Category: Primaries

And Then There Were Four…And Then There Were Two

In the week leading up to the South Carolina Primary the headline became—and then there were four.   Following the results of Saturday’s vote, it is becoming increasingly clear that the headline going forward will be—and then there were two.

At the heart of the wild ride that this nominating process has been is a reality that Newt Gingrich referenced in his victory speech Saturday night.  The four candidates left are all from different backgrounds and each is giving voice to unique portions of the Republican ideology.  Like most Republicans this cycle, how this cast of characters interplays with my specific political stances has made for a very difficult decision in where to place my support and who to root for.  Here is


Willie Nelson and Walking Toward Gingrich

“After carefully considering the whole situation, I stand with my back to the wall. And walking is better, than running away…and crawling ain’t no good at all”

Willie Nelson—Lyrics to “Walking” (1974)

While not known for his astute political analysis, with these lyrics Willie Nelson has managed to perfectly describe the conundrum myself and millions of other voters face in selecting a candidate to support for president amongst the Republican field.

For months now GOPers have been carefully considering the whole situation, and have yet to settle on anyone. With the voting only two weeks away a majority of those undecided now officially are standing with their backs against the wall.

In this regard I am no different—laid here are the reasons I am currently …


Why I am Caucusing for Ron Paul

“I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom…..And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ “interests,” I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”
– Barry Goldwater, Conscience of a Conservative

Perhaps more than any other politician of the twentieth century, Barry Goldwater captured the essence of the American spirit – ferocious independence. This spirit depends upon the Constitution for its life and energy. Without our Constitution, our nation is nothing more than another geographic location; nothing but more …


Why the Des Moines Register Shouldn’t Bother Endorsing A Republican This Year

While not big news that Iowa Republicans don’t wait with bated breath for the Des Moines Register to anoint a Republican candidate the cream of the presidential crop, in recent years their recommendations have barely risen above laughable fodder. Since we could all use some comic relief from this seemingly endless campaign season, let’s take a look back at the Register’s recent forays into Presidential advocacy. What follows are two main reasons, among many others, why they should stick to merely reporting on the political pulse of Iowa—instead of trying to alter it.

Reason #1 – A Sketchy, Schizophrenic History

While nearly all the data on editorial board endorsements show that they have a miniscule impact, if any at all, well over 70% of newspapers …


Bloomberg Debate Re-Cap: What We Thought We Knew…All Holds True

This piece was written by Justin Arnold-Editor of The Conservative Reader:Iowa and John Bloom-former Chairman of the Polk County Republican Party and Conservative Reader contributor.

Since the field of Republican candidates seemingly spent the entire month of September participating in high-profile debates, one would think these exercises would eventually become monotonous and lose their luster. Proving how high the stakes are, and how intense the opposition to our current president is, the exact opposite has been the case.

Instead what has transpired is that Republican excitement has counter-acted the law of diminishing returns. This has been proven by both the dramatic surges and plunges of the candidates following the debates and in the number of people watching them (over 12 million watched the last Fox …


A Sweeping Declaration of Intent: Gingrich unveils new “21st Century Contract with America”

If ever there is going to be a moment for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to create momentum and change the flat trajectory of his presidential run—now is the time. One day after the release of a Fox News poll, which surprisingly showed him gaining substantial ground in the race, Gingrich took to the stage at the Principal building in Des Moines to unveil his newly minted “21st Century Contract with America”.

Updated from the 1994 version, this new contract will serve as the backbone of his campaign and its acceptance or rejection will determine his fate one way or the other.

In the world of presidential politics such fate is largely decided by three things—the style, the substance, and …


Florida GOP Debate Recap and Breakdown: Nine Candidates…Three Categories

This piece was written by Art Smith- Publisher of The Conservative Reader, Justin Arnold-Editor of The Conservative Reader: Iowa, and Brian Nygaard-Senior Contributor at The Conservative Reader.

The lead up to every Presidential Primary debate is accompanied by media hype and pundit proclamations that this or that candidate has to “do well” or they are doomed going forward.  Often times the hype out measures the eventual importance of the proceedings and the proclamations prove to be mere misguided conventional wisdom.

Since last cycles debut of the “interactive” debate (CNN’s YouTube offering) saw ridiculous questions from a melting snowman (on global warming) and a citizen holding an assault rifle (on the 2nd Amendment), one sure would have been justified in being skeptical.  That said, for …


The Politics of Obamacare, Medicaid, Illegal Immigration, and Education Reform: The Conservative Reader Interview with Sen. Jack Whitver (Part 2 of 2)

In part one of this interview, the last legislative session was the main focus. Now we will turn our attention to the major issues that will be hotly debated in 2012.

One of the first things to jump out at anyone who starts digging into the issues being wrestled with by our general assembly is how much they mirror the issues being debated at the Federal level. This being the case, there is no better place to start than how Obamacare and trimming entitlements manifest themselves here In Iowa.

Obamacare and the Politics of Medicaid

While scarcely publicized, last session included preliminary debates into setting up Iowa’s insurance exchange, which Obamacare mandates be done by next year’s legislative adjournment. The tricky situation for state legislators …


Why Iowa’s 2011 Legislative Session Matters to Conservatives: The Conservative Reader Interview with Senator Jack Whitver (Part 1 of 2)

Three weeks removed from ending the third longest legislative session in Iowa history, I had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with District 35’s representative in the Iowa Senate—Republican Jack Whitver. The main focus of our conversation was the results of the 172 day session and the political clouds already forming on the horizon for next year’s Senatorial get together.

In the interest of adding perspective, here is a brief overview of Senator Whitver’s political and business careers: He joined the Iowa Senate this year by virtue of winning a special election to fill the seat of Larry Noble, first beating five other Republicans in a truncated primary and then defeating Democrat John Calhoun (63%-36%). The district covers most of the northern half …


Should elected party officials endorse candidates before the primary?

Earlier this week, I received a press release with the following redacted endorsement:
xxx, Iowa– xxx County Republican chairman xxx today endorsed xxx for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

This notification stirred me to think about the question “Should elected party officials endorse candidates before the primary?”. As Chairman of the Polk County Republican Party for the period 2009-2010, I made a personal decision that I would not endorse primary candidates for local or statewide offices, but my tenure did not cover a presidential cycle. Should the rules be different for Iowa’s “1st in the Nation” presidential caucus?

I don’t believe there is a clear answer to this question. The best I can do is to share some anecdotal experiences from my time as Chairman …