In hopes of making a seamless transition in leadership, theÂ odds of using an already scheduled meeting of the State Central Committee to choose a new leader is becoming increasingly likely.
Fellow blogger, and State Central Committee member, David Chung is all over the story.Â Please check out the link below that will take you to his site HawkeyeGOP.com.Â I have been a reader of his for a while now–besides being a reasoned voice from inside the Party, he has shown absolute fairness in dealing with all issues.
Not only does he touch on the rules governing the process,Â he gives a brief rundown of the three known candidates to replace Matt Strawn, who recentley stepped down as Chairman of the Party.
Click here for David Chung’s story at HawkeyeGop.com
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.Â 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?Â 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?Â Do Iowa Republicans want to spend their time listening to someone who has been all flash and no fire?Â Are they coming to this event to hear the musings of one who couldn’t make it past the starting gate?Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â Perhaps Ron Paul is available?
If you did not know freshmen Kentucky Senator Rand Paul prior, and you attended Saturday nightâ€™s Iowa Republican Party event â€œNight of the Rising Starsâ€ . . . then you certainly know him now.
I will get to Senator Paul, the evenings keynote speaker, momentarily but first let us briefly deal with the atmosphere and the purpose of the nightâ€™s eventâ€”recognizing the up and comers in the Iowa Republican Party.Â The crowd of 300-400 took to their seats in the warm, ornate theatre of the Hoyt Sherman Place largely to celebrate the impressive and hard won gains by Iowa Republicans in the last election cycle.Â The program included very short remarks from Senate Leader Paul McKinley, House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Party Chairman Matt Strawn, and Governor Terry Branstad.Â Following Governor Branstad, Senator Chuck Grassley was brought up to introduce Senator Paul.Â I will spare you of the particulars, as the real story lay in the last two speakers, but will apprise you of a few things of note that did happen during the body of the program.
Believe it or not a quasi-disco atmosphere was attempted to be created, which was odd due to the advanced mean age of those in attendance. Â Thanks to a mirror ball hung from the ceiling, each speaker took to the stage under a shower of colored lights as the venueâ€™s sound system blasted a song of their choosing. Â Â The â€œRising Stars,â€ though some were in attendance, were mainly celebrated through videos which showed clips of them at the Statehouse telling the camera what they do for a living and why they chose to run for office.Â The crowd largely sat silent for the videos, with the exception of small outbursts of cheering at the appearances of Kim Pearson, Kent Sorenson, and Jack Whitver.
Thirty-one year old Secretary of State Matt Schultz provided the evenings first shot of energy with a robust presentation that included a fiery defense of his signature issue, requiring a photo ID be shown before voting.Â Party Chair Matt Strawn followed, in a warm and charismatic style, with a few words about how the party had sought out principled candidates to run, and emphasized that a Conservative philosophy is critical to the Stateâ€™s future.Â Most interestingly he applauded Matt Schultz for his hard stance on the voter ID proposal, signaling that the Party itself is digging in for a fight on this issue.Â Governor Branstad spoke for roughly two minutes, mainly about the economy.Â He vowed to veto any one year budget proposals that may get sent to him and declared that â€œIowa is back open for business.â€
And now ladies and gentlemen . . .The main event.
The saying that â€œpolitics often makes for strange bedfellowsâ€ is usually used in referencing politicians of opposing parties that find themselves in an odd alliance.Â The surge of a more libertarian-tinged Republicanism represented by the Tea Party, however, has created an increasing number of strange bedfellows inside the GOP tent.Â This was on full display Saturday night in the somewhat strange decision to have Chuck Grassley introduce Rand Paul to the stage.Â Beyond the obvious, a prominent role on a night of â€œRising Starsâ€ given to a man, although beloved, who was first elected to Iowa government in 1958, it is hard to imagine a more antithetical Republican to Rand Paul than Chuck Grassley.Â This is not to say that Republicans ever will, or should be, in lock step on every issue, but a brief glance at Grassleyâ€™s career reveals countless fundamental breaks with Rand Paulâ€™s particular ideological philosophy.Â Not to belabor the point but this is a list that includes, and is certainly not limited to, the following:
Senator Grassley is an ardent supporter and fighter for Federal ethanol subsidies, he proposed a Constitutional Amendment in 2009 to prohibit flag burning, and most notably was one of twenty Republican co-sponsors on a Senate bill in 1993 that would have mandated that all Americans have health insurance.Â On the last point it could be argued that this was done as a Republican response/alternative to the Clinton administrationâ€™s proposed â€œHillary Care,â€ but doing so perfectly illustrates the stark contrast between the two Senators.Â Whether you agree with it or not Rand Paul is not interested in, nor is he willing, to alter an ideological principal based on a current political reality.Â A debate can be had on the wisdom of this approach, and the point can surely be made that not engaging in this way while in the minority can result in a more damaging piece of legislation eventually being passed.Â Â But if one is to get an accurate picture of Rand Paul it is essential to know that compromise in this fashion is absent from his genetic make-up.
