Archive for December, 2010


Breaking: Gary Johnson Returns to Iowa January 19-21

Sources close to Governor Gary Johnson are telling Iowa Freedom Report today that the former New Mexico governor and rumored Presidential candidate will visit Iowa in late January.  The dates of the visit are reported to be the 19-21, but no other details are known at this time.

This will be Governor Johnson’s third visit to the first in the nation caucus state in the last few months.  Johnson participated in RAGBRAI in August and followed that trip with a September visit that included stops in Des Moines, Iowa City, and the Quad Cities.  This visit will follow closely on the heels of a trip to New Hampshire just announced for January 3-8.

Stay tuned to Iowa Freedom Report for updates on the Governor’s itinerary when they become available.


Matt DeVries Seeks Senate Seat in Special Election

With Governor Branstad’s recent appointment of State Senator and former Trooper Larry Noble (R-Ankeny) to head the Iowa Department of Public Safety, there comes a need for a special election to fill Noble’s seat in SD-35.  As the 2011 legislative session is looming and northern Polk County should not go unrepresented, the timetable for the election has been highly condensed with nominations held by convention tomorrow, December 30 and a vote scheduled for January 18.  A mere 42 Republican delegates, those who participated in the last precinct caucuses, are allowed to vote on the nominee.

Into this most difficult of primaries, one pro-freedom Republican has stepped up to the challenge.  Electrical engineer Matt DeVries has announced his intention to run.  DeVries has been one of the most active members in the local Campaign for Liberty chapter and is often tasked with the behind-the-scenes work at major events.  DeVries came to the movement from Sam Brownback’s campaign (interestingly enough the source of many Paul converts in 2007) and he followed up his involvement in the 2008 caucuses by winning a seat on the Polk County Republican Central Committee.

DeVries would be a huge pick-up for the movement and valuable asset alongside pro-liberty Senators Kent Sorenson and Mark Chelgren.  At only 32 years old, DeVries has great long-term potential as a standard-bearer for liberty if he can pull off this election.  That won’t be an easy task as the unique opportunity presented has attracted 4 other candidates, including many party hacks with well-established Republican credentials.  DeVries’ opposition consists of one former and one current State Representative, a law partner of Jeff Lamberti, and former Iowa State wide receiver Jack Whitver.

DeVries reportedly has the support of all four pro-liberty members of the GOP State Central Committee, a which is becoming a sore spot for big-government Republicans.  Iowa Freedom Report’s sources, however have denied that any of the four have taken any concrete action on DeVries’ behalf though its likely they would prefer him personally.  It appears that The Iowa Republican is reporting their presumptions as news, and if that’s the case, hats off to them for creatively making up a controversy to drive web traffic.  It is generally frowned upon for party officials to intervene in a primary,  but DeVries probably has the best opportunity to hold the seat for the GOP.  Campaign for Liberty has an Iowa network of over 2,000 members and the freedom movement in general likely has at least the tacit support of anywhere from 10,000 (Paul voters in 2008) – 25,000 (Cooper voters in 2010) Iowans.  Whoever the nominee is will have to raise money and volunteers fast, and DeVries has access to that pool of activists ready to back him.  DeVries also fits ideologically with the type of Republicans who have recently found success in Polk County like Sorenson and State Representatives-elect Glenn Massie and Kim Pearson.

With the special circumstances of the convention, there is little the movement can do for DeVries now but hope and pray for the best outcome, but we’ll be back with a proper endorsement if he advances to the general.


Ron and Rand Paul Nominated for Caffeinated Thoughts “Conservative of the Year”

One of Iowa’s leading conservative blogs, Caffeinated Thoughts, bestows an annual “Conservative of the Year” award to the person who has “made an impact on the conservative movement in the past year.”  In both 2008 and 2009 the winner has been incompetent half-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin who was given the award for reviving neoconservativism after the excess of the Bush/McCain Republican Party had nearly killed it off.  As a sign of the growing influence of the freedom message within the GOP, constitutionalist Doctors Ron and Rand Paul are both nominated.

Site editor Shane VanderHart cites the incoming Kentucky Senator as:

. . .quite the surprise in the Kentucky Republican Senate Primary and demonstrated the clout of the tea party movement by upsetting the establishment candidate also overcoming smear tactics from within the Republican party and without.  Having a staunch advocate for limited government and personal liberty in the U.S. Senate will be a welcome addition.

