An Outside Look Inside Iowa Politics: Part Two

Nov 14

Written by Courtney Ryan

It was a night filled with laughter, food, and interesting conversations as Republicans from across the state gathered at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Des Moines for the GOP’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner.

The Republicans’ event was much different than the Democrats’ Liberty and Justice celebration the week prior. The Democrats’ event was more comparable to a pep rally, whereas the Republicans’ event was more comparable to a wedding reception.  

The evening started off with a cocktail hour before 500 guests were guided into the ballroom for dinner and speeches. The ballroom was set up so eloquently with a stage in front of the room for speakers. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was the keynote speaker for the evening.

Prior to Senator Graham’s speech, Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst both touched on the current political landscape. During Grassley’s speech, he reflected on the Supreme Court hearing in which Justice Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court. Grassley was the chairman of the Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearing. 

Senator Ernst focused on a phone conversation she had with President Trump in which she expressed her displeasure for the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to change the Renewable Fuel Standard. Ernst addressed comments Trump made earlier in the week when he said she was “relentless” when it comes to ethanol. Ernst told the audience she is always relentless when it comes to fighting for Iowa farmers.

When Senator Lindsey Graham took the stage, he started off by ribbing his friend Senator Grassley before talking about their close relationship. During his speech, he paid both Grassley and Ernst a number of compliments and talked about both of their achievements. Senator Graham then switched gears and talked about the importance of Trump winning re-election in 2020 and said if the democrats win, they would change the economy and it would make the Soviet Union look like a capitalist model. Graham also repeated comments he’s made on TV about the current impeachment hearings being a “joke.”

Following the event, Senator Graham took about 45 minutes to shake hands and take pictures with people at dinner. Graham and some of his staffers then went to Hello Marjorie, a bar located one block away from the Marriott. At the bar, they sat at a round table and talked with some local people. Senator Graham also shook hands and took pictures with anyone who approached him.

Overall, the Republican and Democratic events were extremely different. I thought both events had interesting speakers; which goes to show, in Iowa, you have access to some of the top political figures across the nation.