Weekend open thread: opportunities and promises

This thread is for anything that’s on your mind this weekend.

After the jump I’ve posted links about Christian Fong, Sarah Palin, House district 1 and Kim Lehman to get things rolling.

Todd Dorman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette has some free advice for ex-gubernatorial candidate Christian Fong:

There’s talk now of Fong becoming someone’s running mate. Honestly, the last place a smart, ambitious guy wants to find himself is in the lieutenant governor’s chair. It’s all title, no impact.

Director of the Department of Economic Development, a place where he could have a real say in Iowa’s future, would be a better second act.

My father used to say that when the pie is being passed around, that’s the time to take a slice. Admittedly, IDED director would be a better gig than lieutenant governor, but if Branstad offers Fong a spot on the ticket, Fong should say yes. Branstad must have two dozen friends who’d like to have the economic development portfolio; why would he offer that job to Fong?

Fong lives in the district of Republican State Representative Renee Schulte, so there’s no easy path for him to get to the Iowa House. I don’t give Fong much chance of defeating State Senator Rob Hogg either. What’s his path up the political ladder if he declines an offer from Branstad?

Then again, if Fong runs with Branstad and they lose to Culver, that will be a mark against him in the future. And if Branstad wins and ends up compromising too much with the Democratic-controlled legislature, or not delivering on the right-wing’s social agenda for some other reason, the Republican base may hold the administration’s apostasy against Fong down the road.

What do you think, Bleeding Heartland readers? Would you advise Fong to get on board with Branstad if he has the opportunity? Will Branstad pick someone else like Libby Jacobs or Doug Reichardt?

Speaking of former governors, Sarah Palin is dropping by a Sioux City book store on Sunday. Bret Hayworth of the Sioux City Journal says people will start lining up today for the book-signing. I was amused to read a few days ago that Palin is only pretending to take a bus tour. She’s flying around the country on a private plane and riding the bus for shorter trips to and from her public appearances. Fred Thompson used a similar gimmick with a red pick-up during his first Senate campaign. Most of the time, he was driving a luxury sedan, but he made sure to arrive at campaign stops in the pick-up.

Speaking of Sioux City, Republican Jeremy Taylor plans to run for Iowa House district 1 again next year, Hayworth reported. Taylor nearly defeated incumbent Wes Whitead in 2008. Whitead has announced plans to retire, and Rick Mullin is seeking the Democratic nomination in the district.

A year ago this weekend, the State Central Committee of the Republican Party of Iowa voted to censure Republican National Committeewoman Kim Lehman after the “Iowa Right to Life Committee, in their pre-election newsletter unfairly attacked and distorted the pro-life position of our Second District Congressional candidate, Dr. Marianette Miller-Meeks.” (Background on that controversy is here.)

Lehman told the SCC members that she was planning to hand the reins at Iowa Right to Life to someone else by the spring. Well, here we are in December again, and Lehman is still president of the organization. I was reminded of this recently when Lehman praised efforts to impose a “purity test” on GOP candidates across the country.

I wonder if anyone in the Iowa GOP will press Lehman to keep her promise, or if she’ll go on ““serving two masters” indefinitely.

Final note: Renee Schulte was out door-knocking yesterday, 11 months before the election when the temperature was in the 20s. Whoever runs against her in House district 37 next year better be prepared to work very hard.

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