Posts Tagged ‘Republican Party’
» posted on Sunday, August 26th, 2012 at 8:42 pm by Editor
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.
» posted on Sunday, June 17th, 2012 at 10:55 pm by Editor
Ever since our Randslide victories at district conventions in April, Iowa Republicans have vowed to send Ron Paul supporters packing. After this weekend, that’s exactly what they’ll be doing – packing their bags for Tampa and the Republican National Convention that is. Twenty one of Iowa’s twenty eight national delegates in August will be either liberty activists or allies of the movement. Add Paul co-chair turned RPI head man AJ Spiker, who is an automatic delegate by virtue of his position, and the total is twenty two.
The victory this weekend is especially sweet as it came after a hard fought battle. Initially, caught off-guard by the energy and organization of the freedom movement, the establishment came to Des Moines prepared. “I was in Vietnam,” said Paul state chair Dr. Drew Ivers, who still has a slight limp from a Viet Cong 7.62 round to the ankle, “I know something about guerrilla warfare, you hide in the weeds then you get ‘em. But this was a real fight.” Like the French at Dien Bien Phu, mainstream Republicans expected to lure the insurgents to open warfare and crush the independent movement. The result of their cocky ploy? See reference above.
The convention kicked off on Friday night (technically a “re-convene” of the Districts) where three national delegates, three alternates, and one elector were choose in each room. In April, Paul staffers played fast and loose with slate cards, spreading them throughout convention halls. This weekend, it was cloak and dagger stuff. Phone calls went out to Paul supporters letting them know to find men wearing white hats to get their instructions. Meanwhile, big-government Republicans donned blue ribbons in a silent show of support for a “unity slate” of their own. In at least one district, “unity slate” proponents showed their hands too soon, nominating two Santorum-supporting candidates from the proposed official Nominating Committee slate (to be voted on Saturday) as delegates on Friday night. This move puzzled unaffiliated voters who didn’t understand why people already on the list would take spots away from Friday night’s other candidates. Paul supporters went on to romp in CD-3 and CD-4. CD-1 took longer to elect their delegates despite the meeting being ably chaired by former IFR columnist Will Johnson. Part of that was due to a disruption by a Mittiot [Mitt + idiot, get it? Cause we're using it from now on.] screaming that he wasn’t going to have anything to do with Paul. Needless to say, not a winning message in a district Paul won in January, and CD-1 eventually came away with all three delegates and alternates loyal to liberty.
For reasons that have never been fully explained, CD-2 and its predecessors always have contentious conventions and Friday night was no exception. The freedom movement thought it had a strong slate but were playing on the home turf of “unity slate” kingpin Bob Anderson of Johnson County. Paul staffer and ex-Iowa YAL chair Ani DeGroote cruised to election but the remaining slots were harder to sort out. According to reports we got, an overly-energetic Paul supporter who wasn’t on the slate ran of his own accord. Realizing the potential for vote splitting to knock out two Paul delegates, Jeremiah Johnson, who drew controversy for endorsing Paul while sitting on the State Central Committee, fell on the grenade and dropped out to clear a path for Fairfielder Ed Kelenyi. When the smoke finally cleared, the only delegate elected from the vaunted “unity slate” was its leader, Mr. Anderson himself. His prize will be four days in Tampa being surrounded by Paul supporters, a humiliated general with no soldiers held prisoner in the enemy camp.
By the next morning, neocons had caught on to the white-hat trick and outfitted one of their own with a similar ball cap. Richard “Tricky Dick” Rogers stood at the door trying not to look foolish as he impersonated a Paulite and passed out the “unity slate” list of names for Saturday. Fortunately, with his gray hair and highly conspicuous ear piece he fooled no one. Ol’ Tricky Dick couldn’t even humble himself enough to wear a Kim Pearson lapel sticker, even though it would have helped his costume. When the convention started, the Great Romney Rules Purge we wrote about in April resumed in full force as Mittiots sought to carve out a loophole in the convention rules to allow them to substitute their slate for the slate chosen by the duly elected and fully transparent Nominating Committee (remember, 12 delegates are elected by districts, 13 by the full convention as part of the Nominating Committee list). Long time state party leader made the audacious claim from the floor that no Santorum supporters were on the Committee list, despite the fact that the committee designed the slate (in particular the alternates) as a frothy mixture of several factions. Their efforts at substitution failed, but so did a countermeasure by the freedom movement to elected delegates one at the time should the Nominating Committee slate be voted down.
In addition to delegate votes, the state’s male and female representatives to the Republican National Committee were also chosen. The Committeeman race was held first, chivalry apparently being dead in the Iowa GOP. This was a race that begged for a NOTA option, the kind Libertarians used at their convention to rebuke a supposedly inferior field of potential party officers. With IFR’s tweeted pleas to Nick Sarwark coming to naught, we were left with incumbent Steve Scheffler, David Chung, Vanderplaatsian Robert Cramer, and Judd Saul. Scheffler was the “official” choice of Ron Paul’s leaders but was largely unpopular among the grassroots. There is a certain revisionist history going on in the neocon blogosphere attempting to transfer all of Scheffler’s questionable past activities to the Paul camp but this is undeserved. A simple poll of the number of people wearing Tamara Scott and Scheffler stickers versus the number of people publicly standing for Scheffler and Kim Pearson would have borne out the lack of enthusiasm within the movement for Scheffler. Saul made a direct appeal for Paul support, but he’s burned that bridge in the past and now many found it hard to cross over for him. To be fair, we must say this about Saul. IFR had previously thought Mr. Saul to be slightly overweight. Now we realize that his extra wide pants were needed merely to cover his ginormous balls. Somebody had to say what he did, we’re kinda glad it was him and not us.
