Last night I dreamed about Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa Governor and Barack Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture.
It wasn’t a nightmare. Vilsack provided a recommendation for three varieties of apple trees. Each contained the word “garam,” which isn’t a word I associate with apples.
I Googled elements of my dream this morning. The seasoning garam masala is used with apples in Indian cooking, but I found no evidence of such an apple variety. It was a dream.
With my involvement in politics I spent enough time with Vilsack that the mind has plenty of footage from which to draw images of us together. It made last night’s dream realistic-seeming. Yet there are no garam apples. There is Tom Vilsack and his politics, which are of interest going into the 2020 general election.
It would be tough for me to support a Vilsack nomination for anything.
My dislike of the man’s policy stems from a 2005 speech he gave on energy security at New York’s Council on Foreign Relations. He touted Iowa’s success at building six new coal and natural gas electricity generating stations. The coal plant in Council Bluffs remains a burr under my saddle. He mentioned cleaning up coal. Clean coal is a dirty lie. He discussed government intervention in the nuclear power industry to resolve problems that remain unsolved since Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace initiative. There are cheaper, more environmentally friendly energy options available. He covered Iowa’s bipartisan darling, the Renewable Fuels Standard. Iowa should transition out of growing so much corn and soybeans into crops that yield a higher revenue per acre. It seems unlikely any 2020 candidate Vilsack could overcome my bias against him.
If Vilsack ran for president and won, he would be 70 years old upon inauguration. The problem with septuagenarians running for president isn’t their age, it’s their ideas. We need new ones. I’m haven’t heard any from Tom Vilsack.
If Vilsack ran against U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, her coalition would trample him. While Vilsack won 68 counties in 2002, Iowa, especially rural Iowa, has changed. I’m not a pundit or prognosticator. Just a guy who can’t see how Vilsack wins with increased politicization of geography where Iowans live. It seems doubtful Vilsack could match Fred Hubbell’s gubernatorial campaign performance state-wide.
Last night wasn’t a nightmare because Vilsack is not really that scary until one examines his policies in daylight. I don’t mind him populating my dreams because my personal interactions with him were mostly positive. Unlike most dreams, this one persisted into waking, and I believe that means something. Supporting another Vilsack candidacy would be possible only if we are asleep. I’m confident Iowa voters are not sleeping in the run up to 2020.