I cast my early ballot for Chet Culver a few days ago, as a matter of record. But elections are a fair measure of how contenders mix it up in vigorous, even unfair, debate — and Chet Culver is coming up short. He answers body blows with silence, as though comatose, and does not counterpunch. And he has no sense of history.
does. He's got an upbeat "Iowa is beautiful" message out there, and it's a page ripped straight out of Dick Clark's play book. Of course, it's also Reagan's "morning in America" ad, but the allusion to Dick Clark is too obvious to put down.
Culver's negatives are personal — stature and gravity, nimbleness and wit. He can't really blame the off-the-wall slime buckets at the RNCC for losing this election. He's not answering the slimers, and that's a huge mistake.
Bob Ray, Terry Branstad, Jim Nussle... Ok. The Iowa Governor's job is so boring, maybe it takes a real pedestrian to put up with it — or want it bad enough to care. I really get the impression Culver views the Governorship as a stepping stone to 2010 and a run for the U.S. Senate, even though the job has actually been a political dead end since at least Harold Hughes.
Culver will lose on November 7, and I don't know if that's a pity. If he does, it's time to move aside and let better wits develop Iowa's future.†If you're looking for footnotes about who these people are, and what happened when, ask your betters.