On the women’s side, we had a clear horse in the race with outgoing freedom legislator Kim Pearson earning the strong support of IFR and the freedom movement as a whole. In what was probably the most accurate way of tallying exactly how many freedom fans were in the room, Pearson won a wide plurality in the first round of balloting 755-514-339-81. Pearson fired up her base by may have doomed her candidacy during her speech when she held up an attack flier from one of the Rastetter’s shady fascist organizations listed her supposed flaws including supporting conservatives over moderates in contested primaries. With enough paperwork distributed on the chairs to fill out a phone book in some Iowa counties, many delegates had never seen the flier until Pearson brought it on stage. “I’m not one of them,” she declared, but sadly, much of the convention was. The second round of balloting became a stop-Kim Pearson vote as supporters of the eliminated delegates through their weight behind Tamara Scott and dashed hopes of sending a true small government representative to the committee.
Their is a bit of revisionist history out there regarding Pearson as well. Liberty’s best frenemy Steve Deace posted to his facebook page that “the folks claiming to lead a revolution based on principle and undoing corruption aided and abetted a liar to win re-election, while one of their own who has told and stood for the truth was abandoned.” The numbers simply do not support this conclusion, nor does the testimony of any freedom activists we spoke with. In the first round of balloting Pearson received 755 votes and Tamara Scott 514. In the second round, Pearson only increased her vote total to 782 while Scott surged to 826. To accept Deace’s conclusion, you’d have to believe that Scott’s bump came from Paul supporters switching to Scott while Stoldorf and Davidson voters split evenly. What incentive existed for Paul supporters to switch sides, especially the younger delegates in punk rock regalia who refused any Republican flair save that promoting Pearson? We love Kim Pearson and if we could, we’d make 51 clones of her – one to marry and fifty to elect to the State Senate. We simply had a plurality of delegates and not an outright majority. For whatever reasons, Scott appealed to the middle of the road, non-faction fighting delegates and Pearson did not. It’s a damn shame, and its insulting to suggest we knifed her in the back after all she’s done for us.
With the freedom movement reeling from Pearson’s defeat, the outcome of the Nominating Committee slate looked to be in doubt. A spirited effort was made to throw it out and start over without an officially recognized process for doing so was launched in the final thrust of the Great Romney Rules Purge. After voice votes and a standing division were inconclusive, a move from the floor called for paper ballots which was agreed to by the convention chair. It turned out that the neocons just yelled a little louder, summoning an enthusiasm sorely lacking at rallies for their candidates during the caucus season. The paper ballot tally was 794 in favor of the Committee slate and 698. With eleven of twenty eight already in the books, the ten freedom activists on the list clinched the majority for Ron Paul. Half a year after that cold January night, Ron Paul declared victory in Iowa.
With the platform debates still to come, neoconservatives fled the hall in droves, one can hope returning to the Democrat and Socialist Worker’s Parties from whence they came. Their ideology has brought tears to thousands in the last decade – Iraqi Christians murdered by Shiite militias empowered by the occupation, widows and orphans of our soldiers fallen in Afghanistan, red-blooded patriots back home weeping for their lost liberties, peaceful protestors sprayed with tear gas for daring to question how millionaire bankers with failing companies got rich on the tax dollars of the working class – but on Saturday it was many of them who wept on their way out. For them, “their” party was slipping out of their grasp and their twin weapons of the military-industrial-congressional complex and the Fed’s printing press perhaps to soon follow.
With half of the delegates gone, platform debate was an anticlimax. Much of the heavy lifting was done by freedom-friendly platform committees who have bequeathed the Iowa GOP with a fine document upholding our great nation’s founding principles. Those who stuck around fought off a challenge to the no foreign aid plank and educated their fellow delegates about the finer points of currency and agricultural policy with their own proposals.
It was not a day without some losses, as not having Kim Pearson on the RNC will be tough after we came so close. Her speech and the nominating speech by Glen Massie served as a sobering reminder of how much those two will be missed in the Iowa House. But the direction of the Republican Party in Iowa has been turned for the better, perhaps irrevocably. If we stay united and exert the same effort to defeat Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Terry Branstad, Mike Gronstall, and their ilk as we did to win this weekend, there just might be “Hope for America” after all.
» posted on Monday, June 4th, 2012 at 8:10 pm by Editor
Just a quick reminder, primary elections are tomorrow, Tuesday, June 5. While Libertarians and the Constitution Party nominate by convention and we don’t know of any worthy Freedom Democrats in Iowa, there are several excellent Republican candidates scattered throughout the ballots statewide. On Friday, wrote our primary primer and included our endorsed candidates – Will Johnson in SD-50, Kevin Wolfswinkel in HD-1, Josh Davenport in HD-2, Tom Shaw in HD-10, Tony Seliquini in HD-36, Matt DeVries in HD-37, as well as recommended candidate Jake Highfill in HD-39.
Today, we’ll throw out a few more last minute recommendations. These are not “endorsements” per se, but if you remember our endorsement policy, a “recommendation” is our way of saying, “well, this guy is probably better than the other guy, you might want to look into him.” We use it when there is no clear liberty candidate in the race, when we have reservations about someone, or when we just don’t know enough about him/her to endorse.
