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What Would The Founders Think?

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 patriotism.

But today I want to consider some “what ifs” that actually matter.  Such as what if Washington’s Continental Army completely disintegrated during the march across New England?  Or was decimated at New York?  Or never made it across the Delaware?  As much as we may honor today the patriots who spent their time articulating a fantastic message of freedom from the tyranny of the British King, our standing as a nation would have been seen as a quaint colonial uprising if it had not been for the hard work and sacrifices of the soldiers who fought for our freedoms.

It is entirely likely that the British Realm would have dominated the world in greater glory in the past 235 years.  The great world wars of the 20th century may never have happened.  Freedom for slaves may have occurred on a larger scale in the earlier part of the 19th century (recall that the British Kingdom led the world in abolishing slavery, not the United States).

It is hard to deduce the path of technology over the same time period… American inovation has been a factor in developing better processes and our freedoms have been a factor in developing better education and allowing dreamers to work out their dreams.  And the urgent needs of war (though not a goal of a nation) have certainly led to some valuable inventions.  I tend to believe that we would, if still a British colony, have a world without iPods or even computers, or televisions, or many of the modern conveniences that we enjoy today.  We would probably still be populated heavily along the coasts, lacking efficient transportation, and Native Americans could still be holding much of the land in the midwest.

Spain and France could still be holders of large parts of the American continents.

Of course, the Founding Fathers could not have comprehended all that they initiated by standing up for the basic rights of man.  They were dreamers, and some were fortunate enough to see parts of their dream come to fruition, but despite everything we may think about our current state of affairs, those men who sacrificed everything would doubtless be proud to see what their work has wrought.

Generation upon generation have looked upon the Revolution and subsequent creation of a republic as the cornerstones of our incredibly open society.  The Constitution is a bulwark that has carried us through our darkest days, and provided over 200 years of bloodless changes in power.  We should be proud of our ability to work things through as a nation in peace.

We may have concerns today about how the Constitution has been misunderstood by some, abused by others, and ignored at times when it should be the guide for how we make decisions.  The frustrations grow when it becomes more apparent that our government, which was built to serve the people, appears to be served by the people.  We must guard against this at every turn.

But the Founders would be proud to see that so many do remember their words, seek faithfully to carry on a free society, and flourish in our freedom.  What we have today in the United States is more than I think they could have hoped for.  No matter what one may think about the current state of political affairs, the dream of America continues to burn brightly.  To the Founders we should be appreciative that they stuck through to the end, and that they sought the hand of Providence in what they did.  While the structure of our government may be secular, our goals are tied to the will of our Creator who is the provider of the very rights we seek to defend.

RPI Central Committee Campaign Involvement Follow Up

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 event for Iowa Republicans, for the candidates who are looking to come out in at least the top three spots in the poll, and for many across the country who see it as the first real test of the candidate field, it’s not the whole point in this issue, but is part of it.  The integrity and importance of that event can be called into question if people get the idea that the people running it are stacking the deck in favor of their candidate.

As can the Iowa Caucus itself.  Nothing can likely destroy the importance of our first-in-the-nation status as questions about the integrity of the process.

Last week, we discussed the situation of the four members of the Republican Party of Iowa Central Committee.  Recapping, out of these four members, one is currently serving on Michelle Bachmann’s campaign, and the other three are working on the Ron Paul campaign.  All of them are in some type of leadership position on their respective campaigns.

And none of them considers this a conflict of interest.

Evidently, some of them even consider it inappropriate for party leadership to sit on the sidelines during primary and caucus season.

At this past weekend’s meeting, the committee worked on plans for the Iowa Straw Poll.  There had been talk that the committee might address the question of the involvement of committee members on presidential campaigns prior to the caucus.  The meeting apparently ran long enough that the committee did not have time to properly address the question.

