Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Chris Woods responds to my thoughts on Vilsack

Chris Woods has a post up where, among other things, he takes a shot at my earlier comments on Vilsack's "visit" to Iowa tomorrow:

One other thing: I felt obligated to respond to this post by Kyle where he laments the title of the email Christie Vilsack sent out from the campaign entitled “We’re coming to your state this week” because its emblematic of the traveling Gov. Vilsack has been doing and because he hasn’t been focused on governance. I think there are some legitimate discussions to be had over his level of involvement in governance and policymaking in Iowa over the last 6 months, but in large part I say Vilsack has done a fine job of being politically involved by making sure that Democrats won — and won big — on election day. Sure he was out working on a run for President but that’s what happens when you’re holding one elected office and are seeking another that’s higher than you. I’m sure Ed Fallon’s run for governor took a bit away from strictly focusing on the issues facing House District 66, but it didn’t stop Fallon and the circumstances facing Vilsack’s current position and the one he’s seeking now shouldn’t stop him in his endeavors. Not to mention the fact that the email was a bulk one sent from the email address info@tomvilsack08.com, so it likely went to folks in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania as well as folks in Iowa.
I tried to post a comment but it's not showing up for some reason. So I'll do my best to recreate my three points in response here:

I say Vilsack has done a fine job of being politically involved by making sure that Democrats won — and won big — on election day.
Vilsack certainly deserves some credit for the financial help he gave several candidates, including over $1 million to Chet Culver. But I think it would have been a good year for Democrats with or without Tom Vilsack's help.

I’m sure Ed Fallon’s run for governor took a bit away from strictly focusing on the issues facing House District 66, but it didn’t stop Fallon
This is apples and oranges. From time to time Fallon was in Dubuque or Sioux City, where he was perhaps 2-3 hours drive away from his constituents. He did not, however, spend whole weeks in New Hampshire. Fallon was also off the road for most of the legislative session. Furthermore, Fallon was one of 150 legislators during his campaign, not the top executive official of a state.

Not to mention the fact that the email was a bulk one sent from the email address info@tomvilsack08.com, so it likely went to folks in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania as well as folks in Iowa.
This is exactly the point. Iowans have voted and paid for Tom Vilsack to serve as governor of Iowa for nearly eight years. The nearly is very important there, because his eight years aren't over yet. While he's still collecting a paycheck and serving as the state's top executive official, his trips back to Iowa should be more than just "visits."

KL

8 comments:

Chris Woods said...

Without Vilsack's work at the local levels helping Democrats -- and his commitment in buying air time in advance for legislative candidates -- there are a lot of decent scenarios where Republicans would have kept the Iowa House. Being politically active is really the only options that Vilsack has after the legislature adjourns.

Look, as an executive officer of a state, sometimes outside of the state trips are required. Was he boosting his political resume? Absolutely. But at the same time he was still governing, as well as acting as the political official he is from his roles in the DGA, the NGA, and the DLC. He's a political guy as well as an elected official.

If his travel and campaigning outside of the state is that big of a deal, what could he be doing differently right now? For the most part, he's a lame duck governor now. What kind of governance and extensive solutions to problems facing the state could he have done in the last 3-4 months that would be meaningful?

John Neff said...

He appointed a pack of hyenas to the board of regents and I think he need to do something meaningful about that.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess being away from Washington meant that Jim Nussle couldn't do his job as House Budget Chair. Oh my gosh, he never did complete a budget, did he!

Running for a higher office, where you believe you might be able to do more for the people you serve, is not unheard of, nor unexpected, in a healthy democracy. We don't tell people to go unemployed before running for a higher office, nor should we.

And as for being a lame duck governor, that happens after every election when a person will no longer be the office holder. And you aren't able to pass any legislation for the last 8 months anyway, since the legislature isn't around. Really, Chris, you have a "duh" post here. Okay, Mr. Obvious.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, Chris, yours isn't the "duh" post, oops.

The Real Sporer said...

Allow me to retort.

Do you really think that Northey is so corrupt that his office was bought by Farm Bureau? Perhaps Farm Bureau really didn't want to see Denise-who you must admit isn't exactly a traditional Iowa agriculturist-have much influence on real world ag policy.

For example, what dirty deal have the Democrats promised for all of that ISEA money and energy that got poured into your campaigns? Or is the ISEA merely exercising the collective rights of its members to assemble and speak? If the latter is your belief then would not Farm Bureau members have at least the same right as teachers?

There are some honest people and I think that you will find Bill is one of those guys. Don't go McCain Feingold on me and even further diminish public confidence in government by assuming everyone is for sale.

P.S. I'm also pretty sure the cow killing conviction didn't help Denise's campaign.

RF said...

Sporer,

I assume you know math. The percentage of FB money on the Northey side of the campaign was staggering. ISEA or any other special interest money cannot come even close to those percentages in any race in Iowa - probably ever. Northey may not be corrupt, but FB undoubtedly bought the office for him - as much as it could. You probably are right about the animal cruelty thing, though. In the end, it probably was the thing that put Northey over the top.

I know the race is over and I can accept the result. But I still think we have to be honest about the dynamics of the race.

RF said...

Sporer,

I know I'm sounding like SoreLoserman here, but hopefully this will be my final comment on the SOA race.

I said this a few times on Krusty before the election. I find it extremely ironic that Northey & FB labeled O'Brien as a fringe lefty lunatic. When you consider her stands on issues, she seems like quite the conservative to me: entrepreneurship, anti corporate welfare, local control, property rights for all, conservation of natural resources. Of course, one must make a difference here between real conservatism and GOP partisanship.

That's it. Time for me to move on.

Anonymous said...

"local control, property rights for all,"

This is where she lost a lot of people. She wants big developers to be able to buy a field, fill it with yuppies, and then let the yuppies "democratically" shut down farming in the surrounding area because they don't like the way it smells in the country. Local control is just a nice way of saying that encroaching city folks can put a family off of its farm. It's the antithesis of property rights.