Senator Grassley entered stage-left to an enthusiastic round of applause from the audience.Â The high-mark of his speech, and the loudest applause, came when he delivered a stern message to U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who is in the midst of budget cutting negotiations with Congressional Democrats.Â To Boehner Grassley said in a raised voice, â€œListen Mr. Speaker, we ran on a platform of cutting $100 billion, and were going to cut a $100 billion.â€Â Following a short, at times unsteady, few minutes that included multiple obligatory jokes about his age, he gave the floor to Senator Paul.
As was his custom during his Senate campaign, Paul hit the stage to AC/DCâ€™s song â€œTNT,â€ and started with a few gracious words for Senator Grassley.Â Normally at a political party event like this you would take kind and complimentary words being thrown back and forth amongst the speakers as standard procedure.Â Although the pleasantries were exchanged on this night, taking it as a given would have been a mistake.Â In addition to being an outspoken critic of past Republican Congresses, Senator Paul spent upwards of 15% of the text in his recently published book â€œThe Tea Party Goes To Washingtonâ€ brutalizing Republicans with a near prideful zeal that would even raise the eyebrow of Keith Olbermann.Â Likely to the benefit of the audience, these kind remarks to Senator Grassley signaled that Senator Paul had self-imposed a â€œno fly zoneâ€ on fellow Republicans for the evening.
Senator Paul delivered his twenty-two minute address with no podium and without notes.Â His delivery was very smooth and the concept of his speech was very well thought out.Â Anyone who has heard his father before would quickly realize that he is a much better public speaker than his dad.Â The premise of a large portion of his speech was to use relatively obscure stories from American history and weave them into the issues of the present in order to make his points and to answer questions that he, rightfully, assumed the audience would have about him.Â Though it was not asked, one such question he answered was if he would compromise while in Washington.Â He happens to sit in â€œThe Great Compromiserâ€ Henry Clayâ€™s old desk in the Senate, and he used Clayâ€™s story of â€œcompromisingâ€ in agreeing to the expansion and extension of slavery in order to preserve the Union.Â If choosing this particularly horrific compromise as his example was not enough to make his position known, before leaving the topic he challenged the audience to ask themselves, â€œIs sometimes compromising really a misplaced ideal?â€
He then subtly addressed the unease that he creates, even amongst Conservatives, by telling the story of a doctor from Boston who, against the pleadings of the townâ€™s medical community, saved countless people by putting into practice the medical procedure of inoculation.Â The doctor had enough faith in the eventual result to try it on his own son.Â By doing so he saved his sonâ€™s life, which ultimately led to the procedure become standard practice for all future generations.Â He summarized the story, along with the defense of his approach to politics, by saying, â€œIt took someone brave enough and bold enough to step forward against popular opinion and do what he felt was right.Â I think we need more people like that.â€
His boldness is probably best known to people in the area of cutting spending and reducing the size of government.Â He spoke at length on the problem of overspending in Washington, repeatedly hitting on the theme that â€œWe face a day of fiscal reckoning.â€Â In reference to the current debate regarding last yearâ€™s budget he scoffed at a possible compromise being in the ballpark of $33 billion.Â â€œWere talking trillions in deficits, but were talking billions in cuts.â€
Going into the event I was certainly in agreement with his general message and had read his book, but did not have a firm opinion of him one way or the other.Â I left being very impressed, as did those sitting around me.Â We apparently were not the only ones.Â Reached for comment afterword State Senator Jack Whitver, one of the nights â€œRising Stars,â€ responded â€œI was impressed with Senator Paulâ€™s message.Â I think his message resonates with Conservative voters.Â He addressed the social issues and he was also very clear about the spending problems in Washington.â€Â He continued, â€œWhile he did not address whether he was going to run for President, I am confident that he will be part of the discussion in one way or another.â€
