Scenes from the Polk County Republican Convention

By Tom Quiner

We started with the Pledge of Allegiance.

I wondered if the Democrat’s convention started the same way? I hope so, but I have no idea.

The day left me with the sense that I had done important work by being there. The Chairman said something interesting, that Barack Obama needs to take Iowa to be re-elected, that Iowa is a key swing state even though we only offer six electoral votes.

But those six votes could decide an election.

He said even more, that if the Republican candidate can take Polk County, a bastion of Democrats, they can take the state.

This was my first Polk County Republican Convention as a delegate. We heard from some very sharp and eloquent candidates running for the Iowa House and Senate. A candidate that I particularly was interested in hearing was Vicki Stogdill who is running for State Senator against staunch gay marriage and Planned Parenthood supporter, Janet Peterson.

Ms. Peterson is a fine person, but way left of mainstream Beaverdale, the community in which I live. You’ll be hearing more about this race in the months to come.

The casual conversations that took place during the day really drove home the point that Republicans tend to be religious people. We don’t agree on our religions necessarily, but agree that it is God in whom we should trust, not the state.

The contrast between the party’s platforms is profound.

Republicans invoke God in the first words, even before the preamble:

With trust in God, and in fidelity to generations past and generations to come, we respectfully submit this platform to the Polk County Republican Convention.

God has no place in the Democrat’s Statement of Principles:

Americans’ faith in democracy is a beacon to persons of the developing world as they strive to win the rights Americans take for granted.  We are justly proud of our Democratic Party, its heritage, its accomplishments and its diversities.  No part of that heritage is more valuable than our belief in the rights and worth of each individual. Iowans and other Americans have given their lives to maintain those rights and we unequivocally oppose policies that require forfeiting those rights in the name of fighting terrorism.  Giving up our most precious rights means losing that which makes us Americans.  Liberty and diversity are our strengths, and we understand that it is only in maintaining those strengths that we will continue to stand as a beacon of freedom to the world.

This excerpt from their 2010 platform makes it clear that God-given rights of Life and Pursuit and Happiness are not America’s strengths, they are rather Liberty and Diversity. There is no mention of God anywhere.

The preamble to the Republican platform could have been written by Thomas Jefferson, founder of the Democratic Party:

As United States citizens and Republicans, we continue to uphold the principles of individual responsibility and liberty, adherence to traditional moral standards, a strong national defense, a free enterprise system, and respect for the sanctity of human life. We believe in retaining the original intent of our Founding Fathers as embodied in the Constitution. We believe high moral character is a necessity of public servants. The highest standard of character should be embodied in both private and public life. We encourage the proliferation of these principles and their passage to future generations.

The Democrats proudly support abortion:

We support …women’s rights to personal reproductive decisions.

They proudly support animal rights:

We support … humane treatment of animals.

Let us be clear on this last point that this humane treatment does not extend to the pre-born who are the only living creatures to whom Democrats refuse to grant any rights.

I am struck at the difference between the parties, even at the state level. Republicans invoke God, individual responsibility, sanctity of human life, free enterprise. Democrats don’t.

The party of Jefferson, the Democrats, deny their heritage with their radical platform.

The party of Lincoln, the Republicans, honors the heritage of Jefferson.

Why do today’s Democrats think Thomas Jefferson was so wrong?


  1. Kurt Johnson on March 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    This is the first Polk County Republican Convention that I have missed in many years. What Tom described is pretty much representative of the last 20 years of conventions. I wonder if there was any debate about the issues mentioned above? When I was a delegate I was pretty much the only one who questioned the social conservative orthodoxy. Its too bad that the Republican Party cannot see its way to a more libertarian policy.

    • quinersdiner on March 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Although I disagree with your assessment of social issues, there was debate on amendments people wanted to make to the platform. The sound system was terrible, but what I heard was pretty enlightening and intelligent. Thanks for writing.

  2. Tony Seliquini on March 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Great blog, sir. I’d like to add, and I hope you don’t object, that I’m a candidate for Iowa House District 36, which includes the Merle Hay, Beaverdale, and parts of the Meredith, Drake, and Urbandale neighborhoods.

    I spoke at the convention you refer to in this article, and hope you felt I was one of those “sharp and eloquent.” 🙂 Have a great one!