OPINION

The Week: Your homecoming dream date, code named 'Humble,' and a governor explores the far reaches of irony

Donald Trump speaks at a fundraiser for Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapi
Donald Trump speaks at a fundraiser for Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Apr. 29, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

TRUMPCOMING 2015 — The Register of Des Moines reports that Republican Presidential Candidate and billionaire hat designer Donald Trump will take part in homecoming festivities at Urbandale High School this weekend. He plans to do a meet-and-greet, a public event and, rumor has it, a closed-door master class for the school’s bullies. Can’t confirm.

This struck me as a surprising development. But anyone who glanced at the school’s homecoming spirit week schedule could have seen it coming. I’ve obtained a copy from unreliable sources close to the powder puff football game:

SPIRIT WEEK SCHEDULE (Monday-Friday)

Hat Day /Crazy Hair Day — Students can choose a sharp, sporty “Make America Great Again” hat or have their hair custom styled by the powerful turbines of a huge, spacious and classy private jumbo jet.

Big, Beautiful, Powerful Wall Day — Students will be locked out of the building until further notice.

Backwards Day — Students are expected to be polite, respectful and soft-spoken while outlining specific, thoughtful policy positions on various important domestic and global issues of the day. Please be prepared to explain the difference between Kurds and Quds.

Losers and Haters Day — All losers and haters will report to the gym. You know who you are.

Luxurious Day — The entire student body will be ensconced in satin, velvet and furs while golden sparkling apple cider fountains dance over a 12-course banquet featuring meat, fowl, shellfish, imported cheeses and a floating desert barge, all illuminated by 60 crystal chandeliers.

Homecoming Game — Varsity vs. China.

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CODE NAME “LAME” -- Just when you thought the second Republican presidential debates had yielded all the hoots, fits and snorts a human can handle, the candidates were asked to provide their own Secret Service code names. Brilliant.

They had only seconds to answer. Would their responses be lame, absurd, over-calculated or regrettably nonsensical? Yes! All of those things!

From CNN:

1. Chris Christie — True Heart

2. John Kasich — Unit 1, adding, “My wife says, ‘You’ll never be Unit 1. You’re Unit 2.’”

3. Carly Fiorina — Secretariat

4. Scott Walker — Harley, adding “I love riding Harleys.”

5. Jeb Bush — Eveready, telling Donald Trump, “It’s very high energy, Donald,” followed with an awkward high-five from Trump

6. Donald Trump — Humble

7. Ben Carson — One Nation

8. Ted Cruz — Cohiba, saying it’s because he’s Cuban

9. Marco Rubio — Gator

10. Mike Huckabee — Duck Hunter

11. Rand Paul — Justice Never Sleeps

“True Heart” and “Justice Never Sleeps?” See both tonight on Lifetime, followed by “Never Again II.”

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But why should they have all the fun? I gave myself one whole minute to think up a code name for each of 11 Republicans. Heck, I even tossed in a couple of Dems. Here are the very mixed results.

Scott Walker — “Eugene Debs”

Chris Christie — “Mr. Rogers”

John Kasich — “Cincinnati Chili”

Carly Fiorina — “That Face”

Donald Trump — “Generalissimo El Jerko”

Jeb Bush -- “Mr. Excitement”

Ted Cruz — “Dr. Frank N. Furter”

Mike Huckabee -- “Moon Pie”

Rand Paul — “John Galt”

Ben Carson — “Siamese Twin”

Marco Rubio — “Menudo”

Hillary Clinton — “hdr22@clintonemail.com”

Bernie Sanders — “Eugene Debs”

It’s tougher than it looks folks. Just like being president.

AMERICA’S LONGEST SERVING IRONIST — Gov. Terry Branstad was asked this week about the possibility of Iowa taking in refugees from the war-ravaged hell-on-earth also known as Syria. The optimal answer would have been “Of course, the suffering is heart-wrenching, their plight is dire and all Iowans stand ready to help, as is our proud tradition.”

Instead, the governor pre-complained about how the dumb old Obama administration will probably mess the whole thing up. Branstad wants the administration to be more open and forthcoming with information on its plans. Keep us in the loop, he says.

The governor would appreciate a friendly heads up:

“I hope that they’re going to be a little more open and transparent and work with us on these things,” Branstad told reporters Wednesday, after returning to Iowa from a trade mission to South Korea and Japan.

“When we had this situation previously, they were very secretive and refused to give information” to his office or officials within the Iowa Department of Human Services, Branstad said. “Many governors, including myself, were very disappointed. We think the federal government ought to be working with us and not doing these things in a clandestine way.”

So, let me wipe up the coffee I just spit and get this straight. The governor who closed the juvenile home at Toledo, mental health facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant, decided to privatize the $4.2 billion Medicaid program and vetoed bipartisan legislative agreements on education spending, all without a friendly heads up to Iowans affected, without so much as a one-finger farmer wave to the folks who elected him, is now demanding a rush order of open-faced forthcoming. The master of blindside edicts wants transparency. Remarkable.

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Still, I certainly can understand the governor’s worries. After all, if the federal government handles this resettlement process Branstad-style, the governor will arrive home at Terrace Hill to find Syrian refugees have moved into his gubernatorial digs. Surprise!

We can only hope.

PODCAST — Respected Iowa political journalists and some hack columnist discuss the Republican debate, the state of the caucus race, Hillary Clinton’s spinning poll-fall and much more. You can find it here.

PINTS AND POLITICS — Gazette Political Reporter James Lynch, columnist Lynda Waddington and myself will be hoisting pints and talking presidential politics Wednesday evening at Lion’s Bridge Brewing in the historic Czech Village. Our special guest will be Steffen Schmidt, political science professor at Iowa State University and longtime caucus-watcher. If you’d like to join us, please sign up here.

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