Site contributor and 2010 Libertarian candidate for State House Dustin Krutsinger wrote the nomination for the elder Paul, ticking off a long list of Paul’s proposed legislation and accomplishments including the victory at the 2010 CPAC Presidential Straw Poll.

Ron Paul certainly deserves the award, and not just because we at Iowa Freedom Report wholeheartedly agree with his ideas.  Paul has lead an ideological shift with the Republican Party and the broader conservative movement away from the big-government “compassionate conservative” ideas that dominated for the last decade.  Simply listen to the debate at the state GOP convention.  If the delegates had their way, most of the Republican agenda from 2000-2008 would be undone – no child left behind, expansion of government run health care, McCain-Feingold, massive budget deficits, etc, etc, etc.  You would not hear many Republican politicians talking about the Constitution or the national debt had Paul not been crying in the wilderness in 2008.

To the extent that the Tea Party movement had an impact in the 2010 midterm elections, this also is traced back to Paul’s ideas and his followers.  Yes, the Tea Parties to a large degree have been infiltrated and subverted by advocates of big government and yes, some have twisted the message of freedom to include their anger over people who make different lifestyle choices, but the movement we started on that cold December of 2007 has staying power nonetheless.

Riding this Tea Party wave, many of the other nominees are lagging, rather than leading, indicators.  Rand Paul would not have been a serious candidate had not Ron Paul united a movement.  Michelle Bachman was not well known until she started following Ron Paul around Capitol Hill and repeating his message.  Even Sarah Palin at her best is only popularizing Paul’s ideas.  Does anyone really think she has read up on Austrian economics before she turned her minions against the Fed?  For that matter, is anyone really sure she knows how to read?  Her opinions on domestic issues have come Paul’s direction while Paul’s commitment to principle remains firm.  For evidence of this, go back and watch her appearance on Freedom Watch where Judge Napolitano opens with a discussion of her hacked email account and works around to a embarrassed admission from Palin that maybe government spying on private emails without a warrant is going too far.

Please join Iowa Freedom Report in casting your vote for Ron Paul as Caffeinated Conservative of the Year.


The Alternative by Fritz Groszkruger: “Confronting Reality”

Editor’s note:  The Alternative is a regular column by farmer, activist, and former candidate for Secretary of Agriculture Fritz Groszkruger.  The Alternative appears in the Hampton Chronicle and occasionally on Iowa Freedom Report by special permission of the author.  In this edition, Groskruger takes apart the false choice offered by the political establishment between big government and peace.

We have a school whose mascot is the War Hawks. It couldn’t be more obvious; the coming generation hasn’t seen a human on fire or a dike bombed to ruin thousands of acres of lush hand-planted rice.

It’s a crazy mixed-up world where otherwise decent people can find a way to glorify government-out-of-control, to the extent they condone the most horrible activity man has allowed.

Back in the 60s, I was my father’s son, a Republican fifteen-year-old in favor of the Vietnam War. I was talking to Gregor Jovanovich, the kid across the street, and he made me rethink my position. The Vietnam War protected us from communism the same way the welfare state lifted poor people out of poverty; not at all.

What should an anti-war capitalist do? I chose to side with the anti-war movement in an effort to save American lives.

As the years went by I wrote to congress-people and marched in protests. In San Francisco I was part of a throng of 400,000 where I witnessed an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy clubbing an old lady over the head because she stepped off the curb. In all my anti-war activity, by the way, I never once saw a protester mistreat a serviceman. I suspect the government and their lap-dog media blew up an isolated incident to discredit the peace mongers and now it’s a common myth these poor souls were spat upon and cursed.

The international communist movement went on to cost 94 million lives. Our government caused the death of 58,000 Americans and a million Vietnamese by its participation in the Vietnam War. This seems like a pittance compared to the ravages of the communists. But that is still no justification for it. There is a reason for small, localized government. We eventually brought the troops home. There was nothing we could do to save those lives in China or the Soviet Empire.

Our effort in Vietnam did not stop communism. If those soldiers had not been shipped out they would have lived on to do productive work and raise families. No Vietnamese farmer sailed across the ocean and attacked us. Our government killed those soldiers.

As the years went by I seldom met a former protester who didn’t remain a leftist as a holdover from the years they railed against the war against communism. They apparently didn’t get the connection between the curse of big government and its evil twin, war. Language has become so convoluted, these leftists claim to be against war and for big government, as if a government has ever stopped a war.

