Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Weekly Stampede - August 28, 2008

GOPFest 2008 tickets on sale now!

On September 20th, the Polk County Republicans will host GOPFest 2008, a festival and informal fundraiser. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will be this year’s guest speaker. Come and enjoy a great night of fun and entertainment!
To purchase your tickets please contact the Polk County Republicans at 280-6438 or Please include your Name, Address, Phone Number, and the number of tickets you would like. Tickets are $25 for Adults and $15 for Students.
Poll watchers needed for Election Day

Poll watchers are needed the 2008 General Election. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Danny McNamara at or (515) 864-6127 for more information.
Poll watching is a great way to contribute to the GOP while also being involved in the election process.
Biden choice highlights Obama’s weakness

DES MOINES, IA – Today, Iowa Republican leaders questioned Barack Obama’s motives for choosing Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential nominee.

Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Stewart Iverson and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey took part in a conference call with reporters this afternoon.

IA Sec. of Ag Bill Northey: “As foreign policy becomes more important, it’s obvious that Obama is trying to play catch up to the John McCain campaign. This doesn’t change Senator Obama’s experience, but emphasizes the huge problem that he has: a lack of experience.”

RPI Chair Stewart Iverson: “Barack Obama is trying to compensate for an area of weakness by selecting Joe Biden as his running mate. Energy and the economy are the top two issues, and Biden and Obama are on the wrong side of these issues. Both of them oppose offshore drilling and nuclear power. John McCain wants energy independence and wants to drill here and drill now.”

At a press conference from the steps of the Iowa Capitol, David Roederer, Iowa chairman for John McCain 2008, was joined by former Iowa Senate President and former U.S. Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean Mary Kramer and State Auditor David Vaudt to voice their concerns with an Obama-Biden ticket.

State Auditor David Vaudt: “I find the Biden selection interesting. If you step back and take a look at one of Obama’s biggest critics, it’s Joe Biden. Barack Obama’s experience, his credentials, have all come under question. I think he is reaching out to someone to balance that. As the state auditor, I always have to look at the fiscal side of things and Barack Obama and Joe Biden have supported some of the biggest tax increases in American history.”
Paid for by the Republican Party of Iowa

News From Iowa House GOP Leader Chris Rants

What's REALLY Going On With Your Tax Dollars?

For months we’ve been hearing from the governor and Democrats that a special session is urgent—we MUST come to Des Moines and address the needs of the storm victims and we must do it FAST, before the winter weather takes holds.

Now we’re hearing the complete opposite…maybe we don’t need a special session at all!

Since the flooding, the Executive Council has been meeting—allocating money at will for these emergencies.

The Iowa Code gives the Executive Council broad authority to act when the Legislature is not in session. The Executive Council consists of Governor Culver, Secretary of State Mauro, State Auditor David Vaudt, State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

Under the Iowa Code, the Executive Council has the ability to tap a "standing unlimited appropriation" from funds otherwise not appropriated to pay for emergency expenditures. Funds not otherwise appropriated means money available in the general fund ending balance. Approval of the expenditure of funds requires a simple majority vote of the Council.

While it is a good public policy to have the Executive Council approve emergency spending and therefore limit the need for a special session, it is also necessary for the taxpayers to know how much is being spent, what it is being spent on and if the money is coming from the ending balance, how much unobligated money is left.

Particularly distressing is news that as on Monday, the Executive Council approved $99.8 million in expenditures for flood relief. We have asked for a breakdown of the expenditures but at this point, our requests have not been answered.

However, we have been made aware that $3 million has been spent on consultants, Witt and Associates and State Public Policy Group (SPPG). Witt and Associates were hired to "cut through the red tape of the federal bureaucracy" and SPPG was hired to facilitate Rebuild Iowa Advisory Commission meetings.

These expenditures bring up several important questions:

1) What is this money being spent on when we don't even know how much the federal government is going to come up with? Allegedly Speaker Pelosi has promised our congressional delegation another supplemental disaster funding bill before the end of September.

2) What is the current ending balance of the general fund - both for FY 08 and FY 09?

3) What programs are going to have to be cut to allow for these expenditures?

4) What if revenue does not meet the REC estimate? Will across-the-board cuts follow?

5) Why does the state need to hire a consultant to "cut through the red tape"? Isn't that the job of our Senators and congressional delegation?

6) And most importantly, how would $3 million have helped flood victims if they had received the money instead of it going to high-priced consultants?

House Republicans are calling on the governor to release ALL of the figures regarding approved expenditures by the Executive Council. Iowans deserve to know how the 2008 disasters are going to be paid for before taxes are raised. We don’t want it to be a surprised come tax season.

A Bi-Partisan Ticket

From Michael Zak, speaker on the history of the Republican Party:

Most history books written by Democrat professors downplay the fact that the Worst President Ever was a Democrat. Did the Democrats nominate him? No, he was the 1864 Republican nominee for vice president.

Andrew Johnson - Andrew Jackson Johnson, to be precise - was the only southern Senator not to go with the Confederacy. For being strong on national security, this hardline Democrat was nominated by the Republicans to be Abraham Lincoln's 1864 running mate. He was drunk at his swearing in as vice president, and it was downhill from there. A month later, the murder of the Great Emancipator made Andrew Johnson president.

Andrew Johnson shared none of Abraham Lincoln's compassion for African-Americans. Referring to Frederick Douglass, whom Lincoln had called "one of the most meritorious men in America," Johnson said: "I know that damned Douglass." "White men alone must manage the South," he declared. In a message to Congress, President Johnson said blacks have less "capacity for government than any other race of people. Whenever they have been left to their own devices they have shown a constant tendency to lapse into barbarism." This from a man whose political party was overseeing the mutilation and murder of countless black people in the South!
On this day in 1866, President Johnson began his "Swing around the Circle," a trip through the Midwest to win popular support for his policy favoring neo-Confederate, Democrat control of the South.

In one speech lasting an hour, the pompous and crude Andrew Johnson referred to himself more than two hundred times. In another, he went so far as to imply that the murder of Abraham Lincoln had been part of God's plan to make him president. At a third event, he said the Republicans' House majority leader deserved to be hanged. After Johnson compared himself to Jesus, his remaining speeches were drowned out by hecklers. State government officials refused to be seen with him.

In the midterm elections that November, so disgusted were most Americans by this buffoon in the White House that Republicans won two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress. Congressional Republicans endured Andrew Johnson in the White House for nearly two more years before impeaching him.

In 1874, Tennessee Democrats re-elected Andrew Johnson to the U.S. Senate, making him one of four American presidents to hold federal office after leaving the presidency. Can you name the other three?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

House GOP Stages Week-Long Sit-in on House Floor

House GOP Refuses to Take Summer Vacation without a Vote on Energy, Stages Week-Long Sit-in on House Floor

Last Friday, August 1st, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) adjourned the House of Representatives for the five-week August recess after refusing to allow Congress to vote on legislation to increase the supply of American-made energy and to address the high price of gas.

Just after the lights and the microphones were turned off in the House gallery and C-Span had stopped its live coverage, dozens of Republican Members, led by Reps. Mike Pence (R-IN), Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), delivered a letter to Speaker Pelosi demanding that she call the House back into an emergency session this month to debate and vote on this issue. They then proceeded to loudly debate the energy issue in front of hundreds of U.S. citizens, who they freely welcomed into the House gallery to listen and participate. Some representatives even received standing ovations from the crowd after they concluded their off-the-cuff but passionate speeches.

Since no media or cameras are allowed in the House gallery because Congress is technically "out of session," GOP Members and staff have sent out "A Call to Action on American Energy" to encourage all interested American taxpayers who happen to be in the Washington, D.C. area, even if they are just visiting as tourists, to come to the House floor this week to lend their support by listening and by voicing their concerns in front of dozens of Congressmen.

Remember, democracy doesn't work unless you participate! If you want Congress to reconvene this month and to address the energy issue before the summer is over, the Congressmen pushing this debate are urging you to take action in any or all of the following ways:

  • Attend the open debate in the House gallery if you happen to be in the Washington, D.C. area.

  • Report on what you see after you attend, since the press is restricted from the event.

