Posts Tagged ‘Democrat Party’
» posted on Thursday, March 31st, 2011 at 11:20 am by Editor
The first look at Iowa’s possible new Congressional districts could hold promise for the freedom movement. Iowa’s declining population meant the loss of one seat in the House, meaning the duopoly-controlled Legislative Services Agency must propose realigned districts and the State Legislature must approve them. While its not likely that the first draft will survive the process, it seems pretty good for our cause.
Incumbent politicians win re-election something on the order of 90% of the time, and in Iowa, that number creeps higher. Despite polls showing high unfavorable ratings for Congress, Iowans returned all 5 Representatives and a Senator to Washington in 2010. And while Debt Culver was the first incumbent governor ever to lose re-election, he lost it to a man who served 4 prior terms. With Iowa losing a seat, it is a given that at least one incumbent will be defeated in 2012. If this map holds up, we may be able to rid ourselves of two.
Most promising for our movement is the new 4th District, roughly covering the northwest quadrant of the state. This will be a safe Republican district and would include both Republican incumbents – Steve King and Tom Latham. While both are pretty hit-and-miss when it comes to the freedom message, a heated primary would force them to reach out to independent-minded freedom voters. If it is a close race, votes from our movement could tip the scale to whoever offers us the best deal. If, as I suspect, Congressman King jumps out to an early lead, Latham would have to move to the top of the Nolan Chart to court us while King doubles down on his neoconservative base. The key will be staying non-committal in the early going. Many Republicans simply see small-government voters as their natural constituency and are baffled when we don’t support their entitlement expansions, wars of choice, or get excited about their budgetary silver bullets like shifting PBS funding to a Republican pet project. Whatever happens, in King vs. Latham, freedom Republicans can score a win if they play their cards right.
On the eastern side of the state, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack are new neighbors in a relatively Democrat-leaning 1st District. This district swaps the Quad Cities for Cedar Rapids but otherwise looks similar to the old 1st. Braley was badly bruised in last fall’s contest. In fact, a Republican with Ben Lange’s money but Will Johnson’s message probably would have snuck away with a victory. A strong effort in the caucuses by either Ron Paul or Gary Johnson could give a freedom candidate a running start in 2012, but any Republican will have an uphill climb in this district with Barack Obama back on top of the ticket. Freedom voters might want to consider becoming “Democrats for a Day” and forcing either Braley or Loebsack to break ranks with his party and come out swinging against the Butcher of Benghazi’s warpath. Braley has a good start, as we reported last week, but he has a disturbing habit of saying the right things only to do a bait-and-switch when its time to cast the vote.
District 3 will be Leonard Boswell’s domain. Expect him to be a top Republican target again in 2012 as his district shifts south and west to include a lot of rural counties from Steve King Country in addition to Polk. The open Republican primary could be a good place to run a freedom candidate since whoever come out is likely to be viable in the fall. Freedom Senator Kent Sorenson doesn’t have a re-election to run for until 2014 and he’ll live in the new 3rd. Just sayin’.
The new District 2 may sleeper for our cause. There is no incumbent in this district, which now includes the Quad Cities (home of Iowans for Accountability, Super Liberty, and the Tea Party of the Quad Cities) along with libertarian Fairfield, and the University of Iowa. If we can somehow talk Clyde Cleveland into retiring early from his numerous business venture and running for Congress, the Justin Amash might just lose his title as second best member of the House. If the Republican nomination is out of reach, then this district might be a place where a Libertarian candidate could push for double figures in a 3 way race. In addition to Cleveland, Ed Noyes, Richard Campagna, Dr. Chris Peters, and Dustin Krutsinger all live here and have some seasoning from previous campaigns. The Democrats seem to be lining up Christie Vilsack to run in this seat if the plan holds up. Republicans won Scott County in 2010 and the national party might be willing to gamble some serious coin on this seat if they can rake in big money.
