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Save Your Money, Bob

Vanderplaats A journalist friend of mine emailed me yesterday with Bob Vander Plaats' press release to run for Governor of the State of Iowa in two years.  Maybe I'm just a little battle worn after two years of presidential campaigning, but I can't help but think he's wasting his time and money (as well as those of other people).  Again, those who have read this blog know I fall on the side of the political conservative; however, I like being able to step back and look at the big picture of politics.

The reality is that it will be hard to unseat Governor Culver.  Anyone who thinks they'll be able to run on the basis of the economy is fooling himself - it stinks for everyone, so no one politician will be able to change it.  In the two years he's been in office, Governor Culver has shown fairly solid leadership through some large disasters, and he hasn't done anything irretrievably stupid.  Even his suggestion about leasing out the lottery could be spun as "Hey! At least I'm weighing all the options and trying to be creative."  Vander Plaats big platform issue tends to ride on moral conservatism, which is going to be a hard sell to a moderate state.  Unless one of the Republican candidates can create a real case that the status quo needs to be upheaved, it's going to be a tough campaign.  Of course, maybe Vander Plaats is just jumping in too early.  Like I said, we're all a little tired with the Presidential Inauguration just last week.

Now I don't dislike Bob; I actually voted for him when he ran a few years ago and lost out in the primary.  It's just the political and social environments are going to make it an uphill battle for any challenger.

How often do we see that in office politics?  Before you jump into a highly political situation, you may want to ask yourself some good questions:

  • What are my motives for getting involved?
  • What do I hope to accomplish by injecting myself into the office politics conflict?
  • Do I have the resources needed to go the distance?
  • What value do I bring to the conflict to help it come to resolution?
  • Am I getting involved at the right time?  Should I hold off and wait and see how the situation plays out?  Conversely, have I missed the opportune moment to get involved?
  • How will other stakeholders react to my getting involved?

Will Bob Vander Plaats win the governor's race in 21 months?  Well, history will play that one out.  From this angle, he's one pony I wouldn't be betting on.

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Comments

RedCentral

I appreciate your post but one thing is missing in your overall assessment--National Spotlight.

When Bob officially declares this summer, a national figure will be with him and that is Gov. Mike Huckabee. Gov. Huckabee said that he will return the favor and campaign for Bob. Since Huck will probably run in 2012, it would be a perfect excuse to get his face in Iowa early. Mike Huckabee brings HuckPac with him and a whole network of volunteers. Newt Gingerich respects Bob Vander Plaats and will come to the state. No other candidate has national figures that will campaign hard for them. Sure, they might come to the state once or twince but they won't stay long. Bob was at almost every event with Huck around the state so his name is more known than it was two or 6 years ago. Bob was just a "western Iowa" guy, but now Eastern Iowa knows him as well. When Mike Huckabee was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses it was Bob who introduced him on national TV. Bob is a great speaker and has the network to go far. Bob has a solid team of support of both fiscal and social conservatives. The past election cycles we elected just moderate republicans and they threw out the base--we lost. With Bob, we have the two fused together. Sure, people might say he is just a social conservative but they are wrong. It seems that if someone is a social conservative that automatically disqualifies him from being a fiscal conservative. Why is that?

Ms. Admin

I'm just too tired of the political scene to really give a rip right now. Can't we wait for another few months before we start declaring what we're running for, to or is it running from?

Please just give me a break and this from a gal who loves the political fray. I appreciate both Tim and RedCentral's perspectives.

Scott Rosheim

No more. I am not taking any time to review what is on the political calendar. I am currently working through this economic crisis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Claire in Des Moines

Sponge Bob Vander Plaats? AGAIN? Yeah, I saw the news. Then I yawned. Both he and Huckabee are likable enough, I suppose. But they both have something in common that is not going to work in Iowa this year, or next year, or the year after that. They are solidly in the Republican red zone, far too conservative and religious-based to win the support of moderate Republicans and independents that will be needed to even win the Republican primary.

Bob must not have his reality check this year. It's going to be a hard year for any Republicans to win. They have old ideas and are animated more by moral issues than economic ones. That is a recipe for failure in a country sick of ideology and hungry for real action.

Tim, I agree with your previous poster. You should examine your "title" and ask yourself...Are you really a Republican?

Bob McIlree

Well, I hear that some guy in Illinois named Blagojavich is looking for work, assuming he can stay out of prison...:)

Timothy Johnson

Red - you made my argument for me... national spotlight will not hire a state governor. And with Rod Roberts throwing his hat into the ring, these two conservative Christians will end up cannibalizing each other. And I never said they couldn't be fiscally conservative. But there's a lot of time between now and then.

Jeff and Claire - I like to fashion myself a new kind of Republican... one who's grounded in common sense and a big picture view rather than a myopically dogmatic soapbox hound

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