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Terry McAuliffe polling Iowans? Notes on a survey

I encourage activists to take notes on political surveys and share what they’ve heard. Bleeding Heartland user corncam did a great job. -promoted by Laura Belin

We can add one more name to the list of presidential candidates who may compete in the 2020 Iowa caucuses: former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. I completed a phone survey on January 14 that was ostensibly neutral, but I’m pretty sure it was sponsored by McAuliffe. I’ll tell you why below.

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NSA Amendment Fails

(Another post is coming later with more details on how Iowans voted on other amendments to the defense appropriations bill. All four Iowans voted for final passage of the Pentagon budget. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Earlier this evening, the U.S. House tried to limit the scope of the NSA's domestic spying, but this amendment failed by 205-217.  It was an unusual cross-party vote, with Democrats voting 111-83, and Republians voting 94-134.  (Here is the full roll call vote).

Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack voted Yes (to restrict the NSA), while Steve King and Tom Latham voted No.  I haven't been able to find any more detailed statements from any of Iowa's congressmen.

Does anyone know where the 1st district candidates stand on this issue?  It would be a good debate topic.

A new poll

I live in Johnson county (IA-02), and I just got a strange poll.  It was very short – they asked whether I plannned to vote, Obama vs. Romney, how I voted in 2008 (Obama vs McCain), and then came the surprise.  They asked how I viewed Colin Powell – very favorably, somewhat favorably, somewhat unfavorably, very unfavorably.  It's hard to believe that Powell still has national political aspirations, but I can't figure out who else would be asking that question.

Has anyone else gotten a poll like this? 

Johnson County Dem Primary

(This will be one of the most closely-watched primary elections at the county level next Tuesday. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

The most exciting race in Johnson county isn't the 2nd Congressional District, or even State House District 73 – its the race for county auditor.  

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Gene Fraise (D-Ft.Madison) will not run for re-election to IA Senate in 2012

Yesterday's Burlington Hawkeye had a story that Gene Fraise will not seek re-election in 2012:

Friase decides not to seek eighth term

Sen. Fraise is 79 years old, and he has been in the Senate for 26 years.  Before that, he was a Lee County Supervisor.  Fraise has been known for his work on criminal justice and education.

One Repulican has announced that he will run for this seat – Lee County Supervisor Larry Kruse.

Loebsack considers extending Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest

The Cedar Rapids Gazette said that Rep. Dave Loebsack is considering extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone, not just the middle class.  Here's the money quote:

…what do we do about those making over $200,000 a year and couples making over $250,000?  I've said all along that I didn't want to extend those tax cuts, but I'm rethinking that at the moment.

This is so out of character for Dave that its hard to believe he is serious.  Is there something in the water in DC?

Anyway, I have written him about this and I encourage any other second district voters to do the same.  Here is his congressional website:


 (The original Gazette article is “Loebsack considering extension of Bush tax cuts” by James Q. Lynch, Cedar Rapids Gazette, Sept. 11, 2010, p.7.)




Ethanol Case Study: Iowa

Yesterday there was an analysis of corn ethanol production in Iowa at the energy blog, The Oil Drum.  It discussed production and consumption, as well as the chances for Iowa to be self-sufficient in fuels.  Here is an excerpt:

Iowa is a state that by all accounts should be able to satisfy their own liquid fuel needs with ethanol, and still have some left for export. They are perhaps unique in the U.S. in that respect. Instead, petroleum continues to supply over 90% of the motor fuel in Iowa, and virtually all of the fuel used in the farm equipment for growing all of that corn. Something is wrong with this picture.

 I highly recommend the whole article.

Appliance Rebate Fiasco

(Someone had better fix this problem quickly. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I thought that the appliance rebate was going to make some good headlines for Gov. Culver.  But it looks like it is going down as a fiasco.  The program was supposed to start at 8:00AM today, but by 8:10, the website was already down.  

It only had the message: "The service is unavailable."  

 The phone lines are also jammed.  Most of the time I don't even get a busy signal, it just leaves me hanging, listening to static.  Has anyone else tried to get a rebate yet?

UPDATE from desmoinesdem: The $2.8 million in stimulus money for these rebates in Iowa was exhausted in one day. Representative Bruce Braley has urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “to include funding for clean energy appliance rebate programs in any jobs legislation considered by the House.”

Norman Borlaug has died

The BBC has reported that Dr. Norman Borlaug passed away today at his home in Dallas.  Dr. Borlaug did as much as anyone to reduce world hunger, and very few Iowans have had the global impact that he did.  If there are any Bleeding Heartland readers who have stories about him, I would really like to hear them.

Here's the iink: 

Steve King Robo-Poll

This is just a short diary to let y'all know that Steve King is doing a robo-poll in Johnson County.  After introducing himself, King asks if you are a registered voter, then if you think that marriage should be one man – one woman.  At that point, my wife answered No, which was apparently the wrong answer because they hung up on her.


I'm not sure why he's doing this in Johnson County.  It might be an effort to ID social conservatives, or he might be trying to build name recognition in eastern Iowa.  Has anyone else gotten one of these polls?

Death Penalty in Iowa

New Jersey has been in the news lately, with legislation to ban the death penalty.  Most of these stories claim that it is the first state to ban the death penalty since it was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976.

Didn't Iowa ban the death penalty in the 1980s?  I thought that Minnette Doderer led the charge on that.  I wasn't living in the state at the time, so I don't know all the details.  Can anyone fill me in?

Republican message testing in Johnson County

(Calls in Polk County as well to well-established Democrats.  Who else has been getting these calls? - promoted by Chris Woods)

At 4:00PM on Saturday, I got a call from a “polling firm”. It began innocously emough by asking which Dem I planned to caucus for, and I said Dodd, but then the real purpose became clear. They asked me if any of the following information would change my opinion about these three “Democrat” candidates:

Clinton – she's a flip-flopper, who used to opposed ethanol, but now she supports it.

Obama – voted present seven times on reproductive rights bills in the Illinois State Senate.

Edwards – he's a liberal trial lawyer who wants to bring troops home from Iraq.

I replied that no, their opinions didn't bother me at all. So, has anyone else gotten these calls? I live in Johnson county, and I wonder if they're going statewide.

Register review of Sicko

Yesterday, the Des Moines Register published a review of the movie Sicko.  It was written by the business editor, David Elbert, and just for good measure he brought along Cliff Gold, a vice president of Wellmark Iowa, to provide running commentary.  You can probably already guess the general tenor of their remarks.

Still, some parts of the review were so bad they actually made me feel sorry for Elbert.  For example, he said that Canada and France run “socialized medicine” – he could only say this if he didn't understand the first thing about how their medical systems are organized.  (Both countries use variations of single-payer, with public and private providers.)  Later he repeated Gold's assertion that 10-15 percent of the cost of health care results from cost shifting from the public sector, onto the private sector!  That will certainly be news to ER staff around the state, and to the tens of thousands of Iowans on the state's last ditch insurance plan.  
I have only scratched the surface of this review.  Although its infuriating, it is worth reading as a preview of the insurance industries arguments against any kind of health care reform.  It was disappointing to see this kind of one-sided corporate PR published in the Register.  I thought they had been getting better in the last few years, but now, whenever I look at their male columnists, I just see a bunch of pampered, out of touch white guys.