Back in the Army, we had a saying, Murphy’s Laws of Combat we called them. One of them was that no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy. So this plan may be destined to die on the legislature’s floor. But if it holds, things could be looking up – potentially way up – for the prospects of liberty in Iowa in 2012.
4 comments | filed under Uncategorized | tags: 1st District, 2nd District, 3rd District, 4th District, Bruce Braley, Clyde Cleveland, Dave Loebsack, Democrat Party, Libertarian Party, Redistricting, Republican Party, Steve King, Tom Latham
» posted on Friday, March 25th, 2011 at 11:14 am by Editor
From the Democrat Party blog Bleeding Heartland today:
Congressman Bruce Braley (D-CD1) has sent a letter to President Obama demanding a full accounting of the financial and human cost of the recent war in Libya. The letter, sent yesterday, was brought up in a conference with the White House press corps. According to Braley, Obama’s spokesman could only offer a stammered response that “there are contingency funds. . .for this kind of thing.” In reality, there are about as much “contingency” funds in the nation’s depleted treasury as there is Constitutional authority for the war – which is to say none. Braley didn’t take the equivocation for an answer, responding a release this morning:
“Yesterday I asked for accountability on the question of how much this conflict is costing us, and I have yet to see a clear response from the White House. The fact that funds for contingency military operations exist doesn’t answer the question of how much we’re spending, and will continue to spend, in Libya. I’m not the only one asking these questions – the American people are demanding answers too. And the President must give Congress and all taxpayers an accurate answer.”
In his two plus terms in the House, Braley has had many opportunities to do the right thing before ultimately folding the pressures of party loyalty – voting no on the first bailout bill before flip flopping, co-sponsoring the Fed Audit before voting against it, defending religious liberty against Republican attacks. While we supported his opponent in 2010, Mr. Petsche, lets all take a moment today to thank Braley for this principled stand and encourage him to join a bi-partisan coalition in Congress to match his words with concrete action to cut off funding for the war and hold Obama administration officials accountable.
Full text of Braley’s letter is available at Bleeding Heartland, linked above.
» posted on Friday, January 14th, 2011 at 3:40 pm by Editor
Not content with a federal ban on caffeinated alcoholic beverages, Democrat State Senator Brian Schoenjahn (D-Arlington) has introduced a bill that would make mixing any alcohol with caffeine a criminal offense. Simple possession of such drinks would land a person in jail for 30 days and bartenders who mix caffeinated cocktails would cost their employers their liquor licenses permanently. It is not clear whether the Senator introduced the measure as a means of increasing unemployment in the entertainment sector or if he is merely looking to drive up prison populations in an effort to stave off cutbacks in criminal justice spending.
Reason magazine’s Hit and Run blog explains the significance of the proposed law:
The Food and Drug Administration can ban caffeinated alcoholic beverages such as Four Loko, but it cannot stop bartenders from mixing Red Bull with vodka, coffee with Irish whiskey, or cola with rum. Fortunately, Iowa state Sen. Brian Schoenjahn (D-Arlington) has proposed a bill that would close this dangerous gap by making it a misdemeanor for any business with a liquor license to “manufacture for sale, sell, offer or keep for sale, import, distribute, transport, or possess any caffeinated alcoholic beverage.” The bill defines “caffeinated alcoholic beverage” as “any beverage containing more than one-half of one percent of alcohol by volume, including alcoholic liquor, wine, and beer, to which caffeine is added.” Hence it apparently applies not only to drinks with a noticeable caffeine kick but also to coffee-flavored liqueurs with detectable amounts of the stimulant, such as Kahlua or Tia Maria, and any cocktails made with them, such as a Black Russian or a Mudslide. In addition to jail time and fines, violators would face revocation (not just suspension) of their liquor licenses, and therefore loss of their livelihoods—a pretty harsh penalty for following the instructions in a Mr. Boston book.
