Category: Featured

Local Economic Development Through Youth Entrepreneurship

business start-upWell, another class of high school graduates are killing time until they begin their college experience. In four, five, or six years, many of them will graduate from college, and move to Dallas County so they can work as temps at Wells Fargo.

Meanwhile, town squares across Iowa are emptying out. I’ve spent some time exploring small towns in rural Iowa, and there are common threads that threaten to further damage the prospects of the young, and may even threaten the existence of many towns across the state.

And so it goes; young people leave to try and buy jobs that don’t matter (and often don’t exist in large numbers), buildings stand unused, and eventually the towns just collapse into stagnant malaise.

What Muscatine Has


Republican Senatorial Committee Begins New Ad Campaign (Watch Video)

NRSC 2The Washington D.C. based organization tasked with electing Republicans to the United States Senate–the National Republican Senatorial Committee–is taking a new and proactive approach in achieving their mission this cycle.  Part of this strategy has included reaching out early to various political writers and thinkers in Senatorial battleground states–and you guessed it we qualify–to form relationships based on our shared cause.

Another element of this strategy is being visible early and often with what has become a hallmark of modern political messaging–the web ad.  Below is an exclusive first look at what I’m being told will be a continuing series of web ads making the case for Republican principles.  It is very well put together and offers some insight into what kinds of narratives we …


Ed. Reform Bill: A Failure of Policy & Politics

Iowa HouseSoon after the final votes of the Iowa legislative session were taken late last week, many legislators from both Parties took to multiple media platforms trumpeting the “historic” and “sweeping” positive reforms they had just passed.  I would love to fully concur—and if I happened to be a Democrat I certainly would—but as a Conservative Republican I am less than impressed with some of these “achievements”.

Of the three major compromises reached I believe, at the most, Conservatives should be “somewhat satisfied” by the understandable terms reached on tax reform and health insurance coverage.  However, I am deeply disappointed by what has passed as “reform” in Iowa’s K-12 education system.  The following will focus on education reform and later in the week we will deal …


What Are Iowa Republicans Looking For In A Senate Candidate?

mystery candidateThere is one certainty about the pool of voters who will decide the impending Republican Senate Primary–they won’t necessarily be the “average” Iowan.  Some of the folks who show up to the polls on June 3rd, 2014 will surely be disaffected Independents (and some meddling Democrats), but the bulk of voters will be fairly hardcore Republicans and single issue activists.  This group will have a specific set of traits they are looking for in a candidate, so the question is what are they?

The focus here today will not be on issues, policy prescriptions, and deeply-held core beliefs–we will get into that down the road–but rather on the more admittedly surface level of broad characteristics.  I believe that the candidate who emerges will be a …


Term Limits In Iowa: A Policy Proposal

Cronstal 1st yearIOne of my favorite self-coined terms is “legi-saurs”.  As you may guess it refers to politicians at all levels of government who get elected–and then never go away.

Like many on the right I am convinced this semi-permanent presence in the halls of power is a destructive one in politics.  These careers start innocently enough.  The member actually has a job in the private sector, lives as a normal citizen, and regardless of ideology brings fresh ideas and solutions to the table.  But in most cases, over time, they eventually detach from the economy by not working  outside the Capitol, they develop grudges against their colleages, their ideas and thinking become stale, and they learn to play the legislative process like a game.

Here in


Braley Votes Again For Obamacare—Why This One Was Worse Than The First

Bruce B.Yesterday the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted once again to repeal Obamacare in full—a vote that passed 229-115 on party-lines besides two democrats who crossed over.  Not the least bit surprising was that Rep. Bruce Braley once again voted in favor of Obamacare—but my how much different this must have felt than his first vote for it three years ago.

A Different Landscape

Besides the obvious fact that Braley is now a U.S. Senate candidate, a variety of things made yesterday’s vote a much bigger political gamble.

Consider this, on the day the Senate passed Obamacare through the Reconciliation process—March 25th 2010—the Real Clear Politics approval rating for Congress was a shocking 17.4% approve to 77% disapprove.  As bad as that seems, at that time


Another Potential Scandal Brewing In Iowa’s Education System

Iowa map educationWith a sweeping education reform package currently being worked on by a bi-partisan Conference Committee at the Statehouse, some potentially damaging information about how the state is representing student achievement is coming to light.  Late last week the citizen group Iowalive released a report that would, if true, give all Iowa parents and legislators cause for grave concern.

The crux of the report is Iowalive’s claim that the standards our Department of Education is using to report student proficiency levels is misleading.  This, according to the group, stems from Iowa having adopted a lower standard to measure student learning called the “40th National Percentile Rank”.  This current set of standards was adopted a decade ago by the then Governor Vilsack administration and is different from …


South Carolina Republicans Embarrass GOP

sanford 2Last Week Steven Colbert said the results of Tuesday’s special election to fill a South Carolina House seat ‘scared him to his core’—I couldn’t agree more.

Of course he was referring to disgraced Republican Governor Mark Sanford completing his political comeback by beating Colbert’s sister Elizabeth Colbert Busch (54% to 45%) on Tuesday night.  Sanford’s victory came despite him being less than four years removed from weaving a web of lies that included cheating on his wife and leaving the country during his term as governor to be with his mistress.

What were they thinking?

The only justification for voting en mass for such a man was that palmetto Republicans didn’t at all like Ms. Colbert Bush.  I’m not saying I blame them since even …


Braley Sits For Interview — Makes Outlandish Claim

Deeth and Braley  2 crop

 

Last week liberal blogger John Deeth scored an interview with Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley as he embarks on a bid for the U.S. Senate.  Though you may not agree with Deeth often on policy (or ever)—he is an excellent writer out of Iowa City and he knows his stuff.

Most of the interview was standard liberal fare (read here), but on the topic of immigration reform Braley made a pair of false claims, the second of which was a real whopper that could haunt him later in this campaign.

Why No Reform?

When asked generally what’s happening with immigration reform and how it will be resolved Braley said this:

“One word has kept us from having meaningful immigration reform, and that word


Reynolds Officially Out As Senate Candidate

Kim Reynolds 2 Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced she is not running for the open US Senate on November 4th 2014.  The field will form quickly once Steve King makes a decision, which for the good of the Party should come one way or another very soon.  Some prior analysis of this race by The Conservative Reader: Iowa can be read here.  Her complete statement is below:

 

Dear Friends,

When Governor Branstad chose me as his Lieutenant Governor in 2010, I was honored to be a part of a team that would put our state back on track with a focus on job creation, making our schools the best in the nation, and restoring stability and predictability within Iowa’s budget.

Thanks to your support and


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