[crowd beginning to form on Flanny’s Patio]
CHRIS FOWLER: Welcome back to Tim Flanagan’s Restaurant and Lounge. We’re back to talk Congressional… and to pull an audible on you? We’re doing the Governors race too. Fellas we lots to cover. Let’s jump into it.
BEANO COOK: Notre Dame.
FOWLER: (Sigh…) Alright… talking Federal races. We have the “Big 3”… and yes this is a conference the Republicans want to make some expansion. First the standard bearer, Chuck Grassley.
KIRK HERBSTREIT: Chris, anyone who thinks that Grassley is going down this year, needs to put down the pipe. Right Coach?
LEE CORSO: Kirk, we agree. Chuckles cruises to victory, but down a bumpy highway… could be made bumpier if not navigated well by campaign.
BEANO: Like Red Grange rolling over the Midwestern Steps, This man just keeps rolling along like the Mighty Mississippi, the only real question is how long can this ship keep running, and who steps up to take the baton?
CROWD: Heyyyyy!!!!!! Grassley works! Grassley works! …
FOWLER: Let me throw another softball at you guys. Steve King.
CORSO: Chris, another win and look toward a higher office… Hmm?
BEANO: This feels like déjà vu, like a Golden Domer winning the Heisman in the 50s, but I guess we’re back at 2 years for this man to show up, chew bubble gum, and kick ass.
PACK OF DRUNK COLLEGE KIDS IN THE BACKGOUND: Effin’ aye John Deere right! Yeahhhhhhhh!
FOWLER: The love themselves some Beano and Steve King today.
HERBSTREIT: No contest. A lot like the same situation as Latham.
CROWD: [starting to bring the Gameday rowdiness] TL! *clap clap* TL!! *clap clap* TL!!!! *clap clap*….
FOWLER: Perfect segway, Kirk. Coach, your take on Latham this year?
CORSO: Chris, he already won this election 2 years ago.
BEANO: Tom Latham. Another rock solid star. Have I mentioned Notre Dame lately?
FOWLER: Yes. Yes you did, Beano. Now, how about sending some help with these guys next January. Now we have a little action in the other three. Let’s start in the First District. Guys, not much buzz in this one. Winner takes on Braley. Four guys running. Is this a tough one Coach?
CORSO: In what is the most difficult general election congressional district for Republicans, the 1st district, I hope a good challenger emerges. For all the attention primaries are getting this June this race is being lost in the shuffle. Whoever can afford to run an effective mail program wins easy; I think that person will be Ben Lange. Beano, what do you got?
BEANO: While I enjoyed the writings of Jim Budde, check them out some time… and I love that LaCoste is going to vote for himself rather than endorse someone else. I am going to give this one to Ben Lange in the battle of campaigns that makes old Beano realize he’s too old for this shit. And are those campaign websites, or Facebook friend pages, Beano can’t tell anymore.
FOWLER: Beano, you and your interwebs. Kirk?
HERBSTREIT: If the Albany Great Danes, Furman Paladins, Stony Brook Seawolves, and the Richmond Spiders had a round robin tournament to see who got pulverized by the 2010 Hawkeyes….would you pay attention? Me either… this is the political equivalent. Some good talent in this race. Thank you for waving the flag.
FOWLER: Kirk, love you for bringing the snarky sexy back. Agreed gentlemen. Now on to a raise where there’s no need for a snooze button… you need a pancho for the mud actually. The Second District.
CORSO: Getting a little nasty Chris.
FOWLER: Yes it has Coach, some familiar faces are battling out East. Fake Facebook accounts, emails… all this stuff. Beano… since you’ve behaved so far today, you get first crack.
BEANO: I’ll go with 3M on this one, I like the name and I think that might be something to get some fannies down to their local voting locales. Reminds me of this time a young Woody Hayes asked me to show up for some for some extra curriculars with some Buckeye cheer girls, long story short Woody and I killed them and buried them in the woods… as any one from Ohio State is evil, good times though. Get out and vote.
CROWD: Whoah…… [concerned looks on their faces]
HERBSTREIT: Easy there, Beano.
[Fowler and Corso… disturbed looks back on their face]
FOWLER: And we were doing so well… Kirk, let’s keep pushing forward. Your take?
