On the April 28th episode of Iowa Press the panel frivoled away 26 minutes of precious broadcast time on the weather. No, not climate change. Just the weather. Guests were two National Weather Service meteorologists based in Johnston, a suburb of Des Moines.
While most of the episode wasn’t controversial, I did find it rather unsettling when the conversation seemed to give the impression they do not consider eastern Iowa to be part of the state.
Erin Murphy: “Right now we’re dealing with some flooding issues in eastern Iowa, along the Mississippi river area, and the Quad Cities. You folks are in the central office.. are we going to see similar issues in other areas of the state?”
Brad Small, lead meteorologist: “Yeah the good news is the issues are relegated to eastern Iowa along the Mississippi… it’s almost entirely driven by the snow pack.. that’s the good news that the threat is relegated to the Mississippi.”
Good news! It’s only eastern Iowa! Good news unless you happen to live there. I have friends who reside in the Quad Cities and other Iowa river towns who were posting frantically on Facebook over the weekend about their basement water reaching the second step from the top of the first floor, and having to evacuate to a motel that ended up losing power. Others were posting high water photos out in the streets.
I get it that they were only pointing out things could be worse. But thoughts and prayers for fellow Iowans in harm’s way would have been nice. It wasn’t like the panel had more pressing issues they were going to cover.
But I digress. This weekend’s end-of-session summary that will set the media narrative about what went on in the Iowa legislature was given to trifecta republican house speaker Pat Grassley who seemed to lack any comprehension that not everyone in the state likes what republicans are trying to do. Lest we forget there were 759,061 Iowans who voted for Biden in 2020 and who are not MAGA Rs. And Iowa republicans forgot to tell the public about all of their vile plans during the 2022 campaign. More about this later.
I suppose to the Iowa Press deciders it didn’t seem necessary to have a democrat on the show since we don’t actually have democratic representation in our state anyway. Except for Rob Sand who Rs are trying kill off (metaphorically speaking). But it’s not political! More on this later.
Some of Grassley’s responses were ludicrous as is the republican way. None got push-back from the panel. Grassley actually said this:
“We’re spending more money on education than we ever have for example, we’re investing significant amounts if not more than ever when it comes to Medicaid services.”
Rs are now handing over lots of public money to private schools. Is that what he means by spending more than ever on education? And hiring outside companies to administer Medicaid. Is that what he means by spending more than ever on Medicaid? Not a good deal for Iowa taxpayers.
But the format of the show and time limitations simply do not allow for any challenges to GOP BS. Pretty convenient for the panel to not have to get too pushy in their journalistic roles. But this is an unforgivable disservice to Iowa on the part of public television, as I’ve stated previously.
There were a couple of questions put to Grassley that he had to work hard to evade. But remember, he did not have to worry about a follow-up question or challenge, so it’s not like there was ever any real threat. Still Kay Henderson and Erin Murphy get “I sort of tried” points this week.
Henderson: “On the final day of the legislative session The House [republicans] chose not to take up a bill that would have provided significant state tax breaks to huge billion dollar economic development projects. Was the hold up the part which would let foreign companies buy farmland?”
Long, rambling filibuster from Grassley. If you’re really curious, you’ll just have to watch. But be ready for what they plan to actually get passed next session. As Grassley explained, the GOP does not give up. If they don’t get their secret evil plans through this year or next year, or the year after that, they will keep trying until they do, he assured the panel.
Erin Murphy almost asked a good question next.
“I wanted to ask you about this bill that in the campaign last year, Governor Reynolds said at one point that she was tired of having an auditor who is suing her [Lol] and now this session republicans passed legislation that would define but also in some ways restrict the State Auditor Office’s authority. Democratic Auditor Rob Sand is the only currently statewide elected democrat. How do you convince Iowans that that was not a legislation move purely for political reasons?”
Glad he asked but what was the reason Murphy phrased the question this way? He essentially asked Grassley, “How do you convince Iowans what is true is not true?” This phrasing functions as a subtle suggestion that the Rs’ legislation limiting Rob Sand’s authority was not in fact purely for political reasons and also that Grassley’s essential task is to persuade Iowans of this. It also functioned so that Murphy didn’t have to come right out and ask directly, “Wasn’t this legislation purely for political reasons?” as they would have to a democrat, in my opinion.
Preposterously, Grassley gave this laughable reply:
“At no point does Auditor Sand’s name appear in the bill. This is about the office of Auditor.” Now that was funny.
Then Grassley gave some trumped up party line rationale and finished by saying this:
“But, for this to be portrayed to be political I think would just be trying to derail us from what the real conversation was about.”
God forbid anyone should try to derail the Iowa GOP from their big plans. Maybe instead of that “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, the MAGA Rs could have a “Don’t Derail Us” flag.
And lastly, no one asked Grassley if he could please clarify what the “real conversation” was about.
Henderson: We’d like to continue this conversation but we are out of time.
Heh-heh. Tee hee hee… as Iowa burns..
This has been the most miserable legislative session I’ve ever experienced in my 28 years living in Iowa. It’s become a very different state than the one I first moved to. Culture wars and disempowerment of Iowans was the predominant theme.
One little talked about Reynolds agenda item has been the signing of Executive Order Number Ten which aims to reduce Iowa’s administrative code. Every agency has to rewrite the code – the rules and regulations that implement the laws that are passed – from scratch. The purpose – to reduce the code, eliminate restrictive language, redundancies, and evaluate every rule from a cost-benefit analysis. All to promote the private sector. The rules and regulations are there to protect Iowans. I shudder to think what is going to come out of this.
We are shuddering along with you. Thanks for reading Blog for Iowa!