Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

November 7, 2013

Why have a campaign?

By Steve Woodhouse Editor
The Journal Express

---- — Bruce Braley will be our next US Senator and I’ll tell you why.

This does not please me, because upon reading about Braley, there are many differences between his values and mine. Nevertheless, I have complete and total confidence in his victory. We should save the millions of dollars and the nausea associated with campaign ads because there is just no point in fighting this, unless the Republicans can formulate some kind of strategy.

It’s not even about strategy. It’s making an effort. It’s backing your candidate and being the party of GOOD ideas. Republicans, in every major election I’ve covered, seem to fail at that.

First of all, I’m not even sure how many people are running. I know of Sam Clovis, Joni Ernst and Matt Whitaker. Are there more Republican candidates out there? Have they attempted to reach and get their message out to us rural Iowans?

I somehow got on Clovis’ mailing list and I get the occasional release from him. It’s just the same, tired rhetoric and no solid IDEAS for improving things. You have to have ideas. Just talking about how bad things are will not work.

I have received emails from Ernst’s campaign (whom Sen. Amy Sinclair has already endorsed) about her latest endorsements. That’s great. What are you going to do if you get the nomination and the seat?

What’s the point in holding these ideas in? Sure, there may be some strategy involved, as you don’t want the other guy to steal your ideas before you can get them out to a mass audience.

But does that matter when your party is supposed to be united and stand for a collection of shared ideals? Isn’t the point to put another “R” in the Senate when the opportunity presents itself?

Then there’s Whitaker. I “liked” his campaign on Facebook because I wanted to follow it. I have seen fewer than five updates from his campaign and it’s more complaining about what is going on.

It’s okay to complain about your opponents, but the problem I’ve seen lately is that Republicans refuse to stand on their ideals and go on a legitimate attack when they need to. Mitt Romney has multiple, MULTIPLE fronts he could have attacked Barack Obama’s record on, but he didn’t. He, and Chris Christie, were too busy talking about what a nice guy he is.

The Democrats, on the other hand, have no issue with name-calling and smear campaigns. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sends me at least two emails a day talking about Tom Latham and, specifically, putting the blame for troubles in Washington on him. They are not shy about this and neither should the Republicans be when their “strategists” get to work.

Unless the Republicans grow a spine, come out of the shadows, stand up for what they believe on and truly espouse the Constitutional principles the party is supposed to stand for, they have no chance. The party needs to be that of bright, bold colors and not pastels. (I stole that line.) As I said, Democrats have no problem showing off their brightest brights.

Braley gave me over an hour on our first visit a few months ago. I was highly impressed with that and he’s got my respect in that regard. (I still have not been approached by anyone from any of the Republican campaigns to talk.) When he was back here last week, the way he interacted with everyone at Vermeer, the genuine interest he showed in the company and those he met were just spectacular. I don’t know if the Republicans have that polished of a politician to counter that smoothness. If they don’t, they need to.

I’m quite certain that Braley will win and we will have an extension of Tom Harkin’s term, which is what the Democrats want. To all of those Republicans who have been complaining about Harkin, his terrible legislation and legacy of large government rule and debt, step up. Get your candidate’s act together. Develop, convey and work to implement ideas to fix this great country. Either that or just give up now before anyone else gets their hopes up.

Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.