Legislative mad libs. I’ve even filled in some suggestions.
No need to thank me. Here we go.
DES MOINES — Republicans who control the Iowa Legislature are pursuing legislation that would target (university professors, transgender kids, low-income renters, women, public schools, teachers, early voters, older Iowans, disabled people,people receiving state help>, amid a pandemic and the entire city of Des Moines) by (banning, prohibiting, defunding, suppressing, shortening, tracking, hobbling, chilling or chopping) the way those Iowans (vote, teach, work, learn, love, live, vote and think.)
Iowa loves the Hawkeyes. Their games are played across the state on TV and radio for tailgates, at small-town bars and restaurants and in the cabs of combines.
The trouble is much of our state seems to hate the University of Iowa.1
The University of Iowa, along side its sibling institutions in Ames and Cedar Falls, is a huge economic engine for the state. Each year, these public schools are and being responsible for billions — $11.8 billion in the most recent study — plus employment for 1 in 14 Iowans. In the midst of a pandemic the University of Iowa’s healthcare system has been a backstop for the state.
It’s easy to cheer Luka Garza’s dominance, or aw-shucks another football loss to Northwestern, but that it’s-great-to-be-a-Hawkeye energy doesn’t prevent the plenty of animosity towards the parent institution.
I guess it’s hard to root for a university epidemiologist critical of the state’s COVID response. Or a tenured performance artist who dresses up as a robot to hassle elected officials. Or a law professor who’s so pissed about Republican extremism she gets elected to the state legislature.2
And so, year after year, politicians gather in Des Moines to pass laws, or at least to file messaging bills, just out of spite towards Iowa City and Johnson County, the liberal bastion that benefits the most directly from the institution. Banning a ban on housing discrimination. Forcing a lower minimum wage. Even banning bans on goddamn plastic bags.
But direct assaults on the University of Iowa have been mostly limited to big GOP donors having install university presidents in questionable proceedings.
Until this year.
Now the Republican-led legislature advanced a slew of bills meant simply to punish the University of Iowa and its sibling institutions.
That this is all nose-despite-your-face bad policy is obvious — not a single lobbyist has registered in support and plenty have registered opposed. But good policy isn’t the point. The point, in a state that was once so proud of its commitment to public education, is simple: to hollow out the University of Iowa and own the Iowa City libs.
It’s great to be a Hawkeye. It just sucks to be the University of Iowa.
1 | John Deeth often writes about the local issue of “Love The Hawkeyes Hate The Students,” which I think is a different, though perhaps related, issue than what I’m writing about here.
2 | The closest the actual Hawkeyes seem to have come is kneeling during the national anthem, which was enough for the Trump-loving, long-time equipment hauler to, um, suddenly part ways with the team.
Zients pulled no punches in characterizing the challenge. “Uneven at best” was how he described the administration’s effort, which largely consisted of dropping everything in state officials’ laps. “We’re struck by the incompetence across the board,” he underscored. “Worse than we could have imagined,” he repeated.
“Worse than we could have imagined” is the Trump Administration’s motto.
Sasse’s constant flip-flops are nearly as odious as the brazen opportunism of Hawley and Cruz. It’s merely opportunism by a different name, cloaked in the gauzy rhetoric of American ideals. The Nebraska Senator is that most loathsome of political figures: a person who preaches the virtues of democracy and political compromise and then violates those words the moment it’s in his political interest to do so.
There’re a lot of ways to be spineless.
Trump’s liars don’t merit that same golden parachute. Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie.
“Nothing—and I repeat, nothing—I’m saying about the violent attack on Washington is an accurate representation of how I really feel,” said Lindsey Graham in a video lauded by anchors across CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News for being “powerful” and “healing,” before adding that the expressions of anger and sadness that his facial expression implied were also entirely false.
No words are sufficient to describe the events of yesterday.
The extra-Constitutional violence, seditious words and action by the President and his supporters, and undemocratic coup attempt by members of Congress and white supremacists and fascists, has been aided and abetted by Republicans for years, further exposed the broken systems we’ve failed to repair, and was entirely predictable and predicted.
Many enablers are frantically trying to distance themselves through words and resignation, and to draw lines and make a show of standing up. This is necessary, but not sufficient. They must offer unconditioned rejections of these attempts to unlawfully overturn democratic elections. They must be hold the President accountable, and they must held accountable.
Tonight, President Trump tweeted in defense of Operation Warp Speed and slower-than-promised vaccine distribution that “It is up to the States to distribute the vaccines once brought to the designated areas by the Federal Government. We have not only developed the vaccines, including putting up money to move the process along quickly, but gotten them to the states.” (All sic, of course. Promoted by criticism from President-elect Biden, Trump threw in a “Biden failed with Swine Flu!”)
This is echoes of whatever-the-hell-his-title Jared Kushner’s insistence that the national strategic stockpile of PPE was not the states’ to actually use. We know how that’s worked out.
Sen. Joni Ernst has been posting on her official social media channels about Operation Warp Speed, which has been, setting aside declining additional Pfizer vaccine over the summer, one of the Trump Administration’s few success stories in a pandemic that killed more than 3,000 Americans yesterday alone.
I’m fascinated by her use of the past tense here, since exactly zero Americas have received an approved vaccine yet, and we don’t expect widespread vaccine availability until summer 2021 at best.
But it wouldn’t be the first time a politician prematurely and patriotically trumpeted success.