Democrats still hold a slim majority in the Senate so this bill could make it out of committee, especially if nanny-state Republicans cross the aisle to support it, but lets hope our emerging Liberty Caucus in both houses will play the role of bouncer and toss it out into the snow.
» posted on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 at 9:07 am by Editor
Republican congressional candidate in the 2nd District, Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks has been perhaps the most favorable to the freedom movement of all mainstream Republicans. She has actively reached out to our movement on many occasions, but a recent update to her website offers some clue as to why she can’t close the deal with some in our camp.
On the revamped national security section, Miller-Meeks demonstrates her solidarity with the Obama administration:
When that decision has been made, our nation and our leaders must be fully committed to victory. . . That’s why I was encouraged by the President’s decision [emphasis mine] earlier this year to commit to victory in Afghanistan by increasing our presence to stabilize this war-torn country. Our President should be commended for listening to the military experts on the ground, rather than the politicians and the polls in Washington.
There are at least two major problems with this.
1. The “decision” that was made, and she’s speaking about the escalation of the conflict here, was simply that, a unilateral decision made by the President. This was not a legally declared war. Congress has abdicated its Constitutional authority over the power of war, thus denying the American people their voice in the country’s foreign policy. Sadly enough, Miller-Meeks is smart enough to know this as she told the YAL debate last spring that the lack of a formal declaration of war in Iraq was concerning.
2. There is no commitment to “victory” in the bipartisan Afghanistan strategy because the current policy does not put American interests first. At the risk of offending my fellow peaceniks, there is a compelling case for continued military action in Afghanistan and even Pakistan. However, it must be focused on pursuing the specific small groups responsible for attacking America, denying them territory and logistical support, and preventing them from regrouping. President Obama’s open-ended Afghan war is nothing more than an occupation whose “success” is not measured in American security, but in cell phone usage and number of school buildings constructed. Again, Miller-Meeks is smart enough to know this.
In fairness to Miller-Meeks, she is running in a heavily Democratic district where presumably, Obama and his warmongering find plenty of cheerleaders. Still we at Iowa Freedom Report hoped that the 2nd District, centered around lefty Iowa City and libertarian Fairfield might be home to the kind of honest progressives that would oppose the expansion of wars and the domestic police state that accompanies them and could unite in coalition with the freedom movement against the status quo. That may yet be the case, but Miller-Meeks doesn’t appear willing to fill that void. Perhaps her freedom-minded opponents Gary Sicard of the Libertarian Party and Jon Tack of the Constitution Party will.
» posted on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 at 9:36 am by Editor
I apologize to all our readers and followers for the lack of posting and old news. Iowa Freedom Report’s internet connection has been acting so gay lately that we hear Bob Vander Plaats is going to be leading a protest against Mediacom. Nonetheless, this came to us via Twitter and was too precious not to post:
Its hard to recall nowadays in the Obama/Culver era, but grassroots Democrats once had some good ideas. Despite betrayal from their so-called leaders, during the Bush era many progressives championed the cause of peace, civil liberties, and opposition to corporate corruption. Now that the messiah has come and restored the Democrat Party to power, expansion of war, the police state, and bailouts are the new sacred texts of the left. But today’s Democrats still serve one useful purpose in politics – to point out the hypocrisy of big government Republicans.
It seems that Iowa Freedom Report wasn’t the only blog in the state concerned about Republican fawning over the brief visit of Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Bleeding Heartland pointed out that Iowa Republicans are praising Pawlenty for the same things they criticize Iowa’s Democratic governor, Debt Culver.
Says writer “DesMoinesDem”:
Iowa Republicans blame Culver for job losses during the most severe national recession in six decades. But before a slight turnaround in the last few months, Minnesota “had experienced year-over-year job losses in every month since May 2008, with the pace of loss accelerating for the state as well as the nation in 2009.” Minnesota’s unemployment level peaked significantly above the rate Iowa has experienced. Pawlenty can fairly claim that the state’s current jobless rate of 6.9 percent is far better than the national average, but that’s not an argument Iowa Republicans would ever accept from Culver. Pawlenty’s questionable fiscal record puts more hypocrisy on display. Republicans blast Culver and statehouse Democrats for using “one-time money” from state reserve funds and the federal stimulus package to balance the budget. . .
