activists elected the reverend to serve multiple terms on the party’s State Central Committee. Presidential candidates also sought Johnson’s support. He worked for Rick Santorum before the 2012 caucuses and for Rick Perry and Donald Trump at various times during the 2016 election cycle.

As a Jew, I want to express my utmost contempt for how Johnson praised American Jewish culture as a rhetorical device while denigrating other minority groups.

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Eddie Mauro makes seven Democrats running for Congress in IA-03

Eddie Mauro made it official today: he is a candidate for Congress in Iowa’s third district. I enclose below his announcement e-mail and biographical information from his campaign website. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter. He discussed his background and political philosophy further in a 2016 interview with Bleeding Heartland, when he was running for an Iowa House seat.

Mauro’s determination to join the Congressional race has been clear for months. Since forming an exploratory committee in July, he has met with or spoken to numerous neighborhood and constituency groups. He loaned his campaign $100,000 shortly before the end of the third quarter and raised $82,251.00 from several dozen other contributors.

In fact, as of September 30, Mauro was second only to Theresa Greenfield in money available to spend on the Democratic primary in IA-03. Mauro’s $161,899.06 cash on hand was some $14,000 higher than Greenfield’s, but seven of his donors maxed out with $2,700 contributions for both the primary and general elections. For that reason, $18,900 of his campaign funds can’t be spent until after the June 2018 primary.

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How Iowa could have lost three Supreme Court justices in 2016

Remember how awful you felt on November 9, 2016, as you started to grasp what we were up against following the most devastating Iowa election in decades?

Would you believe the results could have been even worse?

Imagine Governor Terry Branstad appointing three right-wingers to the Iowa Supreme Court. It could have happened if conservative groups had targeted Chief Justice Mark Cady, Justice Brent Appel, and Justice Daryl Hecht with the resources and fervor they had applied against three justices in 2010.

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IA-01: If Rod Blum wasn't worried before, he should be now

Reviewing the Democratic “tidal wave” in Virginia on Tuesday, Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report commented, “You can’t really look at tonight’s results and conclude that Democrats are anything other than the current favorites to pick up the U.S. House in 2018.” A backlash against President Donald Trump and Congressional Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act fueled strong Democratic turnout, sinking far more Virginia GOP state legislators than expected.

That’s not the only reason Representative Rod Blum should be feeling more nervous about winning a third term in Iowa’s first Congressional district.

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Clovis to stay at USDA, avoid testifying under oath

Earlier this week, I was surprised when key U.S. Senate Republicans indicated the confirmation process for Sam Clovis would move ahead as scheduled. I knew they didn’t care Clovis lacks the qualifications spelled out in federal law for the chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But why would a key figure in an expanding criminal probe of possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign want to take questions under oath at an open hearing?

As it turned out, he didn’t.

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Someone is polling Iowans about impeachment; read the questions here

Last night I was a respondent for an eight-minute telephone poll about whether President Donald Trump should be impeached and which arguments for impeachment are most persuasive. I transcribed the full questionnaire below.

I would bet the farm that Tom Steyer is funding the live caller survey by Research America. The billionaire recently launched a Need to Impeach campaign, which collected more than a million signatures for impeachment in ten days. Some of the messages tested in the poll echo phrases Steyer used in this video.

The poll didn’t sound like it was commissioned by any politician thinking about running for president in 2020. Notably, the caller didn’t ask about name ID or favorables for most of the possible Democratic presidential candidates, nor was there any ballot test of Trump against a named or generic opponent.

A Democratic campaign committee or super-PAC presumably would have tested support for anti-Trump messages about issues like health care, taxes, or immigration policy, not only cases for impeachment.

I asked the caller whether this was a national survey or just happening in Iowa. “Right now it’s for Iowa.” The caller wasn’t sure if they would poll other states; “This is the only one that’s on the board.”

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