Weekend open thread: Not ready for prime time edition

Earlier this month, State Senator Brad Zaun agreed to attend an event organized by an anti-abortion extremist, then withdrew from the event at the last minute because of a problem with the invitation wording. Here’s a clue for one of the leading Republican candidates in Iowa’s third Congressional district: the reason not to do an event with Dave Leach isn’t some technicality, it’s that Leach thinks assassinating abortion providers is justifiable homicide.

Speaking of Zaun, how does an experienced campaigner who works in real estate and is a former mayor of a wealthy Des Moines suburb raise just $52,780 CORRECTION: $50,305 for his Congressional campaign in the first quarter? It’s not as if he tapped out a huge donor base already; in the fourth quarter of 2009 Zaun only raised about $30,000. He’ll need more money than that to compete with seven-term incumbent Leonard Boswell–if he can get through the crowded primary.

Speaking of that primary, Jim Gibbons issued one of his more idiotic press statements last week (and for him that’s saying something). Gibbons’ latest attack is that Boswell is relying on support from “D.C. insider” Chris Van Hollen. This from a guy who is the favorite of the Washington-based National Republican Congressional Committee, who bragged about how many members of Congress attended his own Washington fundraiser, and had former House Speaker Dennis Hastert headline an event for him in the Des Moines area. Gibbons has raised the most money in the Republican field, but he doesn’t impress me as a campaigner, unless you’re into pandering to Christians before Easter.

Another Republican who doesn’t look ready for prime time is Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts. He said this week that he’s against the proposed financial reforms because they would be “an extra layer of regulation.” As Kevin Drum says, that’s “like saying that you don’t want better brakes on your car because ‘they’re going to slow me down.’” But Brown had more empty talking points to share:

   Brown left open the possibility that he could support a compromise.

   “I want to see when it’s going to come up, how it’s going to come up,” he said. “I’m always open to trying to work something through so it is truly bipartisan.”

   Brown, whose vote could be critical as Democrats seek to find a GOP member to avoid a filibuster, assiduously avoided talking about specifics.

   When asked what areas he thought should be fixed, he replied: “Well, what areas do you think should be fixed? I mean, you know, tell me. And then I’ll get a team and go fix it.”

Give me a break. The guy has no idea what’s in the bill or why Republicans are supposed to be against it, but he wants to make sure you know he’s all for teamwork and being “bipartisan.”

Who did I miss on the not ready for prime time front? Let me know in the comments, or share anything else that’s on your mind this weekend.

If you’re interested in the upcoming British elections, you can watch the recent party leaders’ debate here (hat tip to Christian Ucles, who is following the campaign closely).

UPDATE: Had a great day out at Whiterock Conservancy today. Saw some friends there, watched a presentation featuring five snakes native to Iowa, took a long nature walk ending near a field with bison. Stopped for locally-made ice cream at Picket Fence Creamery on the way home. Who could ask for anything more?

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