Coronation or Convention? If you think I’m referring to the victories of the social conservatives at the state convention you are mistaken. I’m referring to the fact that King was everywhere doing everything.
We all know that Congressman King would never miss a convention. While some people think it’s something to show your face at and escape, King was camped out there morning, noon, and night which is nothing new for our favorite congressman.
King hosted a pancake breakfast before the convention started on Saturday morning at Hy-Vee Hall, addressed the crowed early in the morning, introduced 2nd CD candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks, spoke at the lunch, and was involved with every aspect of the convention, even the junior delegates.
The reason King is loved by the activists is because he shows them that he cares. He talks to them, he motivates them, and he hangs out with them. What the media and the Democrats don’t understand about King is that he has earned his rock star status by his work ethic, not just his conservative convictions. If King ever decides to run for statewide office, he will be a force to be reckoned with.
King’s presence probably was highlighted by Senator Grassley being stuck in an airport and Congressman Latham not being able to change his plans when the convention was rescheduled.
Convention Chaos: Sometimes it’s the littlest of things that can cause the hiccups. Apparently there were no chairs put out for Audubon and Winnebago counties, and some counties didn’t have enough chairs to seat their delegation. I really don’t understand how these things happen. What resulted were some confusing votes on the convention rules. Not a good way to start off the morning.
Committeeman and Committeewoman Election: To some of us, this was going to be the most interesting part of the day. It became clear after the Deace radio program that Scheffler and Lehman were the frontrunners. The two of them combined to make a tremendous team that would be hard to beat in a convention that was dominated by social conservatives, and both easily won. Both Scheffler and Lehman also gave better speeches than there opponents, which is important in convention races.
Roberts didn’t do himself any favors by going on Deace’s program on Friday night. While delegates were driving in from around the state, you have to think that some of them would be listening to Deace’s program. Roberts came off as old, tired, and incoherent. Roberts’ speech at the convention was very similar. To me, it was sad to see it end for Roberts in such a manner. Roberts has been an entrenched part of the Republican Party for decades. Near the end of his time allotment Roberts began to round into form. He was gracious, and thankful for the opportunity to serve his party. While I might not always agree with Roberts, he is the epitome of a statesman. Both Lehman and Scheffler would be well served to learn from Roberts’ example.
As you all know Sandy Greiner was my pick for Committeewoman. Her race was no doubt an uphill battler when running against a ticket of social conservative activist that work for the Iowa Christian Alliance and Iowa Right to life. If you know Sandy, you know that she will continue to work her tail off for our Republican candidates.
Did you know Huckabee rhymes with Nominee? Mike Huckabee attended the convention on behalf of the McCain campaign. Like always, he delivered, and the convention delegates responded. Huckabee encouraged the convention delegates to unite behind John McCain because the alternative is Barack Obama and the liberal judges he would appoint.
There is no doubt, Mike Huckabee will run for president again, and in Iowa, he will come in as the frontrunner to win the Iowa caucuses. There is no doubt that the Republican Party in Iowa and nationally is adrift. But, for the few minutes that Huckabee spoke, you could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Huckabee has a way of breaking down the traditional partisan barriers by being able to communicate with Joe and Betty Mainstreet. He is also able promote his conservative convictions in a way that doesn’t scare or turn off people who might not be motivated by the social issues. Iowa Republicans need to take a page from Huckabee and learn how to campaign on traditional values in today’s highly partisan political environment in a kinder, gentler way.
The problem with McCain surrogates is that they often times remind us that we are not really excited about our nominee. It’s not typical to be more excited about seeing a surrogate than the nominee, but that was the feeling in Hall B on Saturday morning.
Vaudt and Northey: Iowa Republicans are blessed to have 2 great statewide officials in Nothey and Vaudt. Both are extremely competent in their positions and great communicators on the issues they deal with day in and day out. Vaudt is the only elected official in Iowa (both Democrat and Republican) with a sense of style. These two have become Republican Rock Stars.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks: It was interesting that Miller-Meeks spoke in the morning before lunch, while the other non-incumbents spoke after lunch. Miller-Meeks continued to show the differences between her and the other candidates at the convention. The most noticeable part of the Miller-Meeks campaign was their ambulance parked in the corner of the convention hall as their base of operation.
When speaking to the convention delegates Miller-Meeks was the only candidate not to use the podium, and instead opted for the wireless mic that allowed her to move to the front of the stage, which showcased her speaking abilities. The Miller-Meeks team also was the only campaign that made it seem like a convention. They had the 2nd district delegates armed with placards when she spoke, which was a nice touch. Miller-Meeks was introduced by Congressman King which sent a good message to social conservatives who made up the majority of the convention delegates.
It’s easy to see why people think Miller-Meeks has a chance in this political environment; she’s different from any other candidate Republicans have ever put up against a sitting congressman.
Chris Reed: Some say people just are not excited about Chris Reed, but that wasn’t the case at the convention. Reed was the only statewide candidate to speak to the convention delegates on Saturday and you could feel the difference in the room when Reed took the stage and talked about providing some real change in Washington DC by sending 34 year incumbent Tom Harkin back home. Don’t worry folks; he’s not coming back to Iowa. Heck this race is like a 2 for 1. Defeat Harkin, and I’m sure his wife gives up her seat on the Board of Regents since it will be too costly to travel to the meetings from the Bahamas, unless Conoco Phillips will let her use the corporate jet.
David Hartsuch: Out of all of our challenger candidates, Hartsuch is the one who needs to make up the most ground. He didn’t have any signage and told the audience that he made his formal announcement that he was running on Friday. It was also clear that Hartsuch is basing his campaign around energy costs and energy independence rather than the social issues that have made him a champion of the social conservatives. While he is a long shot, with escalating gas prices and the Democrats reluctance to do any thing about it who knows, it could be a hostile environment for incumbents this fall, and Hartsuch could pull an upset.
Kim Schmett: For me Schmett was the surprise of the convention. When he started his speech I wasn’t too impressed. He asked for a moment of silence for Boswell as he is dealing with some serious health issues, but then unveiled a video “debate” between him and Boswell which was absolutely hilarious. If they send it to me I’ll post it right away. Krusty Kudos to the Schmett team for thinking outside the box on their campaign.
ICA Domination: The Iowa Christian Alliance once again was the only organization to work the convention in terms of getting their people elected as delegates, electors, and to the nominating committee. For all those people who complain about it, you have one option: out- work them. The biggest win they had was the election of Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman to serve as National Committeeman and Committeewoman. If you wanted to give the ICA a score, it would have to be 96 out of 100. They only had a couple of people beat their slate to serve on the nominating committee, and the At-Large slate was approved except for Gopal Krishna who was removed for John Ortega. Ortega nominated Roberts.
Why ICA should be Worried: While victorious, there is some serious rumblings from some delegates that they didn’t like how ICA operated throughout the convention process. As I said above, the only way to beat them is to out-work them, but they made some enemies this time around. Also Scheffler and Lehman now have to prove that the delegates were correct in electing them. It’s going to be a tough row to hoe for them in my opinion. They are now “the party” and not ICA and IRL officials; this role is something they will need to adapt to quickly.
What’s next? Special Election to fill Scheffler’s Seat on the SCC: The drama never ends. Roberts serves through the National Convention so maybe the special election will not be for a while, I don’t know. However with the addition of Kim Lehman to the State Central Committee is seems as if ICA controls at least 10 of the 17 votes on the committee if not more. So will they try to add to their majority or will the so called “country clubbers” strike back?