DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa legislator “flipped off” those he said don’t believe as he does during a rally at the Iowa Statehouse Tuesday afternoon. Representative Bobby Kaufmann–a Wilton Republican who is the son of Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann–made the obscene gesture as he finished his remarks before a few hundred supporters of the Convention of States movement in the Capitol Rotunda.
“When it comes to these gun-grabbing, freedom-hating, over-regulating, civil liberty-violating tyrants,” Kaufmann said, “Here’s my message…(holds up both middle fingers) thank you.”
Various speakers at the rally pushed Iowans to join a movement to limit the federal government’s powers and spending.
“Is the federal government a tyranny?” one speaker asked the crowd. The crowd responded, “Yes!”
Speakers complained about federal government mandates and also want term limits for members of Congress but didn’t discuss specifics. Convention of States supporters are trying to get 34 of the nation’s 50 states to support a convention where the states’ representatives would try to amend the constitution if three-fourths of the states agreed on a measure. The process has never happened before in the country. They say 16 states have approved the movement so far.
Several other Iowa lawmakers spoke at the rally. Senator Jesse Green, a Boone Republican, expressed disappointment that Congressional Republicans haven’t addressed federal spending which he believes is excessive. “I, along with many of you today, figured the Republicans that we sent to Washington would honor their word to us and they would get their fiscal house in order,” Green told the crowd, “Regrettably, that trust remains unfulfilled.”
Representative Shannon Lundgren, a Peosta Republican, said of Washington, D.C. officials, “They are not in charge of us. We are in charge of them.”
The rally also featured 2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. He said that when he was campaigning in Iowa a decade ago, he had doubts about the Convention of States premise and said that this year he has changed his mind.
“A lot of things have changed in ten years … with this country and the federal government,” Santorum said, “As bad as it was when I campaigned here ten years ago … it’s far beyond what I think any of us expected to happen this quickly.” He added, “My big concern is that it’s happening on both sides with both parties. We have too many in Washington that are too comfortable with all the power that they have. And like that power and aren’t interested in giving back to the people or the state.”
Santorum’s speech was interrupted for several minutes when a few dozen animal rights supporters chanted and walked near the podium. Convention of States’ supporters then shouted back “U.S.A., U.S.A, U.S.A.”