Here’s a look at the incumbent Senator from Iowa, Charles “Chuck” Grassley (R, New Hartford), with quotes and commentary on that race.
This blog post appeared on www.BleedingHeartland.com on March 24, 2010:
“Grassley has a lot more opposition than he thinks. I have been talking to people here in northwest Iowa, and they have voted for Grassley in the past, but not this time. Most of these voters are Democrats who voted for him, as they thought he was pretty moderate and he had seniority in the Senate. (*Grassley is the ranking Senate Finance Committee member.) After last summer’s town hall meetings, he lost them and a lot of Republicans as well. I watched him at the town hall in my town change from my Senator to a Tea Party Senator in front of my eyes. He is and was scared of the Tea Partiers, and that is not who these people voted for. They won’t do it again. I don’t know who is going to win the Democratic primary, but I will be working for whichever one it is. It is time for Grassley to retire and our state and nation needs to get good representation in Washington. Please help retire Steve King (R, 5th District), too.”
The most likely Democrat to come out of the three-way Democratic primary race to run against Grassley is Roxanne Conlin, who is a bit of an American success story in her own right. Alcoholic father. Oldest of 6 kids. Waitressed to help out financially at 14. Graduated high school at 16. Went to Drake Law School at 19; graduated from Drake at 21. Appointed United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa by Jimmy Carter in 1977. (All facts courtesy of Roxanne Conlin’s website).
Conlin, 66, is married and has 4 grown children and 5 grandchildren. She said (www.IowaPolitics.com), “I never thought I’d run again. But in my lifetime, I don’t ever want to say, ‘If only I had followed my dream or followed my heart.’ What has changed for me is Grassley.”
Charles “Chuck” Grassley, the five-time Republican Senator from Iowa (R, New Hartford) who was elected in 1980, as the BleedingHeartland poster noted, has lost ground and esteem in Iowa. At the town hall meeting in Winterset, Iowa, he misrepresented the idea of end-of-life counseling (he had previously voted for a similar measure) as “death panels” and said, “We should not have a government program that determines we’re gonna’ pull the plug on Grandma.” That remark reverberated locally and nationally. He also did nothing to quell physical violence at a Pocahontas County town hall meeting (see YouTube video) and has made comments such as: “AIG executives should resign or go commit suicide.” (3/16/09, www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20083.html) Another was, “If you want health care, go get a government job.” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj_lyzHs8q4&eurl=http%3A%2F).
Grassley single-handedly delayed health care reform measures. He said, on August 13, 2009, “If Democrats hadn’t sat down with me, health care reform would have already passed.” (www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/8/14/153815/781.) He also stated that he’d vote against any health care reform bill coming out of committee, even if the legislation contained everything he had demanded, stating his “firm and unwavering opposition to government-run health care.” (www.voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra).
Some of Grassley’s quotations remind of that other great orator, George W. Bush. When he was asked why he had voted against Judge Sonia Sotomayer’s confirmation to the Federal Appeals Court in 1998, Grassley responded, “I want to know why myself. I probably want to know why more than you want to know why.” The remark reminds of some of “W’s” better quotes, such as the “putting food on your families” remark. When Sotomayer was nominated (and eventually confirmed) to become the first Hispanic member of the United States Supreme Court, Grassley subsequently voted against her confirmation as a judge a second time. (He may not have known why then, either.)
The Rasmussen poll, which is Republican-run, notes: “Among women, Grassley also continues to lead by a large margin among both male and female voters in all the match-ups, except when his opponent is Conlin. He now leads Conlin by only 5 points among women.” An Ames political science professor who prefers to remain anonymous said, “Grassley should be much stronger for someone with as much money and visibility as he has.” On Poll Watch, Bruce Drake, on May 7th, 2010, (“Democrat Draws Within Range of Grassley in Iowa Senate Race”) cited a Research 2000 poll that showed Grassley leading the presumptive Democratic Senate candidate (Conlin) only 49% to 40%. This was in contrast with a Rasmussen April 29th poll showing Grassley in the lead 53% to 40%.
Eric Schultz of the national Democratic Senate Campaign Committee said, “Ever since Chuck Grassley folded to ultraright of his party and threw up his hands instead of helping to solve a health care crisis, we’ve put Charles Grassley on our radar.” Still Nick Ryan of Des Moines, asked to say whether Grassley is “vulnerable,” responded, “Vulnerable? I don’t know if I’d say Chuck Grassley is vulnerable.”
A poster identifying himself only as “Farmer Dan” posted this comment on November 27, 2009 on www.blogforiowa.com:
“Grassley claims he’s a farmer, but only when it comes to farm subsidies. He lives in a townhouse in Virginia and hasn’t rotate a crop in 50 years. Grassley believes in subsidizing millionaire farmers, including himself, his son and his grandson, but he does not believe in subsidizing health care for the uninsured. Grassley has obviously been bought off by the pharmaceutical and private insurance industries, so why would we expect him to represent the wishes of the common good? It’s time we ‘pulled the plug’ on Grassley.”
Research shows that Grassley ranks 6th among Senators, since 2003, in receiving the highest percentage of money from PACs.
www.BleedingHeartland.com; www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20083.html; www.dailykos.com; www.voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra_; www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/8/14/153815/781; www.blogforiowa.com; “Poll Watch: Democrat Draws Within Range of Grassley in Iowa Senate Race” by Bruce Drake, May 7, 2010; Rasmussen Poll, April 29, 2010; IowaPolitics.com Almanac 2010 and Election Preview; www.wikipedia.com entry on Charles Grassley; Charles Grassley home page.