But before they wound up their meeting, one of the committee members (not one of the four) brought the issue up.  The group was not keen on extending the meeting since there was a physical walk-through of the event facility scheduled shortly after this.  Another member of the committee pressed the issue and the group agreed to hold another meeting on June 1st (a 10 day notification lead time is required) to discuss the matter by phone.

In talking with members of the committee, it is extremely important that Republicans contact the members of the committee that represent their district.  I’ve provided the names, districts and contact information for each of the committee members below so that you can provide input to your committee person.

To Identify Your District

Here’s Who To Contact

Statewide Party Leaders >>>>

(Email) Matt Strawn (Chairman)
(Email) Jim Kurtenbach (Co-chairman)
(Email) Kim Lehman (National Committeewoman)
(Email) Steve Scheffler (National Committeeman)
First District
If your Congressman is: Bruce Brayley
If you live in one of the following counties:
Butler, Bremer, Fayette, Clayton, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Delaware, Dubuque, Jones, Jackson, Clinton, Scott
(Email) Jeremiah Johnson (Dubuque)
(Email) John Ortega (Bettendorf )
(Email) Chelle Adkins (Cedar Falls)

Second District
If your Congressman is: Dave Loebsack
If you live in one of the following counties:
Linn, Johnson, Cedar, Muscatine, Washington, Louisa, Des Moines, Lee, Henry, Jefferson, Van Buren, Davis, Wapello, Appanoose, Wayne

(Email) David Chung (Ceder Rapids)
(Email) Emily Lofgren (Muscatine)
(Email) Trudy Caviness (Ottumwa)
Third District
If your Congressman is: Leonard Boswell
If you live in one of the following counties:
Grundy, Tama, Benton, Iowa, Poweshiek, Jasper, Polk, Marion, Mahaska, Keokuk, Lucas, Monroe
(Email) Gopal Krishna (West Des Moines)
(Email) David Fischer (Altoona) (On Paul’s Campaign)
(Email) Wes Enos (Des Moines) (On Bachmann’s Campaign)
Fourth District
If your Congressman is: Tom Latham
If you live in one of the following counties:
Emmet, Palo Alto, Kossuth, Winnebago, Hancock, Worth, Cerro Gordo, Mitchell, Floyd, Howard, Chickasaw, Winneshiek, Allamakee, Pocahontas, Humboldt, Wright, Franklin, Calhoun, Webster, Hamilton, Hardin, Greene, Boone, Story, Marshall, Dallas, Madison, Warren
(Email) A.J. Spiker (Ames) (On Paul’s Campaign)
(Email) Drew Ivers (Webster City) (On Paul’s Campaign)
(Email) Bill Schickel (Mason City)
Fifth District
If your Congressman is: Steve King
If you live in one of the following counties:
Lyon, Osceola, Dickenson, Sioux, O’Brien, Clay, Plymouth, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Woodbury, Ida, Sac, Monona, Crawford, Carroll, Harrison, Shelby, Audubon, Guthrie, Pottawattamie, Cass, Adair, Mills, Montgomery, Adams, Union, Clarke, Fremont, Page, Taylor, Ringgold, Decatur
(Email) Tim Moran (Council Bluffs)
(Email) Craig Williams (Manning)
(Email) Monte Shaw (Panora)
Sometimes You Roll The Dice…

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 garnered a large amount of initial, albeit emotional, support and then just dropped out?  Do Iowa Republicans want to spend their time listening to someone who has been all flash and no fire?  Are they coming to this event to hear the musings of one who couldn’t make it past the starting gate?  Or do they want to see someone they can vet and get behind in the Caucus?

I suspect that Donald has some good observations to make about our current business climate, and the dynamics that exist with countries like China and Brazil as the US tries to work its way out of the economic mess it’s in.  But it is hard to believe that someone who would only be in the race “half heartedly”, would truly have words of wisdom or advice to Iowans with regard to their task of looking through the resumes of those who remain.  At least not words of substance.

The good news is that our list of people to watch has dropped by two in a few days.  Hopefully we’ll be down to half a dozen by the time we get to the Iowa Straw Poll.

