There will be no presidential libraries for Obama, Trump

Herb Strentz examines the impact of digitization on institutions valued by historians and archivists. -promoted by Laura Belin

Whatever the outcome of our presidential election, there will not be a traditional Donald Trump Library to inspire jokes about his presidency or to morph millions of scattershot tweets into scholarly insights.

Nor, for that matter, will there be a Barack Obama Library, once lawsuits over a proposed Obama Presidential Center in Chicago’s Jackson Park are settled. Scheduled for groundbreaking in 2018, the proposed $500 million community center is mired in litigation over its location and other issues.

Regardless, we likely have seen the last of public presidential libraries under the aegis of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as fixed places where citizens, visitors and scholars can read through millions of books and billions of pages to better understand the challenges and promises of democracy. That is what President Franklin D. Roosevelt dreamed when he set the library idea in motion in 1939.

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Trump's long shadow and Iowa's pivotal Senate race

Dan Guild has “never seen anything like it. The president so dominates the landscape that senators don’t have a distinct political identity.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Selzer & Co. is out with a new Iowa poll for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom.  It found President Donald Trump tied with Democratic challenger Joe Biden, each supported by 47 percent of likely voters surveyed. 

Iowa is not considered likely to be decisive in the race for the Presidency. But it may be decisive in determining control of the U.S. Senate. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, for example, currently rates only two states as toss-ups: Iowa and North Carolina. Since they predict that the rest of the Senate will split 49-49, the importance of Iowa’s race is clear.

As Brianne Pfannenstiel reported for the Des Moines Register, both sides recognize just how important Iowa is: $155 million has been spent or has been committed to influence the outcome.

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Only one way for Ernst, Grassley to show respect for Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Jewish new year began in the worst way possible on September 18, with the passing of one of the most influential Jewish Americans. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s work as an attorney and over decades of service as a judge, culminating in 27 years on the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley praised Ginsburg’s legacy in written statements, and Ernst offered prayers and an apology of sorts after her campaign sent out a gross fundraising appeal soon after the justice’s death was announced.

But words in a press release have no lasting value. Iowa’s senators have one chance to honor “the notorious RBG”: by letting the voters decide who should appoint her successor.

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Joni Ernst turned her back on Iowans

Kay Pence is Vice President of the Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans. -promoted by Laura Belin

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst is no longer working for Iowans. She is working at the behest of President Donald Trump, no matter what he says or does. She has become a puppet to Trump no matter how low he sinks, voting with the president more than 91 percent of the time and following his lead to attack our healthcare and defund Social Security.

The Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans recently invited Ernst and her Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield to virtual forums celebrating the anniversaries of Medicare and Social Security. I was not surprised when Ernst failed to show up for either forum, because she has such a dismal record on both issues.  

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The wrong message at the wrong time

Dan Guild: Donald Trump has positive ratings on handling the economy. But he’s staking his campaign on a “law and order” message. -promoted by Laura Belin

Politics can be as complicated as you like. You can build statistical models to calculate the odds of a candidate winning. Complicated ideological positions can be constructed precisely delineating what is right and wrong.

Most of the time, politics isn’t that complicated.

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Politicians rearrange deck chairs as the S.S. Iowa hits COVID-19

Herb Strentz reviews recent comments from Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Governor Kim Reynolds. -promoted by Laura Belin

Sea-going metaphors and idioms hardly reflect life in Iowa, but may be useful in considering the double whammy that’s hit us with COVID-19 and Trump.

At least that drives this take on our U.S. senators and governor during past few weeks.  As one idiom would have it, they are rearranging the deck chairs aboard Iowa’s political and virus-ridden “Titanic.”

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