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.