Tag Archives: Rod Blum

Iowa’s Election Post Mortem

Iowa did its part in providing a check on the Trumping of America by flipping two Republican held seats in the House of Representatives.

Abby Finkenauer defeated Rod Blum in the 1st district race.  The result was largely expected nationally and locally as Rod Blum was just about the worst caricature of Washington D.C. you could imagine.  I am no fan of Rod Blum and look forward to being represented by someone who is not as ethically challenged as Iowa’s Splenda version of Donald Trump.

A little less expected was Cindy Axne’s defeat of David Young in the 3rd district.  Polling was kind of all over the place—which has to be considered the new normal in U.S. politics—but Axne ended up winning by a comfortable margin.

The most surprising result of the night, in my opinion, was Kim Reynolds’ victory over Fred Hubbell.  The margin was not large–~33,000 votes—and if I add up the vote totals for the four house races the Democrats’ total was within less than 1,000 votes of Reynolds’ total.  So, there was some serious ticket splitting going on somewhere in Iowa.  It looks like we get a few more years of tax giveaways to multi-national corporations, health care privatization that costs more money, and budget shenanigans in the name of tax cuts for the wealthy.  Welcome to the Republican Party in 2018!

Iowa has become a messy state politically.  It was a harbinger of Barack Obama’s two victories, but it swung hard for Trump in 2016.  Now it appears as if the state is swinging back toward something resembling sanity.  It is my opinion that this bodes well for the election in 2020 as Iowa will be one of the states that is hotly contested despite its low number of electoral votes.  Combine that with the first in the nation caucus for presidential hopefuls and it adds up to an eventful two years ahead of the Hawkeye State.

Unfortunately, Iowa is still stuck with the stain on humanity that is Steve King.  The 4th district came within 8,000 votes of sending Steve King to the speaking circuit of white nationalists and neo-Nazis.  He won, but not by a lot, and I hope that the Democratic Party works hard over the next two years to build up both a candidate and ground game to unseat that racist clown.

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Is Rod Blum Desperate?

Some pundits are saying that Rod Blum is cooked in the 1st district midterm election.  Polls are not favorable.  Republicans are pulling support.  He has a pesky ethics investigation to deal with now.  And, never mind, he is basically a facsimile of Trump’s worldview. 

This does not bode well in a midterm election that is seen as a referendum on everything Trump.  What else tells me that Rod Blum is cooked?  His supporters, namely the Republican Party of Iowa, is desperate to paint his opponent as a younger version of Nancy Pelosi.  This is the mailer that I received in the mail earlier this week:

Rod Blum Mailer Page 1.jpg

The Golden Gate Bridge and the dollars floating down are really subtle.  Like Trump mocking people subtle.  I am half surprised that this mailer does not include some mid-90s melded picture of Nancy Pelosi and Abby Finkenauer under the heading “Finkenauer is the Evil Love Child of San Francisco Liberal Nancy Pelosi.”  Hold on, I should not give Republicans any ideas for their next mailer.  By the way, my address is home to two registered Democrats so sending this mailer is a real waste of money.  Not my money, but it is still a waste.

The Republican Party of Iowa is treading a fine line here lambasting anyone for taking political contributions from questionable sources.  In 2016 the Republican Party of Iowa received $9000 from the Trump Organization and $5000 from Koch Industries.  Hmmm, that sounds like about the same amount of money that they are harping on Blum’s opponent for receiving.

Rod Blum and his allies are cooked because their entire strategy is to just say the world “liberal” over and over again.  This is what your college Republicans did when they got too drunk on Goldschlager and wanted to sound like the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.  The problem is that people actually like progressive ideas if candidates are willing to run in support of them.  It is tough to run on a platform of giving more money to the rich and making everyone else pay by taking stuff away.

Rod Blum Speaks, Sort Of

Over the course of the past few weeks I have been unrelenting in my correspondence with Rod Blum, who happens to be my representative for the 1st District of Iowa in the U.S. House of Representative.  Over the same period of time I have been critical of Rod Blum, in general, due to his relative lack of transparency with voters and his imperial attitude when it came to his own ethical standards.  Granted, when you are living in the world of Trump nothing is beyond the pale.

