Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We need to unite our fractured party.

I knew as I typed the words “big tent” yesterday I was asking for a bunch of comments and messages in my inbox. If you were to come up to me on the street and ask me if I was a big tent Republican I’d probably give you weird look and tell you no.

If asked what type of Republican I am, I would tell you that I’m pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. I’m a fiscal conservative who believes in less regulation and lower-flatter and simpler taxes. I also believe that America has a role to play in the world. I’m a Hawk who firmly believes in peace through strength. I’m also an advocate of a limited federal government. Our current policies are incrementally creating a socialist nanny state that I don’t want any part of. Simply put I’m a Republican because I believe that every citizen of this country has the personal responsibility to make this a better nation.

When talking about the “big tent” I’m referring to every member/activist of Republican Party in Iowa. I look at party politics much like a business. Our good friends at Casey’s don’t just sell their delicious pizza to those who make $40,000 or more per year, they sell them to anyone who wants one. The same approach must be used in party politics. We need encourage as many people as possible to identify themselves as Republicans. It’s counterproductive for the Republican Party to be exclusive because its sole purpose is to win elections, which means we need more people to vote for our Republican candidates than vote for Democrat candidates.

Where we as activists must be diligent is in properly vetting our Republican candidates. This is also where the platform comes in. We as party activists (voters) have every right to demand that our candidates support the core issues that make up our Republican platform. So if a candidate has a history of not supporting the core issues of our party we need to confront them and inquire why they hold those particular positions or what caused them to change their positions.

The current squabbles within the Republican Party in Iowa are symbolic of the problems we as a party face, but it is important to understand that the election of Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman and National Committee people are not the root cause of the problem. The problem stems from a heavy dose of Bush fatigue, coupled with an a$$ kickin in November of 2006, with a dollop of contentious caucus campaigns.

Just read the comment section of this blog. Some Romney supporters still feel the need to call Mike Huckabee a Christian socialist months after his campaign has ended. On the other hand, many Huckabee supporters still call Romney a flip flopper. And the only thing that most people can agree on is that Ron Paul is a freak and John McCain sucks. I can’t believe that that we as Iowa Republicans went through the entire caucus exercise and were unable to physically grow our party. How pathetic.

Why is it impossible for supporters of Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, and John McCain to unite around our Republican nominee? I’m not satisfied 100% with our nominee, but John McCain is a much better than 4 years of Barack Obama and his liberal agenda.

It is the mission of the Republican Party to attract as many people as possible to be active Republicans. It’s about winning elections folks, which is something we have not done in a long, long time. Where the “big tent” philosophy isn’t welcomed is when it comes to our candidates. Our Republican candidates are the products which the voters buy off the shelves, but it is important that those products contain the same common ingredients. It is the Republican Party’s responsibility to get as many people as possible to purchase their products.

It is now time to unite under the banner of the Republican Party and do what we can to elect our Republican candidates.


  1. Just read this morning that Chuck Grassley won't be a delegate to the RNC convention because of Scheffler.


  2. Neither are King and Latham you moron. It has nothing to do with Scheffler. It has nothing to do with the investigations of corrupt ministries. Most Christians cheered Grassley for that. So go try to stir up fake trouble somewhere else.

  3. Good point Ted.

  4. No, Ted would have used more profane names. Try again.

  5. Grassley/King/Latham are not delegates as they have floor privileges at the national convention. Do you really think Grassley is going to camp out on the floor of the convention for 4 days? It’s not a big deal folks he can come and go as he pleases. It wasn’t a big deal at the state convention because if that was the case we would have heard about it before now.
    This is the crap that needs to stop. It serves no purpose in uniting the party.

  6. Every time I hear about the GOP platform I get nautious. This document is not the Bible, it's not the final word of God. It's a political statement that's been changed and rewritten 100 times by whoever so happened to show up to state convention that year. If I didn't have a real job, maybe i too could spend my days organizing 1000 people to go to convention and rewrite the stupid thing to say that the sky is green. Running on that as an issue would be about at fruitful as the right to life will be this year.

  7. Can we define 'Bush fatigue'?

    Don't you think Bush's own strong religious beliefs and religious supporters are a big part of this predicament.

    Don't you think Bush and congress' own spending like a drunken sailor contributes fiscal conservatives' lack of comfort with the Iowa Christian Alliance calling all the shots?

    Someone yesterday said "What the media and other republicans forget is that social conservatives WANT a smaller government ..."

    Certainly for some of them that may be true. But looking at the way this administration has governed, I don't believe it has been true for the social conservatives who were elected by a Baptist landslide in 2000 and 2004.

    Religions have fundamentally different motivations and goals than a political party and neither one should have anything to do with the governance of the other.

  8. Bush fatigue:

    First, its how the Bush campaign operated in Iowa. Activists went to war twice to get this guy elected and they are exhausted and have not seen a good return on their efforts. Sure we have 2 great Supreme Court Justices, but we have also had to hold our nose while he has expanded the size and scope of government. Also while these activists worked their tails off for Bush, we lost congressional and state legislative seats.
    Simply put we are disappointed in Bush’s presidency, and now we have our nominee John McCain, and we know he will disappoint us. So it is just more of the same.

    I don’t think Bush fatigue has anything to do with him being an evangelical. Republicans want a fighter to take on the liberal in this country, Bush has failed to do this and John McCain seems to only want to fight over the future of Iraq.

  9. Great post Krusty. Unfortunately it seems to have fallen on some deaf ears. It appears to me that some people just aren't happy unless they have something to complain about.

    G, think about this. It wasn't the socons that brought us Bush. If you remember, in the 1999 straw poll Iowa socons picked Pat Robertson. In addition if it wasn't for the socons we would have been stuck with Al Gore instead of Bush. If you think gas prices are high now, Gore advocated for higher fuel prices back then. And them if it wasn't for the socons we would have been stuck with the false hero John Kerry. It seems to me that the socons helped prevent the Dems from wrecking our country.

  10. Al, you can't have it both ways. The fact that socons wanted some crazier in the primaries doesn't mean they didn't 'bring us' Bush.


    White Protestants went for Bush 63-34.

    Rove figured out that if you win enough of the Baptists in this country, you don't need to win anyone else.

  11. Why is it impossible for supporters of Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, and John McCain to unite around our Republican nominee? I’m not satisfied 100% with our nominee, but John McCain is a much better than 4 years of Barack Obama and his liberal agenda."

    Becuase I am a republican not a Guns and Butter Democrat that McCain is. McCain is just a clone from LBJ and other Hawk Democrats,

    He is not conservative, he is not a champion of the Constitution and he disrespects that country's sovereignty.

    As I type, the lawsuit I have joined to stop the Nevada GOP from hosting any delegates will be an example for other Republicans like myself who come from the traditions and character of Taft and Coolidge to say to the GOP that their days are numberted and if they do not do a 180 and head to the right where they should be then the GOP will not last much longer.

  12. G, The site that you posted showed the poll numbers in the general election. Using those numbers I can also say that gun owners brought us Bush. What those numbers fail to show is who voted for Bush in the primaries.
    The socons voted for Bush in the general because he managed to win them over. Think about what would have happened after 9/11 if Gore had been in office.
    Now let's know this crap off and go about the job of electing Republicans.

  13. I am sad.

    Sad for you Krusty. I was agreeing with your post and then, just as I was getting to the end, and feeling like you get the big tent philosophy, you hit me upside the head with the statement that our candidates can't be in the big tent or part of the big tent. That our candidates must somehow be clones. No, no, no.

    Casey's may sell a delicious pizza in every town in this state and that pizza is made the same way in every town, but that is not comparable to our candidates.

    Republican primary voters determine our candidates. When a candidate wins the primary, they are our candidate. Sometimes we choose wisely, and sometimes not. It depends on what those in middle will buy, that great unconnected average voter that trudges though life and is not an activist. The primary winner in Ankeny could and probably does hold differing views than the primary winner in Sac City. And that is okay.

    Jim Leach and Steve King are perfect examples and fit their districts pretty well. Neither could win in the others district, and I dare say, in the general as well as the primary.

    I don't want clone candidates. If you try to make them identical slices of pizza then we lose, and become "stale" as a party.

    I don't like stale pizza or politics.

  14. I’m not saying our candidates shouldn’t also be big tent, I’m saying that to be a Republican candidate they need to support our common philosophy.
    To make my point, you all know that I supported Miller-Meeks over Teahen in the 2nd district primary. Miller-Meeks isn’t a right-wing candidate who is out pounding the pavement on the social issues even though she shares our core values. Instead she is out there talking about energy independence, health care, and tax reform. I’m not saying everyone needs to be like Steve King (that would be nice), I’m saying that there needs to be some core beliefs that our candidates do not compromise on.

  15. Krusty, I agree with you that there needs to be some core issues that our candidates share. I think that the recent problems come from a difference in what those core issues should be. Some people believe that it should be the social issues, and some people think that it should be the fiscal issues. I would like to ask your opinion on what the core issues should be.

  16. I think Krusty is saying that our candidates' core issues should include both fiscal and social issues, but that it is understandable if some candidates tout some issues more than others in certain extreme cases (like Iowa's 2nd CD), so long as you know the candidate will be there on all issues when you need them.

  17. Being a delegate and having floor privilleges are not the same thing. Having floor privilleges means you can walk around the floor. The chaplain of the house has floor privilleges in the house...but, he doesn't get a vote.

    Our party has been on this self destructive path for some time now. We must all work together and realize that being Republican can mean a lot of different things.

    There are pro-choice Republicans. There are gay Republicans and there are Republicans who believe in welfare programs. Yet, at the end of the day they identify themselves as Republicans. At the grassroots level they still mark the R on the ballot. As elected officials they still allow our party one more seat toward the majority which puts us one seat closer to controlling the ajenda.

    We need to embrace anyone who is willing to call themself a Republican and realize that they agree with us on at least 51% of the major issues.

    Our party of the big tent is beginning to look more like 4 tent stakes tied tightly together with twine with no canvas canope anywhere in sight.

    Both the moderates and the right need to get over themselves and appreciate the other for what they are...a fellow Republican.

  18. It seems that too many folks on here have a loser’s mentality. Complain about this and that. We live in effectively a parliamentary where you fight for who you want to win with the choices you have in the primary and when the dust settles you go on with who won fair and square and fight for victory in the general. It is about choices.

    The same people complaining on here, are the same people who complain about TO destroying a team because he does not get what he wants.

    An activist is a team player - a teammate. Don’t be a crybaby, poor sport, loser. McCain, Miller-Meeks, Reed, pick your primary winner – They are the nominee.

    McCain has a 20yr pro-life voting record (100% before campaign finance). He was the strongest supporter of victory in Iraq and the surge of any candidate (when it was not politically expedient). Spending is the biggest area where R’s have lost their way and the reason for much of the resentment. McCain was/is the most fiscally conservative of any major candidate (1 of only a few to vote against Medicare part B the most expensive/unaffordable bill in 50 yrs). Now there are things that he has done that are not so good. But if you are on his team you focus on the good let the opponent point out the bad. For every thing you disagree with about McCain there are 4 areas of agreement.

    Pessimistic whiny losers are supposed to be democrats. The world seems to be turning upside down!

  19. Well said 11:49!

  20. anon 9:45

    Not ALL of Fred Thompson's supporters are refusing to fall in line.

    I am one of them. I was the one of the State Co-Chairs.

    I have no problem at all now supporting our nominee, Senator McCain.

    Please refrain from posting in generalities, unless you can prove what you post.

    Sandy Greiner

  21. It always amuses how the people who are calling for unity are the ones who control the agenda. Krusty, I respect you for your strong views, but it's no secret that you are a huge fan of the Scheffler / Lehman coalition so of course you want the rest of us to rally behind them.

    The ICA deserves a lot of credit for energizing a lot of new Republicans in recent years. And they have worked hard to make abortion a big part of their agenda. The same could be said, I suppose, for same-sex marriage.

    All of us are familiar with the RINO label. I suppose by most definitions that describes me. I am a Hawk and think the foreign policy HAS to remain our top priority or nothing else is going to matter. I think we spend to much money on social program and I wish that more than a third of my income didn't go to the government every April 15.

    Still, I believe we need to take care of one another and provide various safety nets to the old, the poor, the sick. I believe in the old mantra about providing a hand up rather than a hand out.

    I am concerned about immigration but also believe our economy would collapse if we did the mass deportation that so many "Real Republicans" have called for. I think Postville is a microcosm of what could happen to so many localities if we cut of immigrant labor OR FOUND another source of cheap, risk-tolerant, hard-working laborers.

    So where does that leave me? I've been voting for 30 years but don't feel like the party wants me anymore, that they don't want to hear my ideas. There are too many issues that Democrats embrace that I disdain to ever give me the enthusiasm to join that party.

    I'm a Chuck Grassley Republican and would be hard-pressed to find a reason not to support him. Brains and integrity are what's important to me, not labels. I'm happy to remain a Republican but not just so I can walk lock-step with a handful of zealots who want to tell me what I can believe in.

  22. If McCain takes Huckabee as his VP it will be similar to the Nussle Vander Platts ticket. McCain will campaign hard and Huckabee’s people will do there best to sabotage the election. This worked out well for Vander Platts followers and should work well for the Huckabee faithful.

    Praise the ICA woops I mean Jesus

  23. Same goes for Romney

  24. I think that it is safe to say that if McCain picks Romney or Huckabee, then the ticket is almost doomed to failure. I think the best pick for McCain is to pick a candidate that is strong on all of the issues that are at the core of the Republican Party would be his best bet. Perhaps with the national mood McCains best choice should be someone new, someone that has not been on the national stage before. Basically a fresh face to the national political scene.

  25. Why is it fine when a fiscal conservative gets elected in Iowa and they praise the support of the social conservatives for making the phone calls and getting people out to vote. Basically, it is the socons that win their elections for them. Then, when a social conservatives gets elected to a post, the fiscal conservatives whine and say "They just want to elect a pastor in cheif and not a commander in chief?". The fi-cons should rally around the social conservative and make phone calls to get people to vote just like what the socons did for many years getting ficons elected. I'm sick of people calling socons "bible-thumpers" or saying the "platform is not the bible". Geez, we are not religious nutjobs no matter what you say. In fact, their was a poll that showed that so-cons support the Iraq war more than any other group including the national security faction. When a fi-con gets elected, we support you so when a socon gets elected you should support us. Notice how their hasn't been a fued until socons got elected and now Hell breaks loose. Are the social conservatives the problem? I think not!!!!!!

  26. I didn't leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me.
    -Fiscal conservative who doesn't want the govt to become the national church.

  27. anon 5:42. So basically you want the social conservatives to fall in line behind you but when the shoe is on the other foot you get upset. Seems a little hypocritical to me. As I said before the majority of socons are also ficons, we just see a different way of getting there.

  28. Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

    Napoleon Bonaparte

  29. "Old Southern Democrats took over my party."

    Lincoln Chafee, on NPR a while back

  30. I agree that the Fiscal and Social conservatives need to unite. We have to stop looking at it as one way or another...if you look at Democrats they bring unity to their party by holding up a few issues from each faction. The Republican party is tearing itself apart the way the country is. We are Social conservatives or Fiscal conservatives just like we have Mexican Americans or African or Asian Americans. Bullcrap it should be Conservative or it should be American not watered down not Diet, give me every stinking calorie. Unfortunately like Deace said today the almighty dollar persuades far too many people and far far too many of our politicians. We as conservatives need to demand more from our elected officials and we need to demand that they stop being such weenies when it comes to standing up for what we believe is right.

