Sioux City pastor was instrumental in ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court Justices one year ago
By Bob Eschliman
A little more than a year ago, the Rev. Cary K. Gordon became famous — or infamous, depending upon your political leanings — for taking on a leadership role in the ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court justices.
Gordon, president of PeaceMakers Institute and pastor of Sioux City’s Cornerstone World Outreach received national attention last year for “Project Jeremiah,” a statewide campaign involving a controversial letter he sent to over 1,000 Iowa churches. It called for the removal of the three Iowa State Supreme Court Justices for their abuse of judicial authority in imposing same-sex marriage upon Iowans, while promising pro-bono legal defense for any Iowa church harassed by the I.R.S. for exercising their rights to free speech in the pulpit.
The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Washington, D.C., called Gordon’s actions one of the most outrageous attempts to politicize a church that he has ever seen.
Now, Gordon’s “outrageousness” has extended to presidential politics. Today, he made his choice for president known through an online video, as well as a text message that will be delivered to nearly 800,000 cell phones of registered Iowa voters and residents of Iowa’s Fifth Congressional District, where he lives.
His choice: Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.
“He’s committed to rescuing this nation from economic disaster,” he said. “Rick Santorum is committed to family values, and it shows in his own family.”
Gordon said the public endorsement of a presidential candidate is new territory.
“It’s not something I’ve ever done before, not publically,” he said. “It’s a real privilege to be an Iowan, and it’s a role I take very seriously. I have spent hours … vetting everyone that is running for the presidency right now.”
He described the vetting process as “at times inspiring, sometimes it’s been fun, but a lot of times it’s been frustrating and difficult.”
Gordon said many leaders are afraid to make public endorsements because it is somehow implied that an endorsement is approval of a candidate’s past failures. He said that’s both unfair and unrealistic, and generally doesn’t ring true.
“That attitude, that if you endorse someone you’re approving of all the things they’ve done wrong, I think that’s the biggest reason why pastors like myself refuse to participate in the process in a public way,” he said. “Ironically, the lack of public participation by ministers, I believe, is at the root of everything that is wrong with our country.”
Gordon said it’s going to take “an imperfect human with God’s help and God’s blessing” to turn the country’s misfortunes around. He said he was looking for a candidate who was both “humble and credible, someone I can trust, and someone who has generally good ideas.”
In his endorsement video, expected to pop-up on I-Phones, Droids and other such “smart phones” this weekend, Gordon emphatically rejects frontrunners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, while urging Iowans to support Santorum – in part because Santorum has declared he would include fellow GOP Presidential contender, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, at the top of his administrative team.
“I have thoroughly vetted every candidate that is currently running for president, and I have come to a conclusion that there are only two people currently in this race that have faithfully championed the legitimate solutions necessary to get this country back on course,” Gordon said, adding, with only a month until the Iowa Caucus, “it is abundantly necessary that the conservative community coalesce behind only one of … two great candidates,” Santorum and Bachmann. Santorum’s recent declaration of his aim to make Bachmann a vital part of a Santorum administration made Gordon’s decision much easier, he said. “I want them both in the White House!”
He said Santorum and Bachmann’s swift July responses to the Iowa Family Leader’s Marriage Vow – a sweeping political pledge document that addresses issues ranging from adultery and marital fidelity, homosexual unions and gay health issues, U.S. monogamy and Islamist polygamy, fatherless children and U.S. military policy – has been extremely important to his decision. Gordon noted that only Santorum, Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have signed the document, while frontrunner Gingrich, the former U.S. House Speaker, has rejected both the Iowa vow and the National Organization for Marriage pledge against same-sex unions.
Santorum and Bachmann, Gordon said, have both pledged to reinstate the military’s longstanding “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy against open homosexuality, reversed earlier this year by President Obama.
“Rick and Michele would make a great GOP match, and would defend Judeo-Christian monogamy, while I think it’s increasingly clear Gingrich simply cannot be trusted with the institution of marriage in any sense,” he said. “I think the 2010 Esquire interview with Newt’s second ex-wife and former mistress was very troubling.”
Gordon also praised Santorum for championing a Personhood Amendment to the Constitution, something the pastor said was necessary if Americans wished to “stop the barbaric evil of abortion once and for all.” He added, “Rick Santorum is committed to rescuing this nation from economic disaster, and that’s good news for everyone concerned about their families.”
He also acknowledged his endorsement comes with consequences.
“Someone will inevitably disagree with the decision I have made. And I know any leader who decides to stick their neck out and make a public endorsement is suddenly going to face criticism of their own,” he said. “I’m prepared for that, because I think our country is in a lot of trouble.”