So, to recap: the economy drove down state revenues, straining Minnesota’s budget. Leaders used $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds (the dreaded one-time money) to help close the gap, but even after depleting state reserve funds, that wasn’t enough. They had to delay school payments and tax refunds as well. Minnesota is now looking to rebuild its reserves, while Iowa’s remain at healthy levels.
DesMoinesDem goes on to hammer Republicans on their acceptance of a Pawlenty-backed bonding scheme that Minnesotans wisely rejected. Unfortunately, he seems okay with Culver’s Republican-style shell game. He goes on to make the Democrat’s new point out that the widely criticized I-JOBS, has nothing at all to do with jobs, but rather was a needed response to the flooding of 2008. On twitter, DesMoinesDem clarified that Culver’s spending was okay because “he is a member of my party,” I mean because he “had solid priorities.”
Iowa Freedom Report has an idea on how to approach this that doesn’t require blind partisanship or mental gymnastics – oppose both Culver and Pawlenty. However, this article does raise an interesting question – given the similarities between the two’s records, will Pawlenty Republicans give Culver a boost in November or with Culver Democrats rally to Pawlenty in the 2012 Caucuses?
» posted on Sunday, August 1st, 2010 at 6:04 pm by Editor
While Iowa Freedom Report was crossing the state with Governor Gary Johnson and Our America, we weren’t the only group spreading political awareness amongst the 20,000 strong traveling circus of cycles.
Grassroots Cyclists – A group of drug policy reform advocates and cycling enthusiasts primarily from the Ames area teamed up to form the “Grassroots Cyclists.” They sported some sick custom-made jerseys emblazoned with a red cross superimposed over a pot leaf and the logos of NORML, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, and Americans for Safe Access. The team gave some welcome support to Governor Johnson’s efforts and passed out team coozies that ensured Iowa bikers will never again promote alcohol without also promoting health freedom.
Iowa Right to Life – Abortion opponents covered the route with their t-shirts and the risque new slogan “Repopulate Iowa – Feel Free to Reproduce.” Its great to see the life movement reach out beyond their religious base. Too many Christians forget that politics is not church and that biblical arguments go exactly nowhere when you’re not speaking to someone who shares a biblical worldview. However, if putting thousands of athletic young people together, cladding them in spandex shorts, and giving them virtually limitless access to alcohol isn’t enough inducement to unprotected sex, its hard to see how a florescent shirt is going to tip the scale.
Candidates – Several state and local candidates worked the route with their sign teams and mingled in the crowd. Notable among them was Democrat candidate in CD-4 Bill Maske. Maske passed out literature declaring a job to be a universal human right, as opposed to something one must earn by gaining an education or learning a skill useful to employers. Wow. The implications of that are so terrible that this editor had to cross check it with his website. While the “universal human right” language does not appear, he does literally praise the Federal Reserve for keeping interest rates artificially low (ie, printing more money) in John McCain-like fashion. Then he follows his call for massive Huckabeen public works projects with a call for fiscal restraint at some undetermined point in the future. With wackos like this in the running, its becoming easier to see how Tom Latham can win easy reelection every year in a Democrat-dominated district.
Tim Pawlenty – The mainstream Republican Party’s next stuff shirt visited Iowa over the weekend to the fawning adulation of the mainstream media and partisan blogs. He did not ride RAGBRAI, let alone the whole route. Sheesh, this guy probably hasn’t even climbed Mount Everest. Next.
