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Professor Analyses Condition of the State Address
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - While Iowa Governor Terry Branstad could be the longest serving governor in history by this time next year, he definitely has his critics. The annual Condition of the State address Tuesday morning at the State House in Des Moines offered one more chance for them to take shots at the 67-year-old who has not yet announced his plans to run for a record 6th term. Some Democrats say the speech lacked vision, ignored critical issues and showed the incumbent Republican to be a tired politician lacking energy. While there wasnt any fire and brimstone or podium pounding, Coe College Political Science Professor and Lipsky Chair Bruce Nesmith says hes confident that was by design. It was a very calming, quiet, unadventurous speech. Nesmith says the state of Iowa isnt in crisis, rivers arent flooding, factories arent closing so theres no reason to propose risky visions or any radical change in direction. I dont know that Governor Branstad has ever been particularly a visionary .. I dont think that is his base of support and I dont think that is what the electorate expects of him .. and if they did they would probably have elected somebody else.
Nesmith says the Steady as she goes approach works especially well in contrast to all the fighting among lawmakers in Washington that Iowans seem to detest. Critics including State Senator Jack Hatch blasted the governor because he never mentioned critical issues in his speech, such as clean water, better roads or cutting healthcare costs. But Professor Nesmith notes those are items that make waves and thats not all Branstad left out of his address. There was also nothing in there in terms of quote - unquote red meat for the right .. nothing about abortion or the death penalty or anything that we're going to do to make conservatives happy.
Nesmith says while some may see the governors speech as too laid back, he says he thinks it matches the mood of voters as Branstad makes plans to announce hes running for re-election. Theres an ancient football clich from very conservative coaches that if you put the ball in the air three things can happen and two of them are bad. I think thats kind of Governor Branstads approach and I think its one that goes over well with Iowans. Nesmith says he hasnt seen any hints of someone else in the Republican party positioning themselves for a run for governor and he would be shocked if Branstad decides not to seek re-election.