Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Iowa Snippets

Yes, if you checked earlier this post might have looked a little different. Whatever.

It’s a rocky road into November, from Democratic Senator and Joe “statesman and closet neo-con” Lieberman in Connecticut to Representative Cynthia “I’ll whoop your butt” McKinney in Georgia to Representative Joe “did someone say earmark” Schwarz in Michigan incumbents with just a smidge of trouble lost primary fights.

Today’s WaPo takes it on and shreds Tuesday’s incumbent losses with this quick analysis.

...Lieberman's defeat came on the same night two House incumbents, Republican moderate Joe Schwarz in Michigan and liberal Democrat Cynthia McKinney in Georgia, lost in their own primary challenges.

Each had special circumstances contributing to their losses, but, along with the defeats of more than a dozen incumbent state legislators in Pennsylvania earlier this year, they offered a cumulative warning signal for November, when control of Congress will be up for grabs.

"America wants change and it's not just the war. Every incumbent in America in both parties ought to be quaking in their boots right now," Democratic consultant Dane Strother said.

Darrell West, a political analyst at Brown University in Rhode Island, noted opinion polls showed a majority of Americans unhappy with the country's direction and pessimistic about the future.

"Anytime you have a majority of people who think the country is headed in the wrong direction, it's a bad time to be an incumbent," he said. "Iraq was part of the voter discontent, discontent, butut it's not the whole story."...

I know we shouldn’t pick on all incumbents. Some of them are nice people who work hard and play by the rules, but woe to the pols that encountered a smidge of trouble this past year or two, it could be a tough election.

However, for incumbents to lose they have to have good candidates running against them and that’s not always the case, although if I were Leonard "old shoe" Boswell I might be a little nervous about being branded one of the least effective members of Congress.

That could qualify as a smidge of trouble.


We have an official hog czar. Yesterday, legislators reviewed the DNR rules for hog lot siting and issued another slap at the Vilsack Administation, voting 7 to 2 to formally object to the Administrative Rules. Reported in today's Cedar Rapids Gazette.

…A legislative panel today chose not to halt a new rule giving Iowa's lead environmental regulator more authority in deciding where future livestock operations can be built, but gave opponents a stronger legal hand in challenging state siting decisions.

The Legislature's Administrative Rules Review Committee voted 7-2 to object to a proposed Environmental Protection Commission rule slated to take effect Aug. 23 -- a move that puts the state on the defensive in defending its action against a legal challenge.

…Several committee members argued that the rule vested too much power over locating where livestock confinement buildings in the hands of Jeff Vonk, director of the state Department of Natural Resources -- authority that exceeded the Legislature's intent…

Vilsack came out blasting the move with his usual litany of scolding rhetoric.

…"In an act of political expediency, our environment was sacrificed for political gain," the governor added in his statement. "I do not intend to let this action deter us from aggressive action to fight for and protect to the fullest extent Iowans' precious right to clean water, clean air, and an environment we can all enjoy."…

I suppose this means more money for the lawyers as both sides on this fight will put together the legal teams. I’m going to be relieved when the trial lawyer mentality is no longer living at Terrace Hill; Vilsack, with his tolerance for legal action, as spent a ton of government money and time fighting losing battles over the constitutional powers of his office.

Trial happy governors are probably not on the fast track to the White House, at least I hope not.

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