Gordon said Iowans, like most Americans, are fearful of what another four years of Barack Obama in office would do to the country. But, he is hopeful Americans do not let their fear rule how they will vote in the GOP presidential nomination process.
“We don’t have to be afraid,” he said. “I hope that voters won’t be driven by fear to just go by polling data and grab someone we can’t really trust and throw them at the helm of this government. I posit to you that isn’t going to save America.”
The full-length version of Gordon’s interview is available for viewing here.
The 2012 Presidential race has been billed as one the most important election cycles in recent history. And perhaps due to this prophetic proclamation it seems that the number of debates hosted around the country has increased dramatically. That would not be a bad thing if the debates that we being conducted were anything more that soundbite machines hosted by moderators that seem to want to turn the candidates on each other in some sort of political version of the a battle royal. That is why yesterday evenings Thanksgiving Family Forum hosted by The Family Leader was so refreshing. The basic rules of the evening were crafted so that the candidates could not only answer questions, but answer them in depth so as to allow the audience to really understand how the candidate reached the conclusion that they did. For those of you that were unable to attend you can view the forum in its entirety at this link.
Now I could give you a complete rundown of everything that happened during the two hour long forum, but due to time and space constraints I will simply break it down in to how I believe each participant performed.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul
In my opinion Congressman Paul started the evening out with a whimper. In his response to the very first question Congressman Paul was all over the place, but not with any comment of any consequence. And despite his longwinded answer he still provided an answer that did not satisfactorily answer the question. This appearance really hit the bottom during the second half of the program where he really let the naivety of his foreign policy stance show through.
Georgia Businessman Herman Cain
Last night we had another appearance by Mr. Cain in which there were times that he looked absolutely amazing, and then other times when he left you scratching your head in wonder. One of the times where Mr. Cain really shined was when the question revolved around the phrase “So help me God” in the Presidential oath of office. Mr. correctly asserts that when that phrase is uttered in the oath that the person is asking for God’s help in fulfilling the duties of the office in question. When the candidates were asked about the sanctity of life his answers seemed intentionally vague and evasive; and gave the audience the impression that he will not fight for life as hard as some of the other candidates would.
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman
I have to admit that this was one of the best performances I have seen from Congresswoman Bachmann for some time. During this forum the Congresswoman does have at least a rudimentary knowledge of American History. She demonstrated this by correctly recited the fact that it was the first President of the United States, George Washington, that was so instrumental in having that short little phrase included in the oath of office. In my opinion I really did not see the Congresswoman make any fatal mistakes last night.
Texas Governor Rick Perry
After having endured the painful experience of watching Governor Perry take part in the last several debates I was prepared for the dreadful nails on a chalkboard effect that his appearance would create. To say that I was surprised by his extremely competent performance would be an understatement. Whenever he happened to field a question the answer seemed to be directed at the audience. It was like he was just having a conversation with us, not the moderator. Not only did he do a good job speaking to the audience, he responded with well thought out remarks that demonstrated that he is not a light thinker.
Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich
If only one candidate can be said to have had a huge night, that candidate is Newt Gingrich. The former speaker’s wit and wisdom were on display for all to see last night. He repeatedly answered the questions posed to him with reason and knowledge. He really did not have any misstep for anyone to attack him on. Among the most memorable lines of the night was this gem describing the occupy movement.
“All the occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything. They take over a public park that they didn’t pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms that they didn’t pay for, to beg for food from places that they don’t want to pay for, to obstruct those that are going to work to pay the taxes that sustain the bathrooms that sustain the park so that they can self righteously proclaim that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything. Now that is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country. That is why we need to reassert something as simple as saying to them go get a job right after you take a bath.”
Former Senator Rick Santorum
This was yet another strong performance from the former Senator from Pennsylvania. He delivered strong and rational arguments supporting his beliefs and his positions. He was able to articulate clear and concise reasons for denying the nation of Iran the ability to produce a nuclear weapon. He delivered a powerful piece of testimony illustrating for all to see that even though he is a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, he is really just a flawed human being like the rest of humanity. As he was confessing this past mistake for all the world to see you could see that reliving that period of his life was just as hard now as it had been then.
Everyone at The Family Leader deserves a hearty round of applause for the outstanding event that they had put together. I would not hesitate to state that this type of format will definitely be copied and utilized in the future. As promised, last night’s forum allowed those in attendance to learn more about the candidates and what made them tick than in any of the other debates or forums combined. All in all, a great event.