Iowa Senate District 6 – Matthew Ung
With a primary challenge to an incumbent lawmaker in Chris Rant’s district, Ung has marked himself as a rising star in the Iowa GOP. He says a lot of the right things and has a lot of the right endorsements (Kim Pearson, Iowa Gun Owners, ect.) while the incumbent is a run of the mill mainstream Republican. He tries to base his ideas on the Constitution, but tends to have a bit of the rose colored glasses syndrome towards his party and could get lost in the weeds bashing gays instead of fighting government encroachment when he gets to Des Moines, but based on what we know, we’d rather have him there than return Ron Jorgensen. IFR doesn’t usually have much coverage in the desert that is western Iowa, so maybe our readers in Steve King Country could enlighten us as to Ung’s credibility.
Iowa House District 81 – Rick McClure
No website, no twitter, no facebook page, no money raised – IFR sincerely hopes Mr. McClure has been more active door knocking in Ottumwa than he has been knocking out blog posts and web ads because we just heard about him minutes ago and he sounds great. McClure is an Air Force veteran and John Deere worker who is politically independent and was inspired to get involved by Dr. Ron Paul’s campaign. Straight party voting is the reason he joined the GOP. “Voting straight party at the ballot box is as irresponsible and lazy as casting a straight party vote on any bill up in Des Moines,” McClure told his hometown paper when asked why he joined the GOP. Sounds like the kind of man we need in the State House. We’re keeping this a “recommends” only because we haven’t had time to properly vet him. Networking, people.
U.S. Congress District 1 – Rod Blum
Much of the freedom movement in northeast Iowa has been all atwitter – and all over twitter – about Mr. Blum for several months now. But under the surface, there is a lot of uncertainty. We’ve held off writing anything at all about Blum until election night eve out of fear of stirring things up one way or the other. Go to Blum’s issue page and there’s virtually nothing to disagree with. But this wasn’t always the case. Blum is no new face on the scene, as a columnist for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, Blum has been carrying the water for big-government Republicans for a long, long time. During the Bush administration, Blum proudly declared that he “doesn’t know what all my rights are” and that it was a moral imperative to invade random Middle Eastern countries. While we encourage people to move from fascism to freedom in their thinking, one should always be wary of a politician who comes to you and says, “oh, dude, it’s totally different now!” right before an election.
We at IFR have a bit of a personal issue with this. You see, your editor was on the front lines of recruiting Bob Barr to run for President in 2008, to the point where leading Libertarians (including past national staff members of the LP) fingered him as “the guy who got Barr into the race” because no one wants to be the one holding that bag. How did Bob Barr repay us (including us personally)? By endorsing Space Cadet Gingrich and abandoning the LP to prostrate himself on the pro-war, pro-big government altar of the GOP. You’ll currently see him cheering whenever Mitt Romney shows up to campaign in Georgia. Let’s hope Blum’s fortuitously-timed conversion is genuine because one person who hasn’t changed is Ben Lange, Blum’s opponent. Lange is again looking for a way to return to the center of power, this time (thank God) minus the whole “Congress-should-decide-if-you-can-build-a-church-or-not” issue that attracted so much of Bruce Rastetter’s money to the 2010 race. We were Lange’s harshest critic back then when we had a real dog in the fight. Click his name at the bottom of the post, it all still applies.
So here’s our bottom line on Blum: in the words of Stewie Griffin, “huzzah for the lesser of two evils!”
And in other news. . .
While it is quite unfortunate that State Representative Kim Pearson declined to run for re-election, she’s not getting out of politics completely. After a few days of rumors following Kim Lehman’s decision not to see reelection, Pearson made it official – she will run for the position of Republican National Committeewoman. Each state and territory is represented on the Republican National Committee by one man and one woman. Iowa’s committeepersons will be chosen at the state Republican convention on June 16. Pearson will compete with two announced statists, with other nominations possibly to come from the floor. If you’re reading this site, you already know what we’ll be doing but for what it’s worth, Iowa Freedom Report hereby gives Representative Pearson our full endorsement.
After you vote tomorrow (assuming you have a candidate on the ballot worth the trip to the polls), be sure to catch Governor Gary Johnson on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. While Stewart is essentially a Democrat Party spokesman (perhaps the only credible one they have), lately his monologues have been leaning toward liberty and he is clearly respectful of our position and engages it in good faith so he’s certain to give Johnson a fair shake. With a lot of disillusioned young voters up for grabs in the election, this could be Johnson’s breakout moment. If you’ve been too busy with Republican caucus politics to think ahead to November, let this be your introduction to the man who proved that the moderate application of libertarianism to government is not only possible, but can be wildly successful and popular.
one Comment | filed under Uncategorized | tags: 1st District, Ben Lange, endorsements, Gary Johnson, Jake Highfill, Josh Davenport, Kevin Wolfswinkel, Kim Pearson, Matt DeVries, Matthew Ung, Republican Party, Rick McClure, Rod Blum, Tom Shaw, Tony Seliquini, Will Johnson
» posted on Friday, June 1st, 2012 at 4:15 pm by Editor
Iowa Freedom Report is back from our month-long Vegas hangover just in time for updates and endorsements in next week’s primary elections. The success of the Ron Paul campaign in organizing the state unfortunately didn’t result in a caucus night victory, but it did leave in it wake a number of globally thinking-locally acting candidates seeking lower office. Unlike in 2008 and 2010 when freedom candidates were restricted to deep-blue districts where mainstream Republicans offered little resistance, many of our people are poised to break through the glass ceiling and join Jason Schultz and Kent Sorenson in the Iowa Legislature’s de facto liberty caucus. Here’s a look at some of those candidates with contested races on Tuesday’s ballot. Consider them all to be “endorsed” unless otherwise noted.
