The Iowa State Fair is, among other things, a time for pork and politics. The Des Moines Register’s soapbox closed on Saturday with Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who talked about the importance of the 2014 midterm elections.
“The results of the election on Nov. 4, here in Iowa, and all across the country, are personal for so many families,” said Wasserman Schultz. “They are personal because we want to make sure that no matter who you are or where you came from, if you work hard and if you play by the rules, you’ll have an opportunity to succeed.”
Somehow that message didn’t get out while the corporate and social media focused on her “onion of crazy” comment. But there it is.
Blog for Iowa fave Rep. Dave Loebsack (IA-02) had his turn on Tuesday, Aug. 12.
“So look, you got a lot of decisions that you have to make this fall, there is no question about it,” said Loebsack. “It’s going to be easier in some cases than in others. The fact of the matter is the country is still recovering very slowly from the economy. The middle class is under tremendous pressure, we all know that. The middle class has really, in some ways been on the decline for a number of years. A lot of people have fallen out of the middle class over the years. Some have gotten back into it. A lot have never been in the middle class and have never gotten into it.”
If one has the stomach for it, listen to Loebsack’s opponent on the soapbox. The contrasts are clear.
“I just came over from the pork tent where they were teaching me how to flip pork burgers and pork loin, but you don’t have to flip the pork chops on a stick,” said Mariannette Miller-Meeks to begin her soapbox remarks. “If I smell good and that attracts voters to me I’ll know it was the right thing to go to the pork tent before I came over here.”
Okay. So candidates spend time in the Pork Producers tent at the state fair with an apron on, flipping pork products. Most of them do it. Not much to criticize there, except most pork consumers I know prefer bacon to loins, burgers and chops.
“I’m running for congress because Washington, D.C. is a dysfunctional mess,” said the three-time challenger. “Incompetent. Inept. And they are not working for us. And it is high time that we put Iowa in Washington, D.C. and put Iowans first.”
Hard to argue about Washington’s lack of progress. It is also hard to imagine that her presence in the congress would do anything but continue the obstructionism and deadlock for which her party is responsible. During her time on the stage, she made no case for what she would do differently.
“As I travel the second district again and again, what I hear from people is who’s standing up for the little guy,” she said. “It’s a little obvious I am the little guy and I am standing up.” Here’s where the ship sailed into the sea of Republican themes.
“I am the little guy.” Think about that. An ophthalmologist with the monetary resources to lend her campaign more money than most Iowans make in a year. While her personal story is interesting, she is one of the moneyed class despite her diminutive stature.
She is plugged into the mainstream of radical conservatism as much as any Republican candidate. In her soapbox speech, she covered their current talking points: Benghazi, Obamacare, Lois Lerner, the NSA and IRS, people getting tangled in the social safety net (that she would transform into a trampoline), drones targeting citizens, the Veterans Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, Keystone XL, and others, all in 15 minutes.
Miller-Meeks was a living reminder of why working people should vote Democratic.
She touted her political appointment as director of public health as a positive credential. Blog for Iowa even gave her then benefit of a doubt at the beginning of her tenure, here and here. But what did she do besides participate in the Branstad government, including the settlement scandal that bears her signature? There is little evidence she did anything but tread water, waiting to run for office again.
“I may be small and I am a marionette, but I am nobody’s puppet,” she closed. Everyone who believes that, please stand on your head.
“We want to make sure that everybody has a chance to succeed,” said Wasserman Schultz during her soapbox speech. “Not only the people who are already successful.” That’s the difference between the two parties, and why a vote for Dave Loebsack is a vote for the future of working people in the second district.
One more thing. Book some time over the next two months to volunteer to help elect Democrats.