» posted on Sunday, August 26th, 2012 at 8:42 pm by Editor
Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes
Iowa Republican Leaders Decry Exclusion in Tampa While Excluding Gary Johnson in Iowa
In 1968, Riceville elementary teacher Jane Elliott used her third grade classroom for an intriguing and controversial experiment. One of the objectives: to see if a group that had been harshly discriminated against in the past would be magnanimous in power or treat their lessors with the brutality they had experienced as an underclass. On one day, Ms. Elliot segregated her classroom and awarded privileges to the blue eyed children based on a fabricated claim of blue-eyed superiority. The azure-irised in the class quickly turned haughty and lauded their position over the darker. The next day, Elliot announced that oops, she’d made a mistake, the brown eyed were actually superior and the blue eyed worthy of revulsion. The tables thus turned, the browns gave back as bad as they’d gotten the previous day.
If you’re a regular reader of IFR, then doubtless you’ve read the reports by now coming out of the pre-convention meetings of the Republican National Committee. Before the whole body of delegates assembles Monday (weather permitting), various committees meet to set internal party policy for the next four years. Representatives of the Romney campaign have rammed through several changes that will have far reaching effects. Chief among those for us Iowans is that national delegates will no longer be elected independently, but rather will be chosen to represent the candidate who won the popular caucus vote. Penalties for moving ahead of the Iowa Caucuses on the nomination calendar, while never before enforced in practice, are now gone completely. What this means is that it will no longer be possible to run a grassroots campaign focused on retail politics and winning over delegates. Not only does this mean no more campaigns like Ron Paul 2012, it’s likely the death knell to social conservative operations that tend to be cash-poor and volunteer-heavy. Then, just to pile on, the Mittiots went ahead and invalidated the results of the Maine delegate selection process, dumping any delegate who supported Paul in February. Not only would liberty-oriented grassroots Republicans be shut out in the future, they were silenced in the present.
Iowa Republican leaders are understandably upset. Party Chairman A.J. Spiker told Radio Iowa that he was “shocked” by the divisive move. National Committeeman Steve Scheffler took to facebook to urge a fight “to see what we can do to reverse some bad stuff that shafts grassroots folks. We are NOT going to be silent!!!”
All of which brings us back to Iowa. At the same time Iowa Republican leaders are pushing for inclusion at their convention, they are working to force Governor Gary Johnson off of the ballot in the general election. Earlier this month, Libertarians filed 2,000 signatures on petitions to secure a place on the ballot. Iowa law requires just 1,500 to make the ballot so 133% of the requirement was a substantial cushion. In fact, no candidate’s petition which exceeded the statutory requirement had been invalidated in Iowa history. But Matt Schultz is no ordinary Secretary of State. We tried to warn Iowans in 2010 when we endorsed Jake Porter that hyper-partisanship in this office would damage the integrity of our electoral process. With the flimsiest of logic, Schultz simply threw out the Libertarian petition. In its place, the Secretary of State’s office offered to let Johnson and the LP on the ballot if they could fulfill two requirements – hold a public “caucus” to nominate Johnson and gather an additional 250 signatures. Apparently this process has been tried before, its how Gloria LaRiva made the 2008 ballot as the Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate. Alerted to the goings on, the Republican Party of Iowa has filed a challenge and retained the largest law firm in the state. Against a highly-paid legal team in a court judged by a corrupt Republican official, the Libertarians have only truth, precedent, and a pro-bono attorney.
So to update Ms. Elliot’s question forty-four years later, what happens when a group that’s experienced being kicked around, bullying, exclusion, and discrimination takes over the Republican Party of Iowa? Well, teacher, if you’re A.J. Spiker and his cronies, you’ve borne the burnt of the battle in a past political life as a liberty advocate, apparently you look for the next smallest guy in the fight and take it out on him. But maybe its not the color of your eyes that matters. It’s the partisan blinders you’re wearing over them.
