Too Early for Politics

Braley-Borlaug Front Page

Braley-Borlaug Front Page

BIG GROVE TOWNSHIP— Labor Day is the official kickoff of the fall election campaign, but there seems to be a lot of campaign stuff going on now.

The biggest news was the video of Rep. Bruce Braley commenting about the kind of chair of the Judiciary Committee U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley might make should Republicans regain control of the upper chamber.

The video was released by a group called Priorities for Iowa, another 501 (c) 4 funded by what is becoming common parlance, “dark money.” The release was timed to coincide with the unveiling of the Norman Borlaug statue in the U.S. Capitol, which replaced that of former U.S. Senator and abolitionist James Harlan, which had been there since before Borlaug was born.  By any standard, Borlaug was a farmer and the front page of the Quad City Times, which visually associated Braley’s comments with Borlaug, is something Braley should frame and put in his office as a reminder that he needs to do better in his campaign for U.S. Senator. If one listens to the video, it is neither disparaging toward Grassley nor to farmers generally. That won’t stop the right wingers from saying it is so.

Speaking of right wingers, something else I have been following is the development of guns, gays and abortion legislation in this session of the Iowa legislature. Yesterday was bad news for progressive politicos, as none of them gained traction during floor debate.

There was a curious change in the House Floor Action ticker regarding abortion and guns. As I watched the live posts, the following was made:

“Motion by Shaw to invoke Rule 60 in order to withdraw HF 138 from the Judiciary Committee and place it on the House Calendar– Out of Order.”

When I went in to double check the ticker for this post, the entry had been changed to this:

“Motion by Shaw to invoke Rule 60 in order to withdraw HF 2284 from the Judiciary Committee and place it on the House Calendar – Out of Order.”

I am certain a change was made because I had to look up HF 138 to see what it was after the original post, and last night, I searched the ticker for HF 2284 and couldn’t find it.

Here is the House Journal record:

“Shaw of Pocahontas moved to invoke Rule 60, to immediately withdraw House File 2284 from committee on Judiciary and place it on the calendar.
The Speaker ruled the motion not in order.”

Maybe it was a typo, and maybe not, but HF 138 is the personhood bill, and HF 2284 is the so called “Constitutional Carry” bill, both of which I expected to be called up from judiciary yesterday using Rule 60.

The reason this is bad news is that House Republicans are showing a modicum of decorum and consistency by following their own rules on these two bills. That is something they did not do in 2011 just after the TEA party rebellion of the 2010 midterms. What is worse news for progressives is that definition of marriage did not make it onto the House legislative radar screen at all this session.

Nothing has changed in the Republican caucus, except they are doing a much better job of hiding the extremism of the right wing of their party. Since most people don’t follow politics very closely, it matters to advancing a progressive agenda if Republicans are perceived as not that bad.

With the late spring and a winter backlog of projects, it seems way too early for politics. Nonetheless, how can one not be engaged in things that matter in our lives on the Iowa prairie.

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