The complete and utter ignorance of the protesters taking part in Occupy Des Moines never ceases to amaze me. We have seen the protesters from Occupy Des Moines take a foolhardy and provocative stance that led to the arrest of more than 30 of the protesters. We have seen many of the so-called protesters continue to insist beyond any and all rational reasoning that the 1st Amendment allows their little squatters camp to violate the law. But the latest out of the Stewart’s Park Squatters Camp really takes the cake.
According to this story in the Des Moines Register, about a dozen of the squatters tore themselves away from their dingy little tents to march on one of Iowa’s largest and most respected employers. In their sights this time was Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. The dirty dozen delivered their brazen demand that Wellmark “put people before profit” by lowering their premiums.
It is absolutely astounding that the occupiers have the nerve to tell a successful and well respected company like Wellmark how to run its business. It is quite evident that the group has absolutely no knowledge as to how a business, such as Wellmark, operates. Instead they make an emotional demand that Wellmark abandon a business model that has worked successfully for a great many years just because the occupiers don’t think it is fair.
I have a proposal for the dirty dozen that marched on Wellmark. If you don’t like how Wellmark operates, change to a different company. If that doesn’t appeal to you, start your own insurance company. Organize it as a non-profit so that you can “put people before profit.” Compete with Wellmark and the other insurance companies doing business in Iowa. The quickest and surest way to affect change is through competition. If you can offer equal or better coverage than Wellmark for less they will be forced to change how they do business.
With that said, I don’t see it happening. We have now had several weeks to observe the group. One conclusion that has been easy to come to is that they are lazy. They don’t want to do the work, they want someone else to do it for them while they sit back and reap the rewards. I know this is harsh, but the story about their Wellmark march demonstrates this conclusion very clearly.
With the race for the Republican Presidential nomination heating up, I have come to realize that finding news and commentary can sometimes be difficult and time consuming. There are a great many voters out there that simply do not have the time needed to conduct this search in order to vet the candidates. In attempt to help our readers become more knowledgeable and informed about the Republican Presidential candidates Iowa Defense Alliance has launched a new feature to the blog.
If you will avert your eyes to the right hand side of the page you will see a heading titled Pages. Underneath this header you will see, in alphabetical order, a list of eight Republican Presidential candidates. To find the information and commentary that we have gathered you must simply click on the desired candidate’s name which will take you to a page with numerous links on it. These links will then take you to a multitude of news and commentary articles about the candidate you have chosen. Naturally we cannot and will not be able to catch all the stories and opinions out there, so if you have an article you would like us to link to simply post it in the comment section below or you can send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like most veterans, I will gather with my comrades tomorrow for special events in honor of those among us who, at some point in their life, made out a check to “The People of The United States of America” for an amount “up to and including my life.” But, in the back of my mind, I’m going to be thinking about how my government has once again reneged on its promise to those who put on the uniform and served.
If you haven’t heard, I can’t say I’m entirely surprised, but Tuesday, the U.S. Air Force released a report capping a year-long investigation of how the Dover Air Force Base mortuary mishandled the remains of service members. According to a statement from the Air Force, the practice of cremating the remains and dumping the ashes in a Virginia landfill had been going on for years.
The details of the situation at Dover AFB were outlined Tuesday in a report by The Washington Post, as well.
The mission at Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations is to “provide reverence, dignity, honor and respect to the fallen and care, service and support to their families.” While it is an Air Force operation, it is staffed by members of all branches of the military, as well as National Guard, Reserve and civilian staff.
And, since the initiation of joint hostilities in bothIraqandAfghanistan, AFMAO’s mission has become increasingly more difficult. Since 2003, it has prepared more than 6,300 fallen military members for return to their loved ones.
AFMAO operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and routinely deals with the horrific trauma of war. That much I get and respect. What I don’t understand, however, is how this has been candy-coated and, more or less, swept under the rug by the military.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz said that while the situation was certainly bad, no one intentionally did anything wrong. Instead, he blamed “gross mismanagement” for the way service members’ remains were mishandled:
“Though the findings concluded remains of our fallen were handled with reverence, dignity, honor and respect, the investigations resulted in a determination that three senior supervisors’ actions and inactions, though not willful, constituted ‘gross mismanagement’ for failing to respond appropriately to clear indications that procedures were inadequate to prevent loss of accountability of disassociated remains (referred to as portions) at the Dover Port Mortuary.
“Gross mismanagement is an action or inaction that is blatant and creates a substantial risk or significant adverse impact on the agency’s ability to accomplish its mission. This did not constitute a finding that AFMAO was mismanaged as a general matter, but was limited to the leadership’s failure to respond appropriately to specific accountability issues related to portions.”