Well, Rod Blum finally got back to me in writing and it was not a formulaic email thanking me for my interest in whatever topic.  It is as underwhelming as you would imagine:

Thank you for contacting me directly and sharing your concerns regarding the impeachment of President Trump.  It is an honor to serve you in Congress and I appreciate your input on topics such as this.  [NOTE: I did not call for the impeachment of President Trump.  I called for investigations into President Trump’s potentially illegal activity.]

I take any allegations of unethical or illegal activity by public officials very seriously.  Similarly, as a staunch defender of your Constitutionally-guaranteed rights, I believe strongly in the unalienable right to due process.  Our President deserves the same Constitutional rights as every other Americans, and it is unacceptable to deny such rights.  [NOTE: No one is asking to deny the President of the United States his right to due process.  We are asking that Congress do its job and investigate.]

If credible evidence is presented that the President was involved in criminal behavior related to his time in office, I will join my colleagues in denouncing that action and calling for the appropriate proceedings.  My commitment to ethical behavior does not exempt the oval office [sic]

At this point, President Trump has not been even accused of charges by our completely independent judicial branch and I decline to participate in speculation.  I have full faith and confidence in the legal process of this country and I am grateful for the department’s work.  [NOTE: The Judicial Branch is not the same as the Department of Justice, which would be tasked with investigating a crime.  The Department of Justice is headed by someone appointed by the President, thus it is of questionable independence.]

The White House and witnesses have cooperated with the Special Counsel and have turned over more than one million pages of documents.  I am confident that they will continue to cooperate.  [NOTE: There is much more to the potential illegal activity that occurs under the aegis of President Trump than the allegations of collusion with Russia.  My concern runs to a whole host of issues besides potential collusion.]

Thank you again for taking your time to share your opinion on this matter.

Complete and utter garbage.  Rod Blum, or some staffer, regurgitated Fox News approved word salad that in some cases does not even make sense.  This is what you get when your member of Congress is more concerned with pandering to Trump supporters than actually doing his job.

I would ask Rod Blum, who is supposed to do the investigative work to determine if President Trump or anyone in his administration has acted illegally?  During President Obama’s time in office Congress took glee in bringing officials before its committees to “investigate” even the slightest whiff of malfeasance.  Never mind that most charges were little more than Alex Jones approved conspiracy theories fanned by the bloviating of Sean Hannity.

Rod Blum and the rest of the Republican party in control of Congress has abdicated their duty to act as a check and balance on the power of the executive.  It is their marching orders to ignore any damage done to the fabric of this country as long as the judiciary is packed with judges that hew to their partisan line and tax cuts keep going to the wealthy.

Two Approaches to the Environment on the Ballot this Midterm Election

In November we will be given a choice to change the direction of the United States politically.  As is the case every two years the entirety of the U.S. House of Representatives is up for election.  Many of the House districts in the United States are drawn in such a way that partisan incumbents face little challenge to their reelection bids.

In Iowa, however, relatively fairly drawn House districts mean that we have an actually competitive race between incumbent Rod Blum, no friend of this blog, and Democratic challenger Abby Finkenauer.

As an environmentalist I think comparing the candidates’ views on climate change to be instructive as it serves as a point of departure from the Trump wing of America and the rest of the country.

Rod Blum is a climate change denier.  As a member of the arch-conservative and downright wacky House Freedom Caucus Blum has not met an environmental rule or agreement that he did not want to gut like a catfish.  In 2014 he went on the record as a skeptic of climate change.  He supported Trump’s move to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.  While in office he has continued to financially benefit from oil and gas stocks while moving to open up public lands to more oil and gas drilling.

The League of Conservation voters nailed it by giving Rod Blum a 2% lifetime score when it comes to national environmental issues.  Honestly, I am quite surprised he managed to drum up 2% given his voting record.  He’s basically Scott Pruitt, but from Dubuque, Iowa.

Contrast that with Abby Finkenauer, who has an entire section of her campaign website dedicated to the environment and clean energy.  Entitled “Growing our Clean Energy Economy and Protecting our Environment” it states that:

I’ll play a similar watchdog role in Congress, and will just as firmly stand up to attempts to weaken key programs and measures that fight climate change, grow our clean energy economy, and protect our environment. Ultimately it’s time we had a representative who fights for Iowa families – ensuring they can live in healthy environments supported by good jobs – rather than standing with corporate polluters and those opposed to science.

A-freaking-men!