  • Blog, blast email alerts, call reporters, write op-eds in your local newspapers, etc. and let your family and friends know what is going on.

  • Flood Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office phone lines with calls, asking her to call Congress back to D.C. for an emergency session.

Capitol Hill office phone: 202-225-0100

Capitol Hill Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Members who have stayed in town and participated in the protest thus far: Reps. Bilbray, Bilirakis, Bishop (R-UT), Blunt, Boehner, Boozman, Brady, Broun, Brown (R-SC), Burgess, Campbell, Cantor, Moore-Capito, Carter, Cole, Conaway, Culberson, Dent, Fallin, Fortenberry, Foxx, Gohmert, Herger, Hoekstra, Hunter, King (R-IA), Lungren, Manzullo, McCarthy (R-CA), McCotter, Nunes, Pence, Pickering, Platts, Poe, Porter, Price, Putnam, Sali, Shadegg, Shimkus, Smith (R-NE), Turner, Walberg, Walden, and Westmoreland.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

News From Iowa GOP House Leader Christopher Rants

Offering REAL Solutions

Recently I received a letter from Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Directors of RSM McGladrey (area accountants from the area most affected by the recent flooding). This letter was stressing the fact that Iowa taxpayers “need help now.” The accountants proposed a few suggestions for tax incentives in light of the 2008 floods which would help provide some immediate relief to the affected taxpayers.

I agreed with the folks at RSM McGladrey, I believe their suggestions would go along way to opening the door to further discussions. Below is my release:

(DES MOINES)—Today House Republican Leader Christopher Rants (R-Sioux City) rolled out a proposal centering around tax incentives for Iowans affected by the storms and flooding of 2008.

Rants’ main suggestion focuses on bonus depreciation and extending the benefit through 2009 for taxpayers who qualify. In early 2008, the federal economic stimulus package included a provision that was designed to aid business taxpayers by increasing the expensing allowance for depreciable assets. However, Iowa failed to couple with the federal law and Iowa businesses were faced with a tax increase.

Rants suggests immediately coupling with the federal standard and then going further; extending that provision into 2009. By coupling and extending the bonus depreciation, taxpayers affected by the weather will be able to replace damaged property, equipment and machinery without having to pay increased taxes. Failure to enact this proposal means that Iowans replacing flood damaged equipment will see their tax liability go up.

“Small businesses, which are the backbone of our communities, large businesses, which employ so many Iowans, and farmers that feed the world are all trying to put the pieces of their operations back together. It’s important to their vitality to offer some immediate relief so they are able to purchase equipment to rebuild their businesses,” said Rants. “I am committed to coming up with solutions and tax incentives to help those businesses who are starting with nothing, allowing them to get back on their feet.”

The Republican Leader is also interested in considering property tax relief for Iowa homeowners who are struggling from weather-related damage as well as sales tax relief on building supplies, materials and other furnishings.

Rants’ ideas have already been endorsed by Cedar Rapids and Iowa City managing directors from RSM McGladrey accountants.


Shortly after I sent my release, Democrat Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent out a press release of his own—here are some clips:

“The House Republican Leader's plan for flood relief is an utter embarrassment and flood affected Iowans should be outraged.”

“Their proposal is another major warning sign that the Republican party has veered terribly to the political right and is completely out of touch with mainstream Iowa. We have thousands of individual Iowans hurting right now...many of them with their homes and property devastated. We have levees that need repaired or entirely rebuilt. We have hundreds of miles of roads and rail that need repaired. We have insurance obligations that need to be monitored and federal assistance that needs to be obtained - and the list goes on and on. And what is the House Republican proposal to deal with flood relief? Tax cuts for big corporations!”

I’m not entirely sure exactly what the Majority Leader is talking about here—not sure how we’ve “veered terribly to the political right” by trying to make nonpartisan solutions for those who’ve had their homes and businesses destroyed.

As you can clearly read, Republicans are not suggesting that these tax incentives are the end all/be all solution to dealing with transportation, agriculture, education, public health or housing issues.

I was not trying to make partisan statements, but apparently Republicans are not allowed to even make suggestions on how to help those affected by the catastrophic events.

