Happy New Year and for those of you who STILL have your Christmas Tree up...get 'er down! Yesterday was Epiphany ya know. Welcome to a later than usual Sunday Morning Coffee. I know, slept in...don't judge. Let's get started with some of the stories you might have seen or perhaps missed but all laced with my acerbic comments. Hey, it's what I do.
We all know how badly "45" desires to be admired and loved. Yet, on a daily basis, he goes out of his way to earn the disrespect of the majority of Americans. Last week "Fire and Fury" the "behind the scenes book about "45" was all the rage. People lined up at book stores all over the nation to grab a copy. Meanwhile "45" and his minions fought back with calls of "fake book" coming from the president as well as his former staffers. Yet, others who are no longer in the White House, confirmed that author Michael Wolff had unprecented access to the administration and could be seen wandering the halls of the White House undisturbed. Don't you get weary of this mess?
The Wall and DACA
There is a deal cooking in D.C. that could result in a multi-billion dollar "wall" along the southern border of our nation. "45" and others in congress are now cooking up a deal which would allow congress to fund this insanity while passing some sort of protection for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). I do not trust it mostly because I do not trust anything this administration says. However they have Democrats in a bind. Agree to the demands of a wall and increased border security or face the possibliity that thousands of "dreamers" would be deported. It is a cruel joke on the backs of "national security". Oh, and yes "45" said yesterday that Mexico will "in some form" pay for the wall.
Let's Move On...
Here in Iowa the final GOP controlled legislative session kicks off tomorrow as legislators file back into their chambers to do as much damage to this state as possible. Expect the Democrats to put up a fight but they will be unable to block further destruction to our state budget, working families, health care, mental health delivery, wages, public safety, education and collective bargaining. Last year was just a warm up session for more outrageous legislation that will come in the days ahead. The stunning thing is that Republicans are headed back into session with their heads held high and clearly oblivious to what Iowa has become. I've heard it suggested that Democrats should "work with Republicans" to accomplish legislation that is agreeable to both parties. And, what would that be? Oh...wait...is the die cast for lowering corporate taxes? My bet is it is. Business groups are clamoring to reduce what is, on paper, the nations highest corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent saying it is a disincentive for business to move or expand here. It's bullshit...all of it. But, my bet is that Democrats will cave just like they did four years ago with the lowering of business property taxes which shifted the burden to chumps like us with higher property taxes and destroyed city budgets. Watch and see...
eanwhile Sen. Janet Peterson (D-Des Moines) and Rep. Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown) have their work cut out for them. As minority leaders in the Iowa Senate and Iowa House they are busy finding candidates who will tackle the task of running this year and in the future. As Rep. Smith said at a recent event, "If you are interested in running for the Iowa House come and see me. We will be competitive all across the state only if we can field the candidates." If you are so moved...let's get going!
From The Gossip Line
The story last week was that former State Senator Jack Hatch might be wanting to run for a seat in the Iowa Senate. The person who shared that with me says that he would primary Sen. Tony Bisignano (D-Des Moines). I dunno either but it was juicy enough to share.
It would seem that, at least, the Polk County Democrats are attempting to get serious about their message to the general public. Yesterday there was a long session on that and the use of social media to drive the progressive agenda in each of the neighborhood groups organized over the past several years. The goal is to better unify the message being shared with now over 9,000 people who are impacted by the various groups on Facebook. When you count the individuals on Twitter the number gets even larger. Here, however, is the challenge: The vast majority of people involved in the local Democratic neighborhood groups are not very well equipped in the area of public relations and social media. Yesterday was a great start and I'm hopeful that more people will come to understand that we need to not only reach out by using social media tools but also in an effort to recruit more people face to face. (Photo: Al Womble)
First In The Nation
I had a conversation with a self-described "Old School Democrat" last week who told me that if Iowa wants to retain its position on the national stage with regard to the Iowa Caucus we're going to have to change how it is done. "The rest of the nation looks to Iowa as a joke. We have a system that was designed by politicians which has become arcane and irrelevant to a vast majority of Iowans and the rest of the nation." He went on to say, "The younger people in this state want a simpler system and instant gratification. The caucuses last year were a mess because people were frustrated with not being allowed to have their vote counted because of the silly percentage system that is used. We are going to have to change this or lose thousands of future voters." Wow, quite an indictment. But he may be on to something. Meanwhile the Iowa Democratic Party and the Polk County Democrats are busy holding caucus training sessions in an effort to mitigate the frustrations of many who attended last in 2016. We better get it right because next year promises to be very, very busy.
The image here is the new logo for the Polk County Democratic Party...pretty cool huh?
Many of you know that for the past five years, along with my real job, I also write, deliver and host Insight on Business the News Hour. It's the only daily, hour-long business news broadcast in the Midwest and it has been rewarding in allowing me to, not only, share the business news of the day but also engage in long-form business interviews with people from start-ups to well established corporations. It's something that has been recognized by the Iowa Broadcast News Association as a "best of" the past two years and I'm grateful. Over these past five years we've worked hard to stay OUT of politics and stick to business. However, as we have seen over the past year, politics and business is so entwined it's often hard to separate them. This year we're changing things up a bit by doing interviews with political candidates starting with Iowa's Third Congressional District. We have already had Eddie Mauro on the air. Heather Ryan is scheduled for this week and next week Austin Frerick will join us. Between now and the June Primary we hope to have each of the seven candidates in studio. I'll keep you in the loop.
The question is, "Can a journalist be both a media person AND a candidate?" It's a question I've wrestled with for some time and I'll be giving it a much longer look in the coming weeks. I think, based on my recent run for City Council in Windsor Heights, it can be done. So, what to do....you'll be among the first to know as I ramp up the social media content once again. Hey, it's what I do...
Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday!