Monday, July 21, 2008

Pup Tent or Big Tent? You decied.

Another day, another story about the internal struggle within the Republican Party of Iowa.

In today’s episode Tom Beaumont from the Des Moines Register writes about what a couple of the Republican Party of Iowa’s largest donors have to think about the rightward drift of the GOP here in Iowa.

I’ll just cut to the point, Diane Crookam-Johnson from Oskaloosa is concerned that the party will focus too much of its effort on the social issues. Gary Kirke from West Des Moines, say’s it’s the economy stupid. It is clear that Crookham-Johnson is not going to give any additional funds to the party in this cycle and will probably continue to hold out until a Chair of her liking is elected. That’s here right as a donor. Kirke on the other hand is not going to make any brash decisions but is watching the situation.

It will probably surprise you to hear me say that the SCC and those in leadership positions need to listen to these donors. Now I’m not saying I support their positions on each and every issue, but the Iowa GOP can’t rob Peter to pay Paul when it comes to in building a political party.

So what does it mean? It means social conservatives and fiscal conservatives need to find a way to coexist. It’s not a foreign concept since the two main factions of the Republican Party have worked side by side since 1980. Social conservatives need to realize that they can not win elections only on abortion, gay marriage, and cloning. Those issues can help you win elections, and motivate a certain segment of the electorate. On the other hand, fiscal conservatives need to realize that the super majority of social conservatives are fiscal conservatives, it’s just not as big of a priority to them as the social issues are. Simply put, one can't live (win) without the other.

If the two work together we can win elections, if they don’t work together we can’t win anything.

I find it hard to believe that it’s the GOP with the internal bickering and not the Democrats. The GOP has just two main factions while the Dems have multiple factions, just look at their state central committee.

In addition to their district representation, they have statewide representation for the following groups.

Affirmative Action
American Indian

The Dems have many more factions to keep happy than the GOP, but they use these groups to organize, and unfortunately the Iowa GOP doesn’t have anything like this. Shouldn’t the GOP be organizing Blacks, Latinos, Veterans, American Indians, Farmers, Business Professionals, and Pro-Family folks? Sure some campaigns do this work, but shouldn’t it be an ongoing process of the party?

The one thing all Republicans should agree on is pocketbook issues. These issues should be the canopy of our big tent, and social conservatives need to be the main pole supporting the center of the canopy. The problem the GOP is having is we don’t have any of the side polls which has created a lot of stress between he canopy and the main pole.

I’m never a fan of the term “big tent ” but you need one to win elections. As a party we like to reminisce about Regan Democrats, but currently our party seems to be against building a winning coalition. To be successful we need to talk about those pocket book issues. Just look at what Mike Huckabee did here in Iowa. Sure he had the support of the social conservatives, but he also spent a lot of time talking about the struggles of the average American. He called for tax simplification, and tax relief. Those who thought he was a one trick pony were mistaken. He built a winning coalition in Iowa by getting social conservatives and people concerned about the economy and jobs to work side by side.

The Iowa GOP needs to strive to do the same, because if they do those donors like Crookham-Johnson and Kirke will feel included, not excluded. Then we can really start talking about winning some elections.


  1. Washington Times Article (partial). If you don't think were a puptent, read this tidbit.

    Evangelical Christians in Iowa, dominant in the state's Republican Party, have denied Sen. Charles E. Grassley his request for a place on the state's delegation to this summer's Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

    Mr. Grassley may attend the party's Sept. 1-4 nominating convention in St. Paul, but not as a voting delegate.

    With a majority of nine out of 17 members on the Iowa Republican central committee, religious conservatives made Iowa Christian Alliance President Steve Scheffler chairman of Iowa's 40-member delegation in a vote immediately after their state party convention July 12.

    "It's pretty well controlled now by the Christian Alliance," Mr. Roberts said. "If somebody came to me and wanted to be a delegate to the national party convention, I used to say, 'Talk to the state party chairman or to Grassley.' Now it's very simple. You go to the Christian Alliance, and they determine who is a delegate, and you have to do exactly as they say."

    Barring Mr. Grassley from voting-delegate status is seen as a blow to him as the senior Republican official in the state, who normally might have led the convention's delegation.

    Mr. Grassley had said "yes" when asked by Iowa Republican Chairman Stewart Iverson if he wanted to be a voting delegate to the national convention, Mr. Iverson said

    Political observers in Iowa saw the move against Mr. Grassley as retribution for his having tangled with evangelical pastors in his state. He initiated a Senate Finance Committee investigation of six televangelists for conspicuous personal spending.

    "That had nothing to with it at all," Mr. Scheffler said Sunday.

    He was asked if Mr. Grassley had been chosen as a delegate, would he also have been expected to be chairman of the Iowa delegation.

    "I suppose it's true. He would have been chairman," Mr. Scheffler said.

    Robert Novak on Saturday noted yesterday that the "74-year old Grassley once was considered the leader of the Iowa Republican Party's conservative wing, but has been at odds with the increasingly influential evangelical elements in the party."

    Party officials in the state say the takeover is alienating major Republican donors and driving them out of the party.

    Yeah, co-exist. Right.