I don’t know about you, but where I come from, that’s some Major League butt-covering. Perhaps I’m just a little too sensitive, being a veteran myself, but U.S. Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner, who investigates complaints like these, agrees.
She said that “while the Air Force has made many changes… including requiring family permission prior to significantly altering remains and putting in place extensive procedures to improve the handling and accountability of remains, it has not taken sufficient disciplinary action against the officials responsible for wrongdoing.” She also noted “the Air Force delayed notifying the families involved until publication of the OSC report was imminent.”
As reported in the WaPo article, Gari-Lynn Smith, the wife of one service member whose remains were dumped in the landfill after his 2006 death inIraq, was appalled and disgusted by the way the Air Force acted. The article stated she did not learn about the mishandling of her husband’s remains until this spring, just before the OSC report was released (in May).
“My only peace of mind in losing my husband was that he was taken toDoverand that he was handled with dignity, love, respect and honor,” Smith said. “That was completely shattered for me when I was told that he was thrown in the trash.”
She said she only learned in April that part of her husband’s remains had been dumped in the landfill in a letter from an AFMAO official. The letter misidentified her husband, a 16-year Army veteran who volunteered for hazardous duty defusing roadside bombs, with the wrong first name.
So much for dignity, honor, and respect, I guess.
Lerner is currently investigating claims the Air Force retaliated against three staff members who were acting as whistleblowers — staff members who clearly didn’t feel AFMAO was handling fallen service members’ remains with “reverence, dignity, honor and respect.” So, let’s look at what Gen. Schwartz might have meant by that.
In a separate WaPo article, James Parsons Sr., an embalmer at AFMAO, blew the whistle when he was instructed to saw an arm off the body of a Marine who had been killed by an IED inAfghanistan in February of this year. Parsons, himself and Army veteran, refused to follow the order and was later the target of retribution — including an attempt to get him fired — over the matter.
“What I’m thinking is: ‘This is totally wrong’… I’d consider it to be mutilation, especially if that’s my son,” he said. “It’s immoral… It’s disrespectful, so disrespectful. This guy laid down his life for his country, and then we go and treat him like he’s a piece of meat. ‘I can do whatever I want with him.’ It’s just wrong.”
The WaPo article says the officer responsible for the Marine’s arm being removed was demoted and reassigned elsewhere at Dover AFB, away from AFMAO. But the officers overseeing the mortuary operation only received reprimands and remain in command, according to Lerner’s report.
Her report to President Barack Obama also enumerated two instances in which service members’ body parts were lost while being handled by AFMAO personnel. She also reported five instances in which the remains of five stillborn military dependents were mishandled at Dover AFB.
The WaPo also obtained Air Force documents that identified the landfill used for disposing the remains, which was located in King George County, Va. Officials with Waste Management, the company that operates the landfill, said they were not informed of the origin of the ashes, nor was it made aware of the process AFMAO was implementing.
So, where do you suppose the American Legion, the largest veterans’ service organization in the United States, weighs in on this matter? The answer, you would think, is pretty obvious: they’re outraged, right? Well, if they are, the National Command is strangely silent on the matter.
But, not everyone is staying mum about it. Richard L. DeNoyer, National Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, found a way to express his outrage.
“The VFW demands that the Departments of Defense and the Air Force get to the bottom of this, to hold accountable those directly responsible, and to ensure necessary controls are in-place and followed to never permit such disrespectful incidents to ever occur again,” he said. “What happened at Dover AFB exceeds on many levels the nationwide anger that resulted from reports of mistreated wounded at the formerWalterReedArmyMedicalCenterin 2007 and reports of lost or misplaced graves atArlingtonNationalCemeteryin 2009. You only get one chance to return our fallen warriors to their families with all the dignity and respect they deserve from a grateful nation — and that mortuary affairs unit failed.”
I don’t think “failed” even begins to cover it, but I don’t think words can completely describe this nightmare. I’ve been trying to find a word that would describe the rage and anger I’m feeling as a veteran for two days now.
I simply can’t.
The closest I can come to it are a couple of old military phrases, neither of which are appropriate for polite conversation. The first one starts with “cluster” and the other has been shortened over the years to “snafu.”
I’ll let those of you who are good at Googling figure out the rest.
But, I end each and every newspaper column I write with the following statement, so I’d like to end on a positive note by repeating it here. I make no claims of ownership — I picked it up years ago — but it accurately represents my feelings about veterans. Feel free to use it whenever you like:
If you’re reading this, thank a teacher. If you’re reading this in English, thank a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine.
