Our plans for the Iowa Straw Poll are coming together remarkably
well. We continue to receive generous donations, and we have a group of
volunteers who are making the trek to Ames, Iowa, to help on August
We’ve printed 11,000 color tri-fold fliers to hand out. We’ll have
two booths--one inside the Hilton Coliseum and one outside on the event
grounds--with a professional display, two 4' x 10' vinyl banners that say “We
Need Alan Keyes for President,” and continuous videos of Alan (using 20” flat
screens and--for outdoors--a 700-watt per speaker PA system).
We intend to be seen and heard.
In addition, we’ll give out 1,000 3" x 4" lapel stickers for interested
attendees to wear, and 100 colorful T-shirts for those who make a
All this should make quite an impact.
Again, thank you so much for all you've done to help the “We Need Alan
Keyes for President" movement. We'll see you in Ames, Iowa, on the
Alan Keyes at
We've recently added numerous video clips of Dr. Keyes at YouTube.com
everyone you know about these outstanding videos--which exceed in insight,
timely significance, and eloquence anything the current candidates can
We're adding more every day.
Note that we're posting at YouTube under the name "Keyes2008." This
is just a username, not the official name of our committee, which remains "We
Need Alan Keyes for President."
Alan’s latest “Crisis of the
July 30, we posted Alan’s ninth article in the “Crisis of the Republic”
series--his ongoing commentary on the 2008 election. The title is
“'Abortion rights' and the moral threat to freedom.”
In the article, Alan argues eloquently for returning America to its moral
foundations--and directly challenges Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Fred
Thompson for their weak (or wrong-headed) positions on abortion and related
You can read the article here
2nd Iowa report by Fred
Below is Fred Hutchison’s second report on his activities in Iowa, "Voices
from the Iowa grassroots.” He’ll be attending the Iowa Straw Poll on a
media credential, representing RenewAmerica. He’s currently volunteering
as a Policy Advisor to “We Need Alan Keyes for President.”
Voices from the
August 4, 2007
advisor In my report "A Trip to Iowa," I mentioned Tom Immermann, a senior advisor
to Steve Rathje's campaign for the U.S. Senate from Iowa. Rathje's opponent is
none other than Tom Harkin, a liberal Democrat who has been a senator from Iowa
since 1984, even though he is far to the left of the Iowa political mainstream.
In 2005 and 2006, Harkin's ADA rating was 100 (meaning 100 percent of his votes
were liberal on issues of concern to Americans for Democratic
Tom Immermann has proven to be the perfect mentor to me in all
things concerning Iowa, because of his involvement in state-wide politics and
because of his deep immersion in the Iowa grassroots. The reader might recall
that I said in "A Trip to Iowa" that Tom and I "are like two peas in a pod."
During a recent stay as a guest in his home, I was surprised at the many points
of commonality between us. A substantial part of this report is based upon what
I learned during this fruitful and educational visit.
Just as Henry
Kissinger's wife calls him "Dr. Kissinger," Tom Immermann's wife calls him
"Immermann." So as to follow this example, and to avoid confusion between Tom
Immermann and Tom Harkin, I shall call him "Immermann" in this
This report will include the following sections: (a) the
Republican straw poll on August 11; (b) Steve Rathje, a rising conservative
Republican; (c) Immermann, Renaissance man of the cornfields; (d) a visit to the
deep grassroots; and (e) Immermann talks turkey. The latter section includes
some remarkable statements that Immermann made concerning the possibilities
opening up for a candidate like Alan Keyes, whom he met when Ambassador Keyes
stopped in Iowa during his 2000 campaign.
Primaries, polls, and Iowa
Since the 1952 nomination of Dwight Eisenhower for president in
a bitterly contested Republican convention, presidential primaries have steadily
increased in importance, while party nominating conventions have decreased in
importance. Two consequences of this trend are the increasing importance of
political polls and the increasing focus on Iowa, which traditionally has had
the first primary in the nation.
Polls have become a standard tool of
top-down politics. People in states that emphasize grassroots politics, however
-- like Iowa -- tend to dislike polls based upon statistical samples of the
population. The Iowa Republican primary is a caucus at the precinct level
involving the face-to-face persuasion of individuals to support particular
candidates. It is neither an election nor a poll.
The Iowa Republican
straw poll -- held as a rehearsal of the state caucus -- is a
compromise between the grassroots caucus approach and the modern demand for
polls. I love the folksy name "straw poll," because it evokes the image of Iowa
farmers standing on the strawed floor of a barn trying to persuade other farmers
about the merits of their candidate.
