As a life-long Iowan, I can tell you the ridiculous National stereo-type that we are all corn growers or hog farmers is bad enough without adding an even worse oneâ€¦that we are a bunch of babies.
With the political season heating up and the eyes of the Nation beginning to turn toward us, now should be our time to shineâ€”not to whine. Unfortunately, too much whining is what I have heard from some of my fellow Iowa Republicans lately.
Before this week the running gripe was over the likelihood that Mitt Romney and his campaign wouldnâ€™t be â€œall inâ€ with their Iowa effort. News reports and blogs have been filled with comments and insinuations that if he doesnâ€™t fully participate in the State he will be punished for it by voters. This was followed by the reaction to Michelle Bachmannâ€™s unfortunate cancellation as the featured speaker at a Polk County GOP fundraiser last Thursday.
I was in attendance at this event and saw at least 30 people walk-out during her, admittedly technically challenged, appearance via Skype. She chose the video feed as a last second alternative to missing the event all together due to a delayed House vote on The Patriot Act. In addition to the walk-outs, the fallout from this was loud grumblings by event organizers that she â€œdissedâ€ Iowa, and claims from others that her potential campaign for President was over even before it got started.
Though by no means an endorsement of her or how the dinner went, these sentiments were both a hyper-sensitive reaction and grossly unfair. The reality is that scheduling problems, especially for a member of Congress, happen. Though it was not a great night for her, the event, or the Polk GOP, an important vote simply, and unexpectedly, ran long. It should also be noted that she was as contrite about it as her image on the screen was blurryâ€¦and it was very blurry.
In general, the reaction to both the Romney and Bachmann situations have made Iowa Republicans look and sound more like scorned lovers than serious judges of Presidential candidates. While I fully understand the disappointment of the Bachmann cancellation and the desire to have a bona fide contender like Romney spend time here, I shudder at a mind-set that would allow either to be a factor.
Though it certainly applies to a small minority of Iowa voters, anyone who makes their decision on the â€œemotionalâ€ grounds of not getting enough personal attention, in my view, is guilty of a dereliction of duty. After all, how can one argue that it is not what they say, but where they say it that matters?
With our Stateâ€™s great influence in the process comes great responsibility. Considering that an Obama re-election would mean he could possibly appoint two more Supreme Court judges, a full implementation of â€œObama-Careâ€ would be certain, and that there would be four more years of a liberal president politically unconstrained to spend freely, the stakes couldnâ€™t be higher. This makes it even more unsettling that a sect of informed Republicans are concerned about completely irrelevant things such as how much time a candidate personally spends fawning over us.
The last time I checked we are supposed to be selecting our Countryâ€™s next presidentâ€”not dating. Furthermore, if we were dating we likely wouldnâ€™t have much luck acting in this manner anyways. The word on the street would spread through the singles community like wildfireâ”€WARNINGâ€¦HIGH MAINTENANCE!
In running the ironic risk of whining too much about whining, let me quickly close by saying that I hope this attention-craving neediness is not a harbinger of things to come. Not only is it un-Iowan, it is un-American (at least it used to be anyways). The sooner we stop the bed wetting and start the vetting the better. Whether or not we are getting the attention of this or that candidate, we certainly have the Countryâ€™s attention.
Besides the fact that focusing on petty, inconsequential things will likely not lead us to the best nominee, it just plain looks bad.
I tell you this, if I have to be incorrectly typecast by the rest of the Country, Iâ€™d gladly take bib overalls and a tractor over a pacifier.
First of all, a wonderful Memorial Day to you all.Â I pray that your travels, picnics, barbeques and parties would be safe and fun.Â And let’s remember our fallen heroes, who without them and their ultimate sacrifice,Â we wouldn’t have the freedom to enjoy what we do.
The economic calendar of last week revealed what appears to be a slowing economy.Â First, the analysis.
- Durable goods orders, a highly volatile statistic, were down significantly, reflecting slower orders for cars, airplanes, refrigerators and washing machines.
- The second estimate ofÂ Q1 GDP growth was anemic at 1.8%.Â 3% would be healthy and would suggest an economy growing fast enough to grow our employment base.
- Having said that, initial jobless claims rose to 424,000, which again suggest a slowing economy.Â Employment is not likely to grow unless jobless claims fall below 400,000.
- Consumers are more upbeat, for now.