I’m using the original meaning of leftist here; someone who espouses a redistributionist (communist, socialist) government. It has become commonplace to use a new version of the word which means “against what is believed as a patriotic lover of war.”

None of these undeclared wars have been fought to win. They were not declared because they were not necessary. They’ve all been like a leaky bucket, dripping out life and resources to no good end. The corporatist media directs the debate to a false choice. It pits the war mongers against the socialists when they are both on the same side. Peace through capitalism is the correct choice.


Pro-Freedom Republicans in the Debate over Top 50 Activists

In the slow post-election political news cycle, the Des Moines Register has touched off a debate by naming their list of the top 50 Republican players in the upcoming 2012 Iowa Caucuses.  Many in the Republican blogosphere took to their keyboards to point out the flaws, oversights, and omissions by the Register including: Krusty Konservative at the The Iowa Republican, Shane Vander Hart at Caffeinated Thoughts, and GOP Central Committee member Wes Enos (who himself could have made the list) on Deace.

While all the lists were heavy on the type of heavy hitters in the GOP establishment, for pro-freedom Republicans, inclusion or exclusion from the lists would make for a good measuring stick on how far the movement has advanced since Dr. Paul’s 10% of the 2008 Caucus vote.  Whether they are called “constitutional conservatives,” “Ron Paul Republicans,” or “libertarian Republicans those advocating for less government instead of more have steadily advanced within the Grand Old Party.  Four Campaign for Liberty leaders now sit on the State Central Committee, three Ron Paul endorsed candidates are in the Statehouse along with a number of allies, and at it is a safe bet that either Dr. Paul or Governor Gary Johnson or both will be serious contenders at the Caucuses in 2012.

The Register seems to be continuing their 2008 editorial policy of ignoring Ron Paul in hopes that he and his supporters will go away as they did not name a single person from within his 10% and growing of the party to their list.  They did however honor several friends and fellow travelers of liberty such as tea party leader Ryan Rhodes, former AG candidate and current Branstad legal counsel Brenna Findley, pro-freedom legislators Kim Pearson and Kent Sorenson, and freedom friendly talk show hosts Jan Mikelson and Steve Deace.  Pearson and Sorenson benefited heavily from Ron Paul’s endorsement and his activists on the ground and he’ll no doubt look to have the favor returned if he runs again.  But both are also closely tied to social conservatives, so gay-bashing candidates will also knock on their doors.

Krusty Konservative corrected the Register’s glaring omission of Dr. Drew Ivers, who leads the 2,000 member strong Iowa Campaign for Liberty and sits on the GOP Central Committee, albeit with a backhanded compliment:

Ivers was Paul’s campaign manager for the caucuses in 2008.  To be honest had Ivers not had to work on the fly with an unorganized lot of fanatics, I believe Paul could have contended for 3rd place in the caucuses.

In actuality, Paul’s campaign dropped out of the third place it realistically expected not because of fanatics (government is too big, what a radical concept) but because of a turnout model that underestimated caucus participation.  Paul also practically refused to campaign in Iowa and he simply lacked the outside influences that narrowly propelled John McCain (constant fawning from national media) and Fred Thompson (Steve King’s late endorsement) ahead.  If Paul runs again, he will start out with good funding, real organization, and a better understanding of the Iowa electorate.

Wes Enos was more flattering to Ivers, saying that he should be “on the top of every candidates to-call list.”  Enos also tabbed Paul campaign veterans Aaron Dorr of Iowa Gun Owners and Dennis Fusaro of Right to Work for his 50.    Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican took a different tack, focusing on political “tribes” instead of individuals and naming Ivers as the head of a key “tribe” of freedom activists backing Paul.

As Iowa Freedom Report is openly and purposefully transpartisan, we wouldn’t deign to have the same knowledge of the GOP’s inner workings as Enos, Vander Hart, Konservative, or Robinson.  However, we would like to add the names of several officials, operatives, and activists that may be playing for our side come 2012.  Call them the “others receiving votes” if you will as none would likely crack anyone’s top 50, but you should see a lot of them if you come to our rallies.

Glen Massie – Massie cut his teeth on the Ron Paul campaign in 2008 before answering the call to run for State House in 2010.  Now he’ll be taking the seat, literally and figuratively, of Iowa’s Champion of the Constitution, Senator-elect Kent Sorenson.  Massie is a tireless campaigner and thanks to his location in the Des Moines suburbs has more access to the media than a typical State Rep.  Look for him to be one of Dr. Paul’s first and most vocal endorsers in 2012.