The bad news is that RPI needs to regroup and figure out what to do for the Lincoln Dinner.  Perhaps Ron Paul is available?

Matt Strawn Gains Second Term

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 both Matt and Jim!

Jack Whitver Wins GOP Nomination In Iowa Senate District 35

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 Kirkenbach convened as was immediately elected as the convention chair. Gopal Krishna was elected secretary.

The rules were presented.  A motion to modify the rules to allow discussion amongst the body after speeches and before voting failed. The rules were then approved as written.

The following people were nominated:

  • Matthew DeVries
  • Larry Voorhees
  • Carol Miller
  • Jim Gocke
  • Kevin Koester
  • Jack Whitver

A delegate asked the candidates to “…not surprise us with something from your past … tell us what you need to tonight.”

Matt DeVries gave a good speech. He covered a number of the expected conservative topics… including the comment that “abortion is an act of violence”.

Jim Gocke talked a lot about his background growing up and how it affected his mindset. Different events “sharpened my pencil”.  No clear message on positions, although he did handout information as well.  Jim is pretty well known in the community through his law practice.

Kevin Koester shared some family background. He said that his positions are well documented… jokingly shared about some family nefariousness.  He made a strong case for using his experience in the House to shepard key legislation through the Senate.  Kevin was reelected in November as the representative for Iowa House District 70, which makes up half of Iowa Senate District 35.

Carol Miller is a farm wife… agriculture is a large part of this district (District 35 is largely rural). She has a history of various roles representing the interest of agriculture and general public policy, including travelling to DC to address policy issues.

Larry Voorhees said he “doesn’t like liberalism and doesn’t like empty ballots”. In 2008 he ran for Iowa House in District 68 against Democrat Rick Olson even though the odds were against him. He “won’t roll over and play dead”. He explained his position on abortion as unwavering with no exceptions.

Jack Whitver gave a very solid speech, covering several key conservative topics, as Matt did, at one point stating that it was “wrong to mislead Iowans by telling them we have a blanced budget”.   Jack wants term-limits.  He said that “voters now see the weakness of big government” and are expecting substantive change.  Below is a video of Jack’s speech, courtesy of The Iowa Republican (Craig Robinson).


Any of these candidates seemed very likely to serve Republicans well.

Ballots were immediately provided.

First ballot:

  • Devries 21.3
  • Gocke 34.1
  • Koester 12.7
  • Miller .7
  • Voorhees 0
  • Whitver 28.7

Larry Voorhees withdrew.

Second bellot:

  • Devries 20.5
  • Gocke 36.2
  • Koester 6.6
  • Miller 0
  • Whitver 36.7

Carol Miller is then dropped since the rules stipulate that after the second ballot, the person with the least votes in each round is dropped.

Third ballot:

  • Devries 20.8
  • Gocke 39.4
  • Koester 3.3
  • Whitver 36.4

Koester drops by rules

Fourth ballot:

  • Devries 16.9
  • Gocke 39.4
  • Whitver 45

DeVries drops by rules

Fifth and final ballot:

  • Gocke 36.4
  • Whitver 63.6

Jim Gocke gave a short speech followed by an equally short acceptance speech from Jack.

Kudos to those running the meeting… very efficient.  And the crowd was very engaged but polite.  A very pleasant experience.

Craig Robinson at The Iowa Republican has a great write-up of the event as well.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I sat through the convention in the back with Craig Robinson, who runs The Iowa Republican web site.  Craig is fun to work with, and he never has his own access to the internet at events like this.  I had my recently acquired cellular hotspot with me and I was happy to share it with Craig, but it would not work properly (still not sure why… I will have to work on it tomorrow).  The wireless at the library was not strong enough to work for us, so we did all of our tweeting from our phones.

Anyhow, Craig predicted that IF the voting went to five ballots, Jack Whitver would be the winner.  Craig Robinson was Nostradamus.

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