Grassley Town Hall: Don’t Ask, Don’t Answer


We attended Senator Grassley’s town hall in Muscatine Thursday afternoon. It was hardly a great study in give and take. Questions were asked. Answers were given. Seldom did the answers really deal with the questions asked.

The room was packed and it was obvious that the number one question on everyone’s mind was the Supreme Court nomination to replace Antonin Scalia. Rather than answer this question directly and any other question later on, Grassley went into a short lecture on how true process worked. Obama nominates, his committee considers, maybe fast maybe slowly. We could have gotten more straight answers from the old magic 8 ball.

The first several questions were about Scalia’s replacement with every answer being evasive. Grassley tried to push blame for the divide on Obama, on Chuck Shumer and on history itself each in turn being some culprit in a plot to make this vacancy nearly impossible to fill. Then he called a halt to questions about Scalia’s replacement.

One young woman was so frustrated with Grassley’s refusal to answer questions directly she tried to break in and redirect the conversation. Grassley would have none of that and the young lady was given a short treatise on manners. Her friends came to her defense and Grassley simply stopped his answer and called on someone else.

Question after question was met with redirection to what appeared to be a non-answer that Grassley had rehearsed. TPP, human caused climate change, social security, medicare. It made no difference; Grassley had no intention of answering anything directly. It was a masterful job in misdirection performed by someone well schooled in his craft. The non-answers were meant to appear to be answers that no one could refute because he committed to nothing.

Afterwards we were talking in the car. I told my wife that Grassley could have saved us all a lot of time by buying a TV ad that went like this:

Voiceover: Here is a message from Senator Chuck Grassley:
Image on the screen: right hand extends, middle finger goes up. Hold for 25 seconds. Fade to black.

And it could have covered all 99 counties at once.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Charles Grassley, SCOTUS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Grassley Town Hall: Don’t Ask, Don’t Answer

  1. Hugo S LaVia says:

    Did the Dumb Moines Register — the newspaper Iowa depends on — even cover this?


  2. clara oleson says:

    I was there So were journalists from the NY Times, the Muscatine Journal and the Wilton newspaper. The DMR might well have covered one of these town hall mtgs. closer to DM. Dave got it right.


  3. Eva says:

    I was the frustrated woman. He was slippery like oil.


  4. Sharalyn Plier says:

    Thanks for this excellent article. It is flying though our FB shares, and I hope it has the energizing effect it deserves. What you have written nails the experience I’ve had with Grassley (whom one friend called “snake in the Grassley”) over and over again. What is just as worrisome is that Joni Ernst is learning from him, so will become his carbon copy. Her letters to me are almost carbon copies of his. I believe that Grassley is Iowa’s number one problem, and that we must do everything we can to give put him into retirement.


  5. Garry says:

    Sen. Grassley understands the power he wields. However, it is up to us to help him understand that he serves until he is replaced. I heartily recommend that Democrats make the case for his forced retirement in a way that fair-minded people can support. He has become a voting habit for a lot of Iowans. If people want to replace him, make the case.


  6. Sherry Toelle says:

    I have fired off several emails to Crusty Chucky. I actually received a response fairly quickly. But the response just adds another reasoning on SCOTUS.
    “Thank you for taking the time to contact me. As your Senator, it is important for me to hear from you.

    I appreciate being made aware of your concerns in light of the recent loss of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia was an intellectual giant, whose originalist interpretation of the Constitution set the standard for the Court. His unwavering dedication to our Constitution, as well as his quick wit, will be remembered for years to come.

    Iowans, together with all Americans, are engaged in a national discussion about replacing Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court. That’s how it should be. As I’ve often said, representative government is a two way street. This dialogue is especially important on an issue as important as the direction our highest court will take for a generation.

    The U.S. Constitution gives the President the authority, but not the obligation, to nominate a successor to Justice Scalia, just as it gives the Senate the authority to consent or withhold consent to the confirmation of such a nominee. Given the timing of Justice Scalia’s death and the particular circumstances of this vacancy, including the fact that the constitutionality of several of the Obama Administration’s actions designed to circumvent Congress are currently under consideration by the courts, it is appropriate to defer the decision to the American people who will soon elect a new president and have the next president select the next Supreme Court Justice.

    Thank you again for sharing your views with me. By doing so, you allow me to better represent you in the U.S. Senate. Please continue to keep in touch.”
    Oh yeah, Grassley, you can just bet that I will “keep in touch”.


  7. Mary Anne Sigler says:

    Well, if you are worried about Grassley, take a look at Joni Ernst’s voting record because whither Grassley goes, so goes Ernst. Unfortunately she still has a few years before she can be replaced.


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