Iowa Republican Straw
On August 11, 2007, The Iowa Republican Straw Poll will be held on the
campus of Iowa State University at Ames, Iowa. An estimated 50,000 people will
come from all parts of Iowa. Speeches in the Hilton Coliseum will be given by
candidates Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo, John Cox, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, Duncan
Hunter, Tommy Thompson, and Sam Brownback, in that order. Each of these
candidates will have a hall of their own in which to organize events, caucus
with their supporters, persuade the undecided, give press conferences, and take
interviews from by reporters.
Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred
Thompson will not be there, but they will be included as a poll choice, and they
might also have literature tables with volunteers to persuade the
Laura Ingraham will be master of ceremonies of the events in
the Hilton Coliseum. As an outspoken conservative celebrity, she will be heavily
covered on television and will be swarmed by reporters from the national
The witching hour is 6:00 p.m. -- the deadline for an Iowa
citizen to register his poll choice. The undecided citizen has all day to listen
to speeches, confront the candidates and their staffers, read candidates'
literature, go to the caucus rooms of the candidates, and be swarmed, pandered
to, and passionately argued with at length in the traditional grassroots manner.
Unlike the good old days, they will not be asphyxiated with cigar smoke,
buttonholed in the cloak room, or made to stand in chewing tobacco slime --
and no straw will be on the floor. The results of the straw poll will be
announced at 7:00 p.m.
Iowa presidential politics, Republican vs.
Immermann told me that the Democrats are better organized in
Iowa than the Republicans. My internet surfing seems to confirm this. Democratic
candidates make more visits to Iowa, give more speeches, and have more debates.
However, I cannot find an event on the Iowa Democratic Party website that is
comparable to the Republican straw poll.
Are Republicans more oriented
towards grassroots politics in Iowa than are the Democrats? Yes and no. No, if
the sheer number of visits, debates, and speeches by candidates is a measure.
Yes, if we look at (1) the straw poll, (2) the approach to the precinct
caucuses, (3) the use of the media, and (4) the distribution of
According to Immermann, the western half of Iowa is strongly
conservative and Republican. However, this "red state" itself is mostly farms
and small towns that are politically grassroots in orientation. I met some
farmers in Southeast Iowa who were both Democrats and Republicans. In contrast
to the dispersed nature of the Republican support, the Democratic support is
focused in enclaves in the cities and the universities. The press in the cities
is liberal in ideology and gives more coverage to the Democrats.
primary season, there is an incentive for Democratic candidates to concentrate
on their enclaves. In contrast, Republicans in the primaries are obliged to
visit the grassroots country in the small towns in farming country.
precinct caucuses on primary election day are hard to characterize with
precision, but the Democratic caucuses seem to be a little closer to an election
than a caucus, while Republican caucuses seem closer to old-fashioned caucuses.
According to Immermann, grassroots sentiment on the issues at the Republican
precinct caucuses has an influence in developing planks in the party platform at
the Republican convention. In contrast, the issues presented for discussion at
Democratic caucuses are determined by the umbrella state and national Democratic
Steve Rathje, entrepreneur and
Immermann told me many anecdotes about Iowa scholars,
entrepreneurs, and engineers. Farmers moving to the city have furnished America
with entrepreneurs for the last two centuries. All the qualities and traits of
the entrepreneur -- understanding of markets, haggling, risk-taking, a
long-term perspective, understanding of technology and finance, and long hours
of hard work -- must be learned to survive in the precarious business of
Senate candidate Steve Rathje is the archetypal Iowa
entrepreneur. As a broker of machine parts manufacture, supply, and
distribution, he specializes in finding American-made parts for manufacturers.
If he cannot find a part made by an American company, his company will often
make the part. He has found a way to avoid outsourcing abroad, save American
jobs, and make a profit.
As junior senator, Rathje would work with Iowa's
senior senator, Charles Grassley, to institute a plan to save American jobs from
outsourcing and foreign competition, while encouraging American entrepreneurs
and respecting the free market system. Immermann said that Rathje is not a
professional politician, but is a citizen-legislator, like the Roman
Rathje is a born-again Christian and is strongly pro-life
and pro-family, and he believes in the traditional marriage of one man and one
woman for life. He wants to enforce the immigration laws and opposes amnesty for
illegal aliens. Rathje stands strong for the Second Amendment.
Rathje met Immermann at church, and they discovered they shared the same
political concerns. Immermann agreed to help Rathje win his 2008 campaign, and
has won Rathje's trust with his candor.
As a personal note, I am pleased
with Immermann's straightforward and candid mode of communication, and I admire
his carefully thought-through code of political ethics.