» posted on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 at 2:36 pm by Editor
The freedom movement took a harsh beating in last night’s Republican primaries. In CD1, where we had the biggest dog in the biggest fight, republican Will Johnson lost to imperialist Ben Lange by a margin of almost 8,000 votes 53% to 23%. Proving you can never underestimate the stupidity of a Republican electorate, 25% of voters selected candidates who had dropped out of the race. Though to be fair, Mike LaCoste didn’t so much drop out of the race as much as he just went off the meds, as he continued to pass out fliers and solicit votes long after he told the Waterloo Courier he was closing up shop. (I really mean no offense, I wanted to like LaCoste but this man could have easily been the next Congressman from the district had he wanted to. He has fundraising connections up the wazoo that he simply refused to tap and his problems with speaking and lack of intellectual depth are very solvable with a little effort.)
But when you dig into the numbers of the CD1 race, the picture gets much rosier for the movement. In order to beat Johnson by a margin of 2-1, Lange had to outspend him 6-1 and outraise him 10-1, so the Johnson campaign proved the much more efficient vote getter. Johnson’s 6,051 votes are the most for any freedom candidate in this district in the century. To give some perspective on how far we’ve come, in 2008 Ron Paul collected only 1,799 votes from the district on caucus night. Johnson more than tripled that number. I didn’t crunch the numbers for statists, but its safe to say more of them got out for their presidential pick than for Lange. Johnson also nearly tripled the strongest turnout for freedom ever seen in the district, Clyde Cleveland’s 2,352 for governor in 2002. That’s a bit of a fudge though, depending on whether or not you count Bill Salier’s 13,365 in the 2002 GOP Senate primary, but while I’d reckon Salier to be part of our top half coalition, many of his voters probably weren’t. Let’s just hope Johnson was smart enough to get at least a good chunk of those voters to sign up with their phone numbers and email so they can contribute to the movement in the future.
In the immediate aftermath of the loss, Johnson was not clear about his next step. He declined to endorse Rob Petsche and continued to firmly turn down requests that he continue the race as an independent. He once again offered Ben Lange the chance to win his support by embracing Constitutional principles. It is unclear whether Lange and his Potomoc waters-sipping staff have yet figured out that we care about issues and not merely which jersey color wins the game, but Lange’s statement to the Telegraph-Herald that he couldn’t take any voter for granted and he would try to earn tea party support shows a humbler approach than the typical Republican “sit down and shut up” strategy of winning votes.
In addition to Johnson’s contribution to the growth of the movement and his superior efficiency, he can also point to the moral victory of driving the debate during the race. Lange came into the race pointing to his long service in Washington, his high-ranking political connections, and his enthusiasm for President Obama’s foreign policy as reasons he should be the nominee. By the end of the race, he was calling himself a “constitutional conservative” and promoting a teleconference “Freedom Forum” in which he claims to have addressed 30,000 tea party leaders, even after the actual tea party leaders in the district who were all backing Johnson were kicked off the call. That number was pretty impressive, especially considering that only 26,591 people showed up to vote Tuesday and most of them probably we’re leaders of the tea party.
While there is lots of silver lining in Johnson’s loss, freedom tragically suffered the falling of a friend in State Senate District 41 where ally of the movement Dr. David Hartsuch was upset by a party hack. Iowa Freedom Report endorsed Hartsuch and members of Super Liberty, the strongest pro-freedom group in the Quad Cities supported him in full. While not organic to us, allies in the legislature like Dr. Hartsuch are few and far between and he will be missed. Hopefully, someone will persuade him to run for reelection on the Constitution Party line.
You’ve already seen the story a hundred other places, but the candidates more favorable to freedom in the governor’s race, Bob Vander Plaats and Rob Roberts were soundly beaten by Terry Branstad. Branstad’s allies apparently had enough money left over from attacking Rand Paul to buy off the votes of senior citizens. On the other hand, those in our tent who lean more towards the “socially liberal” side of the “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” message can breath a sigh of relief that the next governor isn’t going to get sidetracked with an anti-gambling crusade.