HERBSTREIT: While this race is muddled and hectic the fact that Loebsack is Loebsack makes the primary interesting. We got a shot here. Gettemy makes the lace entrance and rumor has it has money. Mariannette “3M” Miller-Meeks is running again for a seat she made a run at before. Rathje is running again but this time has focused more on being a real candidate and less on tanning. Reed is back after making a gallant run at Tommy Harkin. All 4 are could put together a run at Loebsack, I can’t say that name enough…its just funny. I think Miller-Meeks comes out on top simply because she has the infrastructure here and she never stopped working. This could easily go to convention which becomes a worst case scenario for 3M.
FOWLER: Interesting, Kirk. I hear it’s closer than most think. Coach… Do we have a convention here?
CORSO: We have a real bare-knuckle brawl for the Second District and it’s a sloppy track in this horse race. They are fighting dirty, its going to take all four quarters and it still might not be enough in this mud bowl. It’s a three way race to 35 percent and it’s a close one! Do I smell a little overtime?! Maybe, or that stench could be coming from the errand campaign attacks that seem to be the MO in CD2. And it might get worse! It could be a convention call if Christopher Reed… Did you know he got over 500 thousand votes for US Senate… I heard that somewhere… gets enough over 500 votes to get around or above 5 percent, although I wouldn’t bet on it. But if this thing goes to overtime, let me tell you folks, you think it’s getting ugly now haven’t seen anything yet. A convention in the loony land of Linn is a recipe for a stink bomb that will have lingering fallout through and possibly beyond the general election. For the love of Jesus T’s somebody better end this thing Tuesday! And if Gettemy is not afraid to spend all of his Jesus t-shirt money he may be able to do it. Rathje might be able to creep up to 35, but his campaign reeks of desperation so I find that very unlikely. But wait a minute… through that cloud of dirt I see a Woody Hayes-esq game plan in action. Its Miller-Meeks’ three yards and a cloud of dust ground attack, she’s been everywhere, working overtime and 3M’s risky mail only strategy might just pay off. Down the final stretch it’s 3M by a nose, followed closely by Gettemy who will Place, and Rathje who will Show. A convention is narrowly avoided giving Mariannette her second shot at Congressman Dumbsack, err Libsack, um Noesack, I mean Loebsack.
CROWD: SAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!!!!!! [Crowd is now getting Cedar Rapids crazy with their rowdiness]
FOWLER: Let see here. For those of you scoring at home…. That’s 2 Woody Hayes references, Jebus T-Shirts and some sort of shout out to Scott Stanzel from the crowd all in one district’s predictions… this is a QCI event.
CROWD: [getting into a frenzy…. Enter G$.... And G$ is now… crowd surfing?] Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! G MONEY! G MONEY! G MONEY!
FOWLER: And G$ is crowd surfing. Epic. This Second District will be interesting… I say toss up. Now… to the top Congressional race in the state. The Third District. Kirk, tons of notes on this one.
HERBSTREIT: Chris, this is gonna get wild. OK, brutal round of elimination. If your name isn’t Funk, Zaun, Gibbons, or Rees sit down. Mark Rees warrants conversation only because he has done well with his signs and received the Register endorsement. In addition, a big Branstad push in Polk County will help Rees. But any Republican who gets the Register endorsement for saying the things Rees said in a Republican primary is toast. Oh and signs just make candidates feel good….they don’t vote.
That leaves the 3 real contenders in what I think may be the most interesting race on June 8th. Funk, fundraising has been alright, but this guy has a great story, works his tail off and has really courted the Tea-Party. I like this guy and I think he will be around. Serious potential here to cause the liberals fits.
Zaun, huge advantage in a powerful network in the Republican vote rich areas of Western Polk County. Zaun is a populist who relates well to everyone. No one out works Zaun in a campaign….ever.
Gibbons, big chucks of money, great hard worker. Yes Gibbons moved into the district to run. Guess what, that happens and it doesn’t change elections. Gibbons’s name ID isn’t that high. Quick name the ISU wrestling coach….yeah I don’t know either. Rumor has it Gibbons has lotso debt and restricted money. Not good. Also, what the heck does “Burn the Boats” mean. That might be sweet for a wrestling team moto but if you have to explain your campaign motto….every time you speak…for months on end…its not a good campaign motto.
Funk hit the ground running and looked like a dark horse. Zaun jumped in and it was his to loose until Gibbons brought his ATM fundraiser machine in and made it interesting. Where does it go from here?
My gut reaction is there is a slight Zaun edge right now. Zaun has been working it harder and longer and has better name id in the part of the district that is voter rich. Gibbons has money and is pouring it on over the airwaves he is also a stellar candidate. If Jim had jumped in sooner and run a better campaign, I would tip my hat. Funk is going to be the shocker. He will do well. A great deal of support, good candidate, hard worker. However, I don’t think he can beat Zaun or Gibbons on Election Day. Zaun wins and keeps it out convention….barely….probably.
