I have some bones to pick with a couple of different people related to the meeting I took part in with former Governor Branstad. He’s taking some heat regarding a comment made about when he tried to cut funding for the Iowa Commission of the Blind… I’ll get to that a little later.
First up… Tim Albrecht and the Branstad Campaign (when are you going to get a website up?) from a little piece that Katie Obradovich wrote today for The Des Moines Register. Regarding the nature of the meeting she reports:
Albrecht said Branstad knew the meeting was being recorded so there could be no misunderstandings later, but the campaign thought the meeting would be private, off-the-record. Albrecht noted that Branstad didn’t change his positions on issues in the private setting.
“That’s a real test of leadership. He got behind closed doors, knew he was being recorded but he didn’t change what he says in public.”
First off, Tim Albrecht wasn’t there so he really can’t speak to this. He’s being told what to say. Secondly, no one in the campaign or Governor Branstad said that this was “off-the record.” If that is what he wanted, he should have said so. However, if I wrote a glowing blog post about the meeting, I highly doubt they would be saying that. What would the purpose of an off-the-record meeting with social conservative leaders be anyway? To sway us, and then we just endorse out of the blue? Last time I checked we aren’t living in Chicago.
Regarding the “real test of leadership” do you even know what that is? He told us he wasn’t going to speak publically about gay marriage, but it looks as though he now will based on what he said during a trip to Wilton on Saturday:
During his remarks, Branstad called for a public referendum to define marriage. He called the state Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage "appalling," and he likened the inability to put the issue on the ballot to a "dictatorship."
Great, I’m glad to see this, it’s a start. Perhaps we woke him up a little bit. Now, what are you going to do as Governor to work on this? Is he going to remind people about three of the justices to be up for retention in 2010? He said that he wouldn’t, but if he finds this decision truly appalling I don’t see why he wouldn’t. Take a stand for what you say you believe Governor, that’s true leadership. So far we’ve seen vague statements, and no specifics even related to spending reform which is what you say you are running on.
Frankly, Albrecht’s statement that they thought “this was supposed to be off-the-record” is also demonstrates a lack of leadership. If it was meant to be off-the-record then that should have been clearly stated and communicated. But it wasn’t, so don’t blame me for the grief his campaign is taking. If the campaign can’t handle a couple of blog posts, then good grief, Branstad has no business running.
Second individual/group I have a bone to pick with. I’ve already called out Michael Kiernan here and here. He’s a piece of work. The hypocrisy of Kiernan knows no bounds, as he condemns Governor Branstad about his remarks on the Legislature’s refusal to cut the Iowa Commission on the Blind’s budget.
Branstad said in our meeting that the Legislature:
“couldn’t take the heat from the tap, tap tap of the white canes”
Was it a stupid remark to make? Yes. Horribly offensive? Well, I don’t know how a blind person would feel about this, but I didn’t hear a derogatory name for blind people used by him. They do use canes. They do make a tapping noise. He was referring to their lobby presence. Who wants to be known as the person who voted to take money away from services for the blind? Would I have said that? No way. So I don’t want to defend the comment.
Kiernan though wants to make a mountain out of a molehill:
“Those comments are outrageous. Forget about politics. There’s no place in Iowa for comments like that,” Democratic Chairman Michael Kiernan said. “It would be one thing if this guy was a first-time candidate, but you’re talking about somebody who has served four terms as governor. This is a man who knows exactly what he’s saying.”
Kiernan continued: “He should apologize for those comments. They are offensive and rude.”
Then one of your bloggers, Greg Hauenstien, decides to pirate the audio of the meeting and say it’s the full audio. No it wasn’t. It was only 20 minutes of it. The battery died, we met for an hour. I clearly stated that on my blog. There you go again, embellishing the truth. Also, Greg, it’s common blogging courtesy to tell people where you got the audio from… just saying.