I just wanted to give a brief recap the Republican Party of Iowa State Convention. I also live tweeted it today so you can scroll through my Twitter feed at @shanevanderhart.
As far as a state convention go this was rather uneventful, no drama, no big fights. No drastic changes made to the proposed party platform.
Gregory Tapis summed up for a number of the speeches today:
Drink Coke because it is not Pepsi is the message so far. #iagop convention
— Gregory Tapis, Ph.D. (@GregoryTapis) June 14, 2014
And I agree with Gregory that is what we primarily heard from Joni Ernst. She did a great job attacking Bruce Braley, but not such a great job outlining solutions. Her speech was pretty much a rehash of what we heard on primary night. In Ernst’s defense state conventions are to rally the troops and get them fired up. She is going to have to provide more substance to her message however.
Danny Carroll, the Republican Party of Iowa Chair, in his remarks hit upon a theme of unity. The newly formed State Central Committee was seated after the convention adjourned and met to elect a treasurer and secretary. At the end of the meeting David Chung informed Carroll that they will have an election for new leadership at their next meeting on June 28, and that they had the votes to vote him out. (Update: Kevin Hall already wrote a story on this with more details.)
So the drama of the day occurred after the convention…. I’ll write more on this next week.
Senator Rand Paul gave a good speech. He hit the Obama administration hard. He spoke off the cuff, and his remarks on the government shutdown and Benghazi stood out in my mind. He addressed the issue of only 1/6 of the government actually being shut down and yet people and the media were acting as though the sky was falling. He pointed out the image of WWII vets breaking through the barriers to the WWII memorial on the National Mall, a memorial that doesn’t have an entrance or exit and is not staffed. Yet Obama tried shutting it down to make people feel some pain. With Benghazi Paul said the Commander-in-Chief needs to protect the troops, secure embassies, and send in help. In Benghazi he did none of those things. With all of the scandals that have embroiled the Obama administration Paul said Benghazi bothered him the most.
Senator Paul also discussed engaging with young voters, but that we need to engage them on issue that are relevant to them. He mentioned that many don’t care about taxes and a balanced budget amendment as much because they don’t have money, but they do have cell phones and are concerned about privacy. He encouraged Iowa Republicans that they need to do something different because President Barack Obama won here twice and “the same old, same old is not working.”
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal that his greatest concern and frustration is that President Obama is redefining the American dream. He said that Obama is concerned with equality of outcomes instead of equality with opportunities. Jindal spelled out different things that were happening in Louisiana, that they have been rated the most pro-life state. He also pointed out their school choice program that Attorney General Eric Holder has sued the state over. Jindal said that Holder’s opposition is “uncivil, immoral and hypocritical.”
“How did we get to the point that the Federal government is trying to trap kids in failing schools?” Jindal asked. Jindal also attacked the President over his view of religious liberty. “This President has the wrong idea about religious liberty. He believes it starts and ends on Sundays,” Jindal said.
“The United States did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created the United States,” Jindal added.
I was not able to hear all of former Senator and 2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum’s speech. I heard some as I was making my way to an interview with Governor Jindal. Santorum hit upon themes he wrote about in his new book Blue Collar Conservatives. He was making the case that Republicans need to address employees, not just employers. This is a message that he has been developing for some time after 2012.
I saw some on Twitter accuse Santorum of falling into class warfare, but I don’t believe that is the case at all. Most of our messaging pointed out is geared towards business owners when that doesn’t encompass most of the voting electorate. It makes sense when you think about it. While yes we want to promote business growth and development we must be able to articulate to those who work for those businesses how our economic message ties into them.
As expected he also touched on how marriage relates to this message. Healthy marriages make healthy families make a healthy society (and economy). Unfortunately that is not what our government is promoting. Santorum pointed out that we have a government that wants to keep people unmarried and out of work. We have to articulate something far different.
Santorum also noted that we do not have to give up our principles because the establishment wants us to. We don’t have to compromise.
Because of my interview with Governor Jindal I totally missed Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds speak.
State Auditor Mary Mosiman spoke after lunch. She also was the chair of the convention (a job you could not pay me enough to do). I didn’t hear much of her speech as I was late coming back from lunch.
Former Secretary of State Paul Pate is running for that office once again since Secretary of State Matt Schultz is not running for reelection due to his Congressional campaign. He pointed out that his opponent, Brad Anderson, was a former Obama operative. He asked the group would Iowa rather have a public servant or a political operative as the Secretary of State. He promised to protect Iowa’s electoral integrity.
Adam Gregg’s nomination was approved by the convention. Gregg was a practicing attorney, and just recently left his position in Governor Branstad’s office as legislative liaison to run for Attorney General against incumbent Tom Miller. In his speech he asked, “Isn’t it time to have an Attorney General who serves as Iowa’s lawyer rather than Obama’s lawyer?”
It was expected that there would be contest for the State Treasurer nomination. John Thompson launched a write-in campaign before the primary. Former U.S. Senate candidate Sam Clovis was asked to run a couple of days ago by his supporters. Instead of just throwing his hat in the ring, Clovis told Caffeinated Thoughts in an interview recorded yesterday he made numerous phone calls including Governor Terry Branstad who pledged financial support. He was nominated at convention by Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. Thompson dropped his name from consideration and encourage people to vote for Clovis. He received a standing ovation and garnered a lot of respect for doing that.
Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey could not be present as he was on a trade mission to Israel. Mosiman spoke on his behalf.
Congressman King hit on Obamacare and Benghazi. He said that he didn’t accept the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare as the final word. He said to the group, “let me talk about the Obama administration. I may start off with leftist and end with feckless.”
Congressman King said that now that Congress has a select committee investigating it that we will get to the bottom of Benghazi. He also brought up Iraq and said that “Iraq will be a caliphate because President Obama was feckless.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the Republican candidate in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, spoke and really focused on Obamacaare. Rod Blum who is running in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District race said that Washington does not have a revenue problem, but rather a spending addiction.
National Committeeman Steve Scheffler and National Commiteewoman Tamara Scott spoke, and Congressman King came back to give a tribute to outgoing Congressman Tom Latham. Even though Latham was not present.
It was anticipated that the platform discussion could also include amendments for the gas tax and one to remove the marriage plan – neither of those amendments were offered. Ten amendments were offered in all, only two passed. Most amendments were voted down because the platform committee attempted this year to streamline the platform.
The convention adjourned around 4:40p. The Iowa 3rd District special nomination convention will be called to order next Saturday, June 21st at 10:00a at Des Moines Christian School to select a nominee in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District race. Iowa GOP Chair Danny Carroll told Caffeinated Thoughts that today was a dry run for that, and he believes all of the credentialing glitches have been worked out.