This past May, during a GOP debate in South Carolina, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was asked about his stated position on criminalizing drug use:
Q: You say that the federal government should stay out of people’s personal habits, including marijuana, cocaine, even heroin.
A: It’s an issue of protecting liberty across the board. If you have the inconsistency, then you’re really not defending liberty. We want freedom [including] when it comes to our personal habits.
And, yes, he’s completely for de-criminalizing the non-pharmaceutical abuse of heroine, arguing that if it were not illegal, no one would abuse it. While that’s probably a deal-breaker for a lot of Republican caucus/primary voters, it clearly hasn’t hurt his popularity with his committed supporters.
But, let’s take a key point he made and it apply it to other pieces of his rhetoric: “If you have… inconsistency, then you’re really not defending liberty.” In other words, politicians who are inconsistent in their words and actions are not going to defend liberty.
One of Rep. Paul’s first campaign commercials this time around touted his military record. Yes, he wore the uniform — he was a gynecologist in the Air Force — and he has routinely talked about “keeping our promises to our military veterans,” but what is his record on matters of military and national security?
Actually, the Congressman’s recently released budget plan would cut $200 billion in defense spending — a proposal co-championed by Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Barney Frank, hardly a stalwart of conservatism. Meanwhile, he said he would like to redirect our military assets in Afghanistan to protecting our southern border with Mexico.
Paul’s own past rhetoric would seem to belie the need for military on the border, in his own words. When campaigning for President the first time in 1988 (as a Libertarian, not a Republican), he championed an open borders policy and said he would eliminate the Border Patrol — which he said was unconstitutional — if elected.
Granted, he may have “seen the light” on the importance of border security. Then again, maybe he hasn’t. Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, who served with Rep. Paul in Congress for a decade, seems to think the latter is far more likely, based on an Op-Ed the former presidential candidate wrote for WorldNetDaily a few days after the aforementioned South Carolina GOP Debate.
According to Paul, deporting illegal immigrants would be “incompatible with human rights.” That is an off argument for any true libertarian to make, since the protection of true human rights begins with the U.S. Constitution and our ability to enforce the rule of law…
The truth is that we do not need to deport all illegal aliens to make them go home. If we simply prevent employers from hiring illegal aliens by using E-Verify and step up interior enforcement as Arizona, Oklahoma and other states have done, most illegal aliens will go home on their own. Paul comes out against both these policies… He absurdly calls the idea of fining employers for hiring illegal aliens ‘involuntary servitude.’
Pretty much a hit-piece by a guy who has an axe to grind against the guy who threatens the “establishment,” right? Not so fast. Even Roy Beck, founder of the anti-illegal immigration group NumbersUSA, was unimpressed with what Rep. Paul had to say in his own book.
Beck’s organization downgraded Paul to an “F” grade for his positions on amnesty and illegal immigration. The only other presidential candidate to get the same grade from the group was the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Barack Obama.
Quoting directly from Rep. Paul’s book:
“Neither the determination or the ability [for mass-deportations] exists. Besides, if each case is looked at separately, we would find ourselves splitting up families and deporting some who have lived here for decades, if not their entire life, and who never lived for any length of time in Mexico. This would hardly be a Good Samaritan approach to the problem. It would be incompatible with human rights.”
That came from page 153 in the book. He then went on a few pages later — page 156, to be exact — to champion, as Beck put it, “amnesty with an asterisk”:
“Maybe a ‘green card’ with an asterisk should be issued… It could be argued that [this system] may well allow some immigrants who come here illegally a beneficial status without automatic citizenship or tax-supported benefits — a much better option than deportation.”
Yet, just one page earlier, he wrote the following:
“(The United States should) not grant automatic citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born in the United States, deliberately or accidentally.”
OK, so that’s just one issue. Surely, he hasn’t shown signs of inconsistency on others, right?
Sadly you would be very wrong. If there’s one thing Rep. Paul has been consistent about, it’s his inconsistency on issues of greatest concern for conservatives. For instance, we have his introduction of 95 discretionary spending “earmarks” — pork for his constituents — for fiscal years 2010 and 2011, while publically decrying government spending and voting against the very earmarks he added to bills.
Then, we have his declared support for traditional marriage, while he simultaneously voted against an amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. So, when he had a chance to further clarify his position in front of an otherwise receptive audience, he said:
I think this argument about what is marriage and who can get married and to whom, in a fre society, is totally irrelevant. I think the government — national or state — should stay out of it. If someone wants to call themselves married, fine.
