Like many folks, I had a wonderful day in Des Moines on Saturday attending the Conservative Principles Conference sponsored by Steve King, Iowa’s 5th District Representative. Lots of great speeches and lots of energy filled a packed house at the Downtown Marriot. Though one might have gotten the impression that those at the podium were preaching to the converted, there were some really great highlights. I want to mention what I thought was the most interesting and intriguing presentation of the day. Our own Craig Robinson was joined on the stage by WHO’s Jan Mickelson and Los Angeles talk show host Tony Katz. Their conversation was really special.
Tony kept pushing the audience and his fellow panelists to articulate why Iowa should be the “first in the nation” when it comes to the presidential election process. When the audience began taking up the challenge, I heard what I thought was the best explanation of why we are first. A man spoke about a friend who was considering moving to Iowa from Michigan (Detroit). The essence of the exchange was that a person coming to Iowa could see a long ways in all directions. Iowa is central to many other places and perhaps this is what gives us the perspective we have about politics.
Politics are important to us and we want to see into the future, so we take our place in the country seriously. In other words, we are exceptional, particularly when we are compared to states on the coasts. Iowans probably already knew this, but it was nice to have it said in such a rich setting. The message of Iowa exceptionality fit right in with the main theme of the day—this country is exceptional and it’s about time we embraced this notion again. Most of the speakers on Saturday made it clear that conservatives believe in the exceptionality of this nation and the current administration does not. We know this, but it was nice to hear it repeated by people who want to be President.
Remembering that any of the Republicans who might want to run for President are imminently more qualified than the person occupying the White House right now ought to give us a lot of encouragement about 2012 and the future of the country. Further, grassroots activists are likely to keep the heat on for at least the next two election cycles so the Republican establishment needs to figure out how to get along in that big tent. Finally, keeping all aspects of conservatism advancing together is going to be far more effective than allowing the media to paint conservatives as Bible-beating, gun toting reactionaries. Anyone in attendance yesterday, or watching on CSPAN, could see that conservatives, at least here in Iowa, get it and are doing all they can to make sure we get back to the founding principles that have made this country the light on the hill and a truly exceptional place. I am proud to be from exceptional Iowa.
On a personal note, this will be my last weekly posting for a while. I have mounting business and academic commitments and need to devote more time to those endeavors. My deepest thanks to Craig Robinson and The Iowa Republican staff for allowing me to be a regular contributor. I will be writing on special assignment for Craig and will remain a regular contributor to The Iowa Republican magazine, and I will occasionally post here when Craig asks. Thanks to all of you for your comments and kind words over the past six months.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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