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|Changing of the Iowa GOP Guard|
|Commentary/Politics - Editorials|
|Written by Todd McGreevy|
|Thursday, 21 June 2012 05:44|
Twice at the Iowa GOP state convention, efforts were made to restrict any criticism of a Republican from anyone holding an elected state-party position. Twice those efforts failed, thankfully. The insularity that the big-government, war-mongering Republicans want to impose on their fellow Republicans is stifling.
It’s no secret that 23 of 28 non-bound voting delegates from Iowa at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August are Ron Paul loyalists or supporters – including new Iowa party chair A.J. Spiker, who was formerly a Ron Paul paid staffer. The Ron Paulistas, as some refer to them, have taken over the Republican Party of Iowa, and nothing was more evidence of this than the peaceful, professional, and controversy-free manner in which last Saturday’s statewide convention played out.
One must compare the convention with district and state Republican conventions in Nevada, Louisiana, Missouri, and Alaska, where police helicopters and unlawful arrests and broken hips and fingers were the order of the day for many of the electorate that did not follow the establishment single-party-system script of pretending there is a difference between the two parties.
Iowans who understand our state motto have known better since the January 3 precinct caucuses and stuck with the statutory system of being elected by their neighbors to eventually be able to influence Iowa’s party leadership, national delegation, and state-party platform. Critics will point to the Ron Paul takeover of Iowa’s Republican party as a reason that “first in the nation” status will be lost for the caucus process. To the contrary: The peaceful and transparent manner in which the caucus process has played out over multiple party conventions – from county to district to state – is a strong reason why Iowa will remain first in the nation.
Iowa is one of a handful of states that may help liberate the delegates at the Republican National Convention, where, among other things, the presidential nominee for the party will be chosen. It takes five states with a majority of delegates to nominate a presidential candidate to be on the ballot, and Iowa is firmly in the category of such a state. This is extraordinary when one considers the influence that Iowa has on national party politics.
And the most gratifying component of this dynamic is that, as Ron Paul has always stated, his efforts are not about him but about ideas. “There are only good ideas and bad ideas,” he has said. And, if Iowa’s state convention is any indicator, whether Ron Paul is the GOP nominee coming out of Tampa or not, his ideas will be the dominating force for what ensues, both nationally and, more importantly, locally, where we Iowans can effect real change from the bottom up.
Speaking of local: When the convention agenda turned to debating and adopting the party platform, every single elected official from Scott County who was present as a delegate was nowhere to be seen. The running joke is: “Why worry about the platform? Once elected, no one follows it.” Well, Scott County Supervisor Chair Tom Sunderbruch, Supervisors Carol Earnhardt and Bill Cusack, county Treasurer Bill Fennely, and Davenport city-council member Bill Edmonds all proved that to be true with their noticeable absence during platform voting.
Had they stayed, as supervisor candidate Jesse Anderson did, they would have enjoyed spirited, balanced, and informed debates about GMO and bio-tech agriculture, “feral” swine, mandatory education, adoption and parents’ rights, statewide referenda, Agenda 21, the Federal Reserve and county currency, and more. For the Republican county supervisors who previously stated that Agenda 21 does not exist, I would point them to Governor Branstad’s recent proclamation against Agenda 21, which was on display at the convention.
Alas, those of us who are concerned with the future of our county should have good cheer. The changing of the guard could not be more evident at this state convention.
Whose Police State Is It?
Romney’s visit here on Monday, June 18, was a real eye-opener for just how far down the path we have gone to a police state. You know it’s getting surreal when local retired auxiliary sheriff deputies are bullying people, herding them like cattle along predetermined paths that start hundreds of yards away from the actual speech site – all this corralling of Quad Citians for a political speech by a presidential candidate who is not even a nominee yet. Ron Paul signs on the periphery magically disappeared and were replaced by Romney signage.
This is completely un-American. Our local police should not be participating in censoring any voices who oppose Paul, Obama, Romney, or any other candidate in the race, under any circumstances. This is the direct result of a new law, House Resolution 347 – or the Federal Restricted Buildings & Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 (RCReader.com/y/hr347) – that prohibits free speech in the vicinity of any politician under the protection of the Secret Service. This law and the resulting censorship via law-enforcement’s intimidation and threats are violations of the Bill of Rights, and peace officers should be as outraged as civilians.
It was obvious the rigid security had nothing to do with Romney himself (he didn’t attract enough people to fill the chairs at LeClaire Park), but was instead a practice drill for the local police coordinating with the state and federal authorities in a crowd-control operation. A local man who took his shirt off in the heat – and who happened to be an Iraq veteran supporting Ron Paul – claims he was escorted out of the park for uttering “bullshit” to one of Romney’s comments.
The sad thing is that many of the local retired police officers and deputies who participated in Monday’s drill are someone’s grandpa and neighbor, and are probably stand-up guys under other circumstances. But down on the levee at LeClaire Park in Davenport, these fellow Quad Citians better resembled members of the Gestapo or KGB, with the threats of arrest for standing 200 yards away to listen Romney utter, “I believe in America! I believe in freedom!” Never mind the First Amendment protection of free speech and the freedom to assemble. This police bullying occurred at a Romney stump speech, for heaven’s sake. If this is how LeClaire Park is handled, imagine what Tampa in August is going to look like. Note: Ron Paul does not needlessly spend taxpayer dollars with Secret Service details and local law-enforcement overtime, and he draws thousands and thousands to his rallies.
Instead of threatening us, these police and security officers should have been protecting our constitutional authority to speak and assemble. And for those of you who have read this far and are crying out, “I am willing to give up my freedoms to have the privilege of bowing and scraping before one of the players in this charade of an election,” ask yourself: Whose police state you are willing to live in? It’s a Goldman Sachs police state, folks. They were Obama’s number-one contributor, and they are now Romney’s number-one contributor.
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