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Windy nation

BY BEAU ELLIOT | OCTOBER 26, 2010 7:15 AM

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There’s a big-wind warning for today and Wednesday, which surprises me a bit.

I mean, with Terry Branstad, Charles Grassley, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks running for public office, there’s been a lot of big wind going on for some time now.

(Yeah, yeah, I know; Gov. Chet Culver is also running for re-election to public office. The Michelin man not big wind; he’s little wind. I mean, have you ever heard him speak? It’s like listening to a sleeping pill speak. You wake up 30 minutes later and feel like Rip Van Winkle.)

Branstad in particular is curious. I mean, he’s already been the governor of Iowa for four terms, which works out to 16 years if you’re trying to do the arithmetic at home. What in the world could he do as governor that he hasn’t already done? you have to wonder. Outside of raising taxes again.

(Well, OK, you don’t “have to” wonder; it’s not as if the City Council is going to pass an ordinance forcing you to wonder what Branstad would do. Although, come to think of it, the City Council is quite practiced at passing ordinances to regulate your behavior. Who knew that we had elected a pack of behavioral psychologists? Not to besmirch the reputation of behavioral psychologists.)

What I find especially amusing about Branstad is his stump speech, in which he severely criticizes Culver for the governor’s 10 percent across-the-board budget cut last year, then, in the next paragraph (assuming, of course, that Branstad speaks in paragraphs), goes on to promise a 15 percent budget cut to balance said budget.

According to recent reports, however, the state of Iowa is running a budget surplus. (So, does that mean the state’s public universities will get some more funding? Hold your breath if you want. Just means there’s more air for the rest of us.)

In other news, Rand Paul, the Republican and famously Tea Party-backed candidate for Senate in Kentucky, will grace Iowa City with his presence. Which I applaud. I always love it when tea-drinking folk come to this coffee-loving town.

Curious (there’s that word again), though, that a recent letter writer to the DI described him as an elder statesman. I mean, is Rand Paul old enough to be “elder”?

And statesman?

Rand Paul as a statesman is, well, just too hilarious to contemplate for longer than around two seconds. Not to bring up ancient history or anything, but Paul, as a college student, once tied up a woman and forced her to kneel and worship something called “Aqua Buddha.”

Aqua Buddha?

What was he thinking? More importantly, what was he drinking? Doesn’t sound much like tea. Somebody alert the City Council.

Yeah, statesman-like. On the other hand, it’s Kentucky. (No offense to my friend Chris, who is from there. On the other other hand, I still remember the night at the Mill that his shirt got Kentucky-fied.)

I mean, the Senate seat is that of Jim Bunning, who is known as a great baseball pitcher and an imbecile in the Senate.

But meanwhile, back at Paul - this is the kind of guy we would like to see in the Senate, a guy who likes to tie up women?

Oh, well. It’s America. In which, a U.N. study finds that, contrary to what had been believed, smoking and obesity have little to do with the low life expectancy in the United States when compared with the rest of the industrialized world.

The culprit is the U.S. health-care system, says the report.

Good thing those conservatives are going to stop Obamacare in its tracks, right?

And good thing the right wing is going to win in the November elections, because they can turn the clock back to the fine old days when nobody but the upper class and the upper-middle class could afford health insurance.

That way, the United States can get the government out of health care (well, if we ignore Medicare and Medicaid and the federal and state money that goes into public hospitals and public-school medical schools) and nestle back into its spot behind Albania in infant-mortality rates. Not to put Albania down, but who’s got the biggest GDP in the world and who’s got a GDP that’s a whisper in comparison?

Windy enough for you?


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