There are two things which conservatives who have any hope of reaching the White House in 2012 must address in order to have a chance–employment, and oil prices.Â The two go hand in hand.Â High commodity prices are a drag on the economy and act like a tax.Â $4.00 gasoline keeps people from spending on other things, like durable goods, which create jobs.Â The current administration has been an abject failure in handling the economy (never mind foreign policy).Â Republicans would do well to address these issues, and not each other.
On a macro level the last few weeks of the Ron Paul Presidential campaign have been a little bumpy. The turbulence was provided by a much publicized exchange with WHO Radioâ€™s Simon Conway and rough national television interviews with MSNBCâ€™s Chris Mathews and Fox Newsâ€™ Chris Wallace. The fact that the Mathewâ€™s interview would be contentious was likely known, but having Chris Wallace, on Fox News Sunday, aggressively infer that the â€œgeneral welfareâ€ clause was valid justification for unlimited Federal government involvement had to come as a shock (I know I was shocked).
If one thought that would dampen his supportersâ€™ enthusiasm, a few minutes spent at the Paul campaign headquarters in Ankeny on Monday would be enough to prove them mistaken. In fact the effort in Iowa seems to be humming along at an impressive pace. In less than two weeks, over a 110 County co-chairs have volunteered, 8 District co-chairs have signed on, and Mr. Paul has picked up his first Iowa legislative endorsement in Glenn Massie (R-Des Moines).
Due to this progress, for the second time in two weeks the candidate himself was on hand to personally thank these volunteers and to take a few questions from the media. During the Q and A session Paul spoke on Israel, reiterating his stance that their dependence on the U.S is effectively making them weaker and not stronger. He also happily acknowledged that more and more Republicans are coming around to his position against our involvements in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. In his view, this shift in thinking is the result of a mixture of disenchantment with realities on the ground and the fact that itâ€™s easier for Republicans to be less supportive now that these conflicts can be seen as â€œObamaâ€™s wars.â€ On the domestic front the only thing worth noting was his comments regarding Mike Huckabeeâ€™s decision not to enter the race. He called this development â€œsignificant,â€ adding that he thinks there is a good chance that he will appeal to Huckabeeâ€™s supporters.
The more time one spends covering the Ron Paul presidential run the more one understands the reasons for his supportersâ€™ legendary levels of enthusiasm. Chief among these is the fact that what they are involved in is far more a movement than a campaign. Unlike what happens around populist candidates, they are not drawn to Paul by his smoothness, style, empathy, or one-liners. They are gravitating toward a philosophyâ€”a philosophy that is not only at odds with nearly every other GOP candidate, but of the Republican Party establishment in general.
Before the event I interviewed Paulâ€™s Iowa Campaign Chairman, longtime Republican leader Drew Ivers, and this topic came up. Referencing this drift away from the Party, Ivers said, â€œI have carried plenty of water for the Republican Party over the years, and I have earned the right to criticize them.â€ When one looks at the legislative performance of the Party as a whole over the last 25 years, itâ€™s hard to argue that this criticism is undeserved. Unless of course we are willing to pretend that the financial collapse of 2008 and the 14.3 trillion dollar debt involved only Democrats.
Aside from making it clear that Ron Paul is pro-marriage and pro-family, the topics which Ivers emphasized revealed another reason why Paulâ€™s staff and supporters have bound together so tightly behind their candidateâ€¦no one else in the race is singing their tune. A perfect example of this is the issue of Federal debt and deficits. Along with all the Republican hopefuls the Paul camp views Federal spending as 2012â€™s central issue, but unlike any of the others they favor a different solution.
Mr. Ivers was speaking for the majority of the eventâ€™s attendees by showing great concern over the Federal Reserve, quantitative easing, and the value of the dollar. For Ivers, and for Paul, the Fed is the way to begin gaining control of run-away spending. Beyond just proposing spending cuts, their solution is to stop the endless spending by stopping the Federal Reserve from endlessly printing money. This type of systemic change is emblematic of many of Paulâ€™s proposals, and is an approach that the Party, likely for political reasons, has never warmed to.
The fact that Mr. Paul is the only established Republican candidate talking about such things as eliminating the Fed, quantitative easing, and immediately ending our foreign deployments has gained him passionate support, but has also left a steep hill to climb.
