Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dix Calls Whalen a Liar...But is he?

In this press release made available sometime late yesterday, Bill Dix calls Mike Whalen a liar.

Dix says:

“Mike Whalen is flat out lying, misleading voters, and misrepresenting Auditor Vaudt,” said Dix. “He tried to mislead my wife two weeks ago and now he is trying to mislead the voters.” Whalen’s campaign push-polled Dix’s wife, Gerri, two weeks prior to the airing these false advertisements.

Whalen’s advertisements state: “Bill Dix was in charge of the budget at the Statehouse, but our Republican State Auditor said Dix’s budget was a disappointment.”

Review of a press release sent out by the Auditor’s office, March 28, 2005, found that the Auditor said: “Unlike the Governor’s proposal, the House Republicans’ budget proposal does not tap the larger than expected Fiscal Year 2005 surplus to pay for Fiscal Year 2006 program costs.” The release went on to say: “The House Republicans’ plan also takes a positive step toward replenishing the Senior Living Trust Fund.”


While may Dix may have a legitimate gripe that Vaudt never actually called the budget a "disappointment", I think Dix is doing about as much selective quoting here as Whalen is.

It has been said in the recent past that if Dix wants to run on his record, he should run on his whole record. A review of the Auditor's release on which Dix stakes his claim shows that it isn't all roses for Bill and the Republican legislators.

You can find the document Dix references HERE.

Even the title, "State Auditor Vaudt Reviews House Republicans’Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Proposal - Comparison to Governor’s Proposal; Some Unsound Financial Practices Continued; Some Steps in Right Direction" is shaky at best.

A further review finds that "The House Republicans’ proposed level of spending equates to a 5.1% increase over Fiscal Year 2005" (higher than inflation).

Vaudt also says, "Despite some positive steps taken by the House, this Fiscal Year 2006 budget proposal—just like the Governor’s budget proposal—carries forward some of the same unsound financial practices of prior years." These unsound practices are highlighted in sections of the document called, "Lack of Clarity" and "Spending Exceeds Revenues".

Keep in mind that this is all just what Dix WANTED to do. In reality, after all the deals were made he ended up increasing spending by 7.1% over FY 2005, allowed spending to once again exceed revenues, etc.

You can see this for yourself HERE.

Perhaps this is the quote Whalen was looking for: Auditor Vaudt said, “It is extremely disappointing to see this continued reliance on other funds.”

It's all right there for you to read, folks. Form your own opinions.

Here's mine: All this taken into consideration, my thoughts on the latest Dix release is that while Whalen may have twisted the Auditor's words a bit, I think for Dix to complain about it is a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. It seems to me that Bill Dix is misrepresenting his record with the budget a tad too.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Candidate Surveys

While some internet Klowns will only give you profile pieces on their favorite candidates, I'll give you links to all candidate info that I can find. These candidate questionnaires ran in the QC Times in the last few days:

Bill Dix - Dix pretty much speaks in generalities and tows the party line. He notes he is the only candidate standing with the President on Iraq. Most interesting of this whole survey, he sings praises to Senator Grassley in his "favorite politician" question, but completely lambasts his favorite politician's (Chuck Grassley) most favorite pet project, the Iowa Rainforest. Also, his answer to #1 is interesting when considering Mike Whalen's current attack advertising. Who's telling the truth here?

Brian Kennedy - Kennedy offers more specifics than Dix, which I like. He points out that he is the only candidate with experience on Capitol Hill. I'm not sure how he arrived at exaclty $1.51 as the reasonable price for a gallon of gasoline in the energy question, but at least it's an answer, and I'll take that price over the current $2.75 any day! Lastly, Kennedy differed from Dix and Whalen on the question of earmark reform, and took an interesting approach of referencing readers to his website on a couple occasions.