That’s hardly a conservative viewpoint. It would seem Rep. Paul is implying there is some “wall of separation” at play. His being a well-versed scholar of the U.S. Constitution considered, one can only assume he certainly knows there isn’t any separation clause keeping religion and government exclusive from one another.
But, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that under Paul’s philosophy, a liberal-leaning church would be free to marry gays, lesbians, and even polygamists.
Well, at least Rep Paul — a medical doctor — is consistent on his pro-life message. Surely that’s the most important factor, especially for social conservatives, right?
If that’s the case, please explain his latest campaign commercial, which supposedly touts his adamant support for the pro-life position. You know, the one where he openly admits to abandoning a living, breathing, but unwanted child “in a bucket” following a late-term abortion, without even a hint of remorse.
So, that leaves us with just one question: Would the real Ron Paul please stand up? We’d really like to get to know him, so we can vet him properly for the Republican presidential nomination.
Bob Eschliman is an Iowa journalist who has been covering politics and government for more than a decade. He is the founder of the Ben Franklin Journalism blog, which promotes citizen journalism.
It has been more than one year since the Republican National Committee and the Democratic Committee came together in a bipartisan fashion to adopt updated rules governing the nomination process. This was done in an effort to prevent the kind of confusion and chaos that occurred after Florida and Michigan moved their primaries into January in 2008. The modified rules would in effect give provide for the punishment of any states that would attempt to change their primary or caucus dates in opposition to the approved rules. It was naturally assumed that this rule change would prevent a repeat of 2008.
All was going smoothly until Florida decided to buck the rules and moved their primary date to January 31st. This in turn prompted South Carolina to move their primary date to January 21st which in turn led Nevada to pick January 14th for their caucus date. This prompted to the state of New Hampshire to contemplate picking and early December date for their primary and Iowa to select January 3rd for its caucus date.
As you can see, Florida’s violation RNC rules have created a domino effect on the early part of the 2012 nomination process. When the State of Florida decided to blatantly flout the rules of the nominating process they created a chaotic and uncertain atmosphere that has spread across the country. Clearly Florida should be subject to punishment from not just the RNC for its rules violations, but the candidates themselves can and should boycott the state to affirm their support for the integrity of the nominating process.
However this does not seem to be the case. Instead there seems to be a movement shaping up within the GOP field to scapegoat Nevada. There is a clear desire to place the blame on one individual state for the chaos and confusion that have been wrought on the nomination process, but that blame is being placed upon the victim. It is like blaming the rape victim for getting raped. Several GOP Presidential hopefuls have already spoken up with a vow to boycott the Nevada contest. In fact Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Jon Huntsman have all vowed to boycott the Nevada contest.
Like I said these boycott’s are the equivalent of the blaming the victim for being the victim. If the Presidential candidates wanted to preserve the integrity of the nominating process they would absolutely boycott the State of Florida’s contest. It was the date change in Florida that initiated this chaotic snowball that we are now experiencing. Florida was and is the origin. If they ant to punish someone, punish Florida.
However, I don’t really see that happening because there are just too many votes in Florida for the candidates to ignore. And this really shows the candidates in a different light. Do they really want to preserve the nominating process or are they just attempting to pander and appear tough. And the RNC has been all too quiet on the issue as well. If the RNC will not hold states accountable to the rules, then what good are they? If the RNC refuses to punish Florida you will see an unraveling of the nominating process. If you think the chaos that we are feeling now is bad, wait until the other states catch a whiff of the stuff at the RNC.
As an uncommitted voter in the Republican primary/caucus process, I’ve taken my responsibility as an Iowa seriously — probably more seriously than several of the presidential candidates, but I digress.
I’ve been trying to vet the candidates, and unfortunately, I find many of the candidates offered on the GOP slate lacking. But, I know I’m not alone. Most Iowa Republicans seem disenfranchised with the 2012 crop.
It’s easy to bash on the media-appointed frontrunner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. His actions speak far louder than his rhetoric: he’s in favor of “partnership agreements” for homosexual couples — gay marriage, just by another name — and his “RomneyCare” program — by which “ObamaCare” was modeled — allows $50 copays for taxpayer-subsidized abortions.
But, Romney wasn’t the only candidate to find himself the darling of the national mainstream media. Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign has been driven largely by media pressure and, apparently, some healthy prodding from his wife, Anita.
And, for the couple of weeks, Perry found himself immediately at the front of the pack. But, after some lackluster debate performances, and revelations that he supported in-state tuition for the children of illegal aliens through the Texas DREAM Act, and issued an executive order that required young girls to get Gardasil vaccinations for the human papilloma virus (now referred to by his critics as “Gardasil-gate”), he quickly fizzled.
