The following picture on The BeanWalker (Iowa’s version of the Drudge Report) greeted me this afternoon.  “A.J. Spiker’s failed Republican Party: Democrats again hold voter registration edge.”


The link was to an article on Radio Iowa:

Democrats have completely erased the voter registration advantage Republicans held this summer in Iowa.

“Their lead didn’t evaporate as much as we focused on registering Iowans, to be prepared for the 2012 election,” says Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Sue Dvorsky.

Last June, Republicans held a strong advantage, with about 21,000 more registered Republican voters than Democrats. But the latest report from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office shows that on December 1, there were about 5,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in Iowa. Dvorsky says the party’s effort to identify and register new voters worked.

“It is clear that when the book is written on this campaign both here in Iowa and in the country — and it goes all the way back into the Republican Caucuses — that organization and field work on the ground is still a best seller here in Iowa,” Dvorsky says. “Rick Santorum would tell you that from their Caucus experience and it goes right on through to last month’s election.”

I find it amusing that The BeanWalker has zero problems criticizing A.J. Spiker and the Republican Party of Iowa, but when it comes to a disastrous education plan submitted by Republican Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, the fact that taxpayer money was spent on abortions against legislative intent and the administration did nothing, and Governor Branstad has suggested a gas tax increase – crickets.

I find that I need to provide a public service to remind my readers in Iowa who may frequent The BeanWalker that it is owned by Tim Albrecht, the communications director for Governor Branstad.  I understand the bias – I mean how can you promote stories that are negative about your boss?  We all have our bias – I’m up front about mine – I’m evangelical.  I write from a Christian conservative perspective.  I’m also up front that I’m a Republican, but as regular readers know I have zero problems criticizing my party and even people who share my worldview when the situation warrants it.  I also do contract work for American Principles Project which is right in my bio, so I will confess to you that I will never write a negative piece about APP while I am under contract.  That doesn’t mean one of my contributors won’t however.  We have a variety of opinions and I don’t censor them.

Anyway integrity for me says full disclosure on my associations.  I’d encourage Tim to do the same thing with The BeanWalker and any other blogger/website that is funded by or works for an organization or candidate that could sway how they write.  American Principles Project does not fund this blog, but since I work for them certain topics (in my writing only) have greater weight – mainly because I’m immersed in those issues so it is easy for me to work on them.  It is also easy for me to write about local control in education, the Common Core State Standards, religious liberty, etc. because these are positions I already had.  I wouldn’t have gone to work for APP if I didn’t believe in what they did.

I disgress…. back to A.J. Spiker.  I like A.J., and I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt when he became chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.  He came into a tough situation with scrutiny on the Iowa Caucus process.  He took some flak for some of his initial hires also being Ron Paul supporters.  After the Iowa Republican State convention I was upset too.

During the Republican National Convention A.J. worked hard to defend Iowa’s first in the nation status and to fight off rules that were bad for Iowa’s grassroots.  All but one of the Victory Iowa staff he was responsible for hiring for the general election were not Ron Paul supporters.  Every time I heard him speak at campaign rallies he was supportive of Republican candidates including Mitt Romney.  There were those who criticized delegates who voted for Ron Paul at the convention.  You may not agree with what they did, but our delegates were not bound to any candidates.  Even if they were bound it would have been to Rick Santorum who was no longer in the race.  They were not obligated to Mitt Romney.  If you don’t like that then work through the rules process to make the Iowa Caucus vote binding – not that it would have mattered this year.

Regardless people are free moral agents and A.J. Spiker is not a dictator so there wasn’t anything he could do about that.  Regarding the voter registrations.  We have since learned that most of the Republican voter registration gains have come from conservative independents who reregistered as Republicans to vote in the 2010 Iowa Republican Primary and the 2012 Iowa Presidential Caucus.  He didn’t lose registered voters – Obama had great organization and it is tough to bring down an incumbent President who had obvious coattails.

So is A.J. Spiker perfect – no.  He made mistakes.  Should he be reelected as the State Chair – not for me to decide, but I wouldn’t oppose it.  Like I said – I like him.  He has integrity.  He is open and approachable.  He listens.  He’s not been defensive.  He’s been criticized for not working faster on ironing out the kinks in the Iowa Caucus process, but that was by design – he intended to wait until after the election before that is really pushed even though there has been a committee working on it already.  So he has been proactive.  I believe he wants to work with different groups within the party and he’s concerned about the grassroots (and not just the Ron Paul variety).

Because he is state chair he can’t escape getting some of the blame for the loss – that’s just par for the course, but he certainly doesn’t deserve all of it.   Let’s just remember he came in after the Iowa Caucus and we had a candidate at the top of the ticket who deserves the lion’s share of the blame as well – which is something else you never saw on The Beanwalker – criticism of Mitt Romney.  Fascinating.  Here we see the narrative start to form from the (former) Republican establishment/Branstad camp.  Expect more to come.

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