Mike Whalen - Nothing new from this guy. He offers more specifics than usual it seems on the surface, but upon closer consideration it becomes clear that he is just putting a little more verbage on top of his common one-liners for every answer. See:"Today’s gas prices are the result of a government problem, not an energy problem."..."Congress has to learn to push themselves away from the table."..."If we stop the jobs, we stop the flow", etc. Still, to the average voter, I think his Q&A may hit home. He did a good job of being short and to the point.

Bruce Braley - Braley provides very well-written though long-winded answers that give pretty good detail. Braley cites examples of earmarks working well and providing services for people in Iowa's First District. Braley gives a good Iowa answer on energy. He hits the GOP on the issues of tax cuts, Iraq, and the immigration situation. Democrats have a good candidate in Bruce Braley. Also, I just might vote for him because he clearly knows a lot about John Quincy Adams (what's the deal with the history lesson, Bruce?).

Bill Gluba - He comes off better on paper than in his ranting speeches, that's for sure. His answers, though long, seemed well thought-out. He stands with Bill Dix in his mockery of Senator Grassley's Coralville Rainforest. Interesting points: a very specific answer to #1, his statement that we obviously need to increase government spending in #9, and his riding the fence on the issue of life in #5.

Denny Heath - Denny Heath is my hero in this field. I may not agree with his stance on every issue, but I like that fact that he isn't an out-of-touch idealist or a demagogue like some other Dems out there. He thinks for himself and doesn't simply follow his party like a sheep in the flock on every issue.

Rick Dickinson - It must be a Democrat thing to write very long answers. Aside from talking himself up plenty in the experience question, Dickinson takes great care in explaining his stance on the abortion issue. Rick also thinks everything is a "wedge" issue. That is, to Dickinson, if it's tough for Democrats, it is probably the Republicans' fault for making a big deal about it. Lastly, I must be nice and say that I do really like his plan for a pay-as-you-go federal budget, not the borrow and spend that we have seen at federal and state levels lately. Dickinson also notes in that answer that there was no Halliburton in Jackson County. No kidding, Rick...I think you guys just got your first Wal-Mart, there didn't you?

$$$$ Ten Days Left

Ed Tibbetts has a decent article in Saturday's QC Times on the state of the candidates' campaign coffers ten days before the June 6th primary.

A few interesting figures to note:

Mike Whalen has already spent over half a million dollars.

Mike Whalen gave another $75,000 to his campaign from his own pocket.

Bill Dix outspent Brian Kennedy during the last six weeks more than 3 to1.

Bill Dix and Brian Kennedy have nearly even bank balances as of the filing deadline. Whalen had $40,000 less than them, but Tibbetts noted that he has the ability to self-finance (Whalen has given roughly $275,000 to his own campaign).

Bruce Braley spent $50,000 more than Rick Dickinson in the last six weeks.

Bill Gluba only spent $20,000 in that same time. Braley outspent him 7 to1!

Bruce Braley sits on a $130,000 difference between him and Dickinson in cash on hand.

What's it all mean?

On the Dem side the race is Bruce Braley's to lose. Dickinson had an opportunity given to him by Bruce Braley on Iowa Press, but doesn't seem to be capitalizing on it. On the GOP side, we know that Whalen will try to win at any cost, but I think he could possibly be toppled in the closing days.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Tuesday's Fun Point to Ponder: Dix's "Secure" Commercial

I know I've been a bit remiss lately about disucussing each candidate's commercials. Braley, Dix, and Whalen all have multiple commercials on the air right now, and Dickinson began airing one last week too. Gluba doesn't have one on that I've seen, and Kennedy has been sticking to his same old Cowboy ad.

However, I did take a peek recently at Dix's commercial page. He has now had four different TV spots on the air. While I hear the latest is a pretty good attack on Mike Whalen, I can't seem to view it, though I wait with great anticipation.

Dix did have one ad that did pique my interest, however. His third ad, titled "Secure" provides some humor, if you've been following the race closely.

See, this ad is about illegal immigration and border security. Now there are many points of contention that Dix's opponents may have with the content of this ad. I though, found just one small bit of the visuals they used to be entertaining. Perhaps this goes back to the competence of Dix and his advisors (yeah yeah yeah maybe it was the reporter...come on guys, lighten up).

