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March 30th, 2012

Parting Shots – Malcolm Price Lab School and Much, Much More

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Written by: Craig Robinson

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.

Endorsement Games

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.

About the Author

Craig Robinson

Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country.

Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.

A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states.

Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site,

Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing.

Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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