Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took a cheap shot
at Iowa, and employed stereotypes about us,
when talking about his decision not to seek
the Republican nomination for the presidency.
Christie said he didn’t want to be “in a hotel
room in Des Moines and it’s 5:30 in the morning,
and it’s 15 below, and it’s time for me to get
up and go shake hands at the meatpacking plant.”
We do have other industries here in Iowa, Mr.
A few more counterpoints: Governor Girth would
be advised to steer clear of our meatpacking
facilities to avoid being mistaken for livestock
and accidentally tossed in the production queue
— although that would clear the way for Jeb
Bush to run for the presidency in 2016.
What’s more, Christie is from New Jersey, the
land of Snooki and the boozy broads and Guidos
of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” — which reportedly received
state tax credits. New Jersey is a punchline
in need of no lead-in joke.
By the way, Christie is on record as saying
that his weight is fair game (for certain people).
One more thing …
I live in western Iowa, near Denison and Storm
Lake, cities with strong meatpacking presences.
What’s more, The Carroll Daily Times Herald’s
offices are but three blocks from a Farmland
meat-processing facility (no kill floor). I
have never seen a Republican candidate campaigning
in a meatpacking plant in 20 years of covering
How would a campaign speech from Rick Perry
or Mitt Romney at a packing house go? “Ladies
and gentlemen, I’m asking for your vote. Now
show me your papers, and enjoy the nice accommodations
on the ICE bus in the parking lot.”
• • •
The only way the “Niggerhead” rock story could
be worse for GOP presidential candidate Rick
Perry is if the Texas governor and his family
had kidnapped African Americans and loosed them
into the hunting zone as prey, sort of like
in the Jean Claude Van Damme movie “Hard Target.”
• • •
At his wife Christie’s announcement of her
congressional candidacy in Ames, U.S. Secretary
of Agriculture Tom Vilsack politely declined
to answer questions from the media.
The former Iowa governor didn’t have to completely
muzzle himself, but he does have to watch it
somewhat as a U.S. Senate-confirmed member of
President Barack Obama’s cabinet.
A memo Tom Vilsack requested from Stuart Bender,
director of the Office of Ethics with the Ag
Department, spells out clearly what Mr. Vilsack
can and can’t do to further Mrs. Vilsack’s political
ambitions. Political Mercury read the memo over
Mr. Vilsack cannot allow his title of ag secretary
to be used in connection with any fundraising
activities but he can be identified as “The
Honorable” or as the former governor of Iowa.
He can also “properly greet guests” and can
give remarks to attendees of a fundraiser about
the benefits of electing his wife.
The Hatch Act, which governs the actions of
employees of the federal Executive Branch, prohibits
Mr. Vilsack from using his official authority
to influence the election.
But he can appear with Mrs. Vilsack in TV ads
and urge others to vote for his wife — as long
as Mr. Vilsack doesn’t personally solicit campaign
In other words, The Honorable Tom Vilsack could
trumpet the assets and potential of Congresswoman
Christie Vilsack for 45 minutes at a fundraiser
and then sit down while staffers pass out donation
Takeaway: So far, Mr. Vilsack appears to be
watching the rules quite carefully.
• • •
Elizabeth started it.
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is playing
the gender card in a most preposterous way.
And so is the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
During a debate last week, Democratic candidate
for the U.S. Senate Elizabeth Warren mocked
U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., for having posed
nude in a women’s magazine to pay for his education.
Asked to respond to Warren’s answer that she
made it through school without taking her clothes
off to earn money Brown said, “Thank God.”
Which is a response 100 percent commensurate
with Warren’s first shot.
But Pelosi, speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” suggested
that Brown’s quip is a window into a sexist
“It really spoke volumes about, really, disrespect
for women he may not even realize,” Pelosi said
And what about Warren’s comment? Does she think
it is OK for women to pose revealingly in magazines
but not men? Or is there something else at work
with her when it comes to thinking about naked
Where is Congressman Steve King when we need
him to weigh in on something? If he’d like to,
Political Mercury will give him the last word.
Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa
newspaperman who writes for The Carroll Daily
Times Herald and offers columns for Cityview.