Maybe Leader McCarthy didn’t really understand that these suggestions came from LOCAL folks who have had friends, family and neighbors suffering from the destruction. Maybe he didn’t understand that businesses that he calls “big corporations” are mom and pop retail stores, local contractors and builders, or small owners who are just trying to pick themselves up and rebuild because they want to stay in our state.

Maybe Leader McCarthy should stop trying to politicize the floods and instead of criticizing suggestions, offer some of his own.

The Weekly Stampede - July 31

Republican Party of Iowa Opens Victory ‘08 Offices Across Iowa

(Council Bluffs, IA) – Fifth District Representative Steve King will be the keynote speaker for the grand opening of the newest Iowa Victory ’08 office on Monday July 28th. The Pottawattamie County Victory office will be located at 1851 Madison Ave, Suite 716 in Council Bluffs. The program, which will include Rep. King and several local candidates, is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

"We are excited to open our headquarters so that we can continue our efforts to support and elect our local, state and federal Republican candidates," said Mary Ann Hanusa, chairwoman of the Pottawattamie County GOP.

The Pottawattamie County location will be the fourth Victory ’08 office opened by the Republican Party of Iowa this month and several more are set to open in August. Victory ’08 offices are currently open in Urbandale, Dubuque, and Davenport.

Offices in Ames, Waterloo, and Cedar Rapids will open over the next two weeks. Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota will join Fourth District Representative Tom Latham for the Ames opening on August 2nd. Program details for the Waterloo and Cedar Rapids openings have not been finalized.

“Our volunteers are eagerly awaiting the Ames grand opening and the campaign,” said Russ Cross, chairman of the Story County GOP. “Governor Pawlenty and Rep. Latham are two great Republican leaders and their visit will generate a lot of enthusiasm in the county and the Fourth District.”

Volunteers Needed for RPI Booth at the Iowa State Fair!

It’s that time of year again! The Iowa State Fair will be August 7 – 17 and the Republican Party of Iowa is looking for volunteers to staff the GOP booth in the air conditioned Varied Industries Building.

The booth needs to be manned from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. each day of the fair and we are asking that volunteers take at least one shift from either 9-1, 1-5, or 5-9. Volunteer duties are simply keeping the tables stocked with candidate literature and meeting new people from across Iowa and the U.S.! All volunteers will receive a free day pass to the fair!

If you would like to help, please contact Heather Hooper at 515-282-8105 or

McCain Gains as Obama Deplanes

Two pieces of polling data recently released by Gallup USA show that Barack Obama’s World Tour matches nicely with his campaign rhetoric – well scripted, fawned over by media, and not worth a hill of beans.

The Friday – Sunday poll, conducted as Obama was returning to the U.S., showed that overall only 35% of respondents had a positive opinion of the trip. Break those numbers down a little further and you see that the all-important independent vote was split with 31% viewing the trip favorably compared to 28% with an unfavorable opinion. What may be even more telling is that a whopping 39% of respondents said that they did not know enough about the trip to answer.
This begs the question: Are voters getting tired of the media’s incessant flaunting of their love for Senator Obama and are now tuning it out? Gallup just happened to ask and found that 39% of respondents saw press coverage of Obama as unfairly positive. Only 12% of those polled felt that John McCain got the same treatment.

Meanwhile, McCain’s numbers jumped during the same time period. Only a month ago Obama was leading McCain by six points amongst likely voters. This most recent poll now shows McCain with a four point edge. The poll also shows McCain’s favorable ratings moved up three points from last month to 62% as Obama’s dropped by the same amount to land at 61%.
Those may not seem like huge moves considering that the poll’s margin for error is +/- 4%...that is until we again look at those independent respondents. Obama actually lost 5% of his favorables with independent voters while McCain skyrocketed from 57% to 67%.

One last piece of good news for John McCain is this quote from Gallup released along with this weekend’s poll. “The media’s coverage of Obama’s foreign trip, coupled with a strong reaction from McCain and other conservatives, may have created the seemingly paradoxical effect of increasing Republicans’ energy and excitement about voting for McCain.”