  2. Can't we all just get alongJuly 21, 2008 at 2:21 PM

    Krusty makes a series of really good points here. We have a difficult enough time winning elections with what is left of our dwindling party membership without circling the wagons and shooting inward all the time.

    There simply aren't enough purists of any faction in the GOP for us to be successful without the others. Its simple math people.

    I don't agree with everything Steve King believes nor do I with everything Jim Leach does, but they are both giants in my beloved Grand Old Party and we are lucky to have them.

    WAR Krusty,TRS,HawkeyeGOP,Yoda,Cedar Waxwing,G$,FlyOverCountry and Emily Geiger!

  3. Anoymous - I was just getting ready to post the same article.

    This is unbelievable! With all of the recent developments, it makes me glad I have moved out of state and not around to watch the Party destroy itself from the inside out.

  4. Social conservatives vs. fiscal conservatives. Well that's two factions, but what about the limited government folks? You know the ones opposed to big government. People like me who find it a departure from traditional GOP ideals to use the power of government to advance a partiuclar moral platform. Legislating who can marry whom, and what kind of research can go on in a university lab requires the power of government. Some of us are opposed to using government in that fashion period. It's always struck me as the height of hypocrisy to rail against big government and then turn around and use that same power to dictate how YOU believe others should live their lives. Some of us joined this party because we don't believe that's how government power should be used at all. Keep the government out of my life as much as possible. What the hell ever happened to that sentiment?

    Don't look for the social conservatives to advance a small government agenda. Instead it will be their own particular breed of big government, thus missing the point of what it really means to be a Republican in the first place. Being 30% of the electorate will not win you many districts and will win you even fewer statewide races.

  5. Sorry the limited government post was mine. Forgot to identify myself. I don't like nameless cowards much.

    Tom Ashworth

  6. Tom,

    Thanks for your post. I'm going to write more on this subject tomorrow. I agree 100% that the limited government folks are critical, and actually provide the glue between the Social and Fiscal Conservatives.

    I would argue the limited government folks were the first to leave the party. Heck they have an independent streak in them anyway.

    More tomorrow.

    Thanks for posting

  7. I'm all for limited government. I believe that by limiting the government we limit the amount of money required to run said government and can thereby lower taxes and not go into debt. I'm also a social conservative when it comes to abortion and gun rights. Don't care much about gay marriage. It doesn't affect me.

    While I believe in limited government I also believe that it is the duty of the government to provide protection and/or services when the public sector is not. Abortion is the violation of an individual's (the baby's) rights and need someone to protect them. Let me keep my gun. But just because I don't dig guy-on-guy doesn't mean it should be banned.

    So am I a social conservative? I'm very passionate about life and the Second Amendment. Am I fiscally conservative? Absolutely. Who likes to pay more taxes? Am I small government? Definitely. The government sucks at governing. Why should they try their hand at other things like health care.

    We have to stop this. This is ridiculous. End the R on R violence that's tearing down not just 621 E. 9th but tearing at our entire country since we're a swing state.

    Unless we agree that we're all working for a better cause and group of candidates, even though no one fits perfectly with what I believe in, we'll continue to be smoked in elections for the next 8 years.

    Looking forward to tomorrow's post.

  8. did scheffler explain why grassley was omitted as a delegate?

  9. I'm not sure how many of you have seen the movie 'With God on our Side' but you should.

    It chronicles the rise of religious right ... from 50 years ago when you didn't mix church and politics, (what a concept!) to today, when, thanks to a huge Protestant majority, GWB became the first president to lose even the Catholic vote and still win.

    Count me as one of the people who's top priority is less government, less spending. Also, count me as one of the people who has seen quite enough of Gov Bush's and Gov Huckabee's 'compassionate conservatism'.

    Huckabee may see a new and potentially winning coalition of Christians and welfare advocates, but he's building it at the expense of the GOP.

    If the Baptists continue their takeover I will be wishing the party well.

  10. Everyone puts evangelcial Christians into a box that is made out of social values. What the media and other republicans forget is that social conservatives WANT a smaller government, low taxes, strong national security AND strong social issues that are a part of the GOP platform. The social conservatives are upset because the GOP is ignoring the social issues part of the national platform and focusing more emphasis on national securtiy and fiscal conservatism. Social Conservatives just don't want social issues but others as well. If the GOP makes all three of those issues important than they are fine. If they ignore social issues that they will riot. It is not about excluding smaller government people or fiscal conservatives people if social conservatives are elected. It is making sure their voice is not muffeled out like it was going to be if something wasn't changed.

  11. Russ from WintersetJuly 21, 2008 at 6:38 PM

    If social cons want smaller government, immigration policy that doesn't reward lawbreakers, sound fiscal policy, strong foreign policy, and a sane look at the global warming swindle....why the heck did they all back Huckabee?

    I can see where they're coming from. They feel like the "country clubbers" and fiscal focus people marginalized them for years, and voting for Huck was a protest vote against the "party establishment". The problem is that they should have picked a REAL conservative instead of Huckabee, or as he's called in some circles, "John Edwards with a bible".