If you've been following the illegal immigration saga driving the GOP primary, you know that Bill Dix's great plan to stop illegal immigration from Day 1 of the campaign, aside from "doing whatever it takes" of course, is to build a fence or a wall along our border.

Now, remember that and watch the "Secure" ad closely. About halfway through the ad, Dix shows a full-screen shot of footage of illegals doing what to get into America?

Yes, that's right...climbing the fence and entering illegally.

Who's in charge of the message over there anyway?

REPUBLICAN Culture of Corruption?

Looks like it's not just the GOP getting caught in scandal these days. Democrats now face a story of corruption of their own. See this New York Times story for details, or find one of your's been all over the place.

It isn't often that I put news on here that is not directly from Iowa's 1st District, but I thought this was blogworthy because in previous threads commenters talked about the Dems' heavyweight election-winner this fall being their outspoken cry for change from the Republican culture of corruption.

So much for that strategy.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

“I think, unfortunately, Mr. Braley may have just cost himself the election."

That was a quote by Bill Gluba at the taping of Iowa Press on Friday. The Iowa politics talk show is featuring the 1st District candidates in a special hour-long program this week.

Gluba made that statement in response to a call from Bruce Braley to cut funding for our troops in Iraq as a way to force the administration to end the war there.

From Saturday's Quad Cities Times:

Braley said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should be fired, and expressed disappointment that troops would not be coming home this year. Braley said he would vote to cut funding in order to bring troops home.

“That’s what Congress does. They appropriate the money. If the administration is not carrying out the wishes of the people of this country, Congress has to start making choices,” Braley said.

Dickinson replied:

But Sabula Democrat Rick Dickinson, who’s running against Braley in the June 6 primary, said Braley has taken drastically different positions on Iraq during the campaign. “These are exactly the kind of positions that cause you to lose general elections,” Dickinson said.

“I respect differences of opinion on Iraq, but we have to pick one. Any candidate that tries to be all things to all people can be nothing to anyone.”

Dickinson said he wouldn’t have supported going into Iraq initially but thinks a timeline for withdrawal is “dangerous.”

Even Bill Gluba was level-headed on this one:

“I think, unfortunately, Mr. Braley may have just cost himself the election. No American, no Democrat wants to see us not fund our troops in Iraq. We all want to bring them home, but you would never, never cut off funding to fighting forces over there,” he said.

Sorry Bruce, but even I agree with Bill on this one. You may have just cost yourself the election. Even if Braley wins the primary, as Dickinson says, it's going to be tough to win the general with a statement like this hanging over your head.

To see coverage of the Republican portion of the show, visit this story in the Times.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dems Go Negative Too

In this brief article in today's Waterloo Courier, we see that the Dems are up to the same tricks as mentioned about the GOP in the post below.

Last night Rick Dickinson accused Bruce Braley of push polling against him, on an array of issues.

Braley denied it (much like Whalen), and countered that Dickinson was being negative by even suggesting such a thing ever took place. Braley came out the clear winner in this article.

Negative Polling in the GOP: Who's Doing it and Who Cares?

There's a lot of chatter today over on Krusty's blog by Dix folks about a "push poll" that was reportedly conducted by Mike Whalen over recent days.

Today, however, Mike Whalen fights back. It seems Bill Dix has been less than forthcoming (according to Whalen) about his own negative campaigning activities. In this release issued by Whalen today, his campaign cites evidence that Dix did a poll of his own (Note: Whalen claims it to be a negative-issue poll, though I'm not sure on what basis he makes that claim). Whalen also points out that Dix has been "attacking Mike Whalen relentlessly for the last 30 days," through negative press releases and emails, which led to harrassment of some Whalen supporters. To view the negative Dix releases, go HERE, HERE, and HERE.

In the Whalen campaign's first show of true public disclosure (Note: Still waiting for public response to FEC investigation) the release also shows the two questions on the poll that were related to Bill Dix, as well as statistics of the responses gathered.

