Author Archive for Art Smith

Mr. Smith is the Publisher of The Conservative Reader. He is Partner/Owner of Ambrosia Web Technology as well as a Systems Architect for Wells Fargo. Art hold a degree in Computer Science from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and is a political blogger at the Des Moines Register. Art's views are purely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wells Fargo.

What Would The Founders Think?

This morning I am considering “what ifs”.

My father often jokes that had I been born 5 hours earlier, he would have named me Ulysses instead of Arthur.  That is, I could have been a 4th of July baby with the initials “U.S.”.  I have been forever thankful that my mom stuck it out long enough to prevent that impediment on my life.

Sometimes I daydream about what would have happened in my life if I had been named Ulysses instead of Arthur.  I believe I would have developed a very similar personality, but I suspect (mixing my current personality with the name) that I would have found myself running for public office at some level and leveraging my “U.S.” initials as a brand of …


RPI Central Committee Campaign Involvement Follow Up

This past weekend, RPI Co-chair Jim Kurtenbach told members of the Republican Party of Iowa Central Committee who are serving as leaders of Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul’s campaigns that they need to decide who they were going to represent at the Iowa Straw Poll in August: the Republican Party of Iowa or the candidates they were openly working for.

That may cause a bit of a quandary for the four, but they are evidently resolute in maintaining their positions with feet firmly planted in both roles.  But it makes sense that one would have to make this decision, since they really can’t act out one role at the event without seeming half hearted at the other.

While the Iowa Straw Poll is an important …


Sometimes You Roll The Dice…

The Republican Party of Iowa (RPI) can be forgiven for taking a gamble on a big name casino owner like Donald Trump for their spring fundraiser… if you didn’t know, the star of The Apprentice, and one-time potential candidate for President, is the advertised main event for The Lincoln Dinner on June 10.  Now, with the Donald’s decision to put the breaks on any plans to run for President, the plans for June 10 are mired up a bit.

According to Casey Mills, spokesman for RPI, Trump is “reassessing” his plans to appear in Iowa.

You’d think that Matt Strawn would be reassessing the situation as well, no?  How much sense does it make to keep a candidate on the schedule who …


It Just Looks That Way

On Tuesday, Ron Paul opened what he said was his first campaign office in the country in his race for the 2012 Presidential bid.  Justin Arnold will have a report on the congressman’s visit later today.

Right now I’m more interested in what’s happening in the background.

Three members of Paul’s Iowa campaign team, Drew Ivers, David Fischer, and A.J. Spiker, are all also members of the Republican Party of Iowa Central Committee.

You might ask why I care.

During Primary and Caucus season, the role of the party should be to provide the members of the party a means to select candidates and act as an impartial facilitator.  The party is responsible for establishing and managing the selection process for caucuses (the county auditors …


Matt Strawn Gains Second Term

Matt Strawn, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa (RPI) for the past two years, ran unopposed this morning and was elected unanimously by RPI’s State Central Committee.  More information can be found here.

Matt has provided very solid leadership these past two years and was no small part in the Republican election victories in 2010.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with him during this time and have found him to be extremely effective at leading his staff and he has a strong sense of what really needs to be done to ensure that Republican priorities are moved forward.  He is a valuable asset to Republicans in Iowa.

It’s also great to see that Jim Kurtenbach will continue as RPI Co-chair.  Congratulations to …


Jack Whitver Wins GOP Nomination In Iowa Senate District 35

After 5 ballots, Jack Whitver tonight won the Republican Nomination for the special election in Senate District 35 at a nominating convention held at the Kirkendall Public Library in Ankeny.

“I’m honored to be the Party’s nominee and I intend to keep the seat in the Republican column. I promise to keep promoting conservative values in the state of Iowa,” said the local business owner and law student.  Jack, his wife Rachel and their newborn daughter live in Ankeny.

Whitver will face a candidate to be selected by Democrats on Tuesday January 18th. Democrats will select a candidate on Monday of next week (January 3rd) to oppose Whitver.

Highlights from tonight’s convention in Senate District 35.

Meeting opened with full room… standing room only. Jim …


Party Politics and Leadership Restraint

Here in Polk County we have a special election coming up to replace State Senator Larry Noble (R-35), who has been appointed to be the new commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.  The special election will be held on January 18th, and Republicans will be holding a nominating convention tonight to select a candidate.  Democrats will meet to select their candidate on January 3rd.

A few members of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee (SCC) decided to come out in support of one candidate.  That story, and some opinion, is well covered by Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican.  Also, highlights of all five of the announced candidates for tonight’s convention are found here.

Some of the comments left …


Two Polk County GOP Events Worth Checking Out!

Kim Pearson, who is running for Iowa House in district 42, will be holding two fundraisers this week.  Both look to be great events and opportunities to meet the candidates before the election:

Congressman Steve King

will be the featured guest at a fundraiser for

Kim Pearson

Monday, October 25th 7-9 PM

Toad Valley Golf Course
237 NE 80th St.
Pleasant Hill, IA (map)
(1/2 mile south of Southeast Polk High School)
$25/person or $50/family
For more information,
contact Kim at 515-224-2126 or


Congressman Ron Paul

Will be the featured guest at a fundraiser for

Kim Pearson, Glen Massie
and Kent Sorenson

Thursday, October 28th 7-9 PM

Airport Holiday Inn
6111 Fleur Drive
Des Moines, IA (map)
$5/person

Should We Cancel The Final Governor’s Debate?

After sitting through what was probably the most painful debate I’ve ever watched two weeks ago, I think it’s time to demand the Branstad campaign implement the Mercy Rule.  Mostly to show mercy to those of us who feel obligated to watch these debates… and a little mercy for Governor Culver.

It seems unfair to continue to let Governor Culver get up in front of TV cameras and make a fool of himself.  Why put a sitting governor through the embarrassment of having to respond to questions about state government, policy, and the future of Iowa when the only answers he has are scary predictions of what he thinks Terry Branstad will do as governor?  Even when he has what many would say is a …


Finding Meaning In The Iowa Supreme Court Retention Vote

Kathie Obradovich’s Sunday Des Moines Register column this week provided an interesting question for us: can we reasonably interpret the results of the retention vote beyond it’s singular purpose?

As Kathie tells us, there are a number of perspectives pressing on this ballot item, although many would point directly at the Varnum v. Brien decision. And as Kathie also notes, if any or all of the three judges up for retention fail to be retained, the decision will still be in place and “same-sex marriage will still be legal [emphasis mine] in Iowa…”.

Mind you, “legal” in this case really goes as far as the administrative authorities accept it to be. It is still open to debate among many (myself included) whether the government administration …


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