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April 17th, 2013

My two cents on RPI’s Freedom on Tour event

I traveled to Dubuque on Saturday to take in the Republican Party of Iowa’s “Freedom on Tour” event featuring Tom Woods, a New York Times-bestselling author.  Woods, who has previously spoken at an RPI event, also headed up a Super PAC for Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign.

The venue for the event, Blades Chapel at the University of Dubuque, worked well.  The audience of 150 or so was impressive for a sunny Saturday afternoon in April.  Following the event, the Republican Party of Iowa held a fundraiser at a local winery in town.  I didn’t attend the fundraiser, but RPI should be pleased with the turnout of their event with Woods.

In addition to Woods, Roger Kistler from Jones County spoke about the use of multiple currencies in the nation’s past.  Patrick Barron, an economics professor at the University of Iowa, spoke about the Euro Debt crisis.  Both were fascinating subjects, and both topics worked nicely with Woods’ material.

Woods spoke about the Federal Reserve, monetary policy, and states’ rights.  Woods spoke with authority on these issues, and his delivery was also entertaining.  He also spoke about foreign policy, but while his views were interesting and worthy of consideration, this was the one part of the event where I didn’t find myself nodding my head in agreement.

The notion that America has no reason to worry about Iran because they their nuclear facilities are under “constant inspection” was troubling to say the least.  Woods also suggested that the United States was attacked on 9-11 because we were propping up Middle East governments.  Woods didn’t elaborate, but I assume this also refers negatively to America’s support of Israel, which again is troubling.

What Woods’ discussion on foreign policy lacked was a realization that there are a handful of crazy men in the world who are on a quest to obtain and use nuclear weapons.  The world is a dangerous place, a fact of which we were sadly reminded again on Monday in Boston.

Letting individuals like Kim Jong Un or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad use the threat of nuclear weapons to terrorize the rest of the world is not in our best interest.  It’s also not in the best interest of other counties either.  I’d also argue that nukes in the hands of a deranged individual may be the biggest threat to freedom and liberty lovers around the world.

Overall, I thought the event was good, but I don’t quite understand the purpose.  If the goal of the Republican Party of Iowa is to spread a specific type ideology, the event was a success.  If the mission of the party is to win elections, I didn’t see how the subject matter tied into helping our local and statewide candidates win in November.

Don’t Underestimate Rod Blum

Both Republican candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the First Congressional District were invited to speak at the Republican Party of Iowa’s Freedom on Tour event with Tom Woods in Dubuque.  Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje had a conflict, which meant that Rod Blum had the room to himself on Saturday.

Blum, a Dubuque businessman who also sought the Republican nomination in 2012, delivered a good speech.  Blum came up short against Ben Lange in the 2012 primary, but he put up a good fight on a limited budget.  The margin between Blum and Lange was only 1,666 votes, but more impressive was the fact that Blum won both Linn and Dubuque counties.

Blum does an excellent job on the stump and has a big advantage over Rathje because Blum has run in the new district before.  There is a lot of noise about other candidates joining the race, but they better not wait too long to get in.  I think Blum is a lot tougher candidate than people may think.




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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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