Sneering at Farmers Is an Odd Strategy for an Iowa Candidate

by Jim Geraghty

From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Way to Go, Iowa Democrats. You Found a Candidate Who Sneers at Farmers.

Bruce Braley . . . what a jerk.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley apologized this afternoon for offending Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley after video footage surfaced that shows Braley mocking Grassley as “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.”

In an effort to embarrass Braley, Republican operatives today began to circulate the video of him warning some out-of-state lawyers that Grassley might become the next judiciary committee chairman if they didn’t contribute money to help elect Braley.

I’d say it’s pretty hard for “Republican operatives” to try to embarrass Braley when he’s already done such a fine job at that task himself.

The remarks by Braley, a trial lawyer and congressman who is running in the high-stakes open race for retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat, quickly caught fire on Twitter and various national news sites, as politics watchers predicted that this incident will bruise a campaign that they’ve been confident would see victory in November. And Grassley’s staff pulled no punches in responding this afternoon.

“If you help me win this race,” Braley says in the video, posted online by a donor after the Jan. 23 fundraiser in Corpus Christi, Texas and released today by the conservative America Rising PAC, “you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone’s who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years in a visible and public way on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Did you notice he’s talking about tort reform as if it’s a bad thing?

“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 Committee,” Braley says. “Because if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Chuck Todd notes, “A big unforced error on Braley’s part . . . not just elitist, but un-Iowan to attack another Iowan the way he did.”

UPDATE: Here’s the video of Braley, with more than 45,000 views by 9:00 this morning: