Pepperoni pizza and politics – Beside the Point

I’ve been thinking a lot about my political leanings lately. But to avoid being boring, I’ve also been thinking about RonDaVoo Pizza a lot, too.

We typically order our pizza in Fort Madison, but every now and then you gotta get some of those creations that Ron Litchfield conjures up in the kitchen on Angular in Burlington.

I’m a bit fickle with my pizza, the deeper the dish and the heartier the crust, the more I’m your friend. But the wonkie politician in me tends to lead toward common sense – like a pepperoni with extra cheese. Simple, effective, and typically mainstream.

At the outset of this political session there have been some things that make me think twice about my preferences.

One thing I don’t think twice about is Rita Hart skipping the option to have Iowa’s Supreme Court pick a bi-partisan panel of judges to verify the election results for the 2nd District U.S. Representative spot vacated by Dave Loebsack.

Hart, the Democrat, currently stands six votes away from the U.S. House of Representatives. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the Republican has been seated provisionally with the win. It’s a win that was validated by the state’s canvass board after the 24 counties in the 2nd District recounted the November election.

Hart did an end-run around the state process and went directly to a House committee based on an age-old law that permits the U.S. House to evaluate the election results and ultimately seat the candidate based on that committee’s findings.

Hart and her lawyers know Dems have the numbers in the House to overturn Miller-Meeks’ win. At issue is about 22 ballots in question that Hart said should be counted and could potentially overturn Miller-Meeks’ win.

There’s no doubt that every single valid vote should be counted.

The problem here is that it is very likely a political party will be the one determining what ballots are legit. That shouldn’t be the way it works. Just like pineapple shouldn’t be on your Canadian Bacon and mushroom pizza.

Election laws should begin and end in the state that are being cast – save for the unheard of dead tie.

Rita Hart needs to let this go. Even if she finds seven more votes, there will be a crazy loud and legitimate claim that Dems stole the election. We’re saturated with that. If Hart had gone to the state court review, which in all fairness could have had a Republican tilt to it, she would look better in the long run – and in two years.

It was the closest election in the nation this cycle and there’s always going to be that deeper hurt when it feels like some votes weren’t counted properly that could’ve swayed the decision. There’s no guarantee that the votes break Hart’s way and there’s no guarantee they won’t. But what will be guaranteed is more divisiveness.

This could be a chance to heal some wounds.

It’s also not lost on me the hypocrisy in Republicans threatening social media companies with footprints in Iowa, that pull down posts from public officials while at the same time and sometimes even on the same day, those same Republican want to legislate what can and can’t be said in state diversity trainings.

The learning curve on Republican election re-calibration bills has been very small with limiting early and absentee voting laws in Iowa. They claim it’s security, but that’s just window dressing. Don’t use that window dressing in your bedroom or bathroom because you can see right through it.

This is an election re-calibration to remove some of the obstacles the GOP pointed to on a national scale in very, very close elections. This last cycle points to the emotion we have as a nation as to what direction we should head.

I was disappointed in President Joe Biden’s treatment of a journalist this week who asked about the situation at the border and when he was planning to fix it. The President asked her if her question was serious? More of this garbage? That’s a real situation and every question is serious.

But I’ve been overwhelmingly impressed with his ability to foster a partnership with competitors Merck and Johnson & Johnson to churn out vaccinations at an unheard of pace. Biden went from asking for 100 million doses by May to 200 million. And he’s gonna get them. Let’s hope we don’t hiccup in the haste.

Many people have reached out to Pen City Current to help get the word out about extra vaccine openings at pharmacies around the area.

But we can, and do, update regularly the Lee County Health Department’s efforts, hotline and vaccination openings. It’s safe to say at this point, that a little bit of early morning energy can just about find anyone a vaccination at this point, within a week or two. Maybe quicker.

I got my first shot two weeks ago in Hamilton at the Hy-Vee there. I took my daughter just in case there was something I needed to have her to drive home for. I asked if they had extra that day. She didn’t have any underlying conditions, but she was here. They said they did have extra and she got her vaccine and was scheduled for her next one.

I’ve heard that Hy-Vee’s actually make announcements in the stores that if anyone hasn’t had the vaccine, they have extra and come back to the pharmacy. If you want a vaccine, and everyone should to insulate all of us, they really are getting easier and easier to find.

I made the trip to Washington to Case Field for the first outdoor track meet of the year. The season was canceled last year. Hearing Mike Jay announce the game was as fresh a reminder of the season as the spring breeze that blew in from the southwest. Jay, from Columbus Junction, is the public address guy for the state cross country meet and state track meet in Des Moines.

Being out was good and seeing Dayton Davis hanging in midair slipping over the high jump bar, and Tate Johnson opening some eyes in the last 25 meters of the 100-meter dash, brought a smile to my masked face. You can see it in my eyes – But that’s Beside the Point.

Chuck Vandenberg is the editor/co-owner of Pen City Current and can be reached at

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: