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September 29th, 2013

Kevin’s Korner: Big Liberty’s New Strategy

Greetings and welcome to Kevin’s Korner. One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.

24.8: “We reaffirm that the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Iowa and its officers should remain neutral in all contested primaries.”

Why did I start this week’s column by citing plank 24.8 of the Republican Party of Iowa’s platform? Because the new strategery of Big Liberty, as I foretold two weeks ago, is to whitewash their failures in leadership of RPI by claiming their critics are attacking them simply because they stand up for the party platform. This is an absolutely false narrative, and frankly, a colossal load of crap

First of all, when you claim you’re standing up for the party platform, while repeatedly violating the one platform plank that specifically applies to you, that makes you a hypocrite … Chairman A.J. Spiker, Co-Chair David Fischer and Finance Chair Drew Ivers ran the Iowa efforts of the Ron Paul presidential campaign while they were serving on the State Central Committee. That is a clear and blatant violation of plank 24.8 of the same platform they’re claiming to stand up for …

Secondly, this is not about standing up for the platform, as Chairman Spiker and his apparatchiks claim … It’s a good thing party leaders want to stand for conservative principles. But their duties in leading the state party go far beyond that. They are supposed to work to elect legislators who advocate for those conservative principles. And in that regard, RPI failed miserably, along with the rest of the party, in 2012.

The main problems with the current leadership of RPI are their failure to communicate, poor decision-making, stubbornness, arrogance and their blatant attempts to seize and consolidate power for Big Liberty … For starters …

Also, not one resolution calling for Chairman Spiker’s removal cited his public stances on the platform as the reason he should be removed. In fact, longtime SCC member David Chung, who publicly called for Spiker to step down, has also commended Spiker for standing up for the platform … Ditto for Jamie Johnson


Richard Rogers, a longtime conservative activist (carrying the flag in the pic), who wrote and introduced the Polk County resolution calling for Spiker and Co-Chair David Fischer to step down, was the county platform committee chairman in 2012. He served on the district platform committee in 2010 … That means Rogers has spent countless hours volunteering to work on the party platform that Big Liberty would have you believe he doesn’t care about …

On a side note, Richard Rogers has done more to promote the Second Amendment, conservative principles and help conservatives get elected that almost anyone in this state and anyone who questions his principles is ignorant and owes him an apology …

This strategy is a blatant attempt to gloss over RPI leadership’s shabby record, and also an effort to hold onto power by trying to merge Big Liberty with the Vander Plaats/Huckabee/Santorum wing of the party. Apparently, they believe the so-cons are stupid and will fall for this ruse. Unfortunately for Big Liberty, that ain’t happening

Chairman Spiker spent 11 paragraphs, 1,181 words in his Friday email playing the victim with his “they’re attacking me because I stand up for the platform” defense … Here was the response to Chairman Spiker’s email from Lori Jungling, a self-professed “platform purist”, hardcore BVP supporter in 2010 and the Iowa leader of Huck PAC.

Screen shot 2013-09-29 at 12.29.59 AM

SCC member Joel Kurtinitis, who is supposed to represent Third District Republicans, and is a Big Liberty apparatchik, is also employing their strategy. He apparently believes that if you think the current leadership of RPI has done a crappy job, then you don’t care about conservative principles, or don’t have any, and also oppose the party platform … Yep. Don’t believe me? He put it in writing:

Kurtinitis attack

And yes, that is in context. The rest of his post encourages people to get involved in the party and the PAC he works for, which also endorses candidates. Again, that pesky plank 24.8

Now, there might be a few Republicans out there who don’t want the state party doing things like publicly supporting the ouster of Supreme Court justices, but that is not the main issue Spiker’s most vocal critics have with his leadership. Any implication to the contrary is patently false …

That fact didn’t stop Kurtinitis from painting all critics of RPI with the same broad brush …  Spiker pointed the finger at GOP county chairs and co-chairs. The same ones who formed the District Executive Committees that he thought could not be formed without his approval

As for the “Iowa Press” appearance by Spiker, National Committeeman Steve Scheffler and former Romney advisor David Kochel, there were no winners. Other than the Iowa Democratic Party Spiker, as usual, was smug and disdainful of any Republican who disagrees with him. Kochel’s vocal support of gay marriage gave the apparatchiks ammunition. And Scheffler looked like he’d rather be anywhere else …

I did find it interesting that Steve Scheffler was nodding his head affirmatively when David Kochel said Spiker’s first instinct “was to cut the legs out from under our senate candidates.” Watch for yourself, starting around the :50 mark:

I’m also trying to understand Scheffler’s logic. He says we should keep these inner-party squabbles private, but then goes on statewide television to discuss them …

BTW, there were around 175 Republicans at the grand opening of the 2014 Iowa Victory office in Urbandale on Saturday. Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds, Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and State Auditor Mary Mosiman were there. This office will serve as their campaign HQ, as well as for Congressman Latham and Secretary of State Matt Schultz

Many attendees travelled a great distance to be there, but neither the state chair, co-chair nor anyone on the RPI staff bothered to attend, even though Victory operations are usually run through the state party  … Hmmm …

So, just keep this in mind, as Big Liberty desperately clings to the power they seized in Iowa in 2012. They see it slipping away, and will try to divide and get social conservatives on their side by saying they’re standing up for the platform, while their critics oppose it. That’s their strategy for the 2014 caucuses and conventions.

Meanwhile, late Saturday night, House Republicans, including our own Steve King and Tom Latham, voted to fully fund the federal government, preventing a government shutdown. The House plan repeals the medical device tax and delays Obamacare for one year.

“Today, I voted for the second time in two weeks to fully fund the federal government,” Congressman King said. “This vote in no way causes a government shutdown; in fact, if this continuing resolution were enacted, a government shutdown would be out of the question. Now, the House has acted twice to insist that the President recognize the flaws in Obamacare, and act to prevent the havoc it will wreak on our economy. President Obama and Senate Democrats now have a choice: act responsibly to prevent a government shutdown and delay the implementation of Obamacare for one year, or shut the government down in an effort to save their disastrous healthcare law.”

Senate Dems,your move.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for dropping by. A doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy. Let a man be one thing or the other, and we then know how to meet him.

Photo by Brad Boustead

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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