Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Iowa Power, Activate! Form of - a Secretary. Shape of - a Committee Chairman!

So, Tom Harkin (D-IA) will be the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. And Tom Vilsack, former Democratic Governor of Iowa, will be the new Secretary of Agriculture. It's going to be All Ethanol, All The Time, I think. Iowa farmers will be well rewarded for their support of the Democrats this year, that's for sure.

On another odd note, it seems that North Dakota, Massachusetts, and California have the distinction that both senators from those states will chair one of the 15 standing committees in the Senate. Seniority does funny things.


Raised By Republicans said...

Yes, I'm afraid you are right on that one. Iowa's politicians frequently have that failure of logic known as support for biofuels - especially ethanol from corn.

On the bright side though Harkin is a quality guy. He's also long been a good friend to organized labor. And since his committee will also be responsible for food stamps, it's good that Harkin is an old school liberal who won't try to cut food stamps funding.

Vilsack however is not a popular guy around here. There are reasons why an ambitious Democratic governor from Iowa doesn't run for President. I've heard lots of stories about Vilsack interfering with the Board of Regents for Iowa State, University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa. He packed the regents with big donors from among the executives of the local Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield outfit that also had a sweetheart contract with the U of I hospitals. The U of I has had serious problems over the last few years with Wellmark pushing the University Presidents around and even getting one of them pushed out then delaying his replacement for over a year. It was all big news in Iowa. And Vilsack was quietly blamed for much of it because he was so close to Wellmark's owner/founder.

The Law Talking Guy said...

RBR, how representative of Iowa Democrats in general is the griping of the ur-liberals in Iowa City? I mean, no Democratic governor of California was ever popular in Berkeley either. Perhaps Vilsack plays well in Des Moines.

I think Obama is intending to cement Iowa into the 2012 coalition (post-reappportionment). No doubt Iowans who are trying to get favors out of Washington (whether internships for kids or ethanol) will see many benefits from these connections.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Or, Obama could be trying to neutralize Harkin? Hard for him to call out the Ag Secretary and give the "I'm from Iowa you City slicker" speech, when he's also from Iowa.

Raised By Republicans said...

Iowa City and nearby Cedar Rapids are two of the five biggest towns in the state. Iowa City is one of two or three concentrations of reliable Democratic votes in the state. A Democrat who loses or gets a low turnout in that area can't win state wide office.

Besides, the shenanigans with the UI Board of Regents got A LOT of press in the Des Moines papers and Vilsack was widely criticized by more than just the "ur-liberals in Iowa City." You have to understand that the UI Hospital system is one of if not THE biggest health care provider in the state all across the state (there are UI clinics in little towns all over the place). Also, the regents control Iowa State (in Ames) and University of Northern Iowa (in Cedar Falls-Waterloo) too. This wasn't just an isolated issue for one tiny constituency.

Raised By Republicans said...

By the way, the biggest private sector industry in Des Moines is insurance. There are a number of insurance companies based there so a story about one insurance company getting special deals with a huge public health care provider because of the governor's machinations is a big story state wide.