FOWLER: That close?
HERBSTREIT: since there nearly as many candidates as voters in this election there is a very real change this goes to convention. At convention, it’s Zaun vs. Funk ant it’s frankly to close to call. Gibbons has no shot in a convention. I have heard the Zaun camp says they have enough delegates locked up to win it with ease. Trouble is Funk says they are within in striking distance too. Me thinks some one has counted wrong. Whomever we have on June 9th they are going to be a great candidate and have a great shot at taking out liberal Nancy Pelosi’s favorite central Iowan.
CROWD: Yeah!!!!!! GM *clap clap* LB *clap clap* GM *clap clap* LB *clap clap* GM *clap clap* LB *clap clap*…
FOWLER: Beano? I hate to even ask… thoughts?
BEANO: I hate to narrow this down to a three horse race, but like the Big Ten every year, I think the cream rises to the top and we all know the Gophers aren’t going to win it again this year. I remember Bo Schembechler once told me that to really win that greatest of conference titles, you had to sell your soul to Satan and beat two dozen kittens to death while naked in a corn field. Does that advice ring true in the Third? Not really, I just wanted everyone to know that Bo really hated Kittens.
FOWLER: Why? Just why?
BEANO: Anyway, The old Bean Eater is going to predict Brad Zaun in this one. As much as I would love to tell GMLB to “FUNK OFF” I go with Zaun and maybe some other clever play on words that has the Letter Z in it.
CROWD: [getting Veisha-ish rowdy… a few burning couches] Yeah!!!!!! GM *clap clap* LB *clap clap* GM *clap clap* LB *clap clap* GM *clap clap* LB *clap clap*…
FOWLER: The crowd seems to want to take ole GMLB down… Coach help us wrap up the Congressionals…
CORSO: In what is turning out to be a very exciting race to the finish… And to this point a mighty clean one I might add, Kirk.
HERBSTREIT: Darn right, Coach. A touch of class in this one.
CORSO: It’s a real two horse race with a couple decent vote getters coming in third and forth. For a race as close as this you would expect to see more mud flying, but so far it has looked like a game of gentleman. Leads me to believe, Kirk, that a couple of these candidates know something that we don’t, or are lying in the weeds ready to pounce at the last minute. I don’t particularly trust the demeanor. It could mean three things, both frontrunners Gibbons and Zaun like their polling numbers, which means one of their pollsters stink. Another possibility with funds at a premium one of them isn’t polling - which is not likely. It could be the mud slingshot is just getting calibrated for a last minute snipe. But when you study the tape, we have two solid players at the helm with different strengths. Is it political experience and motivating the team that will that will carry the day, or is it cash packed coffers that takedown the opposition. I’m really wrestling with this pick. It’s really hard to pin down who I should elect, I mean select. Let me tell you something, I keep going back and forth, reversing my opinion; the Coach, the Mayor, the Champ, the Senator, holy moly it’s a great matchup but I have to go with…. Hmmm… the Champ Jim Gibbons to win by technical fall!!! This one won’t have to go to overtime, and it’s a cant lose situation. Bye, Bye Boswell!
CROWD: [Frenzy is getting Kentucky Derby infield crazy… and chants] Bye bye Boswell!!!!! * clap clap, clap clap clap* Bye bye Boswell!!!!! * clap clap, clap clap clap* Bye bye Boswell!!!!! * clap clap, clap clap clap* Bye bye Boswell!!!!! * clap clap, clap clap clap*
FOWLER: Fellas… interesting. I agree. Should be a wild night in Central Iowa. And now… let’s go to the big one. The one everyone is talking about.
CROWD: [insane frenzy has begun… DMPD arriving in riot gear] YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
FOWLER: Now… the Des Moines Register announced their poll this weekend. And if you’re over in the Roberts or the Vander Plaats headquarters… You might need a little pep talk. And we have you covered. And now from one of the Masters… Via satellite here’s a pep talk from Lou Holtz… Coach, pep these folks up.
LOU HOLTZ: Thank you Chris. Men… I haveth to tell yeah. Helluva job.
Men… I’m talking to you fellasth in Carroll, Team Roberts. You are a classth act. You’ve come a long way down this road, if things don’t work out Tuesday, I knowth you’ll give a good clean handsthake after everything is done. Old Lou knows that bad blood can run deep, but you’re nosth that kind of men. You’ve made Old Lou proud.
