Thursday, March 02, 2006

VIlsack; workin' the majors

Vilsack in D.C. -- smarmy, and the MSM liberal editorial types love him. Joe Klein, the writer who made his career as the anonymous author of Primary Colors, spooned out this Vilsack vignette in Time magazine a week ago:

… I heard a story that I'll never forget. It was told by Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, who was addressing a small audience in Washington. A military helicopter pilot from Iowa, serving in Iraq, was killed when he noticed a ground-to-air missile headed his way and, in a split-second reaction, swerved his chopper so that he and his co-pilot would take the hit and his 18 passengers would be spared. Vilsack placed a condolence call to the widow, who stopped him in midsentence. "I think about it this way," the woman said. "Those 18 men needed my husband more in that split second than I'll need him for the rest of my life."

Vilsack, who is probably running for President—and should be—used the story to illustrate the sacrifice and sense of community that is at the heart of a successful democracy. … (link)

It’s well documented that Vilsack gives good stump. As noted by Senator Gronstal from a Radio Iowa interview.

… Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs agrees. "I don't know what Kerry's criteria is, I don't know what he's looking for, but Tom Vilsack can deliver a great, compassionate speech and kind of take your heart out of your chest and show your beating heart to you and make you feel that same compassion he has and the same vision for making Iowa a better place," Gronstal told Radio Iowa. … (link)

After years of Vilsack reshaping Iowan’s real life stories to spin political metaphor I’m ready to ship him anywhere… as long as his 527 fans pay the bills.

Vilsack’s use of Iowans as political props is one of the more exhausting features of his gubernatorial run. From the Smith family to the tragic deaths of Shelby Dues and Evelyn Miller, he has this awful habit of taking a tragedy and placing himself in the story and then rhetorically framing it for some political end.

With Shelby Dues and Evelyn Miller, it's all about communing on the issue of child abuse. With the Smith family, it’s about the tug between patriotism and a difficult war. In the first instance he shares his personal bio as an abused child who survives to become a sensitive leader (girls like this stuff – after we swallow our stupid pills and suspend the bull*&%$ radar) and in the second instance he talks about the war in Iraq disappointing Iowa patriots. Vilsack consistently frames policy with his personal voice, a Bill Clinton -- minus the Viagra moments.

I suppose it’s not bad to have Vilsack jetting around. In small amounts, he is a very attractive politician; it’s the long haul where the paint fads and the wheels start to come off. Vilsack knows that he needs to be seen as an economic moderate and social liberal-lite, two terms in Iowa is plenty to get out with that kind of resume – he can fly off into the national political landscape spinning his community theme while the next great white hope (sorry Sal, doesn’t look good) sweeps up the debris.

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