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Guest Post – Joel Kurtinitis, State Central Committee Member, 3rd District

 

Greetings, Republican activists across Iowa!

Fall is here, and that means we’ve entered a critical time in the effort to remove Barak Obama from the White House and retake control of both the Iowa and U.S. Legislature.  Here in the critical swing state of Iowa, we have important battles facing us that have implications reaching far beyond November, and it’s my hope that our course of action this fall will be the right one not only for the next four or eight years, but for the duration of this young century.  President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi have showed us their plan for America, and it’s a frightening vision of expansive and intrusive government, redistribution of wealth and punishment of the successful, and a dangerous and schizophrenic foreign policy.

While they may phrase it in ways that they think are more palatable to the American people based upon the results of the latest polls, they are – as a whole – very forthcoming with the direction that they want to take this country. The Democrats have planted their flag at socialism and are fighting to pull us all there with them, because their ideals and political philosophy cannot survive dissent.  They fight to force workers into unions because as long as employees have a choice that will ensure their livelihood, unions have no leverage.  They fight efforts to offer exemptions from a broken and futile Social Security system because – due to the wanton spending of Congress – unless everyone is forced to pay in, no one can be guaranteed a payout. Freedom of choice is a threat to those with an interest in structuring society and maintaining power.

I believe that Republicans can learn much from the tenacity of the Democrats in defending their socialist agenda; and I believe that if we don’t learn quickly, we will face a dangerous identity crisis as a party.   The political dialogue of the United States has seen a definable shift to the left during my lifetime, and the GOP has not been immune to this change.  While still fighting the legislative and judicial battles for the causes we care about, we have too often accepted the flawed premises of the other side, and in so doing have surrendered the moral high ground that our foundational principles afford us.

Our defeats have caused us to compromise too quickly in search of hollow moral victories, rather than galvanizing us to stronger future efforts.  We have accepted the premise that it is a legitimate function of government to create jobs and manipulate the economy, and have become content to argue over the best way to do it.   We have accepted the premise that a decrease in a projected spending increase, constitutes a spending “cut”.  We have accepted the premise that there are exceptions to the God-given, inalienable right to life and have become content to debate whether those exceptions should be rape and incest, or life of the mother.  In accepting these dangerous fallacies, we have acquiesced to the other side before even beginning to fight – allowing the Democrats to gloat with Disney’s Captain Jack Sparrow, “Ah-ha!  So we’ve established my proposal as sound in principle, now we’re just haggling over price.” The path to victory for us as Republicans does not – and cannot – lie in compromise.

I was one of several Republicans who ran for State Central Committee this year on the promise of building the party on principle, and fighting to bring Constitutional Conservatism back to mainstream Republicanism.  While this theme was echoed by conservative activists all over the state, very little time or effort was taken to define it; to proffer a vision for the future of the Republican Party of Iowa that includes both electoral victory and ideological consistency.  This lack of definition – coupled with the strain of an intense and at times very divisive primary season – has contributed to a widespread sense of concern about the direction of the party.  But we cannot afford to be divided.

With only a few weeks left before the election, Iowa Republicans must be ready to blaze a trail for other states to follow as we turn our critical swing state red this November.  Leadership is action, not position.  Our delegation to the RNC fought hard and was successful in protecting Iowa’s first in the nation status, but our leadership in the caucus process is only symbolic unless we are willing to lead with both passion and principle both during and between elections.   So in the interest of building trust, healing harms, and paving the way for a unified Republican victory this fall, I want to open an honest discourse with our activists and members all over the state,  and share with you my vision for reviving and strengthening our party.

Stand on Principle

The Republican Party is a vehicle for timeless, powerful ideas: limited government, inalienable rights, free enterprise, and American exceptionalism.  As I discussed earlier, these ideals are sold too cheaply when we compromise our core principles to gain political capital.  It’s time for conservatives to draw a line in the sand.  I believe that the first and most important key to victory for us as a party is to stand firm on the principles that our nation was founded on, trusting that our courage will inspire others to follow.

Encourage Accountability

There is no collective endeavor that cannot be benefited by accountability.  As Iowa Republicans, we need to hold our local, state, and national elected officials accountable to represent our values and ideals in the public arena.  Party officials need to be held to the same standard.  Many grassroots activists across the state felt disenfranchised this year by party leadership at both the state and national level, and our aim as your State Central Committee is to give a real voice to the folks we represent.  To that end, we must not only act with honesty and integrity ourselves, but hold our fellow officials to the same standard.  Finally, as activists within the party, we must hold each other accountable to be, well… active.  It’s far too easy to sit at home and complain about the direction of the country, state, or party, and much harder to get out and door knock, plant signs, or write checks to actually make change happen.  We have to learn to challenge other Republicans to win their friends, neighbors, and colleagues.  Start the important debates in your community.  We cannot win elections without first winning hearts and minds.

Promote Growth

If we are consistent in our exercise of the first two principles I’ve discussed, I believe that we have a tremendous opportunity to grow the party in a multitude of ways, as already evidenced by this years’ boom in Republican voter registration here in Iowa.  America is in trouble, and people are looking for answers.  The failed policies of the Obama administration have left my generation burdened with debt and hardship, and nothing to show for it but empty promises.  We can offer a clear contrast to that – not a contrast of degree, but of substance.  We can bring in young people by offering them a glimpse of liberty.  We can reach out to individuals and businesses by pushing for less taxes and regulations, and reminding folks that The American Dream is built on hard work and success, not entitlements and handouts.  We can win seniors by letting them know about the disaster that awaits them in Obamacare, and by offering innovative, free-market solutions for health care.

The country is ready for a new direction, and who’s to say that Iowa won’t be the spark that reignites the flame of liberty across this great nation?

This is the vision that the Republican Party of Iowa is working toward, and I ask each of you to join us.  Thank you so much for your hard work thus far, and the time and the money that you have invested in helping us reach the finish line.  Your tireless dedication encourages me every day, and your excitement serves as a constant reminder of the promise and opportunity that America still holds.

On to November.  Let’s take back our state and our nation.

 

Joel Kurtinitis
State Central Committee, Third District