We didn’t hear Rep. Bruce Braley sneering at Sen. Charles Grassley in the widely distributed video that’s igniting campaign discussions.

The video shows Braley pitching attorneys in Texas for campaign support. He tells them that Grassley is certain to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee if Republicans win the Senate. Then Braley warned them this would put a farmer, not a lawyer, running the powerful committee.

We didn’t hear any insult.

We heard a disastrous campaign strategy.

Grassley is more apt to describe himself as an Iowa farmer rather than a career politician. But anyone who’s met with Grassley knows the aw-shucks demeanor masks a dogged legislator who has proven himself an able negotiator, taxpayer defender and probing interrogator during his 33 years in the Senate.

Braley was crazy to suggest to anyone that a lawyer, by training alone, is more capable on that committee. We’re not sure even Texas attorneys bought it.

We know few in Iowa would.

Braley should know better. He’s been demeaned for being a trial lawyer, by some who unfairly equate that term with an opportunistic chiseler. We know trial lawyers perform essential work seeking justice for aggrieved individuals and companies. We think most Iowans intellectually understand it, too.

But in an Iowa popularity contest, trial lawyer wouldn’t even get honorable mention versus a farmer.

It is a useless comparison, even before a group of other trial lawyers. But when Braley made it, he invited the criticism heaped upon him now.

Braley apologized, but there aren’t enough “I’m sorrys” to erase the impression left by the reckless comparison.

Braley wasn’t running against any farmers in his pursuit of retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat.

But he is now.

(10) comments


Funny how telling the Truth is CONsidered a bungle these days

Gee go figure, huh?


The truth? It was simply a stupid attempt at a slam. I believe a lot of the blame for this dysfunctional government lies at the feet of the lawyers. Yo wouldn't know the truth if it fell in your lap.


Grassley is a farmer who owns farms is he not?

Grassley is not a lawyer, true or false?

What he said was factually accurate


Braley attended law school and practiced law did he not?
Braley is not a farmer, true or false?
What he said was he would oppose tort reform for the benefit of trial lawyers – which he said and is factually accurate.
Now that the full truth is out, which truth do you think the voters will go for?


Actually a response to your comment further below...but there's not button to reply there.....

Tort reform is one of the more purposely misunderstood issues in politics. "Purposely" because of right-wing misinformation. And it's easy to misinform about, since "lawyers" are a favorite boogeyman and an easy target. Lawyers! Everybody hates lawyers! Until you need one.

You know who wants tort reform? Corporations want tort reform. The 1% wants tort reform. And people who corporations have convinced that lawyers are evil and tort reform will solve amazing amounts of problems (and tax cuts create jobs and Republicans are fiscally conservative) want tort reform. The guy who's fighting tort reform is a guy who's on the side of the people.

There are a LOT of people who will never be convinced of this, though.


You also said “The guy who's fighting tort reform is a guy who's on the side of the people.”
Bull – the guy fighting tort reform is fighting to protect attorney’s fees.


The other part of the "truth" is Braley's pandering to trial lawyers about his track record of blocking tort reform and he's proud of it. The press is pretty slow to report that "other half" of the story.


A stupid comment, for sure.

But I would choose Braley over the "killing grandma" tea party clone that Grassley has become. The idea of Grassley as judiciary chair is kind of scary.

We know from Palin's endorsement that Jodi Ernst is in with the tea party crazies. Are there any sane Republicans running against Braley?

uber patroit

Let's face wheezy, It's no big secret Democrats are to lazy to vote in the off year so, of course Americans for Prosperity will run somebody like Ernst. Big plus with Braley....Koch Brothers hate him! I don't know what everybody else is thinking but, those two goofy brothers can go pound sand.....Don't need their hand picked candidate.


Anyone who uses one of my favorites, "pound sand," is totally all right in my book.

The Republican primary is going to be FASCINATING. Best guess is it's Jacobs vs Ernst, now that she's gotten the Palin endorsement. And that's definitely a Tea Party vs. Establishment fight, fo sho. Not sure who to root for. Jacobs will p off the TP and maybe depress R turnout...but Ernst is a WAY weaker candidate, if you've ever heard her speak. (NOTHING but TP talking points with zero specifics and zero substance.)

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