Tag Archives: Bruce Braley

Worst of the worst

The Hill newspaper has listed its Top 10 worst candidates for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

It’s an impressive gathering covering both political parties.


I have two clear favorites. They’re both Democrats.

* The worst of the bunch has to be Bruce Braley, the Iowa congressman who ran to succeed fellow Democrat Tom Harkin. His foe was Republican Joni Ernst, the hog-castrating tea party golden gal. Braley should have won the seat in a walk. Then he stepped in it big time, by calling Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley “just a farmer from Iowa.”

Whoops! You don’t say “just a farmer” in a state full of farmers. I’ve been to Iowa a couple of times and I’ll tell you I’ve never seen so much corn in my entire life.

Really bad form, congressman.

* Alison Lundergan Grimes finished a close second. She should have won in Kentucky against incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell, who isn’t your garden-variety retail politician. He’s stiff, unfriendly and quite wedded to the Washington, D.C., power structure — the one that has broken down and created so much of the anger and angst among voters. So what did Grimes do to win a spot on this list? She refused on several occasions to say whether she voted for President Obama.

The refusal was as clumsy as it gets. She tripped over her own tongue in trying to explain it all away, giving out an air of phoniness. She seemed to be terribly lacking in authenticity.

That’s my short list. The rest of them noted by The Hill all had their moments of “glory.”

Bring on the next set of winners and losers in 2016. First, let us catch our breath.

Ernst follows Perry model: Who needs editorial boards?

Joni Ernst is staking out an interesting — but not unprecedented — tactic in her campaign for the U.S. Senate in Iowa.

The Republican is forgoing interviews with major Iowa newspaper editorial boards. Media observers in the Hawkeye State are wondering whether she’s afraid of being questioned by the editorial boards. She’s canceling interview appointments left and right.

Her opponent, Democrat Bruce Braley, is meeting with them, hoping — I can assume — to gather up newspaper endorsements.


Do you remember when Gov.Rick Perry kissed off newspaper endorsements in 2010 when he was running for re-election in Texas? He stiffed newspaper editorial boards all over the state. He was quite clear: I don’t need no stinkin’ editorial endorsements; I’m going to “talk directly” to Texans.

Texas newspaper editors and publishers took the snub personally, with most of them endorsing his Democratic opponent, former Houston Mayor Bill White. The paper where I worked at the time, the Amarillo Globe-News, followed suit. We backed White and when we did, you’d have thought Planet Earth had just spun off its axis. The reaction from our deeply Republican readers in the heart of the Texas Panhandle was ferocious.

Not to fear, Perry’s handlers reckoned — correctly, I should add.

The governor was re-elected handily four years ago with a 13 percent victory over White.

I figure, though, that Perry knows Texas voters as well as any politician who’s ever held public office.

Does Joni Ernst know Iowans as well? We’ll find out in about 12 days.

Congressman rewrites loser's text

An Iowa congressman running for a U.S. Senate seat in the Hawkeye State has just written a new chapter in the textbook explaining how one can blunder his way into a losing political campaign.

You denigrate your opponent’s history as and say that what Congress needs is another lawyer in its midst.

Rep. Bruce Braley is a Democratic congressman seeking to succeed incumbent Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.

He was overheard telling this to some Texas trial lawyers at a Democratic Party fundraiser: “If you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years, in a visible or public way, on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Or you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Because, if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”



Granted, Braley’s remarks were targeted toward a specific constituency — like-minded lawyers who want one of their own in the Senate — but he apparently forgot how viral some of these statements can get when they’re overheard and sent out over that vast expanse called the Internet.

He apologized immediately to Grassley. I suspect the damage is done and it well might be irreparable.

Iowa has become an increasingly “purple” state that has voted Democratic in the past seven presidential elections. It has elected progressive senators, such as Tom Harkin, who is retiring from the Senate at the end of the year.

Bruce Braley wants to ascend to Harkin’s seat. He won’t get there if he suggests that farming is somehow less important than practicing law. Someone ought to show him all that cultivated land in his home state.