# Scott Brown

New 2016 Iowa Republican caucus discussion thread

It’s been a while since we had a thread about the 2016 presidential campaign on the Republican side. Spin your own scenarios in the comments.

Public Policy Polling’s latest survey of Iowa Republicans shows a jumble, with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee slightly ahead, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas notably trending up and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida trending down, along with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Highlights are after the jump, or click here for full results and cross-tabs. I’m not surprised to see Cruz’s favorability improve, as he wowed Republican crowds during two Iowa visits last year.

PPP’s robocall format only allows a maximum of nine candidates to be listed. I find it strange that the pollster included Huckabee and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, neither of whom seem likely to run for president in 2016. It’s all the more odd since the poll did not give respondents a chance to choose former Senator Rick Santorum, the narrow winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses, as a presidential candidate.

PPP’s poll also did not offer respondents a chance to choose Texas Governor Rick Perry, who came to Iowa this week. He appeared on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program, attended a “business roundtable” in Davenport organized by the Koch Brothers group Americans for Prosperity, and spoke to GOP activists in Polk County at a private fundraiser and a small “rally” at Governor Terry Branstad’s campaign headquarters. I’ve posted excerpts from Perry’s “Iowa Press” comments below. I was particularly interested in his take on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoing a bill that would have allowed private businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples. Perry provided a textbook example of how to pivot away from the question you don’t want to answer the question you wanted.

Another ambitious Republican excluded from PPP’s Iowa poll is former Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who recently agreed to headline the April 3 GOP dinner in tiny Ringgold County. Brown visited the Iowa State Fair last summer and spoke at a Scott County GOP event in November.  

Continue Reading...

Scott Brown and Rick Santorum: same goal, different paths

Scott Brown and Rick Santorum have a lot in common besides both visiting Iowa this week. Both are former U.S. senators who lost re-election bids. Both are considering running for president in 2016. Both claim humble roots and have called on the Republican Party to do more to appeal to working-class voters.

The two men have very different views on how GOP candidates can accomplish that goal.

Continue Reading...

New Iowa caucus speculation thread

How about a new thread on the Iowa caucuses? The off-year caucuses in 2014 could be extremely important on the Republican side. The U.S. Senate nomination could be decided at a statewide GOP convention, if no candidate wins at least 35 percent of the vote in the June primary. Furthermore, supporters of Governor Terry Branstad will need to focus on electing delegates at the precinct, county, and district levels, if rumors of an attempt to replace Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds on the ticket are accurate.

Democrats in the first Congressional district have extra incentive to turn out supporters for the 2014 caucuses as well, in case none of the five declared candidates in IA-01 wins at least 35 percent of the vote in the primary.

As for the next presidential-year caucuses, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was the featured speaker at the north Iowa Democrats’ “Wing Ding” event in Clear Lake last Friday. She indicated that she is not interested in running for president and even joked that Minnesota supplies the country with vice presidents. If Hillary Clinton does not run for president again, Klobuchar is one of several Democratic senators who might join the race.

Former U.S. Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts visited the Iowa State Fair on Sunday with his wife, Iowa native Gail Huff. He wants to know if there is substantial support for his “brand of leadership and Republicanism.” I can hardly imagine a worse fit than Brown for Iowa Republican caucus-goers.

Speaking of which, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey signed a bill banning so-called gay conversion therapy for minors in his state. That intrusion on parental decision-making will be a deal-breaker for social conservatives.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, the new darling of the Iowa Republican base, has released his birth certificate to show that he is eligible to run for president. He will also renounce his dual Canadian citizenship.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, my early pick to win the 2016 Iowa caucuses, previewed his future case against GOP members of Congress who may become rivals for the presidential nomination.

Weekend open thread: Kerry to Secretary of State edition

Catching up on news from this week, UN Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration for secretary of state in President Barack Obama’s cabinet. Republicans had been hounding her for weeks over public comments she made soon after the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.

CNN reported yesterday that as expected, Obama will now name Senator John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. I had concerns about Rice in that job because of her financial interest in seeing the Keystone XL oil pipeline completed. But it was phenomenally stupid for Obama administration officials to leak that Kerry was plan B for secretary of state. That gave Senate Republicans every incentive to throw a temper tantrum over Rice. A special election in Massachusetts means just-defeated Scott Brown has a chance to come back to the Senate. Surprise, surprise: Republicans are going to confirm Kerry with no problems.

