We know what our representatives think of us, but they’re usually careful about letting themselves be recorded saying it. Here’s a case of a rising Congressman who messed up.

Representative Bruce Braley (D) of Iowa aspires to replace the retiring Senator Tom Harkin, a long-serving left-wing Democrat. It looks like Braley has a lock on the Democrat nomination, and the state seems likely to return a Democrat to the Senate. Thus Braley is in a good position.

So Braley hit the road to collect campaign funds. He attended a fundraiser in Texas, where he met with lawyers. Unaware that he was being recorded, this is what Braley said to his friends.

“If you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice — someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years in a visible and public way on the Senate Judiciary. Or you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary. Because if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the next chair of the Senate Judiciary.”

So the man who would be Senator warns trial lawyers of the dire consequences if Iowa ends up being represented by a — gasp! — farmer. No, lawyers need a lawyer to attend to their interests, and block that nasty tort reform.

Having been exposed, Braley rushed to apologize for his unfortunate remarks.

“I apologize to Sen. Grassley and anyone I may have offended,” Braley said. “My parents both grew up on Iowa farms during the Great Depression. It deeply influenced who they are and who I am, and gave me a profound appreciation for what farmers do for the world.”

Perhaps he’s sincere. It may be that Braley thinks farmers are just dandy…as long, of course, as they stay on their farms and away from where they don’t belong. Just remember your place and don’t get uppity.

Braley goes on to assure skeptics that he is indeed the farmers’ friend, and not a tool for the lawyers who mocks farm boys.

“There is a clear choice in this race between Mark Jacobs and my other opponents who support policies that are bad for Iowa farmers, and the work I’ve done hand in hand with Iowa farmers to grow Iowa’s farm economy and create good paying Iowa farm jobs,” Braley said in the statement.

This is what we have representing us. And we wonder why the Republic is in trouble.

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4 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. Pat_S says:

    Grassley isn’t exactly fresh off the farm. From his bio:

    Occupation: Farmer (son, Robin, currently operates family farm); sheet metal shearer 1959-1961; assembly line worker 1961-1971; elected to Iowa Legislature 1958; U.S. House of Representatives 1974, U.S. Senate 1980

    Education: B.A. 1955, M.A. 1956 Political Science, University of Northern Iowa; Ph.D. work, University of Iowa

    Tell me how his occupation is farmer when he’s been in the Senate for 34 years. He’s a career politician. Now there’s a reason not to like him.

    • Maynard says:

      Pat, I wouldn’t be surprised. Yes, the full story, in context and with background details, is probably messier. But even lacking that, Braley’s elitism is certainly…interesting, especially in a farm state. And of course, Braley isn’t running against Grassley; he’s just called up to represent (rightly or wrongly) the contrast between farmer-politicians and lawyer-politicians.

      I’m flashing back to a line in The Wolf of Wall Street, said by an investigator to the swindler: “Most of the Wall Street jackasses I bust are douchebags, just like their fathers before them. But you… you, Jordan, got this way all on your own.” It’s an unfair generalization I know, but that’s my gut-level reaction to most lawyers; they’re people that, in many cases, have systematically and deliberately degraded themselves. Yes, we need lawyers at times. But when they’re running the world, we’re all hosed.

  2. Alain41 says:

    I don’t know if the major newspaper in Iowa, The Des Moines Register (liberal), has editorialized on this yet, but it does have a good article quoting/pointing out pro and con. The weak position/response of Republicans interests me.

    “Tweets with the hashtag #brucebraleyquotes contained fake quotes of Braley criticizing Nile Kinnick, Dan Gable and other Iowa icons.” (I realize that this is apeing Braley’s criticism of Grassley, but it’s the wrong approach imho. Fake quote critical of World Hall of Fame wrestler and coach Danny Mack (Dan) Gable, sheesh. (He turned inward to wrestling as a boy after his 19 yr. old older sister (only sibling) was murdered.))

    “Gov. Terry Branstad offered blistering criticism Wednesday, telling reporters at the Capitol: “I think that this is something that Iowans will not forget. I think it is awful. I think it is terrible, that somebody running for office in Iowa would go to Texas to raise money from trial lawyers and then put down our senior senator and the farmers of the state of Iowa,” said Branstad, who recently had a fundraiser in Texas for his own campaign.” (Oopsie on the Texas fundraiser comment.)

    “The target of Braley’s remarks — Grassley — seemed to have no interest in fueling the fires.” (Why would that be? Because any strong response would clarify that he is a career politician as Pat S. has written?)


  3. Kitten says:

    Most lawyers and politicians are of the same ilk, imho.

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