Men… Team BVP… I realithe its been 82 long years since Bob first began running for governor. And there have been some rough patches. But even the bethst have had some rough patches. Look at the Rick Mirer era. But the powerhouthe programs rebound. And Bob is just that kind of powerhouthe.
Lithen here men, this is the biggetht day of your lives. Terry Bransthad might be winning in the polls. But if the last decade has taught us anything its that Bob is firstht in Hawkeye hearths. So, let’s go. It’sth time to run down the field like Raghib Ishmael with linemen blatantly clipping Colorado Buffalos at every turn. Get dirty. Bring out the big guns. And we all know there isth no bigger gun in the world than Walker Texas Ranger. He’s like Jesus, mixed with Rockne, mixed with Rod Tidwell. He will show you the money. And the vothes.
So men, it might look bleak. You might question your very being. You might wonder why you have waved signs and eaten Dutch letters, and courted evangelical pastors, and attacked any viable candidate our party could possibly put forth for what theems like an eternity. You might think to yourself that Terry Branstad is a stronger opponent than Mitt Romney. But don’t doubt yourself now. We know we have the big guy on our side.
Men, did Moses give up with the Egyptians bombed Pearl Harbor. No. Some rules are made to be broken. And some men are meant to be Championths. You are meant to be a Champion.
Be a Champion today men. Go win this thing. Irith on three.
CROWD: [riot levels at an all time QCI high]
FOWLER: From the master himself. Thank you Dr. Lou. You gotta play the game.
CORSO: I wanna run through a brick wall now! Nice job Coach!
FOWLER: And the mascot head is officially on the stage.
CROWD: [deafening roar] YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!
FOWLER: Prediction time. This is the grand daddy… and I know Beano loves him some Rose Bowl… so start us of Mr. Cook.
BEANO: Lou you know better than anyone on my take... But this one is the Notre Dame vs. Miami matchup we all want to see. I apologize to Rob Roberts as he seems like a good guy, but this is a two person dance and one that might not have a mid field handshake when all is said and done. Beano is a Big Ten guy, but is also a Big TenT guy. And no, I did not hide a secret 11 in my Big TenT. I think that I am going to call this one for the Mustache and hopefully with no collateral damage to the party.
FOWLER: Lots and lots of Notre Dame references today. Kirk, is this the year of the ‘Stache?
HERBSTREIT: Chris… This is the big one and the most anticipated Republican primary in Iowa in years. Culver is vulnerable and the winner on June 8th will have a great shot at moving to 2300 Grand Ave. With all the twists and turns this primary has taken and all the characters who have jumped in and eventually bowed out it is time to put this thing to bed.
FOWLER: Break it down for us, Kirk.
HERBSTREIT: Vander Plaats has been running for Governor since his parents were dating. I respect the guy and he works his tail off, but seriously sometimes the little engine just can’t. He has a large base of strong supporters who will outwork and outlast anyone who doesn’t have a mustache. BVP has raised more money than expected but I am not sure what they are doing with it. BVP also has support you can’t put a money value on. The IFPC took a shot of saki and aimed their plane at the USS Branstad on his behalf and Deace has been talking up BVP so much its borderline a corporate campaign contribution from the folks over on Grand. That aside, BVP has worked hard and should be commended for fighting for conservatives.
CORSO: Well put, Kirk.
HERBSTREIT: Rod Roberts is the nice guy in the race. The former pastor from Carroll has been all over the state quietly building a strong base. Roberts hasn’t had as much luck raising money but he has done the best he can on a shoestring budget. Rod is also in the right place at the right time. He will be the natural landing spot for people uneasy or unsatisfied with bringing back Branstad, and sick and tired of BVP running for Governor.
FOWLER: And Branstad?
HERBSTREIT: Terry’s reentry to the Iowa political scene did two things. Crushed the gubernatorial hopes of some candidates and made mustaches important again. These guys are putting on a clinic. Dave Vaudt’s endorsement was a prime example. Not a peep on who it was and when I did get a tip it was an hour before the announcement from someone who NEVER has bad info….and it was wrong. The KGB couldn’t keeps stuff covered this well. Fundrasing. Really if you don’t know about this then you have probably been under a rock. TEB outraised his opponents. TEB outraised his opponents combined. TEB outraised his opponents combined many times over. TEB has raised and spent more than the rest combined many times over and STILL has more on hand then they have raised combined. Either the mustache generates money or these guys just work harder than anyone thought possible. You don’t have to like the guy and you do not have to vote for him. However you cannot look at that machine and not be impressed. It was apparently impressive enough for the Democrat warlord Robert Tully to get worried find some trial lawyer money mix in some Union funding and come out guns blazing in an attempt to slow down the train.
