Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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November 5, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 11/9/10

In this edition:

*Happy Veteran’s Day!
*Congratulations on the Election!
*Election Thoughts
*Did you know?

*Happy Veteran’s Day!
Happy Veteran’s Day to all, especially the women and men who have served in our armed services.

I am no fan of war. I wish we could end both our current wars as quickly as humanly possible. I have had a “Support the Troops – End the War” sign up in my yard for over 7 years. I had hoped it would be up less than one.

That said, I have tremendous respect for all our military personnel. I think they deserve our gratitude, and I believe we have an obligation to support them after they have served.

You can be anti-war and pro-troops; that sums up my position pretty well. Thanks again to all our veterans!

*Congratulations on the Election!
Thanks to everyone who stepped forward to run for office this year. We need good people of all stripes to be willing to serve.

Congratulations to all the victors, including Senator Grassley, Congressman Loebsack, and Governor Branstad. Congrats, too, to statewide electeds and members of the statehouse.

Finally, congratulations to a great group of local elected officials: Supervisors Sally Stutsman and Janelle Rettig, Recorder Kim Painter, Treasurer Tom Kriz, and County Attorney Janet Lyness, all reelected last Tuesday.

*Election Thoughts
As a longtime political observer, I have a few thoughts regarding the 2010 elections.

1.) There is always a tendency to blame the losers for their poor campaigns, and to give too much credit to the winners. While this often has kernels of truth, it is typically overstated. (See #2, next.)

2.) The economy matters, more than any other issue. Even folks whose economic situation has stayed static see the news and get nervous. When people are scared they punish the party in power. Many Democrats were simply victims of bad timing.

3.) If there is a takeaway message for Democrats, it is that economic populism should not be ignored! The TARP had to be done, but Wall Street needed to pay a price. That never happened, and it allowed for a bizarre scenario where one could claim to be pro-Republican and also anti-Wall Street. Democrats needed to claim the anti-Wall Street vote by doing something to earn it!

4.) Similarly, over the past year and a half, federal tax rates went DOWN for every individual and business in the US. (Taxes did not necessarily go down, because some folks earned more income. But the RATES were cut for everyone.) This case was not made. Instead, Democrats failed to respond with their record when confronted on taxes. They should have been proud! A similar scenario played out in the race for Iowa’s Governor.

5.) The party in power almost always loses seats in the midterm elections. The losses in the US House were very large, though. If there is someone or something to blame, it is House members who ran away from their records. Democrats should take a cue from Bruce Braley, who hit back effectively when attacked. Braley touted his record, and voters rewarded his efforts.

6.) The Democratic Party was overextended from big victories in ’06 and ’08. Take the Iowa Senate, for example. The 32-18 majority enjoyed by Democrats was simply not representative of Iowa. Neither party can realistically expect to reach 32 seats, let alone to maintain that edge for long. Losing some seats there had to be expected.

7.) Congress remains incredibly unpopular as an institution. I do not see either party being in a position to make tough choices; the system rewards those who avoid such conflicts. In a future Salvos, we’ll talk about some bipartisan “fixes” for that august body.

8.) Money mattered. The influx of money into politics was massive, and it made a difference in several races. Personally, I would think most Americans would like to see this change. (See #7 above!)

9.) Finally, in my mind, the single most disappointing result Tuesday was the fact that the voters of Iowa chose not to retain our Supreme Court Justices. I think this is a blow to both good government and civil rights, and I can honestly say I have never been more disappointed in the people of Iowa. I guess we’ll see where things go from here.

So… do you agree or disagree? What are your thoughts? Why did the elections play out the way they did? I’d like to hear your opinions!

*DID YOU KNOW? The Free Medical Clinic saw 2600 unique patients in FY10; 86% of whom had no health insurance.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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