In Paulâ€™s recently published â€œThe Tea Party Goes to Washingtonâ€ he authors a simple sentence that is about as close as you can get to a mantra for how he plans to go about stamping Washington D.C. with his individual brand of Conservatismâ€”â€œItâ€™s hard to imagine changing the status-quo by only considering solutions acceptable to the status-quo.â€Â While pronouncements like this only recently have become red meat for Republicans, and in turn have become a plentiful fare, Senator Paul has working in his favor a unique and sub-conscious factor that leaves his bona fides and sincerity, in this regard anyways, hard to question.Â Knowing whose house he grew up in one gets the feeling, if not the assurance, that his political mindset is one that he has had for quite some time.Â A mindset that now happens to have an enthusiastic and receptive audience, and not the other way around.Â Ironically, he may be in a position to turn the potential negative of his fatherâ€™s political career into a positive that simultaneously affirms his genuineness while separating him from the growing number of newly converted â€œhardlineâ€ Conservatives.Â This authenticity is something that will serve him well down the road if the Tea Party groundswell ends up having the legs to impact future ballot boxes in the same way it did in the 2010 mid-term elections.Â In terms of speaking ability, substance, and grasp of the issues Senator Paul appears to be a future force on the national scene for the Republican Party.Â If past is indeed prologue, four years from now Iowa GOP supporters may very well look back at this event as the first time they were tasked with mentally vetting Mr. Paul, and not the last.
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. Â 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. Â 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. Â He is a valuable asset to Republicans in Iowa.
It’s also great to see that Jim Kurtenbach will continue as RPI Co-chair. Â Congratulations to both Matt and Jim!
Matt Strawn, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, will be out door-knocking and encouraging folks to get out and vote in Altoona along with Kim Pearson who is running for the Iowa House in District 42.Â
“Every local race matters in this election,” Strawn said. “Changing Chet Culver isn’t enough. We need to change leadership in the Iowa legislature and return principled, conservative government to the people of Iowa. We need to elect people like Kim Pearson.”
It’s awesome that Matt is getting out and helping candidates like Kim.Â Kim is a great example of a new group of candidates that have just had enough with “business as usual” politics and want to get state government back to doing the work it is intended to do.Â More information about Kim can be found at her web site by clicking here.
Other party leaders have alsoÂ been getting out and doing work along side of the volunteers.Â John Bloom and Will Rogers (Polk County GOP Chair and Co-chair) have both put in scores of hours making phone calls, deliverying yard signs, attending and hosting fund raising events, and knocking on doors.Â These two leaders have put as much time as possible into this campaign and the impact is impressive!
But most importantly, it’s encouraging to see the level of work being done by volunteers and interest in general in this year’s mid-term elections.Â The work being done by volunteers isÂ great.Â We are seeing a lot of yard signs and bumper stickers… I just put up my first ever barn sign on a friend’s property.Â Granted, I’m known in the neighborhood as the “Burma Shave Guy” because I have so many signs on my lawn.Â But everyone knows who to come to for signs of their own as well.
I’ve also had a lot of great personal interaction at work, church, in the grocery store, on the street… it’s pretty amazing to see how interested people are in what is happening in our government!
Signs are great, phone calls are good, but the most effective way of impacting voters, in my opinion, is knocking on their door and talking to them.Â Some of the best campaigners are good at getting out and meeting folks in their community, and getting volunteers to do the same on their behalf.Â I’m really glad that Matt and Kim are going out today to connect with the voters.Â This year’s election should be a turning point for our state and our county.
How can we all best show our appreciation for the work being done by party leaders and volunteers?Â Get out and vote.Â Polk County satellite voting is available today and tomorrow (locations can be found at www.polkgop.com) and early voting is available up to the day before election day (information on this also found at www.polkgop.com).Â Or, just go to your polling place on election day and vote.Â If you don’t know where your polling place is, you can get that information at this link.
Parties and candidates can all still use volunteer help.Â Go to www.polkgop.com to find a Republican candidate to connect with, or use the contact information there to connect with the Polk County Republican Party or the Republican Party of Iowa.
Now is the time to make a difference.Â Don’t wait.