    The rift between the social cons & the fiscal cons needs to heal, but please lay off the "if we'd only selected Huck" garbage.

  12. Why did Grassley, Leon Mosley, Greg Baker (state CR Chairman), etc..get left off the National Delegate list....simple.

    Scheffler and ICA made an agreement with the Ron Paul faction... If ICA allowed RP supporters to be National Delegates..then they would back Scheffler/Lehman for National Committeeman/Woman.

    ICA is going to try to hold this over McCain's head...if McCain doesnt play ICA's game..then the RP's will be free to make a public spat in Minneapolis...

  13. I think the only way for the two factions to coexist is for both to recognize that they share the same values for the most part and to promote both fiscal and social conservative issues. Neither side needs to set priorities. Both factions are equally important to the party! We need to actually follow through with our beliefs and get something done. If we accomplish goals on both sides we don't have to pick a faction, and we don't have to split the party.

  14. Do you have alist of the names of the RP supporters who are delegates?

  15. Jeremiah Johnson, Steve Hoodjer...

    They were on the alternate list; said that they were asked to run as alternates only and be team players. Let those who asked them to take a back seat win as delegates and then those people would vote for them as alternates. Hoodjer even mentioned that in his candidacy speech.

  16. thanks for that info

  17. this really makes me tired.

    both factions DO have the same philosophy, but a majority of the SCC (ICA supporters) basically announced they would make it their primary agenda at the exclusion of others.

    This is a non-starter when some of us try to gain a winning percentage of votes, which apparently is not the goal of ICA.

    ICA's goal of creating more space between traditional independents / conservative democrats and the Republican party is at odds with winning an election. They HAVE to emphasize the economy, drilling in ANWAR and other more "hot button" issues with the electorate.

    :::scratches head:::

  18. Perhaps Grassley wasn't included because he hasn't done one single thing for the republican party of iowa. He doesn't give money to candidates. He doesn't contribute to the party. He does nothing.

    Maybe that's why he didn't get selected.

    Maybe he should have campaigned for a spot.

    Time for Grassley to retire.

  19. I wonder if Grassley has any idea how involved Harkin is with the IDP. Harkin gives back. He grows the place. He gives to candidates. And, sadly for us conservatives, he actually represents the parties issues instead of his own.

    We need Grassley and Grassley is never there.

  20. Krusty - how do you reconcile the republicans who keep trying to increase our sales tax? - project destiny - silo etc?

    How do you reconcile the republicans who believe taking private property via eminent domain to give to private citizens for their FOR PROFIT personal projects with those conservative republicans who believe a man's home is his castle?

    Where does Private Property rights come into play as we "listen" to Gary Kirke and others who now feed at the teet of the taxpayer via corporate welfare and eminent domain?

    How do you reconcile those republicans who voted with the fascist democrats over basic freedoms?

    How do you reconcile those republicans who think our schools are in terrible shape after 40 years of democrat liberal control and wish for legislative change with those, like Pomerantz, who won't let us touch the teachers union?

    That issue probably cost Nussle his governorship. He campaigned on outspending the democrats on teachers. Who told him that was a winning idea? The guy who gave the money? We need to stop that.

    The problem is we stand for everything and nothing.

    Grassley leads the way on that, unfortunately, as our senior elected representative.

    We need better leadership out of Grassley.

    We need leadership on issues.

    It needs to matter if we win.

  21. I think that whoever said Grassley doesn't give to the party or candidates needs to head to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board website and start looking through the reports of Republican candidates from the last several cycles.

    Senator Grassley has a leadership PAC called the Hawkeye PAC which is the vehicle through which he gives to GOP candidates.

    So start looking folks. You'll find he gave more than 50k to Nussle, more the 25k to both Northy and Hanusa, and nearly 200k to State House Races and another 200k to State Senate races.

    I wouldn't call 500k nothing.

    I was glad to read the annon comment about both Leach and King being giants of our party. They are. Now, lets not forget that Grassley has to represent BOTH of those extreems as his district is the ENTIRE state.

    Chuck Grassley is a team player. Putting his money where his mouth is proves that. But, there is nothing to be proved by getting involved in these ridiculous turf wars at RPI.

    In fact, RPI is who people should be pointing the finger at. They raise money to pay their own bills. They haven't actually raised money for candidates in YEARS. Why do you think the House and Senate have had to set up their own fundraising machines and then funnel them through the LMF?

    I am proud of Grassley for supporting our candidates and our ideals while keeping out of the constant infighting at RPI.

  22. Anon 8:23...

    This is about one simple basic fact: RESPECT.

    Respect for our SENIOR senator..Grassley is our top Republican elected official in Iowa...

    Scheffler can sit there and deny it all he wants....but naming himself "chair" of the Iowa delegation (There was no vote taken of the National Delegates of whom would be the delegation Chair) his way of slapping Grassley in the face..

    Scheffler sees himself as the kingmaker in Republican politics now in Iowa and everyone must bow to him, kiss his ring and pledge their support to him in order to get anywhere.

    Let's see him put his money where his mouth is and run for office someday... He loves to complain that candidates aren't being "loyal" to the platform..well..then step up and run yourself then Mr. Scheffler.