Below is the full text of the “Letter to the Editor” I sent to several newspapers in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District.Â I believe it makes the case against re-electing Leonard Boswell in a concise fashion.Â If there is anyone you know still on the fence in this race feel free to forward it to them.
For the last ten years I have been represented in the U.S House by Rep. Leonard Boswell.Â During this time I have often disagreed with his positions, but never have I been more convinced that he has grown out of touch with the challenges facing my fellow Iowans, and our nation at large, than I am this year.
The number one piece of evidence proving this has been his approach to our countryâ€™s fiscal matters over the last few years.Â The reason I am so disappointed in Leonard Boswell is because I did something that has seemingly gone way out of style these days, something even nearly unthinkable actuallyâ€”I looked up his voting record.Â More unbelievable perhaps is that I didnâ€™t stop there; I had the nerve to continue doing my civic homework by looking up the record of his opponent Tom Latham as well.
Anyone choosing to do the same will find out that since 2009, the self-proclaimed fiscally conservative â€œBlue Dogâ€ Democrat Leonard Boswell has cast yes votes on the following pieces of legislation:
â€¢Â Economic Stimulus Billâ€”over $800 billion added to the national debt, more than a trillion dollars with interest included (passed the House 246-183 on Feb. 13, 2009).
â€¢Â Obamacareâ€”price tag of $900 billion over 10 years at passage, most recent CBO scoring nearly doubled this amount to $1.76 trillion (passed the House 219-212 on March 21, 2010).
â€¢Â Raising the debt ceilingâ€”passed the House 218-214 on December 16, 2009.
â€¢Â Cap and Tradeâ€”according to the Obama administration itself, would have cost Americans up to $200 billion a year (passed the House 219-212 on June 26, 2009).
Meanwhile in the same span he voted against the following measures:
â€¢Â Cut, Cap, and Balanceâ€”passed the House 234-190 on July 19th, 2011
â€¢Â Debt ceiling bill â€“ This is the John Boehner version that would have raised the debt ceiling in exchange for limits on discretionary spending (passed the House 218-210 on July 29, 2011).
â€¢Â Reducing spending to F.Y 2008 levelsâ€”passed the House 256-165 on July 25, 2011.
Two things of note here are, 1) Tom Latham had the foresight and fiscal decency to vote against all the above bills that Leonard Boswell voted for, and 2) Though Mr. Boswell may have been a fiscally conservative Democrat at some point during his career in Washingtonâ€”over the last three years he has shown zero concern for the massive debt that has crippled this economic recovery.Â In fact, he remarkably couldnâ€™t even bring himself to support spending at the level we did just four years ago.
Besides being pleasantly surprised at how rock-solid Tom Latham has been on Federal spending, the thing I took away most from researching these two candidates is how disingenuous it is for Leonard Boswell to claim the mantle of â€œBlue Dog Democratâ€.
The reason this should matter to voters of all stripes on November 6th is it invites the following question:Â How can we expect our political leaders to do what they say they will once elected, if they are not even who they claim to be while running for office?
Especially since 2009, only one man in this race has had his eyes on the future fiscal health of this country, and by extension the next generation who will inherit this futureâ€”and that man is Tom Latham.
What a great evening! Kathie Obradovich pointed out that it’s like being in an airplane hanger here at Hy-Vee Hall, but we have a great crowd, a lot of great Republicans and big group of press (75 registered), including a number of national names.
The theme of those speaking is what this crowd expects to hear: Reid and Pelosi are bringing the country down, killing jobs, killing the economy, stepping on the Constitution. What the country needs is smaller government, stronger jobs and economic growth, and greater fiscal responsibility, and Republicans can deliver.
Speakers included Republican Party of Iowa Co-chair Jim Kurtenbach, Representatives Steve King and Tom Latham, Senator Chuck Grassley, Former Governor and Candidate Terry Branstad, and Republican Party of Iowa Chair Matt Strawn.
Terry’s speech was the most heavily targeted at his opponent (Governor Chet Culver), hitting on all of the same issues we’ve heard on the campaign trail and in this week’s debate. Of the warm-up speeches his was probably the longest. Terry was very warmly received by this crowd, and he also took the time to mention all of the state constitutional office candidates.
A nice video tribute to the late President Ronald Reagan was part of the program, which included highlights from some of his best speeches over the years.
Matt Strawn gave a great talk on the importance of stepping up now and making sure we get as many principled conservative Republicans elected this fall as we can, as he introduced Sarah Palin.
So, what did Sarah have to say?
Sarah complimented Iowa, complimented Terry Branstad, then talked about staying focused on the 2010 election and not the 2012 election, meaning she wasn’t going to talk about whether she is running for President in 2012 or not.
She talked about the need to elect leaders who respect “We the People”, like Senator Grassley, Tom Latham, Steve King, and then mentioned her endorsement of Brenna Findley.
What does “We the People” mean, anyway? Sometimes this term is being used lately in a context that sounds like it is equivalent to “We the Conservatives”. Sorry for the tangent.
Sarah went on to talk about how competition (in primaries) is good, but that it is now time to unite. If we want to stop Obama, Pelosi and Reid, then now is the time to unite. She talked about the need to move on now after having lost primaries. And the Need to set aside internal power struggles for the sake of the party. The need is great going into the mid-term elections.