The Gary Johnson campaign takes a little less poetic license that we here at IFR perhaps, but their press release lays out a good timeline of the case. Their attorney is a friend of the site and was kind enough to lay out the legal arguments favoring the LP, but we’ll save those for the recap. If you’re able to make it to Des Moines, there will be a rally held at the Secretary of State’s office at 1pm, this address: Iowa Secretary of State’s Office, 321 E. 12th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319. The official release is as follows:
REPUBLICANS TRY TO KEEP LIBERTARIAN GARY JOHNSON OFF THE IOWA BALLOT
Romney Supporters File Challenge Urging Secretary of State to Exclude Libertarian
Nominees from the Ballot in November
Jay Kramer, a Mitt Romney campaign operative from Washington D.C., filed a
challenge on Friday to keep Libertarian candidate for President, Gary Johnson, from
appearing on the ballot in November. The Romney campaign hired the largest law
firm in Iowa, the Des Moines based, Nyemaster Goode PC, for the challenge, which
will be heard by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Shultz on Monday at 3 pm.
“This is clearly a set up,” said the Johnson campaign’s attorney, Alicia Dearn.
“Romney can’t beat Johnson on the debate stage, so he has resorted to cronyism.
The Libertarian Party had two thousand petition signatures and should have been
on the ballot without challenge, as they have always done in the past. But
Republican Shultz [Iowa Secretary of State] – in violation of longstanding Iowa law –
rejected the petition and required the Johnson campaign to caucus at the state fair.
There, the Romney campaign surveilled the Johnson campaign’s activities for the
sole purpose of bringing this eleventh-hour challenge,” Dearn said.
The Romney campaign’s challenge was filed Friday afternoon and set for a hearing
on Monday afternoon. The 106-page challenge includes pictures of Johnson
supporters asking fair-goers to support having Gov. Johnson and the Libertarian
Party offered as a choice on the ballot.
The challenge claims that the state fair signatures should be thrown out because the
signers are not Libertarians. “The challenge is legally frivolous,” asserts Dearn.
“You don’t have to be a registered Libertarian to want a third choice on the ballot.
Iowans deserve to choose for themselves who to vote for, which is why Gov. Johnson
should be on the ballot and allowed to debate Romney and President Obama.
Democracy suffers when voices are silenced.”
Unlike other states, Iowa has a perfect history of allowing third-party candidates
onto the ballot and is known for its independent-minded voter. “Iowa is one of the
very few states that has never kept any general election presidential candidate off
its ballot,” said ballot access historian Richard Winger. “It is a policy that saves
money and work for elections officials, because Iowa doesn’t need to tally write-in
votes for presidential candidates when all such significant candidates are on the
Republicans fear that Johnson, a former Republican two-term Governor from New
Mexico, will siphon votes from Romney and create a victory for Obama. It is a claim
that Governor Johnson does not shy away from. In a YouTube video titled, A
Freedom is Never Wasted, Johnson says, “They deserve to lose your vote.” Iowa is
expected to be a battleground state this election.
According to Dearn, the Romney campaign is using similar tactics to keep Governor
Johnson off the ballot in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and is pressuring the
Commission on Presidential Debates to exclude Governor Johnson from the
televised national debates. The Romney campaign has also been accused of fraud
and bullying of Ron Paul delegates in several lawsuits throughout the country and
protests by Ron Paul supporters are expected at the Republican Party convention in
Tampa later this week. “Paul supporters were treated really badly in Iowa by the
Romney campaign,” Dearn said.
As the Libertarian candidate for President, Johnson promises to submit a balanced
budget to Congress in 2013 and to reduce wasteful spending, advocates for reducing
government intrusion into the everyday lives and liberties of Americans, supports
the Constitution, and advocates for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Johnson will be on the ballot in all 50 states and has been qualified by the FEC for
Federal matching funds. His running mate is retired California Superior Court Judge
and former Naval officer, Jim Gray.
If you would like more information about the legal proceedings in Des Moines,
please contact Alicia Dearn at 858-750-5800, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like more information about Governor Gary Johnson’s 2012
Presidential campaign, or to schedule and interview with Gov. Johnson or Judge
Gray, please contact Joe Hunter, 801-303-7924, email@example.com or
Natalie Dicou, 801-994-0321, firstname.lastname@example.org. Press kits may
be found at www.garyjohnson2012.com/media.