Saturday was the 2012 Iowa GOP State Convention. It also was the Democratic State Convention but judging by the crowd there, no one got the memo. On the GOP agenda was electing the National Committeeman and Committeewoman, election of At-Large National Convention Delegates, Alternative Delegates and Presidential Electors, a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the RPI and the platform. It took less than an hour for the first firework display.
The first commotion was over Rule 28. Rule 28 states that ‘the person receiving the highest number of votes for the election of National Committeeman and Committeewoman shall be elected’. After debate, the rule was changed from the highest vote getter in the first ballot to the person reaching a 50 percent threshold and being the highest vote getter. This played a role in the National Committeewoman election.
The next brouhaha was over Rule 25b. Rule 25 states that ‘separate amendments from the floor for delegate-at-large, or presidential elector-at-large shall be subordinate to a single vote up or down on the report as a whole’. The original amendment (25b) would allow for a vote on individuals for the national delegates who would have to be present to be nominated. There were amendments, amendments to the amendments, amendments to the amendment’s amendment, calls for point of order, calls for division, voice votes, standing votes, written ballots and the threat of removal for disrespectful behavior. Best line of the day was the suggestion that anyone wanting to be a delegate to the National Convention should go to the cage (located down the hall for UFC fights) and work it out. Eventually (and after lunch, yes we broke for lunch with only one, single item resolved) 25b failed.
The next debate was over the proposed amendment to the RPI Constitutional Article IV State Central Committee. The amendment read ‘no member or officer of the Republican State Central Committee, including Iowa’s representatives to the Republican National Committee, shall publicly endorse a candidate or candidate’s committee in a Republican primary or caucus. Neither shall they publicly denounce any Republican candidate’. This discussion went better as they adhered to the rules allowing only three speakers in favor and three opposed. The amendment failed.
The last debate was over the election of the slate of delegates chosen to attend the National Convention. This caused quite a flurry as the majority of those chosen were Ron Paul supporters. Tension was high but was highly entertaining (in the way bad reality tv is entertaining). After a few votes, the slate of candidates was accepted and I would anticipate a Ron Paul vote in Tampa.
I’m not sure what was in Governor Branstad’s coffee, but that was the most energetic I’ve heard him. I wasn’t impressed with the content of his speech, but kudos to him for the spectacular energy level. Chuck Grassley, Matt Schultz (I love voter ID too), Kim Reynolds, Tom Latham, Linda Upmeyer, Kraig Paulsen, Jerry Behn, John Archer and Ben Lange all spoke as well. Steve King was the most well received speaker by far. He spoke about the President’s fiat decision to grant amnesty to millions. His threat to bring suit against the President of the United States to block the executive order brought the most cheers. I will credit the Congressman with being one of the few that didn’t try to sell me the “Romney will save the day” line. He said, “I trust Mitt Romney to do the right thing, some of you may not but you can trust Barack Obama to do the wrong thing.” I wish more politicians would take a cue from Congressman King – on a lot of things. Another speaker that resonated with me was Brad Zaun. He has been doing some noteworthy work on education and banning traffic cams. His call to find out where our candidates stand and hold them accountable was on the money. His line about Boswell being a desperate old man made me laugh out loud.
The best speech of the day, in my opinion, came from a junior delegate, Benjamin Dirks. He spoke of the ideas set forth in the Declaration of Independence being what makes America great (and he’s right on that). He left with the caution that we are only as strong as we the people. The adults(ish) then debated weather we would adopt the 3 planks the junior delegates offered to the platform. Guess that speech fell on deaf ears….
I had heard much talk about this race prior to the convention. The Iowa Republican, Jan Mickelson and Steve Deace all discussed allegations of misconduct on the part of Steve Scheffler this past week. In his speech, Scheffler discussed the “elephant in the room” implying he was wrongfully accused because he fought for social issues the past 25 years when doing so was an unpopular stance to take. He claimed his integrity is well established. David Chung, Robert Cramer and Judd Saul also ran for the RNC post. Chung said integrity was the primary criteria for job, Cramer spoke about creating a movement to teach conservatism and Saul said he was running, in part, because of the allegations against Scheffler. In the end, Scheffler was re elected after a run off vote against David Chung 889 to 781. This was one debate that I did not find entertaining and how he secured the backing of Ron Paul people I’ll never understand. Seeing as I have nothing kind to offer here, I will simply suggest you visit the links above for information regarding Mr. Scheffler.
This position was being vacated by Kim Lehman and was another hotly debated election. Margaret Stoldorf, Tamara Scott, Judy Davidson and Kim Pearson were nominated. Stoldorf spoke about focusing on the grassroots and not just fundraising, Davidson spoke of 3 reasons to vote for her – experience, proven results and commitment to excellence. Tamara Scott spoke of her assets in media, her ability to network and coming together as a party. She promised not to waiver in her principles as she worked the process. Her resume for the position is quite impressive. Kim Pearson spoke about the hit piece the Iowa PAC put out (they forgot to mention that she was to the right of the Republicans on the votes listed on the flier). She also spoke of unwavering principles noting that Truth divides. She noted that as a party we should unite around principles. She asked which God given rights should she be willing to negotiate away to get a deal done (and she’s right on that). Her speech received a standing ovation. In the first ballot, Pearson received 755 votes and Scott received 514. There is some ‘discussion’ as to what happened behind the scenes during the run off vote between Scott and Pearson but Tamara Scott won the election 826-782. Congratulations to her.
Some other noteworthy issues came from Kim Lehman. She spoke of her concern over Agenda 21 and the growing popularity of the national vote compact. She urged delegates to stay on top of these issues. I stayed for a few of the platform debates but it was time to go when the delegation needed reminding that it would be another two hours before another vote on a quorum could be called.