# Sam Brownback

Iowa Republicans repeat mistakes of Kansas, Louisiana

Republican lawmakers completed work on their top priority last week. Disregarding their longtime mantra of not using “one-time money” to fund ongoing expenses, Republicans cited the state’s record budget surplus—which primarily stems from temporary federal assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic—as an excuse to make deep, permanent tax cuts.

Democratic lawmakers decried the cuts as unfair, noting that the Republican plan would make Iowa’s tax system more regressive and would not address key workforce problems, such as the high cost of child care. It would also give some 3,000 Iowans earning more than $1 million per year an average tax cut of $67,000 each year—more than 100 times as much as what the average Iowa household (with annual income around $68,000) would receive in tax cuts.

While those points are important, this post will focus on another problem with the GOP approach. If the experiences of Kansas and Louisiana are any guide, Iowa’s state government will soon face a fiscal mess.

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Brownback endorses McCain

Never mind the rumors about Sam Brownback endorsing Rudy Giuliani for president; the Kansas senator decided to back John McCain after all. Cyclone Conservatives has a good write-up here, or you can read the Des Moines Register's coverage here. I liked Mike Huckabee's comment in the Register:

Huckabee, campaigning Wednesday in Cedar Falls, said he would have liked Brownback's endorsement, but “we're getting a lot of Brownback's supporters. If I had a choice between him and his supporters, I'll take his supporters.”

Don at Cyclone Conservatives says he knows former Brownback supporters who have switched to Huckabee or Fred Thompson. The person I know who interned at the Brownback campaign plans to volunteer for McCain. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. 

Meanwhile, Bob Vander Plaats, who's chairing the Huckabee operation in Iowa, says they are not worried about missing out on the endorsements of Brownback or evangelical Pat Robertson, who recently backed Rudy Giuliani.

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Addendum to my post about Brownback

A few posts down I mentioned the rumors that Sam Brownback will endorse Rudy Giuliani, which I think would be foolish.

Yesterday I saw someone we know who worked in the Brownback HQ over the summer. She said that most of his Iowa staff have moved over to John McCain's office. 

Is activity picking up in the McCain campaign in Iowa? It would be interesting to see if he makes a late play for a second or third-place finish here.

Is Brownback dumber and less principled than I thought?

We've long known that Sam Brownback was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but his possible endorsement of Rudy Giuliani would be one of the dumbest things I can imagine him doing.

Haven't seen anything on this yet at Cyclone Conservatives or The Real Sporer blog, but the gang at TPM has been all over the story:

Brownback said a few days ago that he has become “much more comfortable” with Rudy after getting assurances from Giuliani that he would appoint only “strict constructionist” judges:


Brownback's former political director in Iowa says Sam may endorse Rudy as the candidate with the best chance to beat Hillary:


The Family Research Council is very upset and says conservatives will desert the GOP if Rudy is the nominee:


Endorsing Giuliani would be a really dumb move by Brownback. He campaigned as the guy with consistently pro-life views, and had support from many social conservatives, especially Catholics. To turn around and back Rudy is a slap in the face to them.

Presumably Brownback is angling for a position in Rudy's cabinet, or even the VP slot, by toying with an early endorsement. But let's get real. Are GOP primary voters going to nominate Rudy after seeing the ads his rivals will run against him? I know Fox News is in the tank for Rudy (he and Roger Ailes go way back), but they won't be able to save him from the ads showing Rudy calling himself the “liberal” mayor of New York, ads showing Rudy in drag, ads showing Rudy talk about being pro-choice and supporting state funding for abortion.

Not to mention the fact that Bernard Kerik is about to go on trial on federal charges–this is the guy Rudy pushed Bush to appoint as Homeland Security secretary. Great judgment there!

And who will be the first of Rudy's opponents to run this ad? When Rudy was appointed to the Iraq Study Group (also known as the Baker-Hamilton commission), he never bothered to show up for a single meeting. He was too busy giving $100,000 speeches to cash in on his 9/11 celebrity.

Romney, McCain and Thompson are not just going to hand this nomination to Rudy. They will fight him for it. 

And even if Rudy could get the nomination, I think he is far from the GOP's best candidate against Hillary. As I have written, Mike Huckabee is the one we need to be worried about–especially if Hillary is our nominee.

There are two obvious plays for Brownback. The safest one is not to endorse at all. The risky one would be to endorse Huckabee. He's a longshot who lacks money and faces the wrath of the Club for Growth. But at least endorsing him would show some principle and would upset social conservatives less than endorsing Rudy.

We'll see what Brownback is made of. 

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Biden and Brownback planning joint campaign event

For those of you who can attend lunchtime events in central Iowa:

Join Us for an Unprecedented Bipartisan Summit in Pursuit of a New Way Forward

On Friday, October 12th, Republican presidential candidate Senator Sam Brownback and Democratic presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden will hold an unprecedented joint campaign event to discuss their bipartisan plan for Iraq. The event is hosted by the Greater Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations.

WHEN: Friday, October 12
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

WHAT: Biden, Brownback to Outline Iraq Plan

WHERE: Wakonda Country Club
1400 Park Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50315

This event is open to the public (lunch provided for $25.00).
For more information and reservations, contact the Greater Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations at 515-282-8192.

I understand what Biden is trying to do here–as he has said in many debates, he has a plan for Iraq, and he has experience getting Republicans in Congress to support his agenda.

But this really annoys me. Aside from the fact that I think any partition plan is doomed to fail, Biden is throwing Senate Republicans a life raft. Now they can credibly say that they have voted for a solution to the Iraq problem.

The reality is that Republicans in Congress are still carrying water for the Bush administration on Iraq and everything else, and we need to call them on that. Biden is allowing them to make a show of voting to change course in Iraq, when we all know that this plan is going nowhere.


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