Iowa Senate District 50 – Will Johnson
Johnson is a well known leader in the freedom movement from his 2010 Congressional campaign and his status as a former columnist at IFR. He just has the sad misfortune of living in Democrat controlled Dubuque. Our sources inform us that in a rare turn of events, Johnson is actually the establishment favorite in this primary as Senate Republicans see him as the only chance to put this seat in play. Johnson for his part is avoiding typical Republican talking points like “Democrats are bad” and “Obama is a secret Muslim communist atheist!!!” to focus on nonpartisan issues like the proliferation of red light cameras in Dubuque. His efforts on civil liberties have earned him a reputation around town as “the camera man” and his elevated profile and crossover appeal should carry the day over traditional Republican John Hulsizer Jr. The one drawback is that Johnson’s fundraising has been far less than you’d expect from someone with his resume. Although Hulsizer didn’t raise enough to require a filing (ie, less than $750), we’ll need to get Johnson some help before the fall.
Iowa House District 1 – Kevin Wolfswinkel
House District 1 in the far northwest corner of Iowa represents an unique pick-up opportunity brought about by redistricting. Freshman Representative Jeff Smith represented the old district 1 but lost half his former constituents to the new lines. Smith generally towed the party line in his only term, including siding with the National Rifle Association when that august organization launched an all-out effort to derail proposed “Constitutional-carry” firearms legislation. Wolfswinkel has a background working with Campaign for Liberty as well as a local effort aimed at tax reductions. He was an easy choice to be a prime recipient of Iowa Freedom Fund’s support. The money race has been about even in this one, and it could go either way on Tuesday so anyone with friends and family in that area, call in your favors now.
Iowa House District 2 – Josh Davenport
Spencer Pastor Josh Davenport first came to our attention last fall when he came out for Dr. Paul around the time of Paul’s visit to Clay County. At the time Davenport had slowly moved to liberty going through the nanny statism of the Huckabee campaign to the tea party and finally arriving in the liberty camp. Davenport is a late entry into the House race, but don’t underestimate his chances with a background as minister and a former co-chair of the county GOP. The establishment candidate is former legislative staffer Megan Hess, who had a head start and backing from the NRA (which you’d have to assume means she’ll oppose Constitutional-carry) but Davenport has done well with fundraising and has lined up the freedom movement behind him, including newly elected State Central Committee member Kris Theissen. The district leans Republican, but the Democrats have a strong candidate, so Davenport will need our help if he gets through on Tuesday.
Iowa House District 10 – Tom Shaw
Representative Shaw is the rare incumbent legislator who didn’t support Ron Paul when he had the chance but who’s record in office is so exemplary that he still warrants our full support. Shaw, a Republican In Name Only in the truest sense of the term, complied an impressive pro-liberty record in his first term voting along with freedom legislators Kim Pearson and Glenn Massie. While Pearson and Massie unfortunately took themselves out by declining to seek re-election, the Republican establishment is looking to help Shaw go the same way. They’ve put up former U of I student body president Maison Bleam in the primary. Bleam is the scion of a prominent Republican family in Calhoun county which is new to Shaw’s district and is a former staffer to Congressman Steve King. Shaw should be favored, but if you live in Humboldt, Pochantas, Calhoun, or Webster counties don’t take it for granted, make sure you vote for Shaw on Tuesday.
Iowa House District 36 – Tony Seliquini
This race has flown far under the radar despite its location in Polk County, perhaps because the district leans Democrat. Still, freedom candidate Tony Seliquini is in the midst of a contested 3-way primary for the chance to be an underdog in November. Seliquini is an Army vet with a wide range of civilian experience and campaign experience volunteering for Dr. Paul and numerous local candidates. He faces Jeff Ibbotson, who is employed in Homeland Security which alone should give any one pause and Larry Steele who didn’t raise enough money to trigger the filing requirement with the state. Seliquini is looking for last-minute volunteers to phone bank over the weekend, so if you have some free time, contact him at the website listed above.
Iowa House District 37 – Matt DeVries
As an somewhat well-known candidate in a brand new, heavily Republican district, Matt DeVries represents the best chance to put a pro-freedom candidate in the state legislature in 2012. A rising star in our movement, DeVries’s political career got off to a rocky start in 2011 when he lost a convention race to run in the special Senate election that was eventually won by Jack Whitver. Still, DeVries’s exposure in that race may give him an advantage in name recognition, an advantage desperately needed as 5 big-government Republicans saw the same opportunity we did leading to a crowded primary. If no candidate gets 35% on Tuesday, the race will go to convention where freedom voters should have an advantage as Romney and Santorum supporters largely boycotted the caucus-to-convention process for reasons that have never been fully explained. DeVries has put an emphasis on reenforcing government marriage (for straights only) and normally anyone who considers teh gayz as the major threat facing our state demonstrates that they lack the critical thinking necessary in an office, Murray Rothbard did say that everyone gets on deviation, so DeVries has our full support.