If these truly were the only two questions relating to Bill Dix and his record, then I think Dix is making a mountain out of a mole hill, as they say. As Whalen notes, if Dix wants to talk about his record, he can't pick and choose which part of his record he wants to talk about. If Whalen doesn't make light of it now, you can bet the Dems will in the fall.

Still, I see Dix's point. If you want to debate Dix's record, do it to his face, Mike, don't whisper about it under the guise of a poll.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Gluba Supporter Sounds Just Like Gluba!

This may not be newsworthy, but I found it humorous. You know how sometimes a candidate's supporter is just like the candidate? Or how if you know someone's personality you can usually guess who they support? Well here is a perfect examply of a guy whose friends I'm sure could easily guess would support Bill Gluba.

Letter to the Editor in QC Times:

Gluba is candidate of change

By Gerald Neff,Pleasant Valley

The June 6 primary election is fast approaching. Bill Gluba is the candidate to change our ethically bankrupt Congress and inept administration. During this off-year election, Americans have plenty of reasons to be outraged: the unjust war, the massive national debt, a failed attempt to meddle with Social Security, the ongoing scandals of the Republican Party, the unwillingness of the administration to recognize and address environmental problems, the outrageous idea of selling our national parks to raise money to balance the budget and an energy policy that benefits the oil companies and hurts everyone else. It is no wonder that this administration has been called the worst ever.

I am angry that Iowa ranks 42nd in teacher salaries, that the state is losing jobs at a terrifying rate, that tuition at our three state universities has risen more than 50 percent in the last four years.

Change has never been more necessary than right now. Start that change June 6 by voting for Bill Gluba for Congress. He will work to change the process of getting the best government money can buy, to limits on spending campaigns.

An "angry" letter bashing the administration. If you hear Gluba in a debate, you'll hear the same thing time and time again.

Check out the comments to the letter on the Times website. Someone raises a good poing about the disjointedness of this entire letter by pointing out that as much as this guy likes to demagogue (just like Gluba), our state's tuition rates aren't even a federal issue.

Dix Picks up Endorsement

As seen on Krusty the second the press release was issued by the Dix campaign (Coincidence? I think not.), this story by Ed Tibbetts appeared around the 1st District yesterday.

Not much to say here on this story that hasn't been said already. Dix is proud of his record on illegal immigration. Whalen and Kennedy say Dix shouldn't be, because his record is bad.

Ethanol: Candidates Stick to Party Lines

Today's QC Times has this story by Ed Tibbetts, discussing the prices we are paying at the pumps.

All 1st District candidates, being Iowa politicians, now call for increasing renewable fuel usage (even Mike Whalen).

The difference between the GOP and Democrat candidates though, seems to be the need for a mandate on car companies to produce vehicles that can use E85 and forcing filling stations operated by oil companies to sell E85, which was proposed by Tom Harkin recently.

Kennedy and Whalen campaigns say a this mandate is not necessary. The Democrats stand by Harkin. Nothing too interesting there.

Tibbetts, though, does include a couple quotes from industry experts and local filling station owners disputing the ability to fulfill the Democrats' demands. Harkin and the Democrats says oil companies should foot the bill.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dix has Competence

Bill Dix made a stop in Davenport on Saturday. It was reported in the QC Times that along with Dix's family a few supporters turned out. One was Tom Tauke who said among other things that Dix has competence.

One must ask, is this a noteworthy attribute? If you have to defend your favorite candidate's competence, is he really that great of a candidate? These are just questions I throw out, because in GOP circles there is great mockery of the competence of a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Chet Culver. See Chet Not Stupid blog for more detail. Seems to me the GOP shouldn't have it both ways.

This question really comes into play in this article, because showing great competence, Dix is quoted at the end as discriminating against poor regions of our country:

Dix also would “continue to stay focused on protecting us from our enemies,” saying he supports the troops and their efforts in Iraq. He also wants to protect the country from enemies coming in along “our poorest borders,” he said.