But, the third-quarter financial reports provided Gov. Perry with a much-needed lifeline. Suddenly, the media was reporting how Iowans were giving the former frontrunner a fresh look. Even my good friend, Jen Green, acknowledged Perry could possibly find a way beyond the Texas DREAM Act and Gardasil-gate troubles.
Her boss, conservative talk show host Steve Deace, suggested perhaps the two major controversies surrounding the Perry campaign had run out of impact. He wondered aloud during a broadcast last week if there were any other red flags fluttering in the breeze.
And, indeed, there are.
In July, as Gov. Perry was still flirting with a potential presidential run, Laylan Copelin of the Austin American-Statesman asked the question, “Should Perry get the credit for Texas’ growth?” Her breakdown of job growth in Texas seems to knock almost all of the shine off Perry’s bragging about his state’s economy.
…(A)lmost half of the state’s job growth the past two years was led by education, health care and government, the sectors of the economy that will now take a hit as federal stimulus money runs out and the Legislature’s 8 percent cut in state spending translates into thousands of layoffs among state workers and teachers in the coming weeks.
Also, Texas is tied with Mississippi as the nation’s leaders in minimum wage jobs. And conservatives argue that Texas can do more to lower its tax burden on businesses, which is higher than the national average and states such as California and Massachusetts that have a personal income tax…
…Construction, manufacturing and information sectors lost jobs overall. Education and health services led in job creation (32 percent of all jobs added), followed by professional and business services (23 percent), petroleum (18 percent) and government (12 percent). Other industry sectors, ranging from utilities to hospitality, had smaller job gains…
Copelin’s article went on to ask economists if Gov. Perry was the root cause of Texas’ economic success. Their responses — even among those willing to give him the most credit — were lukewarm, at best.
Texas was the last state to allow homeowners to tap into their equity, and even then it came with numerous protections for both lenders and homeowners. The state also benefits from an economy that relies heavily on the energy markets, and its residents benefit from low taxes and an overall low cost of living.
But, the Lone Star State also has the highest percentage of its population — tied with Mississippi — earning at or below the federal minimum wage. In fact, its total number of employees making no more than minimum wage was more than California, Florida, and Illinois — combined.
For the “it’s the economy, stupid” wing of the Republican Party, those aren’t facts you likely throw around at campaign appearances. But, there’s more.
Gov. Perry has touted himself as a champion of the Tenth Amendment, that the federal government just needs to butt out of the affairs of the states. But, when Washington handed out stimulus money to help states shore up their budget gaps, Texas ponied up — big time.
According to Tami Luhby of CNNMoney, Texas was the most dependent state on federal stimulus money in 2009 and 2010. So much so, the state plugged 97 percent of its budget deficit with one-time money from Washington.
Texas, which crafts a budget every two years, was facing a $6.6 billion shortfall for its 2010-2011 fiscal years. It plugged nearly all of that deficit with $6.4 billion in Recovery Act money, allowing it to leave its $9.1 billion rainy day fund untouched.
“Stimulus was very helpful in getting them through the last few years,” said Brian Sigritz, director of state fiscal studies for the National Association of State Budget Officers, said of Texas.
Even as Perry requested the Recovery Act money, he railed against it. On the very same day he asked for the funds, he set up a petition titled “No Government Bailouts.”
“Join our fight and add your voice to a growing list of several thousand Americans who are fed up with this irresponsible spending that threatens our future,” Perry wrote on his blog on Feb. 18, 2009.
In Iowa, for instance, the entire one-year state budget is $6.3 billion in the next fiscal year. But, in Texas, the idea of using one-time stimulus money was about as effective as it was in The Hawkeye State — legislators have been left looking for ways to balance the states’ budget without it, now.
In January, the Texas State Legislature began working on an austerity budget based on $15 billion in less revenue, including more than $7.5 billion in federal money for Medicare and education. Legislators were tasked with finding $31 billion in spending cuts, including deep cuts in healthcare and education — chopping away almost all of the job gains Gov. Perry has been touting.
Meanwhile, the state’s “rainy day fund” has only grown to $9.4 billion, which even if fully depleted will only cover less than a third of the budget gap. Schools will close, teachers will lose jobs, and the poor will find it more difficult to get healthcare.
Not exactly the kind of stuff you talk about when trying to attract middle-of-the-roaders on the campaign trail. But, there’s even more. After all, middle-of-the-roaders aren’t the most likely voters in a caucus state, such as first-in-the-nation (for now?) Iowa.
The base shows up for the caucus, meaning you have to appeal to true-blooded conservatives to have a shot. So, where would Gov. Perry stand on one of the biggest issues for “original” Tea Party members: the NAFTA Superhighway.
