What Iowa says about today’s Republican Party and it is not pretty!

January 3, 2012 NYT Editorial

Iowa Caucuses

The Iowa caucuses, in which a nation awaits the verdict of a handful of some of its least representative citizens, are not going to settle the race for the Republican nomination for president. But they did put on display the choice the Republicans present to voters: right, far right or the far, far right.
The caucuses Tuesday night were headed to an astonishing draw between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, followed by Ron Paul. More than anything, the tight finish suggested that Mr. Romney has had a hard time selling his recently minted conservatism to hard-core Republican conservatives; two-thirds of caucusgoers identified themselves as Tea Party supporters.

The Republican caucuses only do a middling job of predicting who will win the presidency in November. But, this year, perhaps more than others, they were an important event to watch for any American voter.
The errors, absurd misstatements and unrelenting extremism were not the result of some ?gotcha? moment in which a candidate was cornered in an interview or debate by a tricky (or maybe not so tricky) question. The Republicans have had months, millions of dollars and the advantage of there being no competing Democratic contest, to present the images of their own choosing ? and they are dark and disturbing.

The candidates were all nasty to each other; Newt Gingrich called Mr. Romney a ?liar? on Tuesday. But when it came to President Obama, they were off the charts with baseless charges that would be laughable if they were not so insulting to the president and to the intelligence of voters.

Iowa?s economy is not as bad as that in many parts of the country, so the candidates mainly tried to outbid each other in pandering to its socially conservative Republicans. Mr. Gingrich served up a right-wing theology that would dismantle every social advance since the institution of child labor laws and eviscerate the judiciary that has protected civil rights for a half-century.
Mr. Santorum talked endlessly about his opposition to a woman?s right to choose an abortion and gay Americans? right to marry, while insisting that he would protect Americans? right to carry guns anywhere at anytime.

Even then, he had a hard time keeping up with Representative Michele Bachmann, founder of the House Tea Party caucus, who said she was the only Republican who would defend ?faith, marriage and the protection of life from conception to natural death.?

Representative Paul delighted young crowds with his libertarian slogans ? no war, no Federal Reserve, basically no government ? but seemed to have no real ideas other than to follow the literal words of the Constitution. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas based virtually his entire appeal on his religious faith ? a desperation play that failed and led him to retreat to Texas to decide whether to continue his obviously pointless candidacy.

In the middle of all this, of course, was Mr. Romney, no real conservative trying to be all forms of conservative ? forswearing his belief in abortion rights and global warming while insisting the health care reform he championed in Massachusetts isn?t right for the rest of the country. He rivaled Mr. Gingrich in his false attacks on Mr. Obama, including claiming that the president travels the world apologizing for America.

As the Republican competition moves to New Hampshire next week, it is likely to focus less on social issues and more on economic issues. But that means even more of the slash-and-burn economics and class warfare that were also on display here.

Primaries bring out the extremism in candidates, but this year seems much worse because the ?center? of the Republican Party has lurched so far to the right. The only good news in this primary season is that the more Americans listen to the Republican hopefuls, the more the voters will realize how out of touch these candidates are with the majority of American

McCall is moving forward, making improvements

Thought you might want to hear something from Jackie Aymon, McCall City Councilperson

Star News 12-22-11

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Mr. Jim Tracy?s letter posted in the Dec. 15, 2011 edition of The Star-News (?McCall elections will ensure more incompetence, waste?).

First, let me start by saying thank you Mr. Tracy for being an active participant in local government. It is refreshing when someone has an opinion and the courage to put it in writing.

Secondly, I agree wholeheartedly with the assertion that Nic Swanson is an excellent city council member. He is truly a local treasure and I am honored to work with Nic on the council. With that said, there are a few debatable points listed in Mr. Tracy?s letter.

It is clear Mr. Tracy missed the public work session on the city snowplow plan. Had he attended, read The Star-News, or checked the city Web site, he would have learned that the city adopted a snow plow plan as well as, purchased a snow gate to be trialed this winter. I am hoping it will snow so we can test our new plan and equipment. Keep in mind, plans often need tweaking and look for improvements as we gain experience.

Then there is the sundial in beautiful Legacy Park. It is thanks to the McCall Urban Renewal District that Legacy Park was built. Urban renewal districts are taxing districts, the same as hospital taxing districts, and the city did not fund this project. Fortunately the city gets to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

City buildings, like many buildings built in the 1980s, are in need of up update and repair. Recent improvements include an energy- efficient retrofit and improvements to our campus internet capabilities. Plans for a new city campus are part of the Comprehensive Plan, McCall?s guiding document. Big projects take discussion, planning and years to bring online. A new city campus is a hope for the future.

The sewer system has a rough and murky history. There have been many suits and countersuits throughout. This year the current council settled the last piece of the J-Ditch litigation, as well as a long-standing suit with the sewer district.

An advisory committee composed of experts from the city, sewer district, and an independent advisor was tasked with providing us with the best and most cost effective way forward in treating and discharging our future waste water. This process is ongoing and there will be public meetings and hearings in the future to guide our decision.

Finally, our city staffs, including the city manager and police officers, are hard-working, enthusiastic people who serve the city well. We also have a host of advisory committees and boards that are run by capable and talented volunteers. In difficult economic times, the city of McCall is moving forward and making modest improvements we can afford.

Competence is often viewed through the eyes of the beholder and voters get to decide that. I have three college degrees, none in city government. What that means is college was cheaper in the ?olden days? and I know how to study. I cannot speak for my fellow council members, but I can tell you they are smart, engaged, and committed to doing their very best for McCall and the people we serve. Again, thank you Mr. Tracy for voicing your opinion.

Jackie J. Aymon, McCall City Council