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February 17th, 2013
 

Kevin’s Korner: Ft. Dodge Fallout, A Blueprint for RPI’s Future and Our Grappling Governor

Greetings and welcome to Kevin’s Korner. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Everywhere I’ve gone the last few days, people are talking about what happened in Ft. Dodge Tuesday night. The Fourth District Executive Committee’s rebuke of the leadership of the Republican Party of Iowa should have served as a very loud wake up call for RPI. Whether it will or not remains to be seen …

As you can see in the video, conservative grassroots activists across the state are fed up, for a variety of reasons. They’re angry about the way the “liberty” crowd took over the state party and Iowa’s national delegate slate … They’re angry about a push to make the Republican Party a more libertarian party … They’re angry that there is not more representation of their views on the State Central Committee

They’re angry that they’ve been fighting in the trenches to get conservatives elected for years, only to have a bunch of little snots shove them aside, call them RINOs and thumb their noses at them … You can’t keep pushing people around and not expect them push back … Activists are also angry about the perceived arrogance of the current RPI leadership, which was on full display in Ft. Dodge by RPI Executive Director Steve Bierfeldt

Bierfeldt was absolutely sure he was right and everyone else in the room was absolutely wrong … Funny, for a crew of supposed “constitutionalists”, Bierfeldt, RPI Chair A.J. Spiker and SCC member Chad Steenhoek seemed woefully unfamiliar with their own party’s constitution … Had Bierfeldt, in particular, taken the time to look at the constitution of the party he is supposedly running, realized the committee was right and he was wrong, the meeting would have been much less contentious …

Instead of listening to what the committee members had to say, Bierfeldt decided he was in charge of the meeting, in contradiction to RPI’s own rules. Instead of working with the committee, he tried to take over the podium that he had no business standing at and told the District Executive Committee he did not recognize their authority to run their own meeting …

It is very telling that not one single member of the District Executive Committee voiced disagreement about Craig Williams being elected chairman or the manner in which it was done … Neither did “liberty” candidiate Shawn Dietz. In fact, Dietz voiced his approval of what the committee did …

Was there a less contentious way for the Fourth District Executive Committee to handle things? Sure there was. But they wanted to send a statement. Mission accomplished … Whether or not Chairman Spiker, et al., received and processed that statement remains to be seen …

Either the leadership of RPI removes their collective heads from the sphincters and offers an olive branch to Republicans of all stripes across the state or the party will flounder. With huge elections looming in 2014, we need the party to come together … It won’t unless things change. Dramatically …

The ball is in RPI leadership’s court. They can point fingers and blame others, including me, all they want. The fact is, Spiker & the “liberty” folks wanted all the power. They got it. And they don’t know what to do with it … It is not up to activists that should make amends with RPI. It’s RPI that should make amends with activists. After all, you need us. We do not need you …

Until they figure out how to work with, instead of against, the 600,000+ Republicans in Iowa who did not vote for Ron Paul, we’re going to see results like this:

The above picture is from a link that RPI Co-Chair David Fischer sent in an email and social media blast on January 23. He set an “immediate” goal of raising $400 to help the Iowa GOP “defend life” … That should have been easy to accomplish within a few hours. Instead, 24 days later, that total still sits at $365. That is truly pathetic …

It gets worse … This past week, RPI Chairman A.J. Spiker sent an email and social media blast, asking Republicans to donate money to help elect “a conservative Senator” to replace Tom Harkin. Spiker claimed RPI was “leading the charge” …  That’s not a charge. It’s a reenactment of the Bataan Death March … As of early Sunday morning, they’ve raised a whopping $10 from a total of two donors. And one of those was Steve Bierfeldt

So, what can RPI leadership do? There are five immediate steps they could take which would reflect positively on them … For one, stop making all your hires and appointments based solely on the criteria of whether or not that person supported Ron Paul. Here’s a newsflash: Ron Paul didn’t win a single state, or the Ames Straw Poll. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann all did. There are countless political strategists out there, in Iowa, with better track records of success than anyone from the Ron Paul campaign …

BTW, you want me to stop talking about Ron Paul? Fine. The second RPI leadership stops making almost every decision based on whether or not someone supported Ron Paul, I will stop talking about him.