AJ Spiker and David Fischer – If Dr. Drew Ivers is to be included in the top 50 as he should, these two should follow close behind.  Spiker is a rising star in the GOP, coming out of the Paul campaign and rising to Story County GOP treasurer, County chairman, and Central Committee member in a short time.  Fischer is also on the SCC, a Polk County man and Iver’s heir apparent at Campaign for Liberty.  These two have been instrument in building the CFL organization into a respected force and will take the lead in turning its membership out for whichever candidate carries the banner of liberty the highest.

Will Johnson – Johnson is well known to our readers as our first endorsee and former columnist.  While Ryan Rhodes gets the press for his ability to turn out tea partiers for the GOP, Johnson turns them into freedom fighters.  His underfunded effort came up short behind the DC backed Ben Lange in the CD-1 primary, Johnson proved he could grow the movement by leaps and bounds with his expertise in both economics and organizing.  Since the campaign, Johnson’s profile and experience has grown as he was recruited to give the nominating speech for Bob Vander Plaat’s aborted run for Lieutenant Governor and he managed a Congressional campaign in Wisconsin.  Look for Johnson to head up Paul’s efforts in Eastern Iowa in 2012.

Rob Gettemy – While Gettemy also lost his congressional primary, the entrepreneur and tea party activist shook up the system with his surprising fundraising and organizing abilities, making the ballot and become a legit threat after a late start in a crowded primary.  Gettemy now has a voice among the state’s grassroots activists as a regular columnist for The Iowa Republican.  Strong on domestic issues, but weak on pro-life issues, Gettemy should still be a must-call for Paul or Johnson.

Marcia Hora – A regular reader and sometimes guest writer for Iowa Freedom Report, Hora is a key cog in uniting disparate groups within the Central Iowa tea party milieu.  Knowing her opens doors to a lot of pro-freedom activists that Paul and Johnson need to make sure come out and vote their consciences on Caucus night.

James Mills – While Mills unfortunately came up short in a quixotic State Senate race in a deep blue district, his freedom message and tireless groundwork pulled over 3,000 votes from the D to the R column against a member of Democrat’s Senate leadership.  Ron Paul made the long drive up I-35 to personally stump for Mills, but Mills snubbed Gary Johnson who offered to do the same.  He could be a very valuable activist in the Mason City/Clear Lake/Charles City area if only the right candidate is in the race.

Jimmy Morrison – Morrison is a filmmaker and activist from Burlington whose work in organizing Gary Johnson’s August visit to Iowa was so impressive that the governor hired him for his national organization, Our America and sent him around the country.  Morrison knows lots of legislators and activists from his position as founder and leader of Iowa Patients for Medical Marijuana.  While Johnson will need someone more experienced in the Iowa GOP to run his caucus campaign if he hopes to pull an upset, expect Morrison to be Johnson’s right hand man throughout the process if the Governor doesn’t have a national position in mind for him.

Todd McGreevy, Micheal Elliot, Mike Angelos, Thomas Rutherford, et al. – These gentleman and the others in their tight-knit group form the backbone of any pro-freedom campaign in the Quad City area from Paul in 2008 and Will Johnson in 2010 to Iowans for Accountability and Jonathan Narcisse’s gubernatorial bid.  McGreevy is especially valuable as the publisher of the River Cities Reader, a hip alternative newspaper.  They are fans of both Paul and Johnson, both of whom have courted them personally, and will be savvy enough to back the one with the greatest chance of success.

Ani DeGroote – Much of Ron Paul’s showing in 2008 was attributable to his passionate college-age supporters and he and/or Gary Johnson will have to go back to the well in a big way in order to win in 2012.  As the chair of the Iowa chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, DeGroote could be the point person for both local efforts and coordinating the activities of young workers who will flood the state over Christmas break to man the phones for Paul and/or Johnson.

Clyde Cleveland – Winning the libertarian hotbed of Fairfield will be a must in 2012 after Paul claimed surrounding Jefferson County in 2008.  Cleveland is only the best known of the cities freedom activists from his 2002 run for Governor, his 2008 stint on the GOP platform committee, and his authorship of the popular Common Sense Revisited pamphlet which is widely-distributed within the movement.  Cleveland is also a successful business man who could write a big check to whichever freedom candidate woos him first.