I believe that the choice of what is right for Iowa’s 1st district and, thus, the United States is to vote for Abby Finkenauer this November.  It’s just the planet that is counting on you.

What Does Rob Blum Have to Say for Himself?

Iowa’s incumbent 1st District Congressman Rod Blum does not want to answer for his record or, rather, his lack of a record on any issues of substance during his two terms in Congress.

As a member of the arch conservative House Freedom Caucus, Blum has been a rubber stamp for some of the worst impulses of the modern right wing in America.

Tax cuts that bankrupt the Treasury, but enrich the wealthiest Americans?  Check.

Attempting to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act without offering anything in the way of a replacement that would protect average Americans?  Check.

Allowing corruption to run rampant through his own caucus with nary a word of protest?  Check.

Providing no oversight or investigations into the corrupt and unethical Trump administration because a notionally Republican president is a good thing for their own agenda?  Check.

Well, what do you expect from a member of Congress embroiled in his own ethical scandal who trots out the well-worn Trump line that any investigation into a Republican is a “witch hunt?”

Furthermore, Rod Blum will not answer to his own constituents about these and many more issues.  In the past two weeks I have contacted his office on ten separate occasions regarding questions of revocation of U.S. citizens passports, general corruption in the Trump administration, breaches of security protocols at all levels of government, and unethical behavior on the part of the president without a single response beyond a form email acknowledging my contact.

It is time for Rod Blum to do something for the people of Iowa and walk away.  I am sure that the money he secured for himself by cutting his own tax bill will provide enough succor on those cold winter nights in Dubuque.

Running Rod Blum

Rod Blum is running.

Rod Blum is running for reelection in Iowa’s 1st District.  Congressman Blum is considered one of the more vulnerable Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections.   The 1st district went heavily for Barack Obama in 2012, but swung Trump’s way in 2016.  In 2018 the district is likely to snap back and smack Rod Blum in the teeth.

Rod Blum is running from his unethical behavior.  In true Trumpian fashion Congressman Blum has declared any investigation into his unethical behavior to be a witch hunt.

Rod Blum is running from hard questions.  Just like the time Congressman Blum ran out of an interview rather than answer a question, he has gone silent on any number of issues that pertain to the ethical and/or criminal activities of the Trump administration.

Rod Blum is running from his own record in Congress.  Rod Blum has a 100% score from Americans for Prosperity.  You know those guys because the organization is basically a front for the Koch’s to spend millions of dollars of dark money in the hopes of influencing elections and getting legislation passed that allows them to profit off the people of America.  Rod Blum has a 93% score from the National Rifle Association.  Yes, the same National Rifle Association that clings to ridiculous rhetoric in the face of changing public opinion and scores of school shootings.  Heck, Rod Blum as a 70% rating from the freaking John Birch Society.

Rod Blum is running and hopefully in January he is running home to Dubuque from Washington D.C.

Why No Hearings or Investigations Congressman Blum?

In 2016 Rod Blum was very concerned about the state of security around Hilary Clinton’s emails.  During a hearing, in which the technical expertise of Clinton was roundly mocked, Blum noted, “This would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.”

I am very happy to see that Rod Blum is concerned about the serious nature of security lapses in a presidential administration.  Surely, he has called for hearings or investigations into similar lapses by the Trump administration?

The sound you hear is crickets coming from the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives.  For all of the fire and fury around emails when Barack Obama there has been no outcry over the many security lapses of the Trump administration.

Starting this week I have sent an email per day on the subject of the lack of investigations and/or hearings into the many issues surrounding the current presidential administration.  At the end of this post you can see the sample text that I have been sending.

Here is what Rod Blum’s office sent in reply to pointed questions about hearings or investigations of security lapses under the Trump administration:

“…”

That is right.  I have heard nothing in response to many inquiries.  Why?  Republicans in Congress do not give a shit about what Trump does as long as he keeps delivering on their corrupt agenda.

The general thrust is that Republicans could give a shit what Trump does as long as he cuts taxes, installs compliant activist judges, and generally does the bidding of the kleptocrat class without making them look too bad.  He has succeeded on the first two, but Trump is a miserable freaking failure when it comes to not being an embarrassment.

Republicans in Congress have the power to convene hearings and conduct investigations into the corrupt practices of the Trump administration.  You can rest assured that as long as Republicans control Congress that this power will be kept under lock and key.

What say you Rod Blum?