Number Two:  When someone like WHO Radio’s Simon Conway asks to speak to you, don’t try to be a bigshot and tell him he needs to submit his request in writing. And don’t ignore that request when he complies. Pick up the damn phone and talk to him. Otherwise, you’re just making things worse for yourself. Agitating the conservative media is a really dumb idea …

Sticking with the subject of the media, charging one outlet to cover your events, while not charging others reeks of total douchebaggery … If you’re going to charge one outlet to cover your events, charge them all. Or better yet, do the intelligent thing and be accommodating to the media, even if you don’t like some of the things that outlet reports about you …

Number Three: Communication. Talking to people is always the best option, even with those who disagree with you. Ignoring makes the divide larger … Trust me, I’ve had several of those conversations in the past two weeks … Yes, I know you’re shocked that people disagree with me …

Previous RPI Chairman Matt Strawn wasn’t perfect (no one is), but Strawn knew the importance of getting to know activists around the state. He attended county central committee meetings and fundraisers. He picked up the phone when WHO Radio and other media outlets called … And he took the time to learn the names of activists and campaign staffers from every quarter. There’s a reason Matt Strawn remains popular across the state, even after the caucus mishap …

Number Four: Quit trying to stack the deck on county central committees with your fellow “liberty” friends every time there’s a vote. Your power grab tactics are ham-handed and obvious … If you really want to be on the central committee, try joining mid-year, when the committees are doing the grunt work by walking in parades, making phone calls and putting up signs … GOP county central committees are there to get local Republicans elected, not for you to grab more power over the party …

Number Five: A mea culpa. Steve Bierfeldt should call members of the Fourth District Executive Committee and admit he was wrong … Otherwise, county GOP leaders in the state’s most conservative district are going to remember Bierfeldt for obstinance and arrogance, they will assume that is the prevailing attitude at RPI HQ and they will be less inclined to work with RPI in the future …

There’s more that needs to be done, but those are five steps that the RPI leadership can and should take if they want to be successful … If they don’t change course, the seeds of discontent and bitterness will grow, the funds will dry up and Republican candidates will look elsewhere for help … This mess was created by the current leadership of the RPI. It’s their job to clean it up.

Moving on, The Conservative Reader’s Art Smith and I have begun hosting an hour-long webcast on Thursdays, called “The Iowa Legislative Hour” … Yep. We got really creative with the title … The first program featured a roundtable discussion with Iowa State Senators Brad Zaun, Jack Whitver and Mark Chelgren … Zaun will be a regular on the show …

The program provided some interesting insight into the current legislative session. All three senators predicted there would be no gas tax increase coming out of the legislature this year … BTW, poll numbers from the Des Moines Register: 71% of Iowans favor Voter ID, 63% oppose an increase in the gas tax … But the Dems will continue to block Voter ID. Guaranteed … Also during the program, Brad Zaun  admitted that he is giving serious consideration to running for the U.S. Senate

So, Tom Poohsack won’t run for the senate and the liberals have successfully cleared the Dem field for their golden boy Bruce Braley. How pathetic. They must be truly scared Braley’s liberal leanings would be exposed in a primary … If the Dems think an untested Braley, who almost lost to a then unknown Ben Lange in 2010, is their assured ticket to the promised land, they are sorely mistaken …

I still think a Vilsack will appear on the ballot in 2014. Most likely, Carpetbagger Christie will wait to see if Steve King or Tom Latham announces a run for the U.S. Senate. The second one of them does, Vilsack will rent an apartment in that district and run for the empty congressional seat … There’s no way Mrs. Vilsack could defeat either sitting congressman in a head-to-head matchup. Not after that joke of a campaign she ran last year …

I like that Governor Branstad is using his campaign committee to try to mobilize a grassroots effort to change the International Olympic Committee’s mind-numbingly, dumb decision to drop wrestling. That had to be one the most moronic decisions the IOC has ever made. And that’s quite an accomplishment from this group of historically corrupt bureaucrats

Iowa is a wrestling state. Every Iowa kid who has ever hit the mats has dreamed of someday winning an Olympic gold medal … Dropping wrestling from the Olympics would have a devastating effect on the sport, which has already suffered greatly from being dropped by countless major colleges and universities …  My clandestine, ubiquitous sources tell me, if Branstad’s grassroots effort fails, Plan B involves Dan Gable placing all the members of the IOC in a crossface chicken wing

If that fails, Plan C involves something to do with locking the entire IOC board inside the Hell in the Cell with 1996 gold medalist Kurt Angle, The Undertaker, Abdullah the Butcher, a fork, thumbtacks and a barbed-wire baseball bat.

Rand Paul must have done something right last week, because the Paulistinians were ripping him … What did Rand do? Did he prove all his anti-intervention talk was a load of crap by asking the United Nations to intervene in a dispute with owners of a website? No. That would make him a total hypocrite … Did Rand denigrate the service of a just-murdered American soldier? No. That would make him a total scumbag … Rand got attacked by the Bots because he voted against for Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense …  I congratulate him for his wisdom and foresight.

Finally, with all the reports of asteroids hitting in Russia, I’m glad to hear Han Solo is rumored to be coming back. Although the odds are 3,720-1, if anyone can successfully navigate an asteroid field, it’s him.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for dropping by. Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.

Photos by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com


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 TheIowaRepublican.com.




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