With 17 months to go until the 2012 presidential election, the party in power has signaled its intention to go negative early and often.

Even before former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty formally announced his intention to run for president on the Republican ticket, the Democratic National Committee responded with a video entitled, “Why.”

The seemingly endless variety of "name that party" stunts has yet another wrinkle.

In this case, Matt Drudge is currently linking to a Des Moines Register story ("Culver OKs state pay raises"; also saved here at host for future reference) about how outgoing Iowa Governor Chet Culver has decided to rush through union contracts granting thousands of state employees 3% raises (before considering "step" raises that occur with seniority) in each of the next two years before Republican Governor Terry Bransted takes over in January.

The headline for Drudge's link is "Lame duck Dem governor in Iowa OKs $100 million in raises for state workers." Actually, it's $100 million a year for the next two years. But the linked Register article by Jason Clayworth never identifies Culver's Democratic Party affiliation, even though he tags the governor's opposition as Republican twice in the first two paragraphs. In other words, not that it was difficult to show that Culver is a Dem, but Drudge had to figure it out and tell his readers -- and we thank him for that.

Here are excerpts from Clayworth's clunker:

Allen Troupe graffiti.JPG

Somewhere between 7 p.m. on June 14 and 7 p.m. on June 15, vandals spray painted graffiti, as seen on the top right photo, on the home of Dubuque, Iowa pro-lifer Allen Troupe.

They were most likely incited by a sign in one of the windows of Troupe's home, as seen on the bottom right photo.

Allen Troupe planned parenthood bad.JPG
Click both photos to enlarge.

Troupe filed a police report and anticipated the same level of fair and balanced media coverage one would expect were pro-life graffiti to appear on the home of an abortion proponent - i.e., lots.

But not only did the local paper, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, fail to post a story, it failed to even mention the police report in its daily police blotter. Editorial staff either considered the incident too slight or too unhelpful to their pro-abortion bias.

So Troupe emailed DTH editor Brian Cooper. Following was Cooper's response....

You'd expect to see this in the liberal blogosphere or possibly some of the national mainstream media outlets with an obvious agenda. But now some of the preemptive strikes against Republican senators leading up to the Senate confirmation hearings and eventual vote to confirm President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, are finding their way into local newspapers.

NewsBusters.org | Screencap of ABCNews.com from April 2, 2009"Iowa Gives Gay Marriage a Thumbs Up," trumpets the front page teaser headline on ABCNews.com. But, the subhead explains, it was "Iowa's Supreme Court" not the people via their legislature or direct referendum that opened the door to same-sex marriage by finding the state's ban on the ceremony "violates [the state] Constitution."

The smart folks soberly support Barack Obama, while the ridiculous-looking rednecks love Sarah Palin. That's the subtext of the New York Times coverage on Wednesday. Jennifer Steinhauer was watching the second presidential debate with Obama fans at a Mexican restaurant in Des Moines, "Where He First Got Going, Cheering Obama On."

Debate watchers at Dos Rios -- the sort of crowd that can cite chapter and verse of Medicaid waivers without notes -- watched intensely, taking their eyes off the television only to grab a Corona.

Strangely, one of the self-evident geniuses in attendance thinks Barack Obama wants universal health care, despite the Times' desperate insistence that that's just one of the McCain campaign's many lies:

Health care was clearly a big issue in this crowd, and Mr. Obama's statement that health care was a "right" got a big round, too. "I like the fact that he is taking steps toward universal health care," said Mr. Matson, an osteopath.

In contrast, a Republican rally in Florida featuring Sarah Palin is painted in threatening terms by the Times. In her Wednesday story, "Palin Plays to Conservative Base in Florida Rallies," Julie Bosman seems perturbed at the sight of conservative Republicans in their natural element.

Now that whiter-than-Wonder-bread Iowa has punched Barack Obama a first-class ticket to New Hampshire, can the mainstream media, particularly the New York Times, shut up about whether America is ready for a black president? That's what Michelle Malkin rhetorically asked on her blog before giving readers the answer.

Sure they will. Instead, they'll whine about how white Iowa is hardly reflective of the nation as a large. Gotta give Hillary a fightin' chance, I guess:

Well, it looks like the answer is no. No, the MSM won’t stop yammering about un-diverse white voters. Here’s the NYTimes editorial this morning, right on cue as I predicted, clamoring for an end to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary by zeroing in on its lack of, you guessed it, racial diversity:

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, issued a press release announcing that their cost study on immigration will be released tomorrow during a news conference at Iowa's 2007 Talk Radio Row.  

FAIR's press release states that “previous state and private studies over-estimated tax receipts and under-estimated costs.”

Worst job in America this morning: Clinton campaign staffer assigned to inform Hillary of her treatment at the hands of ABC's "This Week" panel.

From moderator George Stephanopoulos to former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, to the husband-wife tandem of Jay Carney of Time and Claire Shipman of ABC, to conservative sage George Will, it was a decidedly downbeat take on Hillary's fortunes.

View video here.

Des Moines Register Editor Carolyn Washburn takes a shot at Republicans with an obviously false statement in her piece summarizing the recent Iowa debates which she moderated:

By and large, the Republicans say they can get us to smaller government and lower taxes with economic growth and government efficiency. They don't ask Americans to make terrible sacrifices. About half wanted to tackle global warming and about half chose not to talk about it. They want local control and choice in education.

Chose not to talk about it!?! Not only did one Republican ask to talk about it, as opposed to raising his hand, Washburn wouldn't let them talk about anything other than what she had pre-scripted in her mind. From the transcript: see rest of pertinent part below the fold. Everyone there that was permitted to talked about it until she changed the subject. She also defends inviting Keyes and not Kucinich using criteria that's been pretty much debunked.

"Don't quit your day job, boss."

Well, he didn't put it that way exactly, but the Des Moines Register's David Yepsen was not too impressed with editor Carolyn Washburn's job as moderator in the December 12 debate:

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterFollowing up on Al Gore’s reception of the Nobel Peace Prize, Carolyn Washburn of the Des Moines Register asked the Republican candidates several questions on the issue of "global climate change" and related topics. At the beginning of the debate, Washburn stated "we won't talk a lot about issues like Iraq or immigration. They're important issues, no doubt, but Iowans say they know where the candidates are coming from on those." But Washburn gave no indication that Iowans actually wanted to hear more about the Republican candidates’ stance on climate change.