Iowa Democratic Congressmen See 15 Challengers File




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Iowa Democratic Congressmen See 15 Challengers File

imageby Paul Deaton

“While the field of challengers makes assertions about
patriotism and the framers’ intent in the constitution, our Democratic
delegation strives to do right by us.”

While we waited for the next vote on health care, the Iowa filing
period for federal candidates closed and fifteen Republicans lined up to challenge Iowa’s
Democratic Congressional delegation, Bruce Braley (1st District),
Dave Loebsack (2nd District) and Leonard Boswell (3rd
District), in the midterms. The incumbents will face a hard-won campaign and the
anticipation is that progressives will support them with vigor. What else could
we do, considering the alternative?

The challenger biographies on the web assert their strengths.
Each man, and one woman, asserts their viability by distancing themselves from
politics as usual whether Republican, Democratic or Washingtonian. It is
difficult to characterize the field as a whole, and that seems to be the point.
They appear to seek a return to the agrarian individualism that characterized
the pre-industrial age, only with Twitter accounts.

These Republicans talk a lot about the founding fathers,
patriotism and the constitution. It drives me crazy. My ancestors were named
Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson in honor of famous Virginians, but weren’t
famous themselves. Our family established itself in Virginia a hundred years
before the American Revolution. It was unclear that there was going to be a
country, even when seven Virginians signed the Declaration of Independence. We
thought, like many did, that things could be worked out with King George. We
were wrong about that. My family continues to assert that our relatives won the
Revolutionary War in the Wilderness. It all seems pretty far fetched in 21st
century Iowa.

The truth is that while the artifacts of a person’s life
might make a great story, we have at best an inadequate view of what 17th
and 18th century folks outside the landed gentry thought or intended.
Each of us spins a story about what remains. The artifacts of history are mute
in and of themselves.  

In the case of the constitution, we have been interpreting
those words since they were written. Part of signing the constitution was the
unwritten agreement to delay consideration of the slavery question for the
first 20 years of the republic. Thank the Quakers for remembering and lobbying
for abolition at the first congress in Philadelphia. I suspect there have been
unwritten deals in the capitol throughout our history. It is part of who we are
as a people.

What I know is that my family was not one of the seven
Virginians and members of the landed gentry that signed the Declaration of
Independence. We had other worries then and still do. When I consider the worries
of middle class Americans and the harshness of society in the post Reagan era,
I am thankful for Braley, Loebsack and Boswell. I feel they represent our

While the field of challengers makes assertions about
patriotism and the framers’ intent in the constitution, our Democratic
delegation strives to do right by us, right here and right now. We sent them to Washington to bring
change and they are. In the opinion of this writer, they have
earned our support.

Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend
editor of Blog for Iowa. He is also a member of Iowa Physicians for
Social Responsibility and Veterans for Peace.
E-mail Paul

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