Iowa House District 39 – Jake Highfill
The HD-39 primary has been an interesting one to say the least. Iowa City blogger John Deeth calls it the WTF primary and we’d be hard pressed to give the Erik Helland-Jake Highfill match-up a better moniker. In his two terms in the House, Helland is still best known for his drunk driving convention. Despite lots of money and lots of establishment support, this Kerry Burt Republican seems ripe for a primary challenge in a safe Republican seat. Stepping up to the challenge is Ron Paul Republican Jake Highfill, a recent U of I grad. Unfortunately for both him and the movement, Highfill has stirred up unneeded controversy with both accusations against his opponent and Obama-style “evolution” on key issues. First, in a he-said/he-said debate Highfill claimed Helland offered him a job to get him out of the primary. Helland counters that he was only steering Highfill to a more suitable entry into politics, not making any offers himself. Then Highfill reversed course on his previous public stands for liberty. In a January interview for a story on Paul’s young supporters, Highfill took the proper stand saying he would never vote for Mitt Romney. Then last week he told The Iowa Republican, neoconservativism’s blog of record that he’d be the “first in line” to cast his vote for the Massachusetts fascist. Highfill also seems to have backed off his previous support for extending government marriage to same-sex couples. Given an excellent opportunity to educate the public about freedom of contract or to help the GOP reverse their losses among the creative class, Highfill took the easy way out and told TIR he’d support only straight government marriage. Sadly, Highfill sounds like a young man who’s heart is in the right place but whose pro-liberty ideology is not fully set. He’s worth a vote over Helland but it would be hard to place a lot of hope in his chances. With all the questions marks surrounding Highfill’s true beliefs, call this one a “recommends”.
We’ve heard stirrings about other potentially good candidates, but haven’t had the chance to vet them in light of their past involvement in the movement (any one can say good things in an election race, and everyone does, we look at actions), so pass along any others you know who are worthy of our support in either the comments or tweet to us @IAFreedomReport. We’ll be spending more time on legislative candidates between now and November, including some good ones who aren’t contested next week.
Remember, get out and vote Tuesday! (You can change your registration at the polls if needed and change back on Wednesday.)
post a comment | filed under Uncategorized | tags: endorsements, Erik Hellend, Jake Highfill, Jeff Smith, John Hulsizer Jr., Josh Davenport, Kevin Wolfswinkel, Maison Bleam, Matt DeVries, Megas Hess, Republican Party, Tom Shaw, Tony Seliquini, Will Johnson
» posted on Saturday, April 21st, 2012 at 8:01 pm by Editor
Reports are still funneling in from Republican district conventions across the state and we’re sure they’ll be all over the Pauloshpere by morning, but we had to give a quick recap. Your Iowa Freedom Report team was deployed to District 4 today where freedom lovers were cautiously optimistic they could carry the day despite the frothy mix of out-dated neoconservativism and Opus Dei theocracy that swept the northwest corner of the state in January.
The major prize at stake in today’s conventions was control of the Republican state central committee. The Register has a full recap of those election results and credits Paul backers with 6 of 12 seats up for grabs. Craig Robinson at The Iowa Republican tweeted that 10 were either Paul supporters or favorable to Paul. This includes people like Chad Steenhoek of Ames, a staffer on Gingrich’s super PAC who has worked with Paulites in the past. Joel Kurtinitis (CD3), Kris Thiessen (CD4), Dave Cushman (CD1), Iowa Freedom Fund board member Jeff Shipley (CD2), John Kabitzke (CD3) and Marcus Fedler (CD2) are all well-known for their advocacy of smaller government. What this likely means in a practical sense is that Iowa politicians will be forced to take seriously Paul’s ideas, even though the central committee is not itself a policy making body. You’re also likely to see the group taking more stances on policy matters, taking cues from the actions of combative social conservative national committeefolks Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehmen.
Various other committee seats were up for grabs as well. Freedom advocates ran mixed slates of Ron Paul supporters and their allies for every seat on the delegate nomination, credentials, rules, and platform committees. Paul staffers were reluctant to share details with Iowa Freedom Report, but from where we sat, returns looked quite promising. From a national standpoint, a majority on the nominating committee could mean a majority of Paulites in Iowa’s national convention delegation. A majority there and in just four other states means that Paul could be nominated from the floor of the RNC in Tampa. That would be a far cry from 2008, when Paul was barred from even stopping by the convention in St. Paul, despite a run allowing sitting Republican congressman free access to the convention floor. Let’s put it this way, 2008 Libertarian nominee Bob Barr, an active opponent to John McCain was granted greater access to those proceedings than Paul.
One major coup attempt disrupted the convention briefly in Fort Dodge. Someone, and at this time we are unable to determine with any certainty who it was, tried to push through major rule changes to the caucus to convention process. For as long as any Iowa Republicans can remember, national delegates have been selected in a “district caucus” the night prior to state convention. Technically, the district conventions go into “recess” for two months and re-convene the Friday night of convention for delegate elections. This year, some forces, whether outside or local we don’t know, called for district conventions to elect national delegates then “adjourn.” A claim was made that an unknown group (Paul supporters by implication) wished to hold “secret meetings” for delegate selection. Of course, these “secret” meetings are the common practice and in fact quite well-publicized. Ironically, while they were the presumed target, the Paul campaign urged all its supporters to defend the long ago agreed upon rules. Whoever was behind the rules purge pulled out all the stops in CD 4. Robocalls and emails went out the night before. A young-looking Romneyian was even dressed up in Paul garb to disrupt the proceedings, shouting loudly about how undemocratic the process was and at one point acting as though he would square off with the sergeant at arms in a fist fight. It was so well acted that some Paul supporters told IFR that they suspected the young man was actually a brilliant Paul loyalist attempting to use reverse psychology to convince the delegates that Paul was behind the unorthodox rules purge. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the convention voted down the intrusion. It made for an interesting sideshow and perhaps a preview of what the establishment could pull at state convention as their cold dead fingers tighten their grip on the party.