Sarah then went into an extended criticism of the Press and emphasis on the importance of holding the Press accountable when they are telling untruths. She even Called some of the media “cowards”. She made a number of suggestions about what she thought party leadership should be doing right now.
I think she’s running for RNC Chair.
sarah said that Voters and patriots will restore America. Our (Republican) candidates will bring back constitutional government. She agrees with Obama that there are better days ahead… starting on November 2.
Sarah went on to provide a list of the problems with the current administration and Congress. Culminating with the President’s “foolish” attempts to run a conciliatory foreign policy with our enemies, in stark contrast to Reagan’s strong support of allies and strong confrontational hold against our enemies.
She believes that Principles and People will help hold our nation together, and that it’s time for a national rediscovery and renewal.
Overall, her speech was very pro-business, pro-individual, pro-radical renewal, and very contrary to current federal policies.
And finally the biggest philosophical dichotomy we struggle with against Democrats today: we don’t need to fundamentally transform America, we need to restore America.Â Great line, strongly received.
Although I agree with much of what Sarah had to say tonight, I will say I feel like I’ve been riding on a bullet train as she dropped a lot of already well-worn (literally word for word what I hear day after day from a variety of conservative sources) sound bytes as I passed by.Â She basically covered much of what conservatives are frustrated with in our current government and many of the principles that conservatives are anxious to see drive what our government does (and does not do).
Nothing that she shared tonight compelled me to hold her up (despite my support of her two years ago) as a strong candidate for President. But I do think she can continue to be a strong voice for the movement, the party, and for people who feel they are not being heard.
And many of those people may think this gives her credibility as a Presidential candidate. That’s okay… but I don’t agree. At least not yet.Â As I said before, she states a lot of what I agree with at a very high level, but I want to see some meat in the form of detailed policy statements.Â My friend Shane Vander Hart tells me I need to read some of her recent writings, which I will do.
Anyhow, it was very encouraging to see so many Republicans gathered to celebrate our history of strong conservative values, and to get enthused for the campaign we are fighting this year. Hats off to the Republican Party of Iowa for an awesome job with this event! And thanks to Danielle Plogmann (RPI Communications Director) for doing a great job providing for the press and bloggers!
At the blogging table we had Craig Robinson (the Godfather), Shane Vander Hart (the Preacher, and Sarah’s number 1 fan in the Iowa Blogosphere), Albert Bregar (hizzoner), Grant Young (he never said “epic” tonight) and the folks from The Cool Conservative.
Tonight Republicans from around Iowa met at the Elwell Family Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.Â Isaiah McGee, Iowa State Central Committee Member,Â acted as Master of Ceremonies.Â He made some brief remarks, including “We Must Unite!”
Video presentations from David Vaudt, who criticized Democrats 30% slash of his budget as an attempt to “muzzle the taxpayers’ watchdog” andÂ Bill Northey who wants to see more republicans in the state capital.
Representatives Tom Latham and Steve King could not attend, but they probably had a good excuse since they are working in Washington tonight.Â Both provided videos where theyÂ spoke to the health care bill being debated today.Â Both are trying to kill it.Â King stated thatÂ “Iowans need to speak out until the bill is mortally wounded with a stake in its heart!”
Huge applause came for Senator Grassley as he stepped onÂ the stage to speak.
Quotes from Chuck Grassley: “Our common focus is leadship and vision for the future.”, “Iowans of every political stripe were telling me, both by words and by action, that they are scared.” “For the first time in the history of the United States the government wants to tell us we must buy something.”Â Grassley also mentioned that Republicans have a 200 page bill as an alternative to Democrats 1,995 page bill.Â “They want to redistribute wealth, they want to take property without just compensation, and that is not Constitutional.Â That won’t happen on my watch.”
Quotes from Matt Strawn: “It’s a good week to be a Republican, not just because of how we won, but how we were able to show the distinctions between Republicans and Democrats to the voters.”, “Iowans are desperate for competent leadership.”Â “Real leaders don’t sign the largest budget in the states history and then try to convince iowans otherwise.”Â
Pawlenty: “Chuck Grassley has changed Washington more than Washington has change him.” “(Re: Virginia and New Jersey) We need to launch the same comeback across America.”Â
Tim Pawlenty provided aÂ stimulating speech to Republicans in Iowa tonight.Â It was clear before too long that he was working on his 2012 campaign, but provided ammunition and motivation to push folks toward 2010 as well.
All of the candidates for Governor provided strong speeches, each providing their own unique angle on pretty much the same message: Culver is making a mess of things, we need to cut spending, fix the definition of Marriage, bring more jobs to Iowa by making the state more business friendly.Â
Tonight was the first big night for Republican activists to get a taste of Terry Branstad 2.0 (or perhaps 2.1).Â Â He seemed a little rough tonight, starting out hesitatingly, but he eventually warmed up and did well.Â
A major benefit of tonight’s event is the continued opportunity for activists to hear not just stump speeches, but ideas.Â Although Republicans will be selecting one person to run against Chet Culver, the combined voices of all of the candidates bring some great perspective, great ideas, great concepts to merge together into a platform that our candidate for governor, whoever that ends up being, can bring.Â The crowd tonight was wellÂ engaged… the big challenge is to keep them and voters engaged through the coming year and maintaining focus.
You can watch the entire event at CSPAN’s web site shortly.Â We will provide a direct link to the video tomorrow.