FOWLER: You guys are loving the ‘Stache. What’s you’re score Kirk?
HERBSTREIT: The results of this race will shock people. No, no one is gonna stop the Stash, but Roberts will come from no where and finish second. Since we all know who comes out on top at the end I’ll stick my neck out and say Branstad 58, Roberts 22, BVP 20. Hats off to a well run campaign. I think all the campaigns did the best they could with what they got under the circumstances. The really bad news for Mr. Tully and Gov. Culver is the unity within the party. No matter who you support the thing I hear more often than not, is Chet has to go.
CROWD: [deafening chant] T! E! B!!!! T! E! B!!!! T! E! B!!!! T! E! B!!!! T! E! B!!!! T! E! B!!!! T! E! B!!!!
FOWLER: It’s time… the last prediction from the old coach…
HERBSTREIT: I’m going to get step away here… Coach! Bring us home!
CORSO: After a large slate of competitive and great races it comes down to the big enchilada!
HERBSTREIT: Enchilada yum, there’s this great Mexican place in Tempe Arizona that has the best enchiladas.
CORSO: Kirk, not so fast my friend… Whoo whoo we aren’t going there. I’m talking about the race for Iowa’s Chief Executive. Let’s start with the governor candidate newcomer Rod Roberts, what can you say about him, class act all the way around. Genuine good guy and he has statewide ads to boot. Not the one to sleep on, could it be the shocker of the decade? Not if the veterans have anything to say about it. Bob Vander Plaats, where have I heard that name before? It sounds very familiar, oh that’s right it’s the year 2010, another Iowa Gubernatorial election is upon us and you know what that means, Bob Vander Plaats is on your ballot folks! That’s right BVP may be Dutch but is the third time his lucky charm? He is all over my TV screen, has launched a lot mud at debates and has big money liberal backing.
FOWLER: What?! BVP has Liberal backing?
CORSO: You got that right, unsolicited too. Liberal front group Iowans for Responsible Government is running interference and is driving around in an ambiguously marked spreader slinging so much of the stinky stuff you’d thought you stepped in it! And who are they slinging that stuff at? You all know him, he’s the undefeated Hall of Famer Terry Branstad who’s seen enough, is fed up and is coming out of retirement to do something about it. This is how it’s gonna go down folks, Roberts has run a solid campaign. Lasted a lot longer than anyone thought and is taking it all the way. Upset of the decade…already? Vander Plaats has stormed Iowa for nearly a decade, he is very well known, and pretty well liked by most measures. But he has saddled himself up with some pretty undesirable company. Forget take their ball and go home, some talk about burning the boats and taking the island. This guys surrogates have left the boats, burned the bridges, scorched the earth and poisoned the well in an attempt to leave nothing behind for anyone whether it be Bob or not. With friends like those who needs enemies, right Beano?
BEANO: Notre Dame.
CORSO: When you ally with people committed to burning the entire party down to the ground, in the end it could hurt him more than it will help him. The Country is burning; these people do a lot more fighting the firemen than fighting the fires. But enough preaching from this old man let’s get to a prediction. Rod Roberts stays above the fray and… upset of the decade? I don’t think so, but he likely positioned himself for a very nice gig serving Iowans in another capacity. Bob Vander Plaats certainly has passionate supporters, but is it enough to put him over the top, could it be that his experience running for office paid off? Has the negativity stuck to Branstad? Has Governor Terry Branstads Record brought him down? Branstad has stayed above the fray and has the proven experience to run and win. But don’t call it a comeback folks… wait not so fast my friends! The Iowa comeback express will be full steam ahead on June 9th… The state of Iowa will have a clear choice between surpluses and deficits, between common sense and incompetence, between honesty and transparency or corruption and shenanigans. Between Conservative and Liberal, it will be an easier choice in November than it is now folks!
CROWD: [building frenzy of anticipation]
CORSO: Governor Branstad has kicked ass then and he’ll do it again. [slaps the desk] I’m going Branstad!!! [Corso puts on Branstad mascot head]
CROWD: [ear bleeding roar and chant] YEAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! TEB! TEB! TEB! TEB!
CORSO: Yeah!!!!!!! The ‘Stache is back!!!!!! TEB! TEB!
CROWD: [DMPD riot squads begin marching… crowd out of hand] TEB! TEB! TEB! TEB! TEB!
FOWLER: There you have it. Predictions have been made and the vote is on. Don’t for get to vote everyone! Good night, now.