Much progress was also made on the platform. Planks that would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago sailed through with minimal objections. Republicans committed themselves to a repeal of the Patriot Act (in Steve King’s district no less!), nullification of various mandates, and a complete abolition of the IRS. Overall, the day provided a strong indication of the shifting winds within the Iowa Republican Party. Now if we just had some candidates to go along with it, but we’ll have more on that in the coming weeks. . .
» posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 at 1:43 pm by Editor
National figures in politics and foreign policy have weighed in with last minutes endorsements for Ron Paul over the past week, directing their remarks to Iowa voters.
CIA veteran Michael Scheuer, who headed the unit charged with tracking down Osama bin Laden under the Clinton and Bush administrations, posted his endorsement on his website on December 31. Scheuer made clear what he called “Iowa’s Choice” between Ron Paul or more bankruptcy and more deaths:
“only the gentleman from Texas speaks for the Founder’s non-interventionist vision of America’s role in world affairs and for plain common sense. In the Founders’ non-interventionist design for U.S. foreign policy that is championed by Dr. Paul, Iowans will find a proven road to the maintenance of America’s sovereignty, independence, peace, and prosperity. In the realm of common sense, Dr. Paul beats his fellow candidates, the Obamaites, and the media hands down. Dr. Paul challenges the interventionists in both parties on their plans for spreading secular democracy — and causing wars thereby — on historical grounds that are irrefutable because they are just good commonsense.”
Former Republican and current Libertarian candidate for President Governor Gary Johnson also urged his remaining Iowa supporters to caucus for Paul. We at IFR have covered Johnson’s efforts since 2010 and have been granted unprecedented access to his campaign. Right on all the issues, unfortunately Johnson’s aborted GOP efforts proved that the party simply doesn’t have enough supporters of smaller government to sustain more than one candidate with that message.
Closer to home, Paul picked up two prominent crossover Democrats recently as well. Francis Thicke, the organic farmer from libertarian hotbed Fairfield, posted on his facebook page that he will join the “Republican for a Day” movement in order to “keep Ron Paul’s voice for peace in the presidential debates as long as possible, so he can refute the warmongering rhetoric of the other Repbulican candidates.” Thanks to Bleeding Heartland for the tip. Plenty of small government supporters backed Thicke in 2010 for his vision of agriculture as a series of small, family owned enterprises in contrast to the taxpayer-subsidized corporate farming advocated by Secretary Northey, so its nice to see him return the favor.
Two former Democratic State Representatives also came out for Paul. Joel Brown, who represented suburban Des Moines during the 1990’s spoke about his support for Paul on the Fallon Forum on December 22, citing the toll on the republic taken by years of war and overspending. Fallon himself, who long has urged his followers to crossover in the caucuses offered a blanket endorsement for the “less extreme” candidates, whom he identifies as Dr. Paul, Jon Huntsman, Buddy Roemer, and Fred Karger. Of those, only Paul and Karger have campaigned in Iowa.
That is independents, Libertarians, and Democrats coming together around one candidate. Be sure to join us at the caucuses tonight, we’ll be a pretty big and diverse group!
» posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 12:04 am by Editor
Wednesday night in Des Moines, Congressman Ron Paul held a “Rally for Veterans” but it was a veteran of the Iowa Legislature who provided the biggest shock and awe of the caucus season. Freedom Senator Kent Sorenson (R-Indianola) announced at the rally that he is leaving Michele Bachmann’s floundering campaign to join frontrunner Ron Paul. Iowa Freedom Report had heard rumors of an impending switch dating back to September, but Sorenson said he had made up his mind just this week.
For Sorenson, the endorsement of Ron Paul is both an ideological reunion and a recognition of political reality. A statement released to the media read:
But the fact is, there is a clear top tier in the race for the Republican nomination for President, both here in Iowa and nationally. Ron Paul is easily the most conservative of this group. . .
Like all true conservatives, I wholeheartedly agree with Ron Paul that government is too big, and both parties share in the blame. We agree that it is immoral to print money and pass on mounds of debt to the next generation. We agree that life begins at conception and must be protected. We both believe that the Second Amendment must be defended unwaveringly, and that there are too many wars being fought with no end in sight and no obvious path to a defined victory.
Of course, as a state legislator, I recognize that Dr. Paul’s strong views on the 10th Amendment will enable me to fight for what I believe in right in my own backyard instead of having to constantly wait on one-size-fits-all “solutions” from Washington, D.C.
Sorenson’s endorsement should be a huge boost to Paul, perhaps not so much because of the man himself, but because it highlights how the race has now become between just 2 men – Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. No other candidates have the combination of organizational structure, money, and the broad base of support needed to wage a national campaign. Bachmann, Santorum, and Huntsman are all waging single state campaigns and praying for a miracle. Newt Gingrich is popular on cable news, but as he found out in Virginia, Sean Hannity is not going to go out and collect ballot access signatures for you. Rick Perry can’t overcome his missteps as a candidate no matter how much money his Super PACs throw into advertising.
Sorenson also realizes the scorched earth war on the freedom movement set to be unleashed should Paul come out victorious next week. By supporting Bachmann, he kept one foot in the establishment and one in the freedom movement. If the GOP could succeed in driving out the Paulites (a dubious proposition), no doubt they will come after Sorenson next. Had he stayed with Bachmann, its possible that his freedom base wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about his upcoming re-election campaign.
As it is right now, its a great night in Iowa. We’re killing to fatted calf and welcoming back our wayward son. Viva la r3VOLution!