Commonly, our politicians are seen discussing how to lock our borders, but even the GOP hasn't yet segregated it into wealthy and poor regions.

I think the word Dix was looking for was really "porous". See, Bill, "poorest" means the lowest rank; "bottom member of the class". "Porous" means easily crossed or penetrated. Porous, Bill, porous.

Tom Tauke, you are right. Bill Dix sure is competent.

Democrats Bicker (with each other) Over Iraq

Here's a story from Friday's QC Times in which Rick Dickinson accuses Bruce Braley of having three different positions on the war in Iraq, comparing Braley to the flip-flopping John Kerry.

In response, Braley says Dickinson shares the same view on Iraq as President Bush and other top Republicans, obviously a terrible insult to any true Democrat.

Dickinson took issue with Braley's new TV ad, which was discussed here previsously in THIS POST. Braley's ad can be viewed HERE.

Read the QC Times article. Tibbetts does a good job of detailing Dickinson's complaint, pointing out three different Braley stances. Also, as with all Times articles, the reader comments at the bottom are worth a peek.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

More Controversy in GOP Primary

While Bill Dix has been trying his hardest to make news during the last week with a flurry of press releases, he was unfortunately largely ignored by the media (lucky for Whalen).

That is, until today. Much to Camp Dix's dismay though, it wasn't Dix's story that was written. Rather, the 1st District press picked up on a release by the Kennedy campaign yesterday highlighting the fact that while Dix may try to be tough on illegal immigration now that he's running for Congress, just two years ago he voted to give illegal immigrants discounted tuition to Iowa's public universities at you, Joe Taxpayer's, expense. Awesome job, Bill.

Even more interesting to me though, was the resonse from the Dix Campaign. In this article from the Quad City Times, Dix's spokesman calls the vote "a mistake that he wouldn't repeat."

So, my questions are: Does Dix, who, keep in mind is running on his record not rhetoric, flip-flop on issues often, depending on public opinion at the time? Does he not understand what he's voting for when he's casting his AYES and NAYS? Or, is he simply pandering now in this tough-on-illegal-immigration GOP primary?

Dix Hits Whalen on Iraq, Tibbetts Covers Dem Views Instead

On Monday Bill Dix released a statement bashing opponent Mike Whalen, questioning his stance on the war in Iraq. Dix said that he stands firmly with President Bush.

Dix noted that Sen. Tom Harkin has introduced legislation that calls for the complete withdrawal of troops by the end of 2006. He then asked, “Will Mike Whalen join me in standing with our President or will he join other liberals in support of Harkin’s legislation."

Dix's campaign manager reminded GOP voters of Whalen's liberal tendancies. “Sen. Harkin is wrong and voters should know if Whalen stands with the President or with the liberals,” said Dix’s campaign manager Matt Gronewald. “Whalen has supported liberals like Dave Nagle in the past, has contributed to the Democrat party, and is open to raising our taxes. Will Whalen continue to support the liberal agenda by supporting Harkin’s cut-and-run policy in Iraq?”

All in all I think this was a good release aimed at discrediting Whalen with Republican's, which seems to be the name of the game when it comes to "Mod Mike". Unfortunately, Quad City Times reporter Ed Tibbetts didn't include any of this in his story yesterday on the campaigns' stances on the war.

It turns out that the Democrats trumped Dix's release with some Iraq news of their own. On Tuesday, Bill Gluba picked up an endorsement from Stop the Arms Race Political Action Committee. Gluba's mantra all along has been that we need to get out of Iraq.

Gluba's opponent Bruce Braley began airing a new commercial the same day, aimed at the war in Iraq. This commercial is not interesting in the same way that his first one was, but rather it is quite impactful. Braley takes a serious tone and says that if he's elected to Congress he'll push for the Iraqis to take over the fighting right now, saying our troops have done their job.

Although I'm not a big fan of a congressional candidate calling our President a liar, which Braley does in this commercial, I do think this commercial was well made and does a good job of showing some sincerity rather than simple demagoguery on this issue.

