Didn’t Republicans Used to Support Local School Decisions?
Another Republican principle that seems to have been pushed to the wayside is the local control of schools. For years, Republicans have wanted to do away with the Federal Department of Education. This year in the Iowa State Senate, Senator Brad Zaun even proposed a bill that would do away with the Iowa Department of Education. Why? Because Republicans fundamentally believe that local leaders and parents know what’s best for their children.
Knowing the history of the Republican Party, I was stunned when some Republicans where up in arms over the University of Northern Iowa’s decision to close the Malcolm Price Lab School. UNI President Ben Allen made a strong case for closing the school, which the Iowa Board of Regents voted to do on Allen’s recommendation.
Allen’s strongest argument for closing the school is hard to argue with. “We’re subsidizing the education of K-12 students, and we should be focused on educating our own university students. And we also had a huge cost for rebuilding that old building.” It’s also odd that some Republicans in the Iowa House are fighting to keep the school open, while also wanting to cut the budget that funds the school. Make up your minds.
The Revolution Continues
The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition is bringing in Kentucky Senator Rand Paul for its annual spring kick-off. Senator Paul should be a good draw for the group, but it also maybe good for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign.
It’s no secret that the Ron Paul presidential convention effort (I don’t it’s fair to call it a campaign anymore) is trying to get the majority of national delegates in five states. By obtaining five pluralities, Paul can be nominated from the floor at the Republican National Convention. The Paul effort is focusing on Iowa and a handful of other caucus states. Don’t be surprised if Senator Paul huddles up with delegates to the state convention when he is in town.
Cuccinelli is a Good Get for Iowa GOP Lincoln Dinner
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has agreed to be the keynote speaker for the Iowa Republican Party’s Annual Lincoln Dinner in May. Cuccinelli, who is running for governor in Virginia, is an excellent pick for two reasons. First, he was the first to challenge the constitutionality of President Obama’s healthcare law. Second, he is a rising national figure in the GOP. Iowa Republicans are always interested in getting to see the next crop of potential presidential candidates. Potential is a key word, as Cuccinelli first needs to get elected governor before he gets put on the short list of future presidential candidates.
Mitt Romney continues to pick up endorsements from major figures in the Republican Party. One endorser is former President George H.W. Bush, who had actually endorsed Romney earlier in the year. His wife Barbara Bush had recorded automated phone messages in support of Romney before Super Tuesday. The other endorsement came from Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
Senator Rubio’s endorsement is significant, but it lacks the oomph it would have had before his state voted back in January. Rubio’s endorsement is not really about Romney’s strength as a candidate. Instead, it’s about the desire to end the Republican primary.
There are a number of conservative leaders who have remained on the sidelines. The media makes a big deal when someone like Rubio endorses, but he and other like South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint and Iowa Congressman Steve King have failed to show leadership throughout the Republican nomination process.
People look to these conservative leaders for guidance, and yet they offered none. Making an endorsement in an effort to end what has been a long and spirited primary is not the leadership that conservatives were looking for.
Polk County GOP
People always say that defeating President Obama is the one thing that will unite Republicans no matter who the nominee is. There is some truth to that, but after witnessing a Polk County GOP meeting this week, it doesn’t really seem like beating Obama is very high on their list.
When asked what I thought about the hullabaloo that is the Polk County GOP, I put it this way. Republicans need to adapt a team concept like in sports. In football, you need people to block, tackle, run the ball, throw the ball, catch the ball, kick the ball, and play defense. If all the parts of the team do their job, they should find success.
The problem with the Polk County GOP is that the team concept is more like what we see on Celebrity Apprentice instead of the football field. In Celebrity Apprentice, the players belong to a team and can work well together at times, but the players are ultimately looking out for only themselves. That means they keep track of every little screw up and maybe don’t try to stop bad things from happening because they wouldn’t mind using someone’s mistake against their competition later in the boardroom.
In this instance, the boardroom is the county central committee. Some wanted to see Kevin McLaughlin get fired on Tuesday night, but those efforts came up short. If both sides would put as much effort in trying to win in November as they put forth trying to take people out or retain their positions, we would probably get to celebrate some big victories in November.
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