» posted on Friday, October 28th, 2011 at 4:22 pm by Editor
More that two months after the major event in Ames, Ron Paul may yet win the Iowa Straw Poll. No, they’re not recounting the votes, but another straw poll is being held in central Iowa this weekend that is drawing many of the top Republican candidates. The National Federation of Republican Assemblies is hosting their quadrennial Presidential Preference Convention in Des Moines this weekend. The good doctor is slated to address the gathering tomorrow morning at 9:15 alongside neoconservative candidates Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and the former senator for Pennsylvania. Straw Poll balloting will take place between 9am and 1:30pm. Tickets for the event are $20, but an email from the Paul campaign offers them at a discounted rate of $10, indicating that the campaign is willing to put serious money and effort into winning.
The NFRA began in California in the 1930’s as an effort to involve young professionals in the party. Eventually it spread nationwide and was a base of power for the pro-freedom campaign of Barry Goldwater in 1964. Today, like all Republican institutions, it has been thoroughly infiltrated with the despicable neoconservative ideology. Still, many old-time Goldwaterites remain in the organization, enough that Ron Paul was able to finish 3rd in their 2007 convention’s poll.
Word on the street has it that Mr. Bailout, Herman Cain is also going to make a run at winning this year’s poll. Cain has soared in the national polls, but has yet to demonstrate a ground game to match his media hype. That could be changing now as many so-called “tea party” supporters have flocked to Cain’s message of higher taxes for 84% of Americans. The new slogan for the movement might be “Taxed Enough? Alright, I’ll pay 9% more.” This poll should also give us an interesting look at Michelle Bachmann’s appeal. Her support has plummeted since her August victory, so it will be interesting to see if she still has a committed Iowa base that would buck the national trend.
» posted on Thursday, August 18th, 2011 at 9:22 am by Editor
Today we continue our Ames Straw Poll recap with the thoughts of former IFR columnist, tea party leader, and one time Congressional candidate Will Johnson. Mr. Johnson’s predictions on the shape of the field are not those of IFR, but they should be of great interest or our readers. – Editor
By Will Johnson
Iowa is currently in the eye of the political hurricane known as the presidential race of 2012. Having just hosted a national debate and the first in the nation straw poll, Iowa has once again performed it’s function as grassroots barometer. This year the top three finishers were Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty dropped out shortly after taking third in this straw poll where he received less than half the votes of either Bachmann or Paul. Bachmann beat Paul by 152 votes out of a total of almost 17,000 votes cast. The statistical dead-heat between these two candidates has been the talk of Iowans, but apparently not the talk of many of the press. With headlines stating that the new front runners were Bachmann, Romney, and Perry the implied bias could scarcely be hidden. Both Romney and Perry had abysmal showings at the poll and basically bypassed Iowa because they knew their chances of going against the Tea Party atmosphere in Iowa would damage any further chances they might have in other States. Governor Terry Branstad stated that Iowa “would forgive” them for not participating in the straw poll as long as they make a serious effort in the Caucus. No offense governor, but they are both going to pay a dear price at Caucus time. This is not your daddy’s GOP anymore.
One of the most interesting elements was the collective sigh of relief by certain establishment republicans when Ron Paul narrowly received 2nd place. Their concern was that if Ron had won, then Iowa would not be “qualified” anymore to “properly” vet presidential candidates. Let that sink in for a minute. Their attitude of having “dodged a bullet” shows just how definitive the line is between establishment authoritarians and everyone else. Another interesting turn of events was Senator Grassley’s implied endorsement of Mitt Romney. While never “formally” endorsing Romney, the Senator could be seen on C-SPAN walking literally arm-in-arm with Romney as he campaigned at the Iowa State Fair. Considering he didn’t do this for any other candidate it would be fair to state the obvious. Now think about this for a second, Grassley has been in office since 1975 (before I was born) which in and of itself doth not an establishment hack make, but looking clearly at his voting record will clearly show he is at least a big government republican. Now to get more to the point of how all this will affect the upcoming Iowa 2012 Caucus. Grassley who is the Republican Senator in Iowa supported Mitt Romney who in 2007 won with over 30% of the vote, but who only got 567 votes this year which is only 3.36%. Grassley also an ally to those who did not want Rand Paul to be elected in Kentucky. How do I know this? He attended a fundraiser for none other than Rand Paul’s opponent Trey Grayson. [It should be noted that Grassley did contribute to Rand Paul after the primary and spoke highly of him when Dr. Paul addressed a state GOP fundraiser in April – Ed.] Grassley and Romney represent the “old guard” that are losing their influence and will shortly be replaced with men who will consistently obey the Constitution. One other good source on just how much affect these straw poll results will have can be found by none other than our Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn as he responded to this very inquiry of, “I’ll leave it to the pundits and voters to assess the wisdom of skipping an event of tremendous importance to tens of thousands of Iowa Republicans and caucusgoers.”
The real question on many minds is not who will win the primary, but will we have enough time to actually have this presidential election before the next disaster happens which will force us to choose our form of government as either tyranny or liberty. A great source of optimism for us in Iowa has been a musician named Jordan Page who can move a crowd like no other. I had the privilege to sit and speak with Jordan for almost an hour about various issues that are near and dear to both of us. Jordan’s invitation to play at the Iowa Straw Poll almost didn’t happen due to concerns about turning off more mainline republican voters. I found out later that my phone call to the music coordinator for the event is what made the difference. This is not meant to toot my own horn [Love this phrase, thanks for introducing it into our vocabulary Dr. Paul! – Ed.] but to encourage others to make the same phone call I did and request Jordan Page to play at future events!