Although Obama hasn’t caved yet on letting some of the Bush tax cuts expire, the president still has a bad habit of rewarding people who don’t deal with him in good faith. Senate Republicans had no problem confirming Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state in 2005, even though she had been national security adviser at the time the Bush administration failed to anticipate and prevent the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington. Obama acknowledged what he called “unfair and misleading attacks” on Susan Rice, yet he is giving Republicans a chance to narrow the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate anyway.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

Weekend open thread: Not ready for prime time edition

Earlier this month, State Senator Brad Zaun agreed to attend an event organized by an anti-abortion extremist, then withdrew from the event at the last minute because of a problem with the invitation wording. Here’s a clue for one of the leading Republican candidates in Iowa’s third Congressional district: the reason not to do an event with Dave Leach isn’t some technicality, it’s that Leach thinks assassinating abortion providers is justifiable homicide.

Speaking of Zaun, how does an experienced campaigner who works in real estate and is a former mayor of a wealthy Des Moines suburb raise just $52,780 CORRECTION: $50,305 for his Congressional campaign in the first quarter? It’s not as if he tapped out a huge donor base already; in the fourth quarter of 2009 Zaun only raised about $30,000. He’ll need more money than that to compete with seven-term incumbent Leonard Boswell–if he can get through the crowded primary.

Speaking of that primary, Jim Gibbons issued one of his more idiotic press statements last week (and for him that’s saying something). Gibbons’ latest attack is that Boswell is relying on support from “D.C. insider” Chris Van Hollen. This from a guy who is the favorite of the Washington-based National Republican Congressional Committee, who bragged about how many members of Congress attended his own Washington fundraiser, and had former House Speaker Dennis Hastert headline an event for him in the Des Moines area. Gibbons has raised the most money in the Republican field, but he doesn’t impress me as a campaigner, unless you’re into pandering to Christians before Easter.

Another Republican who doesn’t look ready for prime time is Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts. He said this week that he’s against the proposed financial reforms because they would be “an extra layer of regulation.” As Kevin Drum says, that’s “like saying that you don’t want better brakes on your car because ‘they’re going to slow me down.’” But Brown had more empty talking points to share:

   Brown left open the possibility that he could support a compromise.

   “I want to see when it’s going to come up, how it’s going to come up,” he said. “I’m always open to trying to work something through so it is truly bipartisan.”

   Brown, whose vote could be critical as Democrats seek to find a GOP member to avoid a filibuster, assiduously avoided talking about specifics.

   When asked what areas he thought should be fixed, he replied: “Well, what areas do you think should be fixed? I mean, you know, tell me. And then I’ll get a team and go fix it.”

Give me a break. The guy has no idea what’s in the bill or why Republicans are supposed to be against it, but he wants to make sure you know he’s all for teamwork and being “bipartisan.”

Who did I miss on the not ready for prime time front? Let me know in the comments, or share anything else that’s on your mind this weekend.

If you’re interested in the upcoming British elections, you can watch the recent party leaders’ debate here (hat tip to Christian Ucles, who is following the campaign closely).

UPDATE: Had a great day out at Whiterock Conservancy today. Saw some friends there, watched a presentation featuring five snakes native to Iowa, took a long nature walk ending near a field with bison. Stopped for locally-made ice cream at Picket Fence Creamery on the way home. Who could ask for anything more?

Continue Reading...

Steve King has empathy after all (updated)

Representative Steve King doesn’t come across as the most compassionate guy in the world, bragging about opposing aid for Hurricane Katrina victims and questioning the need to stop deporting undocumented Haitian immigrants after last month’s earthquake.

But if you thought King was incapable of feeling empathy, you’re wrong. Over the weekend he spoke to a panel on immigration at the Conservative Political Action Conference:

During his closing remarks, King veered into a complaint about high taxes, and said he could “empathize” with the man who flew a plane into an IRS building last week.

During the question and answer session, the Media Matters staffer asked King to clarify his comment, reminding him of his sworn duty to protect the American people from all sworn enemies, foreign and domestic. In response, said the staffer, King gave a long and convoluted answer about having been personally audited by the IRS, and ended by saying he intended to hold a fundraiser to help people “implode” their local IRS office.

That’s right, King feels empathy for a guy who crashed his plane into a federal building, intending to harm the IRS employees inside. In the process, the man killed a loving family man and longtime federal worker who served two terms in Vietnam.

Following King’s remarks at the CPAC panel, a man with a video camera gave the congressman a chance to clarify his remarks. King dug deeper. (continues after the jump)

Continue Reading...