Staff Columnist

Reynolds' jet hits turbulence

Gov. Kim Reynolds points to U.S. Ambassador to China and former Gov. Terry Branstad (not pictured) as she talks about him during the swearing in ceremony for Kim Reynolds to become the 43rd Governor of Iowa at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines on Wednesday, May. 24, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Gov. Kim Reynolds points to U.S. Ambassador to China and former Gov. Terry Branstad (not pictured) as she talks about him during the swearing in ceremony for Kim Reynolds to become the 43rd Governor of Iowa at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines on Wednesday, May. 24, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Warning: Satire.

Somewhere high above a patchwork quilt of Iowa farmland, a borrowed corporate jet streaks across the sky. Inside, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’ advisers chart strategy.

“Come on folks, we’ve got to put a happier face on this Medicaid fiasco. I want ideas.”

Concepts bounce around the well-appointed cabin.

“We’re getting the hang of this,” a strategist argues. “Just hang on and hang in there, Iowa.”

“Managed care — we’ve got this,” another says. “And you’ve got care, probably. Hopefully. Someday.”

“Your reimbursement may be running late, but a magazine says we’re the best state!” a consultant suggests.

“These really stink, folks.”

At that moment, the cockpit door opens, abruptly, to reveal a young campaign staffer, pale as a ghost.

“Does anyone know how to fly this campaign?” the staffer asks, voice quivering.

“Whaddya mean fly? We’ve got pilots. We borrowed this jet from a casino mogul. Or was it a workers’ compensation executive? Or maybe it’s an ethanol plane. I lose track. Anyway, we’ve got rich guys with jets and pilots on speed dial, kid.”

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“No,” the staffer says. “This time we borrowed a jet from a private Managed Air Organization. Instead of pilots, they left a “Flying for Dummies” book in the cockpit. And they just denied our mayday. Paperwork error, apparently.

“They did leave us a huge bill. Also, they’d like a raise.”

“This campaign is losing altitude,” a strategist screams.

So staffers, strategists and advisers put their heads together. The solution is obvious. It hits them like a ton of gold bricks.

“Fred Hubbell is rich!” they all say, in unison.

Immediately, they launch a salvo of news releases, tweets and TV ads at “Sir Frederick Hubbell,” the Democratic nominee, and his inherited wealth. He’s got fancy homes, sketchy investments and won’t release piles of tax records. He’s got something to hide. Maybe a taste for caviar or a penchant for polo. A monocle habit, perhaps.

“Surely, the voters will see Hubbell is out of touch,” insists a strategist.

“Agreed, but don’t call me Shirley,” another answers.

Still, the more they spun, the faster they plunged.

Their attacks mixed with Reynolds’ own affinity for wealthy donors and the platinum-plated public policies they crave — tax breaks, lax regulations and pricey incentives. It’s the governor who looks out of touch to many Iowans without jets. The resulting sludge of high-grade hypocrisy gums up the turbines. A load of Trumpian baggage is weighing down the craft. Tariffs, lies and gaffes have jammed up its flaps.

“We’re not going to make it to the bowl game,” an aide screams.

“Maybe,” the young staffer interjects, “Instead of attacks and spin, we could land this jet, level with voters and substantively explain how we’re going to fix these problems. We could run on performance instead of personality.”

“You better grab a parachute. Politics ain’t for you.”

Then it hits them, like a barrel of ink. “It’s the media’s fault,” they yell, in unison, as the patchwork below gets closer and closer.

l Comments: (319) 398-8262; todd.dorman@thegazette.com

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