To sum up this Iowan’s political perspective I see Romney dropping out soon and Rick Perry replacing him as the establishment/fake tea party/neo-con evangelical chimera. Rick Perry was in my city of Dubuque yesterday for a “business leader’s conference” while Obama was in Peosta at the same time. To us in Iowa Perry has a lot of rhetoric, but his actual history is abysmal even by his own standards. Perry is a ticking time bomb that the establishment is waiting to drop on the Republican party. His past election as a democrat in 1984 would be bad enough but he was also Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign chairman for Texas. These along with his Trans-Texas Corridor dealings and his own State’s 2010 Republican Party Platform inserting a plank that specifically opposed to the Corridor show just how fragile his political record really is and how ripe he is to be destroyed for another 4 years of Obama. In Iowa though, the Tea Party along the east of the state have not been neo-conned and are helping to lead the fight for liberty and truly smaller government. Ron Paul has and will continue to benefit from this educating effort as the Caucus nears. Ron will most likely take the Iowa Caucus and when he does there will be another feather in the cap of us who fight for liberty and a noble world order.
» posted on Saturday, August 13th, 2011 at 9:36 pm by Editor
The Champion of the Constitution may have only been a runner-up at today’s Ames Straw Poll behind neoconservative cheerleader Michelle Bachmann, but for his campaign and the freedom movement it was an historic day. The titular quotation comes from a chance, one-question interview granted by a hurried Dr. Paul to this publication as he was leaving the grounds. This snapshot of Dr. Paul’s sentiment seemed to capture the mood of most of his supporters today. There was great optimism in the crowd that we could pull the upset, though staff and speakers in Paul’s tent were guarded in their assessment, only going so far as to point to the tightness of the race and state that we were doing very well. When the results were announced by party chairman Matt Strawn, the initial reaction was applause from the warmongers but was answered with a cheer of “you can’t ignore us now!” from the messengers of liberty.
Let’s take a brief look at what “very well” means. In the 2007 Straw Poll, Dr. Paul came in 5th place with 1,305 votes. Even for what was at the time an underfunded, poorly managed campaign, this ended up being about 10% of his eventual caucus night total of around 11,000. Growing the total by 3,300 votes in four years demonstrates both that Paul’s message is spreading and that his organization has ramped up to compete in the major leagues. Of course, so long as the neocons have a 24/7 turnout machine in the Fox News channel, opponents of the statist quo will always be fighting uphill. No one in the media, right-wing or left, can mention Paul without tacking on “but he can’t win.” Repeating that line will only spur on the dedicated supporters, but for apolitical folks who are marginally attracted to our ideas, it is a massive deterrent.
If only 10% of Paul’s potential Iowa voters made it out today, he will win the caucuses going away. If he is able to triple his vote total in the caucus as he did in the Straw Poll, he is still quite formidable. Keep in mind as well that Dr. Paul is one of the few candidates capable of competing in both socially conservative Iowa and socially liberal New Hampshire. No Republican has won the Iowa caucuses without finishing first or second in the Straw Poll. Last time around, it was Mike Huckabee’s second place, not Romney’s win that had the bigger impact on the campaign season.
For those who didn’t make it out today and our friends reading in from across the nation, you missed a heck of a party. Dr. Paul rented the largest space on the grounds, and if there was a bigger one, they would have needed it. Half of the space was taken up by a tent filled with picnic tables to enjoy the catered meal of pulled pork sandwiches, sweet corn, and “Chef Ken Dunn’s famous sour cream dill potato salad.” The other side was divided into a stage and area with games for the kids. Noted historian and Presidential adviser Doug Wead served as emcee for a line up of speakers that included our three pro-liberty state representatives, Barry Goldwater Jr., and virtually every member of the Paul family including the junior Senator from Kentucky. The troubadour of liberty Jordan Page regaled the audience with his original compositions honoring Paul and a local band filled out the program with some hot jazz. And yes, there was a dunk tank in which voters could dunk “Ben Bernanke” – a volunteer wearing a mask of the Fed chairman. There was even a “dollar slide” where the kids could have fun going down while adults waiting at the bottom could read up on the decline of the dollar since 1913.
Paul’s supporters packed the house when the good Doctor took the main stage in the middle of the day. You could see the handprints of Wead on the speech as most of it was dedicated to the life issue. That’s not surprising, as Paul lead with life in this 2007 address as well. This time he did so in graphic detail, recounting how as an intern fresh from medical school he has witnessed a premature but viable baby being born then discarded in trash can. The experience made Paul sick to his stomach, but steeled his resolve to fight abortion. It was a little shocking, but did provide a sharp wake-up call to those Iowa Republicans who have heard only the rumors being spread of Paul’s supposed pro-abortion stance. It is certainly more compelling than the tale of how Mitt Romney came to his anti-abortion views after reading a poll taken of Iowa voters. Moving from abortion, Paul hammered the other piece of the life issue stating that life is precious even when children come of age, and they ought not be sent to die in needless nation-building adventures of the type favored by President Obama and most of the GOP field. It might perhaps have been better if Paul had taken more time on economics, reminding voters that he alone in the field had correctly predicted the recession and had the only prescription. But Paul is more of a truth teller than he is a shrewd candidate, and the 15,000 assembled in Hilton got a full dose.
At the end of the day, it was not enough to win, but it was enough to send a message to the world – freedom is popular and we can win. Michelle Bachmann will remain the frontrunner, but she has flaws of her own. Her consistent inability to tell the truth will catch up with her at some point. The formal entry into the race of Rick Perry and Sarah Palin will dilute the pro-war, pro-Fed, pro-big government vote even further. It will be a long fight ahead, but Dr. Paul and his supporters took a huge leap forward in Ames today.