Rick Dickinson responded with a level-headed approach, saying that Braley's commercial promotes a policy that isn't possible to make happen. He notes that he'd like the U.S. to be out of Iraq too, but that he doesn't believe that most people see that seriously as a possible solution at this time.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Nussle Campaign Hits Eastern Iowa Hard This Week

On Monday night Davenport played host to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The Nussle campaign entertained a crowd of about 400 that night. Krusty offered an only mildly criticized review of the event, so for his report, read HERE. Or go HERE for the QC Times article. Gotta love the comments section on the news site.

Today, the Nussle campaign tours the 1st District again with Speaker Newt Gingrich. The day began with a breakfast in Dubuque, and moves on to lunch in Waterloo. I'll post some news clippings as soon as their available.

You've got to hand it to these guys...they're working hard and building a warchest of both money and GOP involvement while the Dems are still battling it out in their primary. Nussle/VP is going to be hard to beat both here in the 1st and throughout the rest of the state.

Dare to Compare

I found this today in the Quad Cities Times.

The Davenport Education Association is sponsoring a 1st District Congressional forum tomorrow night from 7:00 to 8:30 to discuss education issues. Republican and Democrat candidates will be featured, and it will be moderated by Mark Ridolfi, editor of the Quad Cities Times.

I have also seen information about a Scott County Republican Party-hosted forum for the GOP candidates on May 16th from 7:00 to 9:00 at Pleasant Valley High School.

Does anyone have info on any other upcoming debates throughout the district?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Chauffeur Bruce

Well folks the latest Congressional television advertisement has begun airing in the 1st District.

Bruce Braley sent out this press release this morning drawing attention to his ad.

Like Kennedy's and Dix's, this ad is a bit odd in it's own way too. The ad, titled "Bringing us to Congress" features Bruce Braley driving a giant van around town leaving his family on their doorstep, but picking up his mother, some factory workers, a group of seniors, and a gaggle of children on his way to Congress. It is clever, but the fast-motion between stops irritates me.

Also, his "hey guys" line sounds a bit "feminine".

The ad can be viewed HERE.

The really interesting part of the ad, however, is at the end. As Bruce is leaving Iowa behind to head off to Congress in his sweet van, he passes a man in a suit with a soft-sided briefcase standing on the side of the road, presumably thumbing a ride. As Braley leaves this man in the dust, he can be heard shouting out the window, "Sorry fella, no room for lobbyists". This must have been a late addition to the commercial, as it failed even to make the official transcript of the ad which was included with the release.

So, the question is, what prompted the Braley campaign to throw the lobbyist part in at the end of the ad? It plays no part in the theme of the commercial, as the ad is not about Congressional reform or scandals in Washington.

It is apparent that Democrat Bruce Braley is taking a shot across party lines at Republican Brian Kennedy.

The question is "Why?" Well, there are two options as far as I can tell.

1) Braley does not want to/is afraid to face Kennedy in the general, and so is spreading implied negativity through this ad to keep Kennedy down in hopes that Dix and/or Whalen will keep it up now that Braley has taken a stand and put it out there.

2) Braley foresees Kennedy as the likely victor and (as he is widely considered the likely victor for the Dems) is taking it upon himself to start the heat that will become the General Election.

Both those options seem a bit farfetched to me, but it's Braley's strategy, not mine. On the other hand, I guess it wouldn't make sense for him to say "Sorry fella, no room for pumpkin farmers."

Furthermore, the part where he talks about "his record of fighting for working people" seems to open the door for criticisms of his career as a trial lawyer. I suppose he figures those are going to come anyway so he might as well try to get some positive spin on the airwaves before too much negative spin gets out there.

We'll see how effective his ad will be.

At least we can find it on his website. Mike Whalen, who has been called on by myself and Krusty Konservative to post his ad on his website now has this to offer instead. They have been dubbed "home movies" by another blogger. Visit THIS PAGE to see Whalen recording himself on a slow afternoon at the Machine Shed.