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Aug-20-2007 14:27printcomments

Iowa Straw Poll: Win or Warning?

Are core conservative issues replaced With marketing ploys, image consultants and free t-shirts? Republican presidential candidates should take note: low turnout, despite spending spree, shows less than enthusiastic base.

American flag and capitol

(ASHVIILE, N.C.) - Last week’s Iowa Straw Poll is being heralded by the Romney and Huckabee camps as a victory and a sign of future wins in the GOP Presidential Candidate race. Yet, after the amount spent by each candidate to lure voters to the event, one has to wonder how much bang for their buck each candidate actually received.

GOP officials anticipated turnout to the “fundraiser” at 40,000. Roughly 30,000 attended the event, many arriving on buses paid for and provided by the candidates. The Romney camp alone hired more than 100 buses to coax voters to attend; the Huckabee camp hired 51. After free tickets, food, entertainment and merchandise, a mere 14,302 cast their vote, down from 23,685 in 1999 which handed victory to then candidate, George W. Bush.

Not too long ago, a grassroots movement was characterized by thousands of enthusiastic voters, volunteering time, talent and treasure to get out the vote for a candidate who represented their values. Grassroots has now morphed into a marketing campaign, where candidates literally spend millions to cajole voters just to show up for a picturesque sound bite.

Despite being enticed with free tickets, transportation, food and music, why did so many Republican voters stay home? Their voices have not been heard.

Core conservative issues such as abortion, gay marriage, immigration and fiscal responsibility have been abandoned by top GOP leaders and replaced with marketing ploys, image consultants, and free t-shirts. Candidates continue to ignore the conservative pleas of their base, preferring power over principle. These leaders are banking on a false premise that conservatives will settle for the lesser of two evils in the general election. They are wrong.

Conservatives are savvy and passionate voters, who are as unlikely to sell out their principles as they are their own soul. Steadfast in their values, the conservative base will not be seduced by slick marketing, pandering and flip-flopping. Candidates who support lawless immigration, dismiss traditional family values and promote a nanny state, will not find favour among the base. Conservatives will either continue to leave the Republican Party, join other parties, or not show up at the polls at all.

The “thumping” in 2006 has proven this. No amount of slick promotions, cash or photo-ops, will mask the utter disregard of conservative values that top GOP leaders have demonstrated. It is no wonder that, according to Rasmussen, the number of Americans identifying themselves as Republicans has dropped 6 percentage points since 2004.

Conservative principles are what propelled the Republican Party to power, returning to these principles is the only thing that can save it.

Dan Gilbert is running for President and he says he bases his campaign on conservative principles and heartland values.

Born 1946 in Winston-Salem, NC, he grew up on a farm in rural North Carolina. In 1969 he graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in Civil Engineering. His military service included a tour in Vietnam.

"In 2000 I voted for President Bush and the Republicans. I had high hopes that with the Republicans in control of the legislature and the executive branches that real change would occur in our government. I thought that the principles that we all thought the Republicans stood for would guide the Republicans to do what is best for the country.

I thought I would see a new higher moral standard. What we got was corruption, bribes, moral decline, hearings with no action, tax breaks for big business, McCain Feingold and last year 15,000 earmarks.

We get a Republican majority in the Senate and a President who think that the best way to handle the illegal alien problem is to give them amnesty. And just last month we had a great break through with the North Koreans where they agreed to not do what they agreed to not do under Clinton. How much will it cost the American citizens this time?

There has to be a change in Presidential and Congressional leadership to affect change in this country. There has to be a way to get the politicians out and the statesmen in. Those politicians who vote only for the "

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Henry Ruark August 27, 2007 1:24 pm (Pacific time)

If you can stand the mental shock, go also to this solid website to check out Moyers on FCC Comm. Copps interview (video, too !)

Copps reminds us more than 3 MILLION people protested '03 relaxing rules to permit more deregulation-consolidation to place media under corporate control, forcing Congress to act.

So people CAN and DO still win when they get to know -- despite "neo-con" perversion under way from top-down.

Henry Ruark August 27, 2007 10:18 am (Pacific time)

To all:

Try this one on to improve insight into realities, tougher now on "conservative" philosophy perverted by neo-cons than when written:

Might check out last two Op Eds, too, built on thick file of documentation in last ten years...

Jory August 23, 2007 11:52 am (Pacific time)

No Ron Paul? Why not? He is an excellent candidate and spent next to nothing on this straw poll. He is everything the government is to corrupt to be.

Vic August 22, 2007 8:20 am (Pacific time)

From what I can tell , there is only ONE true conservative in this race...Ron Paul. I have never voted for a Republican in my life, but am registered as one now so that I can vote for Paul in the primaries. The word "conservative" is like the word "christian" many people claim it, yet few really live it.

David August 21, 2007 7:31 pm (Pacific time)

There is one congressman that has stood out for me the last eight years. This guy is different. If it is not Constitutional. He votes it down every time. Thats the way it is supposed to work isn't it? Don't we send them to washington in order to protect and defend the Constitution of the United states of America?. The disbelief is that the media avoids his name. It's like they are afraid of the truth. He ran top in the polls but not a mention of Dr RON PAUL for president. Shame on you Dan. David

Joe August 20, 2007 9:37 pm (Pacific time)

You would think the author of this article could do better research. Huckabee did not hire a single bus and spent less than $90,000 on the event, compared to several million by the Romney campaign.

cmon already! August 20, 2007 9:09 pm (Pacific time)

why didn't you mention Dr Ron Paul in this article?

Vic August 20, 2007 7:29 pm (Pacific time)

Hey forgot one thing...THE WAR !!! You right wing idiots just dont get it, do you ? You try to get people angry at the gays and the brown people, yet ignore the freakin 900 lb gorilla in the room. That is why people are disgusted with both parties.My advice, your money and our time. We dont need any more Bush-wannabes.

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