  31. Deace must have gotten the beat down from those in charge. His "bridge building" seemed like nothing more than pandering to bring the party together. Maybe we should start calling him "Dobson Jr." - gutless wonder. He wanted Operation Extinction - he should have the stones to follow up with it and see what it gets him.

  32. Anon 10:37, that is not the case at all. If you had paid attention Deace is apologizing for sinning. That was in no way a bridge building exercise. Please go to his blog and reread the blog post, that is what he read on air in his last hour.

  33. Operation extinction is a complete rip-off of operation chaos. Give me a break why is he even concerned when he is proudly not even Republican nor is he a vocal conservative. He is a social conservative... that’s it that is what he cares about he is a 2 issue voter advocate. Get your head out of your ass and realize it! Operation extinction is the biggest scam since 1 hour Martinizing.

  34. GOP veterans say party stresses social issues too much
    By Fred Love Journal Des Moines Bureau

    DES MOINES -- The focus among Iowa Republican leaders on social issues is drowning out other parts of the GOP message and could cost the party in elections this November, said a pair of Iowa Republican stalwarts Wednesday.

    Mary Lundby, former Iowa Senate Republican leader from Marion, said many GOP voters in the state are more worried about the economy and energy prices than they are about social issues like abortion or gay rights.

    And the election of social conservatives as the state party's national party committeeman and committeewoman has caused friction within the party, said Ray Hoffmann, a former Republican Party of Iowa chairman from Sioux City.

    Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Christian Alliance, and Kim Lehman, president of Iowa Right to Life, defeated state party veterans Steve Roberts and Sandy Greiner for spots on the Republican National Committee during elections at the state convention earlier this month.

    The state party's central committee has given short shrift to other topics in favor of social issues, and that could turn off voters, Lundby said.

    "Voters have so many other issues on their minds and when you only coalesce on those (social) issues, you lose those voters in the chatter, and we can't afford that," she said.

    Lundby, a state legislator for 22 years, said the central committee has lost touch with rank-and-file voters, and her hopes for Republicans to retake the Iowa House this fall have faded.

    Hoffmann said he thinks the party can still make some gains in the Legislature, especially in the western parts of the state. But he criticized party leaders for pushing social issues at the expense of other concerns.

    Scheffler said Iowa Republicans have to differentiate themselves from Democrats on a range of topics, and social issues are an important part of the equation.

    "To say social issues are not important is just not real good political reasoning in my view," he said. But he also said the party must take care to strike an even balance between social and fiscal issues in its message to voters.

    Scheffler said Republican lawmakers at the federal and state level pay lip service to social conservatives but don't always deliver on their promises. He pointed to the Republican-controlled Iowa Senate failing to approve an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman in 2004 as an example.

    Lehman said the state party hasn't abandoned core Republican fiscal values like small government and low taxes. She said the notion that the party is torn between social conservatives and fiscal conservatives is fabricated by the media and doesn't reflect reality.

    "Republicans have always stood for these principles and that's what we vote for," she said. Dennis Goldford, a professor of politics at Drake University, called the election of Scheffler and Lehman a "skirmish" to influence the direction of the state party.

    Goldford said some in the party have argued that a more conservative approach could energize the party's base, while others call for the party to take a more moderate approach to social issues to appeal to centrist voters.

    Prior to this year, religious conservatives comprised around 35 to 40 percent of Republican caucus turnout, but polls this year indicated that proportion jumped to around 60 percent, he said. Likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain, an Arizona senator, finished fourth in the caucuses, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, won the nominating contest.

    It remains to be seen what will happen if the party shifts to the right on social issues, Goldford said. "It's a question of what will socially moderate Republicans do, and, in general, will they stay with a party that seems to be pulled toward harder positions they may not hold," he said.

    Fred Love can be contacted at (515) 243-0138 or fred.love@lee.net.