Weekend open thread: Odds and ends

Time with extended family means less time for blogging, so I’m posting the weekend open thread early. Here are some links to get the conversation going.

Rural voters were a crucial factor helping Republicans retake the U.S. House. Of the 125 most rural Congressional districts, Republicans held all 64 seats they had going into the election and flipped 39 Democratic districts (that alone would have been enough to give them a majority). Going into the election, Democrats held 61 of the 125 most rural Congressional districts. Now they hold only 22 of those districts, including IA-01 (Bruce Braley) and IA-02 (Dave Loebsack).

Smart Politics looked at what it calls “Iowa’s Schizophrenic 2010 Electorate” and observed, “Never before in the history of Iowa elections have Republicans won a majority of seats in the Iowa House while Democrats won a majority of the Hawkeye State’s U.S. House seats.”

I listed the Iowa House and Senate Democrats before and after the election, grouped by Congressional district. Bleeding Heartland user American007 created red and blue Iowa maps showing which parties held state House and Senate districts before the election and after.

Fred Karger, a Republican political strategist and gay activist who’s exploring a presidential bid, has been running this commercial on the Fox network this week in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities, Mason City, Ames, Burlington and Fort Dodge. Have you seen it? Hard to imagine a strong base of support for Karger in Iowa, but I’m glad a moderate may be running for president on the Republican side.

If Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels runs for president in 2012, some Iowa Republicans will not forgive him for supporting merit-based judicial selection in his state.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said all the “right” things about Iowa judges during his recent Des Moines visit. But this week Huckabee described the controversial searches of airline passengers as a “humiliating and degrading, totally unconstitutional, intrusion of their privacy.” Uh oh! Social conservatives don’t typically acknowledge that there is a constitutional right to privacy. That dreaded “penumbra” underlies U.S. Supreme Court rulings affirming reproductive rights.

I learned this week that New Hampshire has some elected Republican officias who support marriage equality. It’s not clear whether there are enough of them to stop large GOP majorities from repealing same-sex marriage rights in that state. I wonder when (if ever) a current Republican office-holder in Iowa will defend equality.

Iowa First Lady Mari Culver says she accomplished what she set out to do during her husband’s term as governor, and her kids are excited to be moving back to their West Des Moines home full-time.

What’s on your mind this holiday weekend?  

About the Author(s)


  • Iowa Political Coverage

    I just wanted to say thanks on this Thanksgiving weekend for the coverage of Iowa politics.  It is difficult to find good coverage of the state house and senate members as the national media dominates, but I’m thankful for what I can find on this site.  

  • Disagree with Huckabee on both fronts

    I think he is of course wrong when it comes to the judges.

    I also think he’s wrong on the airport pat down matter either, if you were the only one on the plane of course they would not have a right to check for weapons or other harmful items, but once other people’s safety comes into question a pat down is no big deal.  I was on two U.S. based flights this year.  St. Louis to Cleveland and Cleveland to Houston  The pat down is an overblown media driven thing, being hyped by the Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul followers of the world.  

    • I fly about once a month...

      The only safety feature implemented that makes sense to me is the locking cockpit door. After a rash of hijackings in the 1970’s, the Israeli airline, El Al installed reinforced locking cockpit doors. Not a single hijacking since.

      I acknowledge that you are young enough to not remember much what flying was like before 9/11, but folks used to be able to walk right up to the gate to meet someone, or see them off, with no security whatsoever.

      I simply do not support wasting billions and billions of dollars to create the illusion of safety. If someone is determined to do harm, they will find a way.

      • True Elton

        You make valid points, but I don’t believe we should have ever been as care free about security pre 9/11.  

        I don’t believe its an illusion in every situation.  I think we can and have stopped plots and I don’t consider it a waste.  

        You are right if people want to do bad things they will, but all laws rarely stop bad people from doing bad things.  This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have the laws on the books as society has a right to set its own code of ethics.  Valid points however sir, I am pretty sure we simply see the world through a vastly different lens.  

    • we were just on planes this weekend

      and didn’t get patted down going in either direction. I would worry more about the extra radiation from those new scanners (which we also didn’t have to do through).

  • Culver's next move

    The Msri Culver interview brings up an interesting discussion. What’s Chet Culver’s next move? Surely there’s an opening for him somewhere in the Obama administration. Otherwise, I’m sure there are any number of think tanks or organizations that could use his knowledge and connections.

    Of course, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for him to have a political comeback somewhere down the road. Given some time and hindsight, I could see him back in the picture.

    • Personally

      Personally I’d like to see Culver run for Boswell’s seat.  I would contribute to the campaign.  I fear he would lose badly however to Tom Latham so he’s too smart to do it.  I don’t think it would be a big step down for Chet as well.  I think he is still largely unknown to many voters despite serving in statewide office for twelve years, I think he still has room to grow and can create more political capital in the future if he wants.

      If I were him I’d open up a business or something like that.  It is like in the 1980’s when George McGovern opened up a business and you can become a better public servant because of it.  I wouldn’t blame him for practicing law, lobbying or even teaching on the grade school level for example either though.    

      • can't see that happening

        don’t think he would win a primary in IA-03, and I agree with you, he wouldn’t be our strongest hope against Latham (not that I think anyone will have a great chance against Latham).

    • I've heard people say

      they think he will get some Washington job, but I don’t know if he’ll want to uproot his family. Obama might not be re-elected, and then what would they do?  

  • Maps

    Nice job on the maps American007.  It would be interesting to see a map highlighting Iowa house or senate districts and the ratio of independents and third party candidates even though their numbers are small.