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Supreme Court fiasco weighs on key Republican senator

When a prominent Senate Republican has to hide the details of his public events -- because he's afraid of protesters -- it's not a good sign.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks to members of the press, June 27, 2013.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks to members of the press, June 27, 2013.
Earlier this month, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was so embarrassed by his role in the Republican Supreme Court blockade, he "raised a binder to cover his face before hurriedly retreating" from reporters on Capitol Hill with questions about his behavior. It wasn't a good sign.
Nearly four weeks later, Grassley is still under fire for his partisan antics, and in a way, he's still covering his face -- to the point that he doesn't want to tell his own constituents where he's holding public events. The Huffington Post reported yesterday:

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) says he will be going around speaking with constituents at more than a dozen events in his home state during the Senate's two-week spring recess. But most of the public will have no idea how to find him, because his office is keeping the details of those events secret to avoid protesters.

It's amazing to think that just seven weeks ago, Grassley was sitting pretty, holding a powerful Senate gavel and looking like a lock to win re-election in November. Now, however, the long-time, far-right lawmaker is at the center of a Supreme Court fiasco; he's receiving the worst press of his lengthy congressional career; and he's facing the most serious Democratic challenge since joining the Senate 36 years ago.
Grassley is not just facing pressure from protesters demanding he act more responsibly in the Senate. The Des Moines Register reported today -- on the front page, no less -- that Grassley went to Northwestern Iowa yesterday, home to some of the most conservative areas in the state, where he still faced "tough and repeated questions over his refusal to hold hearings on a nominee to the Supreme Court."
An Associated Press report added:

Monday's meeting took place in a Republican-dominated county where Grassley won more than 80 percent of the vote in his last two elections. Today, his sole public event is scheduled in a neighboring county where 92 percent of voters backed him in 2010. Some observers think it's no coincidence that the senator has chosen this time to hold public events more than 200 miles from more liberal Des Moines or other urban areas.

Right, but even here, locals weren't particularly impressed with the kind of work Grassley is doing in D.C.
The pressure isn't going away. Grassley can try to hold binders in front of his face while "hurriedly retreating" for the next several months, but it probably won't help his electoral prospects.