By James Johnson
Iowa’s Fourth District Republican Convention was held in Iowa Falls on Saturday, and delegates from the state’s 28 central and northeastern counties came out in force to declare that 2010 would mark a great GOP comeback.
“This is our year. We can do it,” said Congressman Tom Latham, who presided over the convention. “We can take back Congress. We can put my friend John Boehner in the Speaker’s chair. And we can send Nancy Pelosi back to San Francisco, where she belongs.”
The crowd of over 400 delegates in the Iowa Falls-Alden High School auditorium roared.
What a difference two years in the wilderness makes. It has brought chastening, clarity, and resolve to the Grand Old Party, not only nationally but on the state level, too.
In 2006, after six years of reckless spending by a Republican majority in Congress, the party faithful attended conventions across the country, arriving disappointed in their national leadership and uneasy about their chances of retaining control of Capitol Hill.
Their apprehensions were correct. Republicans were drowned in a blue tsunami that swept Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid into power in Congress.
Then in 2008, with President George W. Bush suffering a 28 percent job approval rating, Republican activists once again went to their district conventions. And they had that same sick feeling in the pit of their stomach.
And they were right again. This time, Barack Obama entered the White House.
But Democrats would misread the meaning of their ’06 and ’08 electoral victories. Rather than seeing their wins as Americans’ rebuke of the Republican Party, they interpreted it as permission to redesign the Republic. Entirely! And remake it in the image of a European socialist state.
Bad read. And it has backfired.
At the Fourth District Convention on Saturday, speaker after speaker spoke with passion, enthusiasm, and a burning sense of mission. At times their remarks resembled the driving cadences of a Knute Rockne speech to a Notre Dame football team at halftime.
“We’re gonna hit ‘em! We’re gonna pound ‘em! We’re gonna drive ‘em back, back, back… until we’ve got ‘em on the run! And when we get ‘em on the run, we’re gonna keep ‘em on the run… until we’ve got ‘em right where we want ‘em! And we’re not gonna let up until we’ve won! So let’s go get ’em boys!”
And speaking of motivational halftime speeches, Congressman Latham brought radio talk show host Michael Reagan to address the delegates at lunchtime. And did he ever.
Reagan captured the essence of the convention and spoke eloquently for thirty minutes on Republicans’ need to stay focused on the November election, to be deliberate in grassroots and organizational efforts to recapture control of the government, and to remain resolute in our long-term goal of renewing America’s greatness.
For many, if not most, delegates, it was the best Fourth District Convention that the Iowa Republican Party has held in a decade. For the first time in many years, Republicans went home fired up, and ready to “win just one for the Gipper.”
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