Or, if you like, we can call it by its official name, the North American Supercorridor COalition (NASCO) Corridor.
A key component of the NASCO Corridor, if you’ve listened at all to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on the campaign trail, is the Trans-Texas Corridor. And, Gov. Perry’s involvement in the project is so deep, it prompted TownHall.com’s Rachel Alexander to call it “Rick Perry’s NAFTA Superhighway Problem.”
Perry’s campaign website lists the Trans-Texas Corridor as one of his accomplishments, “Rather than taking decades to expand these important corridors a little bit at a time, Governor Perry developed the Trans-Texas Corridor plan.” But is it something Perry really wants broadcast as an achievement?
The Texas Republican Party’s 2010 platform includes a plank specifically opposing the Trans-Texas Corridor. Some of the opposition to the NAFTA Superhighway has been dismissed as conspiratorial, but loud objections also came from people concerned with border security and one million rural interests and farmers that stood to lose their land to eminent domain.
According to Alexander’s report, Perry received campaign contributions from the company that constructed the Trans-Texas Corridor, as well as the Spanish-owned company that retained ownership of the roadway and collected the tolls from it. Where have we heard of Gov. Perry doing that before?
Alexander sums it up this way:
Unlike Romney, Perry has not completely disavowed his controversial history as governor. Romney distanced himself from Mass-Care by promising that the first Executive Order he would sign upon becoming president would be a waiver to all 50 states from Obamacare. Perry, on the other hand, proudly lists Trans-Texas Corridor as one of his accomplishments on his website.
The state of Texas, multiple factions within the Republican Party, and significant numbers of Democrats oppose the Trans-Texas Corridor. They are not going to sit back and risk repeating an “accomplishment” like this on a national scale.
So, perhaps it’s not just a “NAFTA Superhighway problem” for Rick Perry. Maybe, it’s a Rick Perry problem for America.
There is a new twist in the continuing saga of the Occupy DSM protests today. This morning the organizers of the Occupy DSM protests had their application to renew their permit to stay in the park they have been occupying has been denied. According to the Iowa Department of Administrative Services the permit was denied because the state has had the practice of limiting overnight stays to just three nights. This means that if the protesters ignore the 11 P.M. curfew they will once again be subject to arrest as well as criminal charges.
The uproar that has resulted from this decision has been entirely predictable. One of the chief agitators at the moment is David Goodner from Iowa Citizen’s for Community Improvement. This group has been well documented as a confrontational organization that will resort to disruption and chaos in an attempt to push their point of view. It was this group that heckled Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney during the Iowa State Fair in August. According to the Des Moines Register Mr. Goodner is attempting to claim that because the State denied the renewal of the permit that the State is suppressing their freedom of speech.
I cannot stress this strong enough. The State of Iowa is not attempting to limit the protesters ability to protest. The State of Iowa is not attempting to limit the protesters 1st Amendment rights. There is, however, someone that is working to limit the protesters right to protest, the protesters themselves. That’s right; the only one that is working to limit their ability to protest is the protesters themselves. They have rigidly stood by their demands to protest in that particular park. It seems to be that the protesters themselves feel that they are above the law. They continuously espouse the belief that they have a right to violate the curfew law governing that park because they want to protest there. By continuing to be wavering in this demand the biggest hindrance to their ability protest is themselves.
I find it simply astonishing that a group that has supposedly assembled to protest and attempt to affect change has acted so irrationally. This begs the question, if their message is so important that they have to be able to protest around the clock, why in the world are they so rigid in their protests location? And while I do not have an answer to this question, I can develop a few assumptions. Perhaps the some of the protesters are simply there to create a confrontation. Perhaps someone like David Goodner wants to try to get arrested in an attempt to become seen as a “leader” in this movement. Or it could be that the protesters are so blinded by their hatred for Governor Branstad that they are forcing a potential confrontation in an effort to embarrass him. Then again they could simply not realize that they do have options.
I have learned that the Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie has extended an invitation to the Occupy DSM protesters to utilize a city park to the east of the State Capital with a seven day permit. Personally I don’t think that these protesters will accept the invitation. They have the ability to protest at the State Capital, just not in the location that they want. Furthermore, there will be no line of sight between them and the State Capital officially neutering their protest. Additionally, as I said before, I believe that a number of the protesters are intent on provoking a confrontation with the Iowa State Patrol. No, I think that the use of the city park will be refused and that the end result will be the arrest of two to three dozen protesters. I could be wrong of course. We will find out at 11 P.M.