Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nussle: campaign cash & Culver policy goofs

The Nussle campaign is having a good week.

Yesterday evening, Jim Nussle collected a half a million dollars and change. The AP story out of the Globe Gazette.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said the Republican Governors Association that he heads has donated $500,000 to Rep. Jim Nussle's campaign for governor - the largest single donation the group has made in the country.

Romney made the announcement Wednesday at a Nussle fundraiser and said it shows that Republican strategists see Iowa as the best chance for the party to win a governorship held by a Democrat.

"This is a great pickup opportunity," Romney said. "This is, of course, the only Democratic seat that is being vacated." …

…"We have not made any contribution larger than this to any governor's race."…

While earlier in the week, we all watched in discomfort as Chet Culver made a spectacular political belly flop with a too clever for voters policy idea. Chris at P.F. provides a detailed analysis, but you can't spin detailed analysis in 30 seconds.

Chet announced a series of economic development initiatives, which were obviously not floated to the outside political brains, that included the genius move to coral some of the IPERS money into a venture capital fund for underwriting home grown Iowa businesses, that is assuming the IPERS funds are still solvent. From Tuesday's DMR.

Culver, Iowa's secretary of state, included in a 10-point plan the idea of investing Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System's assets in venture capital for Iowa-based technology businesses. …

…This year the Iowa Legislature took steps to shore up the fund, which as of last year was $2.2 billion short of being able to pay all of the benefits it had promised to pay.

I suppose this is the Democrats’ next logical step in collecting other people’s money for the benefit of a few well-connected cronies. They are certainly good at this game (see The Real Sporer for details).

Chet and his advisors -- oh certainly a loose term after this trick -- must have been ingesting some bad fungus to think this was a good idea and then not poll test their good idea. So far, the concept has been universally panned in the court of public opinion through commentary (here, here, here) and the curious silence on the part of other major Democratic political figures. No one from team Vilsack or the Democratic leadership in the Statehouse has made any substantive comment on raiding the IPERS funds for venture capital money.

Vilsack, Gronstal and Murphy’s hesitance to rush in and cheer for Chet’s Gnarls Barkley moment might have something to do with saving their own political skins. I have a mental picture of Chet Culver morphing into Jeff Skilling in cuffs, a former face of Enron; while the announcer compares the use of IPERS money on risky investments to Enron’s shell games that cost thousands of people their retirement.

The image is probably not unique. The good people helping Governor Romney spend the RGA money may have decided their math was a little off after hearing about Culver’s political dive and went back to their desks to rework the figures.

It’s always the smartest guys in the room that we have to worry about, isn’t it Chet?

I remember when, I remember, I remember when …

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