What Ron Paul and his supporters are seeking is not a mere tinkering with the Republican message. They are calling for a return to a strict Constitutional approach to Federal governance, something that has not been practiced for generations. The political challenge inherent in this is vast, and is certainly one that Drew Ivers is fully aware of. He summarized it quite well by saying that the Country at large has â€œmoved so far to the left that the message seems strange.â€
There are few bonds stronger than that of a shared conviction, and perhaps this more than anything else explains the enthusiasm of Ron Paulâ€™s supporters. For their message to connect they face the Herculean task of convincing a Country to shift its current concept of the role of government, ironically back to its original form.
After spending an afternoon with the staff and volunteers who will be responsible for spreading this message, I can report that in spite of the odds they remain motivated, passionate, and in general completely undaunted by the challenge.
Photo courtesy of TEApublican.
How is it possible to resist the charms of any elected official offering the dual benefits of fairness and protection? After all, is not being treated equitably, while simultaneously being spared the pain of those who would seek to harm us, not of ultimate worth? Fairness must certainly be the quintessential American value, right? And our entire system of justice; is it not specifically designed to bring both fairness and protection?
Over the next year and a half we will hear the word fairness as if the word encapsulates the complete and final animation of the American ideal. We will also be offered a basket overflowing with governmental â€œprotectionsâ€ from rapacious bogeymen, both known and unknown. This little â€œbenefits packageâ€ will come neatly wrapped in the form of a vague threat that would have us believe any alternative to this package would immediately result in enslavement. It is only demons that would offer us, the American people, anything less.
The real wonder in all of this is how Thomas Jefferson seemed to have completely missed the significance of the beatific vision of the liberal left. To have settled for such suboptimal and simple notions as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must clearly validate the marked progression in our political thinking. Alas, we are talking about a couple of centuries of human achievement. If we can build an iPad, we must certainly be able to build a perfectly integrated, transparent, and high-functioning system of governance. We call this â€œpolitical science,â€ as if it was somehow scientific.
Hope and change was the first chapter. Fairness and protection are now emerging as the second chapter. The only remaining question we now have is in determining which of these sets of notions is the most utterly naÃ¯ve. There is, however, no remaining question as to which is more dangerous. Chapter Two is an unmitigated societal, moral and economic horror show.
Like hope and change, fairness and protection are proffered without definition or object. One manâ€™s version of fairness is another manâ€™s version of purgatory. To suggest that protections are being afforded is to beg the obvious question, â€œProtection from what or from whom?â€ The suggestion, of course, is that the government will become both the ultimate dispenser of fairness, and the protector from anything that is â€œnot-government.â€ This is a binary universe in which the government is the center of virtue, and everything and everyone else is either mundane or oppressive.
In a hypothetical world where half the citizenry are drunken bums and the other half are productive and hard-working citizens, what represents a fair tax rate? Apparently, there is a fair answer to this question, albeit that the obvious answer seems to elude most of us common people. Not to fear, in the liberal mind, they have the answer. And if regulation doubles the price of that which we seek to consume, we must presume that the level of â€œprotectionâ€ is worth paying for.Â Just ask them. They not only have all the answers, they are willing to impose them on everyone else.
They spin a web of myths. It is only unfortunate that these myths are so seemingly beguiling.
When Mr. Jefferson offered his modest notions of a sustainable basis for societal success, he understood that the government can only create a set of conditions where people can optimize their unique futures. He had seen the fairness and protection â€œthemesâ€ played out in history and seen the implications of the associated governmental arrogance. Mr. Jefferson was willing to look at humanity in a more positive light than many of his contemporaries. Even he could not begin to fathom the negative implications of what is now being offered as the standard offering of the Liberal Left.
When the markets create a willing buyer, and a willing seller, at a given price, most of us would agree that the â€œtradeâ€ was fair. On the other side of the equation, when the government intervenes in anything, it is not fairness and protection that we receive. It is rather just someoneâ€™s version of coercion. The liberal definition of fairness is just another form of arbitrary and completely baseless enslavement. It cannot be heard in any other way.
Fairness is only found in established conditions. It is never found in a quest for derived outcomes. When liberals transmute the definition of fairness into an effect, as opposed to its native state as a cause, they turn the world inside out. Viewing fairness as an effect is, by definition, fundamentally unfair. And the result is always predictable, and never pretty.
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.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â There had been talk that the committee might address the question of the involvement of committee members on presidential campaigns prior to the caucus.Â 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.Â The group was not keen on extending the meeting since there was a physical walk-through of the event facility scheduled shortly after this.Â 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.Â 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)