King’s candor

You have to admire Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, for his candor. Most of the other Republicans are mounting a phony prosecution that the Democrats shut down the federal government. Our congressman took to the airwaves via CNN Tuesday evening to clear this up. King told CNN host Wolf Blitzer that House Republicans caused the government shutdown over one reason: to kill Obamacare.

King (and Rep. Tom Latham, R-Ames) repeatedly voted in favor of shutting down the government by demanding that the Senate, controlled marginally by Democrats, eliminate funding for the Affordable Care Act. The health care reform came to life the day the government shut down. Traffic to the website was so heavy from consumers wanting lower health insurance rates with better coverage that the besieged website was overwhelmed through the day.

President Obama and the Senate are not about to throw away the most important legislative accomplishment of their careers: offering affordable health care to all Americans. The Affordable Care Act was passed on a bipartisan basis by the Senate (Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, helped Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., write the legislation). The House, then controlled by Democrats, passed the bill mainly along party lines. King voted against it. President Obama signed the bill into law, and the Supreme Court ruled eventually that the law passes constitutional muster.

Every step the Republicans have taken since were motivated first by the demise of President Obama. He won re-election, and Democcrats picked up seats in Congress after the ACA passed. After re-election, the main motivation became killing Obamacare before it got seeded. They failed, but they are tenacious and relentless.

House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, insists that his caucus seeks only to reduce spending. The truth is, Congress and the White House already acceded to demands for reduced spending. Obama and Senate Democrats already have consented to keeping the mindless sequestration in place, that demands another 12% reduction in federal spending this year. It is clear through votes that Democrats have cast their lot for reduced spending, spineless though it may be.

So the fact is, according to Steve King, Tea Partier extraordinaire, that the Republicans shut down the federal government this week because they want to kill Obamacare. That’s it. Boehner can’t spin it any other way so long as King continues to tell the truth.

Fragging the trooper

Please, Gov. Branstad. Be a man. Take your hit. When you get picked up for speeding (the second time in just a few months) accept that you got busted and do not blame the state trooper driving your big SUV. Branstad the Junior High Governor instead at his weekly press conference on Monday warned that troopers who get picked up for speeding could lose their jobs.

Good grief.

A state trooper does not drive the governor at 80-plus miles per hour unless the boss tells him to step on it. He doesn’t even bother to drive 10 mph over the limit unless instructed to. He gets paid the same whether he observes the speed limit or not. No trooper likes to get pulled over by a Franklin County sheriff’s deputy. He would only risk the indignity if acting under precise instructions from the powerful passenger.

We understand that the governor would tell his driver to punch it after a long day on the road kissing babies and eating rubber chicken. Why not just own up to it?

It is just another indication that Branstad has been around too long and likes Terrace Hill too much.

The governor is the one who deserves to lose his job for leaving the trooper in the ditch to fend for himself. A real leader sticks up for his charges and will take a bayonet for them. Not Branstad. His main concern is getting re-elected in 2014. Threatening troopers for doing what they are told won’t win him many votes.

If Branstad had said, “Yeah, I tell troopers to speed because I can” most Iowans might have cracked a smile and consider voting for him because of his impishness. But all we are left with is an image of the governor covering his backside. It does not reflect well.