In other races that Iowa Freedom Report was following, our endorsed candidate for Treasurer, Dr. James Heavens went down to a 66-33 defeat at the hands of David Jamison. Endorsed candidate Darin Rulapaugh “won the bronze” in HD-18 while recommended candidate Tom Shaw won a surprisingly easy 55-39-6 contest in HD-8. There are some other freedom candidates for the statehouse, whom we’ll no doubt introduce you to in the coming months, but all sailed through their primaries unopposed.
CD2 and CD3, which many thought would end up being decided in convention, instead produced surprisingly easy wins for Dr. Marianette Miller-Meeks and State Sen. Brad Zaun. The movement didn’t really have a horse in either race, but Miller-Meeks has some freedom support and considers Constitutional conservatives to be part of the coalition she seeks to bring into her campaign. Rob Gettemy, who had the potential to become a major ally for us in GOP politics finished a disappointing 4th place. Hopefully we will have seen the last of Chris Reed after he notched just 14%. In CD3, several observers commented that upon digging into Zaun’s voting record they discovered him to be much better than some who are usually touted as pro-freedom.
In the Senate race, 3,430 Iowans wrote in against Charles Grassley. No break down is yet available on how many of those followed this editor in writing in Mr. Salier and how many “wasted their vote” on a “spoiler” candidate, “stealing votes” from Salier. The closest candidate to a freedom Democrat, Bob Krause, polled just shy of 13% against the Conlin juggernaut.
All election results are taken from the Secretary of State’s Iowa Elections page.
3 comments | filed under Uncategorized | tags: 1st District, 2nd District, 3rd District, Ben Lange, Bob VanderPlaats, Clyde Cleveland, Darin Rulapaugh, David Hartsuch, Democrat Party, Jim Budde, Jim Heavens, Marianette Miller-Meeks, Mike LaCoste, Republican Party, Rob Gettemy, Rob Petsche, Rod Roberts, Ron Paul, Terry Branstad, Tom Shaw, Will Johnson
» posted on Sunday, June 6th, 2010 at 11:16 pm by Editor
While most of the focus on this site has been the upcoming Republican primaries, don’t forget that the Democats vote that day too. Now one pro-freedom Dem has weighed in with his endorsement in his party’s only contested race. In earlier posts, we introduced you to Carl Olsen, the former Libertarian candidate for Governor and guru of marijuana reform in Iowa. Today, in an email to his list, he had a simple nine word message: “Bob Krause for US Senate – he’s got my vote!” Olsen then linked to Krause’s position on state marijuana laws:
A number of states have created medical marijuana laws, and all are in technical violation of federal drug laws. These vary significantly in structure and in enforcement mechanisms. I favor acknowledging reality, and setting a federal standard that state medical marijuana laws need to comply with.
Now, Olsen is a single-issue voter on the drug war and most of us probably aren’t, but I have to say, that’s much better than any of the run-around our so-called limited government Republicans are giving us.
While Roxanne Conlin seems to be the front-runner in the Democrat primary, Olsen’s endorsement has some value, as he has served on the state party platform committee for many years in addition to maintaining a large contact list from his former Libertarian campaigns and his ongoing legal efforts on behalf of liberty.
» posted on Friday, May 21st, 2010 at 1:38 pm by Editor
If you thought that the revolving door at Chet Culver’s reelection campaign was the height of the Dem’s incompetence, you’d be surprised to find that apparently one of the ever changing staffers dropped the playbook on the way out. The national site Politico picked it up and was more than happy to shine the light on the inner workings of Culver’s great cover-up, err, ah, campaign tour.
In addition to mundane organizational details such as drive times between event locations and which state troopers will comprise the security detail, Culver’s briefing book highlights for the governor how much pork was spent in each visited county and how much the unemployment has risen. Not that there’s a connection between taking money out of the economy to redistribute to corporate cronies and jobs being lost elsewhere, of course.
It’s an interesting read, or even interesting skim, right over here.