Inside the Beltway: Republicans remember the basics of politics in Iowa

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Just when the din of liberal politics reaches epic proportions, along comes an event that clears the air. Such is the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Friends of the Family Banquet” on Saturday evening, which is a formidable and straightforward force indeed, assembling at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

On hand to talk things out with 1,000 pastors and grass-roots folk: Sarah Palin, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Rep. Steve King of Iowa, plus Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Iowa Republican Party national committeeman Steve Scheffler, Faith & Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed andEagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly.

While the group describes its mission as “a battle to take back our state and country,” this is definitely a family event, and a scrumptious one.

“No fancy hotel food here, and none of that rubber chicken,” a spokesman tells Inside the Beltway. “We’ll be serving roast beef and good roast chicken, green beans, coleslaw, those wonderful cheesy kind of potatoes, ice cream, cookies, lemonade and coffee.”

FAT CHANCE

Is the government now regulating comfort food and that luscious goodness of say, pizza and bakery delights? Some see it that way. A Pew Research Center poll released Thursday found that 52 percent of Americans oppose the FDA restrictions on the use of trans fats. The number is 60 percent among Republicans and 71 percent among tea partyers. Among fastidious Democrats, 52 percent approve of the measure.

HOLLYWOOD VS. MCCONNELL, THE SEQUEL

Sixty top Hollywood stars — we’re talking Jerry Seinfeld and Ben Affleck here — have contributed to the $2.5 million campaign chest of Alison Lundergan Grimes, age 34 and a Democrat who is challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, in 2014. Not good for the Blue Grass State, perhaps.

“You couldn’t find a collection of people anywhere in America who are more hostile to Kentucky values and conservative principles than the ones on Alison Lundergan Grimes’ major donor list,” Allison Moore — Mr. McConnell’s campaign manager — tells Inside the Beltway.

“It sure is curious that she spends all her time chatting with professed enemies of coal, Obama enthusiasts and noted Hollywood liberals but can’t say a word about what she believes back in Kentucky,” Ms. Moore observes.

A FUNDAMENTAL OBAMACARE MISTAKE

While the Obamacare tinkering and fix-it phase continues until month’s end, observers plumb the meaning — or meaninglessness — of it all.

“Obamacare shouldn’t have been managed like a campaign,” points out Bloomberg News columnist Megan McArdle.

“The architects of the law demanded an enormously ambitious software project on an impossibly hubristic deadline. Whatever slim chance this had of working was ultimately doomed — not by Republicans, but by the administration’s own paranoid and self-destructive decisions to manage a software project as if it were a top-secret campaign strategy rather than a mission-critical component of the most ambitious federal entitlement expansion in almost 50 years,” Ms. McArdle says.

SAY AMEN SOMEBODY

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