Immermann, Renaissance man of the cornfields
and his wife live on a two-acre plot surrounded by cornfields. One acre is for
the house and yard, and one acre is for the family farm and orchard. Cornfields
come up to the border of the property. The farm includes a windmill, fishing
pond, world- class tomatoes, orchard fruit, hens who lay eggs with orange yokes,
roosters, geese, a horse, a donkey, a goat, a dog, and a cat. As Mrs. Immermann
served us a scrumptious feast in the screened porch, I chose a seat to gaze out
upon the garden paradise -- a veritable Norman Rockwell image of the small
American family farm.
Sometimes Immermann and I would forget farming and
politics and talk about history, philosophy, theology, culture, and literature.
Having taught the classics at the college level, he is an incisive literary
critic. This was my golden moment to bounce some of my literary judgments off an
intelligent literary critic.
I am proud of my personal library, but five
libraries like mine don't make one of his, either in quantity or in quality. He
has many books that are collectors' items, such as a first American edition
(1819) of Samuel Johnson's dictionary. When he heard that I like theories of
history, he showed me a whole collection of them, including some interesting
ones I never heard of.
Why did Immermann spend a lifetime and a fortune
developing a library like that? It was for the sake of the books themselves.
"Books have souls," he said, "and the best books are great souls -- they
are minds alive on the shelf." I felt a little embarrassed when I reflected upon
my haphazard treatment of my own books. Immermann's patronage of books extends
to the public sector. He is one of the founders of a new local public library
When I first saw Immermann's library, I exclaimed, "The
Montaigne of Iowa!" Montaigne, a man of the late Renaissance, had a personal
library at the top of a stone tower, which was one of the largest and finest
libraries in the world. His ivory tower was a real tower. Immermann, by
contrast, is the Renaissance man of the cornfields.
A visit to the
Immermann took me to his morning coffee klatch consisting
mostly of older farmers. They met around tables in a side room of a restaurant
in a small town named Kalona. That day, they did not talk about farming. They
talked mostly about politics.
I was not able to tell the difference
between the Democrats and the Republicans. They all dislike Hillary. Some were
interested in Barack Obama and others were interested in Fred Thompson. One
old-timer liked both -- until I pointed out a few facts in the public
record about Thompson. The man immediately disqualified Thompson, and he said
that in spite of being a lifetime Republican, he might consider voting for a
third party candidate.
I ask them if a presidential candidate came in and
shook their hands and listened to them, would it induce them to consider voting
for him. They all said no. However, they all agreed that they would think less
of a candidate who never showed up. They would all think better of a candidate
who showed up several times.
The old farmers all agreed on the following points: (a) they do not
like the smorgasbord of candidates they are being offered; (b) they are all
worried about the moral decline of America; (c) they all want a candidate who
upholds family values, and d) they all think that America needs a spiritual
These sweet old curmudgeons are very friendly to visitors like
me. However, Immermann, who has been attending the coffee klatch for only four
years, is still regarded as the new kid on the block. Knowing something of his
biography and life's journey, and witnessing his deep integration into this old
farm community, I said, "You have come far, pilgrim." I borrowed this famous
line from the Hollywood movie Jeremiah Johnson.
After we had returned from the coffee klatch and had
finished a glorious breakfast of eggs with orange yokes, we discussed our tour
of the countryside that Immermann was planning for me before dropping me off at
the airport. Immermann became pensive for a few moments, and suddenly pounded
his fist on the table.
"This country is hungry for moral and spiritual
leadership!" After this exclamation, he paused and selected his words with
He said that if a candidate like Alan Keyes could differentiate
himself from the second-tier Republican candidates, he could bypass them in a
flanking movement and vault up to become a first-tier candidate. The way a
candidate like Keyes could do this is to take the following four
(1) He should say that America is in moral decline and the decline
will continue until a critical mass of Americans are willing to say "no" to
(2) He should say that America's culture will not be healed and
restored until we have a major spiritual revival.
(3) He must make the
two messages the foremost theme of the campaign.
(4) He must bring
the message to the grassroots.
While other conservative Republican candidates do not disagree with
these ideas, they stop short of saying these things in an unequivocal way,
because they are reluctant to totally alienate the left and they fear losing the
position they have already gained as candidates.
Immermann pointed out
that Keyes has nothing to lose and everything to gain from this strategy. A
large number of voters are waiting for a moral and spiritual leader to emerge
from the pack. The man they are waiting for will have the moral courage to
directly confront evil and call for a spiritual awakening in the
Thompson to drop
For additional perspective on what’s possible in the 2008
election, be sure to read “Fred
Thompson will drop out
,” by NewsMax’s John LeBoutillier.