You Don't Know Jack!

I'm an Iowa native living in Northern California for 25 years.  Class of '67 Des Moines North High/Drake grad. This is my first comment/diary for BH even though I've been reading your cogent analysis for some time now. I'm a supporter of Iowa CCI and I spent 2011-13 in a Des Moines public high school as an arts advocate for underserved students (which was all of them).  

To begin, I just want to ask a sincere question: 

Why don't more Iowa Dems (to say nothing of national pols) actively support Jack Hatch against Terry Branstad?

I'm hoping some readers here can enlighten me to what I'm missing about Hatch or something. The lack of cohesive support beyond his own ($200,000?) campaign is palpable, obvious and frankly, considering Branstad's vulnerability on several key issues, rather troubling. Now that he's down 30 points Branstad begins to appear inevitable but how did we get here? Did Jack even get any photo ops at the Harkin event?

I'm asking for some on-the-ground perspective here.  I've got my own thoughts but before I broadcast, I sincerely would like someone in the BH community to help me understand a few things about Iowa, Inc. 2014 edition. 

Thanks and thanks for providing a forum. 

About the Author(s)


  • I am behind on covering this race

    along with several others. I think the simplest explanation is that Iowa Democrats just feel pessimistic about this election, having seen Branstad defeat five other Democrats for governor. That pessimism translated into poor fundraising and an inability to get his message out.

  • You Dont Know Jack!

    I met Jack Hatch several years ago when he ran against Connie McBurney in a Primary election.  My view of him then, and today is the same; he is an operator, not a leader.  He has no new ideas, just the same old Democrat stuff.  Ten minutes after hearing him speak, I am hard pressed to remember anything he said.

    In this election all he seems to be saying is he is not Terry Brandstad, and in my view you have to have a lot more than that to have any chance of getting elected.

    • Thanks!

      Well, not the most encouraging feedback but I trust that it is honest. After spending some time back there in Iowa,it just feels as if Iowans are not into gambling on politicians who might be ‘bad for business.’  (pretty ironic considering the foodfight over who gets casinos out there)

      I agree that his messaging is a bit too tepid to cut through the $8million (is that correct?) that TB has in his war chest compared to Jack’s $200k. After Orascom, scandals in the senior and juvenile social service sectors, multiple environmental disasters threatening both rural and urban Iowans, and oh yeah a proposed Texas-financed stake (oops I mean pipeline) through the heart Iowa (for the benefit of who exactly?) I thought Iowans might want to reconsider their leadership but it’s now obvious that Jack hasn’t significantly raised his profile in the state he adopted in 1967!

      Branstad is certainly vulnerable–but only if you match his war chest and do crazy stuff like having Harkin, Vilsack, or even Biden, say a few words on your behalf. You know, crazy stuff. Heck, no other state Dems appear to be visibly supporting/campaigning for him. Are we that disconnected?

      I’ve seen TB close up in the last year and I agree with the moderator of this blog. I think he bails mid-way through his next term and hands it to (shudder)…mini ma’am. I don’t think he leaves for health reasons though. I think he’ll be a VP pick. (you heard it here first!)

      I have to think Iowa Dems had better get their bench prospects (and their fire-in-the-belly pills) in order. Even Google dumped ALEC this week. Iowa could do worse than dump one of ALECs founding members. (That would be TB–a fact I learned here at BH)

      Of course, with the way that Gannett and Fox/WHO keep f**king with your public information spaces…… But that’s another blog entry. I’ll see you over on the Gannett story page. =-(

    • I don't share your view

      He has a lot of good policy proposals and he understands the issues well. He works hard at the statehouse, including on bills that never get a lot of public attention.