Krusty Konservative: What’s wrong with the Iowa GOP

Chained Elephant

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Iowa Statesman.


Krust Konservative Logo 2By Krusty Konservative
Dictator of the Iowa Blogosphere


As I said several weeks ago, the issues that had plagued the now-deceased Iowa Straw Poll, really, are the problems that are killing the Republican Party of Iowa.

Let’s look at a few numbers, because numbers never lie (or do they?):

  • Republican active voter registration now sits at 609,020, compared to 577,462 at this time of the year just five years ago. Republicans now lead Democrats by more than 24,000 active voters (1.27 percent of the total active voters) statewide.
  • Republicans have an active voter registration advantage over Democrats of 76-23 in Iowa’s 99 counties, 59-41 in House districts, and 29-21 in the Senate.
  • Donations to RPI in the past 12 months were $5,741,579, compared to $4,902,016 two years ago, and $4,653,529 in 2011.

Those are all “indicators” of a very healthy state party. Based on those numbers, Iowa should be a sea of “red politics.” Almost everywhere you go, Republicans should be dominating the local political scene.

But, instead, we have a “divided legislature” mired in gridlock that hands us a crapburger of a budget that spends nearly triple what we were spending just 40 years ago (while our population has increased by less than 10 percent). It’s a legislature that rammed through a wildly unpopular gas tax hike, but can’t get the votes to stop taxpayer-funded abortions.

Why is that? It’s not like we don’t have some great conservatives in leadership positions throughout the state. Well, as is the case in any large organization, whether it be a small business, a major conglomerate, or a political party, dysfunction is always a product of poor leadership.

There are some mighty fine people on the RPI State Central Committee, but in general, its leadership dictates, top-down style, how things are going to be done. That works really well for those in power, and for the special interests footing the bill, but not so much for conservatism and actual Republican ideals.

Those in power are determined to maintain it. Those who want power will do almost anything to get it. And that’s the biggest problem the RPI faces today.

The GOP establishment, the “country club set,” has the power and the money to hold onto it. The libertarian wing of the RPI desperately wants to be in control, to be relevant, to prove it can advance the cause just as effectively, given the chance.

Both sides will (and have) do anything to accomplish their goals.

In 2012, their war almost blew up in everyone’s face. With the liberty wing in charge, it attempted to “undo” the caucus vote by having the national delegates vote for Ron Paul at the Tampa convention. In response, the establishment strong-armed its way back into control, and paranoid of both the liberty wing and grassroots conservatives, it began rewriting the rules to maintain power.

In the meantime, the national media has focused its attention on the dysfunction, asking the legitimate question of whether or not Iowa Republicans should be trusted with first-in-the-nation status. Losing our front-row position would be devastating, not only to RPI, but to the Iowa economy, as well.

The stakes couldn’t be any greater for Iowa right now. That’s why Iowa Republicans need to get their act together before it’s too late.

While the powerbrokers in Des Moines would like you to believe they have the authority to dictate down to you how things are going to be, that’s not how representative government, even within a political apparatus, is supposed to work. The Iowa Caucus is a perfect example of how bottom-up grassroots activism works.

It doesn’t have to happen just once every four years.

As a matter of fact, the caucus is held every two years, and it’s important for more than just voting for a presidential nominee. Precinct, county, district, and state leadership is selected as a direct result of what happens at caucus. The working pieces that become the platform begin to be hammered out at caucus.

To fix the problem, you, Mr. Conservative, need to get involved in the entire process. Otherwise, you might consider changing your surname to Doormat.

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Herschel Krustofski is the pseudonym for the anonymous author of Krusty Konservative, the undisputed heavyweight champion of the Iowa blogosphere. If you have a suggestion for his contributions to The Iowa Statesman, write to him at