Besides Governor Chris Christie’s visit to Iowa on Monday, there isn’t much going on in Iowa on the presidential front. Even with the inactivity on the ground here, Republicans considering a run for president have making news elsewhere. Here is what got my attention this week.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Gets It
Jindal slammed the Republican National Committee this week for their decision to control every aspect of the 2016 Republican presidential debates.
“I know there is a lot of concern, especially in this town among Republican party leaders,” Jindal was quoted saying. “There’s this ideal of theirs, this idealistic belief, that if we could just have fewer debates, if we could have a gentler, kinder nominating process, that would be good for the party and good for the nominee. Well you know what? Democracy is messy.”
When Jindal says that the RNC wants a kinder, gentler, nominating process, what he’s really saying is that the RNC is stacking the rules to favor whoever is the national frontrunner. Why Jindal is the lone candidate to express his displeasure with the RNC is beyond me.
I wrote the following on January 6th.
The RNC has also inserted itself in the number of presidential debates that will be held, who will conduct them, and where they will be held. All of these changes would have greatly benefitted Romney in 2012, but they will also help whoever the national frontrunner happens to be. In 2016, the odds on favorite to be the well-financed national frontrunner seems to be Jeb Bush.
There will only be one presidential debate in Iowa before next year’s caucus, just one. Does that benefit the conservative candidate who needs to take a shot at the national frontrunner? Of course not. Does that help the candidates on the ends of the debate stage who already struggle at getting time to speak? Of course not. Limiting the debates helps one person – whoever is the national frontrunner. And in terms of the 2016 race, that’s Jeb Bush.
I’ve not been overly impressed with Jindal’s approach to a potential 2016 campaign, but I will say his strong stand against the RNC impressed me greatly because it takes guts to tell the RNC that he will not abide by their rules. Why others like Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and others are not making similar arguments is beyond me. The deck is being stacked against you. Speak out!
Perry’s New Gig With Oil Pipeline Could Cause Him Problems in Iowa
You would be hard pressed to find a Republican activist in the state of Iowa who opposes the Keystone pipeline. However, when the issue gets localized, the politics tend to change. This is a lesson that former Texas Governor Rick Perry may figure out in the months ahead.
According to the Des Moines Register, Perry joined the board of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, which is proposing to build an underground pipeline that would cross the state of Iowa. No big deal right? Wrong. Perry is a big states’ rights guy, and I have no doubt that he is also a strong advocate of personal property rights.
The proposed pipeline was actually a topic of discussion at my own 2012 precinct caucus, as one of my neighbors owns farm ground where the proposed pipeline would go. It was a very frank and passionate moment. He doesn’t want to have his cropland disturbed for a pipeline that will be owned and operated by a private company.
Stay tuned. This issue could get really interesting.
Mike Huckabee: Oversees Tour Guide or 2016 Presidential Candidate?
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is preparing for a 10-day trip to the Holy Land, dubbed the Israel Experience 2015, which will last from February 14th to the 24th. A press release announcing the trip stated, “Huckabee will lead more than 250 people from across America and experience Israel’s heritage from a Biblical and historical perspective.”
If you recall, last November Huckabee lead a group of Iowa evangelical leaders on an all-expense paid trip to Poland, England, and finally the Reagan Library in California. When Huckabee isn’t traveling abroad, he’s traveling around the country selling his book, God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy.
Huckabee’s book tour included Iowa stops, and he participated in Congressman Steve King’s Iowa Freedom Summit in January, and he has confirmed his participation at the Iowa Ag Summit. To my knowledge, Huckabee is also expected at a homeschoolers’ conference and another social conservative confab in the coming months.
Almost everyone I talk to is convinced that he’s running for President, but I’m skeptical. The main reason is his travel schedule in Iowa. Sure he’s coming to the large multi-candidate events, but he’s not showing up at county GOP functions or holding his own political events. In the last couple of years, everyone from Ted Cruz to Ben Carson to Rick Santorum to Carly Fiorina to Bobby Jindal to Rand Paul have been done those things. Only Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, and Huckabee have not.
Walker couldn’t do much since he was running for re-election, and Bush campaigned all across the country for 2014 candidate but avoided Iowa like the plague. It can also be said that Walker and Bush, the two perceived frontrunners in the race, can get away from doing the chicken dinner circuit.
I don’t know, instead of playing tour guide, I would think Huckabee would want to be visiting Iowa more if he was serious about running for president.
Must Read – Christie Flip Flops on Common Core
Candidate comes to town, answers a few questions to your liking, and then you read the rest of the story. Check out this article from NJ.com.
The governor who tells it like it is, who speaks from the heart, is now sucking up to the Republican base with a calculated flip-flop on Common Core, the program to establish national standards for educational achievement.
Here is what Christie said in August of 2013 in New Jersey:
“We are doing Common Core in New Jersey and we’re going to continue. And this is one of those areas where I have agreed more with the President than not. And with Secretary Duncan. I think part of the Republican opposition you see in some corners in Congress is a reaction, that knee-jerk reaction that is happening in Washington right now, that if the president likes something the Republicans in Congress don’t. If the Republicans in Congress like something, the president doesn’t.”
Here is what he said in Iowa on Monday:
“I have grave concerns about the way this has been done, especially the way the Obama administration has tried to implement it through tying federal funding to these things. And that changes the entire nature of it, from what was initially supposed to be voluntary type system and states could decide on their own to now having federal money tied to it in ways that really, really give me grave concerns. So we’re in the midst of re-examination of it in New Jersey. I appointed a commission a few months ago to look at it in in light of these new developments from the Obama administration and they’re going to come back to me with a report in the next, I think, six or eight weeks, then we’re going to take some action. It is something I’m very concerned about, because in the end education needs to be a local issue.”
The two positions are miles apart.
Walker’s Inexperience on Display in London Trip
Scott Walker was a treated like a rock star following his first 2015 trip to Iowa in January. His junket to London this week is a different story.
Walker was asked several times different foreign policy questions at Chatham House, a policy institute, avoiding all of them, repeatedly saying he didn’t want to weigh in while on a trade mission on foreign soil.
Walker also avoided answering a question about his views on evolution during the event, but later tweeted, “Both science & my faith dictate my belief that we are created by God. I believe faith & science are compatible and go hand in hand.”