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The Elbert Files: Reynolds’ overreach


It was a hot September day when I saw my friend K.C. admiring Joel Shapiro’s untitled sculpture of a stick figure in the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park.


The legs are splayed in a splits-like position, with one arm on the ground and one in the air, replicating an awkward fall.

“Interesting design,” I said.

“Clearly a case of overreach,” K.C. said of the exaggerated extensions. “Reminds me of Kim Reynolds and Iowa’s Republicans. They’re headed for a fall.”

“That’s a bit harsh,” I said. “What makes you think they’re in trouble?”

“It’s only a matter of time until the shenanigans of the past two years catch up with them,” he said.

“Did you see the billboards that immigrant leaders put up, criticizing Kim’s use of the Iowa National Guard and State Patrol in Texas? They said conditions at the border are barbaric, and now we have uniformed Iowans helping enforce those horrendous conditions.”

“Gov. Reynolds sent Iowa troops to Texas to help keep illegal drugs from coming across the border and winding up in Iowa,” I said.

“If that’s what she wanted to do, she should have sent them to airports, because that’s where most illegal drugs come in,” K.C. said. “At the border, it’s mostly poor people fleeing bad conditions.

“The Iowa troops are there to help send immigrants back across the river, where they face severe threats to their safety and wellbeing.”

“Those are the tactics you expect from an authoritarian government, not a democracy,” I agreed.

“Anyway, that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” K.C. said.

“We also have all the book banning, transgender bashing and telling gas stations what kind of fuel they have to sell.

“Did you see where teachers now have to waste time sending notes to parents asking if it’s OK to use nicknames? Some are literally asking if they can call Michael ‘Mike’ or Samantha ‘Sam.’ That’s hardly a good use of teachers’ time.

“Meanwhile, the Iowa Board of Education, which is charged with enforcing these new standards, has provided zero guidance, which means individual school boards have to waste money asking private attorneys for legal opinions on what they can and can’t do, because if they get it wrong, it’s ‘no more teaching career for you.’

“The situation with abortion would be funny if it wasn’t so sad,” he continued.

“Our new attorney general must have studied law at Medieval U. She has all the compassion of an executioner and is so focused on stamping out abortion that she won’t pay for medication for  rape victims to keep them from getting pregnant.

“Cash-strapped city and county governments are paying some of those bills. And in one case, a retired Republican businessman and his wife are footing the bill. It’s disgraceful.

“Plus, we’ve got the U.S. Department of Labor telling us that Iowa’s new child labor law that allows kids to serve alcohol, work longer hours and operate dangerous machinery is illegal.

“Who came up with those new rules? The attorney general?

“Don’t Republicans realize Iowa has serious problems, like water you can’t swim in or drink; weather that is increasingly unpredictable and awful; old people who can’t afford their medications, and poor people who have nowhere to sleep and not enough to eat?

“And what about puppy mills? Iowa has the worst puppy mills in the country.”

“At some point, Iowans have to realize that as nice as Kim Reynolds is, she’s taken her eye off the ball.

“It’s like this stick figure,” K.C. said as he walked away, “Reynolds overreached, and at some point, she’ll fall flat and opponents will drive right over her.” 


Dave Elbert

Dave Elbert is a columnist for Business Record.

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