“The nuts and bolts of it is that he’s wrong about the issues,” saids Jim Mowrer, the Iraq war veteran who is running against King this time around. We’re sitting on one of those wonderful front porches that you find in small midwestern towns, where you can see who’s coming down the block for yards in either direction, so you can get ready to say hello. “That’s part of the equation, ” Mowrer continued. “But the other part is that he’s been terrible for the district. He’s been in Congress for 12-and-a-half years. He’s never passed any legislation. He’s never brought anything back to Iowa. And, if he had any standing with the House leadership, he’d be the next chairman of the (House) agriculture committee, because he’s got the most seniority. But he’s not. It’s going to be Representative [Michael] Conaway from Texas. They’re not going to give the gavel to him because the Republican leadership doesn’t like him. They think he’s dangerous. John Boehner has said that Steve King doesn’t speak for the Republican party. If he were going to be the next chair of the Agriculture committee, that would be huge for Iowa. Instead, he has a selfish, Tea Party agenda. So, instead, they’re going to give the chairmanship to a representative who’s against the renewable fuel standard. Do you think that’s good for Iowa? It’s not.”
See? That’s the way you run against a crazy person. You don’t close your eyes to the crazy, nor do you flail at it until you find yourself insulting not the crazy person, but the people who have voted for the crazy person, and then you lose from here to there because people don’t like to be reminded that they voted for the crazy people. What you do is what Mowrer did — you point out that the crazy person is more dedicated to the crazy than he is to the well-being of the people who voted for him. It may not work; Mowrer is trailing in all the polls. But it is the way to make people like Steve King own what they’ve done to their state, and their party, with the reckless grandstanding in pursuit of the cheers from the monkeyhouse.
He may not win, but he has put up the fight. “It’s something worth fighting for,” Jim Mowrer said. “I disagree with Congressman King on almost every issue. I think he represents what’s wrong with political discourse, what’s wrong with Washington, and he has a Tea Party agenda that’s opposed to everything I believe. So that makes it a fight worth fighting.” But, often, not even a broad landscape that seems now to be alive with movement can shift fast enough. The mills grind on, though, exceedingly slow.