Dr. Eric Cooper – While Dr. Eric Cooper is a committed “big-L” Libertarian, the ISU professor and former candidate for Governor has shown willingness to work across party lines to advance the cause of liberty.  Dr. Cooper advised ISU’s “Team Ron Paul” in 2008 and Governor Johson would be wise to have a sit-down with him concerning the 2012 prospects in Ames.  Dr. Cooper may not be popular in the GOP, but the 25,000 votes he tallied in November was more than twice Paul’s vote and would have been more than enough for 3rd place in 2008 if all those voters could hold their noses long enough to associate with Republicans on Caucus night.

Paul Dorr – Paul Dorr was the first Iowan hired by Dr. Paul in 2008 and should be one of the first to be called in 2012.  Dorr is a ferocious campaigner, and he’d have to be given that his day job is fighting the most popular boondoogles this side of Social Security, government school ballot initiatives.  Dorr is hated by his critics while his allies admire his skill and muse that he could have been the next Karl Rove were it not for his unflappable belief in the Constitution.  A master of black ops, Dorr takes credit for knocking socialist candidate Mike Huckabee out of the race in South Carolina in 2008.  If IFR were advising Dr. Paul next year, we’d say give Dorr 50 grand and tell him to get rid of Sarah Palin.

Fritz Groskruger – The pig farming philosopher from Hampton won his precinct for Dr. Paul in 2008.  His tireless efforts and ability to explain the principles of liberty in practical terms will make him great catch in 2012.  Groskruger’s influence in Franklin County will only grow in the coming years as he is now a regular columnist with the Hampton Chronicle.

We hope you’ve enjoyed Iowa Freedom Report’s response to the GOP list-making thread.  Its been fun compiling our additions and let’s hope these and other freedom activists raise their own profiles along with the movement in the coming caucus season.  Feel free to use the comments to weigh in with who we’ve missed and who you think will make a difference in the next years.


Ron Paul on Radio Free Market Saturday, Dec. 4

In previous posts, Iowa Freedom Report has introduced you to that great Iowa economic podcast, Radio Free Market.  This weekend, they have a special edition of the show featuring Dr. Ron Paul.  In place of their normal, outstanding, programming Radio Free Market will air Dr. Paul’s speech “It’s Time to be Honest” that was given at the University of Iowa during Paul’s October visit.  If you missed it the first time or just want to re-live it, Paul will be discussing the Federal Reserve and the need for sound money along with a host of other hot topics.  Details are available on the Radio Free Market’s website, linked above.

While you’re there, be sure to listen to the archives for a great education in sound Austrian economics from a local expert and guests from around the country.  Next week, Dr. Robert Murphy of the Mises Institute will be featured.  Dr. Murphy was a panelist at Campaign for Liberty’s Des Moines regional conference this past May so is no stranger to Iowa audiences and the movement for limited government and honest money in our state.


Willie Nelson’s Teapot Party Coming to Iowa?

While Barack Obama’s administration has made a mockery of American national security – ignoring porous borders, promoting TSA junk-touching security theater in airports while leaving passengers to fight off underwear bombers themselves, launching a reckless policy of occupying Muslim nations – we can all sleep safely now.  It seems that the Border Patrol has brought to justice that most notorious of all terrorists.  No, not Osama Bin Laden, I’m referring to a real clear and present danger to all Americans.  That’s right, they’ve caught Willie Nelson.

Nelson isn’t taking his arrest lying down.  In protest of the government’s obsession with arresting those who chose inebriates not marketed by John McCain’s wife, Nelson has formed his own “Teapot Party” as both a nod to the tea parties and his signature issue.  So far, the party exists only on facebook, where it had over 35,000 “likes” as of this post.

An Iowa chapter boosts 162 members as of this writing.  It remains unclear if Nelson or his followers intend to use the Teapot Party as a pressure group, political party, or publicity stunt.  While it certainly seems the latter, Nelson’s activism could be a lightning rod around the issue of marijuana legalization at a crucial time.  A battle is “brewing” in the Iowa legislature over a potential medical marijuana bill which could divide pro-freedom lawmakers from those who see their office as a mandate to further the suffering of cancer patients.

Nelson’s proposed slogan for the group is “We lean a little to the left,” however given the Red Headed Stranger’s past run-ins with the IRS, the group could logically expand beyond a narrow corner of the Nolan Chart to include fiscal conservatives.  Such a pro-marijuana, anti-tax coalition would be just the medicine Washington (and Des Moines) needs.