Friday, November 14, 2008

Until our party is undoubtedly fiscally AND socially conservative we will not win elections

Today we continue with our week long look at rebuilding our Republican Party. For the first time since the election we have seen other blogs talk what our party should stand for as we move forward. Unfortunately, my friends In Fly Over County use a red herring to support their belief that our Party shouldn’t be strongly pro-life and pre-family.

The Fly Over Boys use Christopher Reeds failed US senate campaign as proof that we can no longer run candidates who are firmly pro-life and pro-family. That type of argument doesn’t help us have a healthy debate about the future direction of our Party. A better case study for the Fly Over Boys might be the campaigns of Dan Rasmussen, Jamie Van Fossen, and Tami Weincek, three state house incumbents that lost their re-election campaigns.

Now none of the three state house candidates listed above were rejected because of their stances on the social issues. However, Weincek went out of her way to moderate her position by supporting the minimum wage increase and special rights for gay, lesbian, and transgendered individuals. The question that begs asking is what good did it do for her to reach across the aisle on two issues that our Republican base firmly objects to?

On the other hand Kent Sorenson knocked off an incumbent Democrat in the house with zero help from the party and a firm commitment to the social issues. Walt Rogers who ran for the Iowa Senate might have done the same, as of today he is down only 14 votes and has requested a recount.

Now using the logic of those who want to moderate our positions on the social issues candidates like Walt Rogers and Kent Sorenson should never have won in state in which Obama easily won. In Black Hawk County Obama won with 60% of the vote, yet Rodgers was more than competitive despite McCain losing the county by more than 14,000 votes.

Now I also think the side that wants to moderate our positions is also engaged in a misinformation strategy when it comes to the social conservatives. I have not seen one person in this state who thinks we should only run campaigns on the social issues. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, instead the Social Conservatives don’t believe we should walk away from those positions because a few people and candidates in our Party don’t like to defend them.

On another note I feel that I also must point out one last thing. When Doug Gross was on Iowa Press, he mentioned that he is looking for a Bob Ray type of chair for the Republican Party. Now I think Governor Ray is a great man and his life story is fascinating. But we also need to realize that people like Governor Ray, and Dave Roederer who actively pushed for Project Destiny in the Des Moines Metro last year.

So we let me get this straight, we have a group of people who want to muzzle the Social Conservatives, so we can focus on the “kitchen table issues” but these people are also the ones who brought us Project Destiny, a plan to give tax breaks to Principal Financial Group and a tax increase to individuals.

Until our party is undoubtedly fiscally AND socially conservative we will not win elections. People like Walt Rogers and Kent Sorenson have figured it out.


  1. Krusty...I applaud your courage to take a stand for the obvious. The blogosphere is ripe with dissent right now from those who resent conservative values, you can sense from the posts that we endanger our very existence when we compromise our core beliefs. As for me, I have nothing intelligent to add to your core statement other than some wise quotes from our very own original Republican: Lincoln

    A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have.

    Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?

    A house divided against itself cannot stand.

    Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.

    America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

    Ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors to bullets.

    Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.

    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

    Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.

    Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

    Abraham Lincoln

  2. Hear hear Tibby!

    One more quote that Republicans need to consider in this process.

    "You cant make a friend of your enemies by makeing enemies out of your friends."

  3. As long as fiscal and social conservatives sit on the sidelines and refuse to get their hands dirty, the Republican party will continue too veer to the middle and left.

    The party is not going to change hoping that people will come back. People need to come back to the fight and change the party.

  4. Christopher Reed lost because he was a horrible candidate not because of his issue stances. His stances are excellent but you can’t campaign on issues completely off the voters radar screen. How did Latham win in an absolute landslide? Because he campaigned against the bailout, not abortion. Being a pro-life candidate is a statement of fact not a campaign strategy. Have you ever looked at an issue poll? Pro-life and pro-marriage are 5 percent issues or lower. Some of the so called "religious right" have lost their minds. Some fight against people who are as a matter of fact pro-life and pro-marriage try to muddy the waters, raise doubt in the minds of many and in turn help get them defeated. Tami is in a district a Republican should not and may never again have and voted with Republicans nearly every time. We need a message, we need a plan but most importantly we need to stick together. Attacking good candidates like Tami and propping up jokes like Reed is the type of idiotic activity that has the Republican Party of Iowa where it is today. We need to stop attacking those who are fiscally and socially conservative and start attacking those who undoubtedly aren't i.e. Democrats.

  5. For those who need to take note please consider over the next 2 years!!!!!!!!!

    (Once elected) "It is a lot easier to persuade someone who agrees with you most of the time. Than someone whom does not agree with you at all."

    We need to know who the real enemy is… Democrats!

    "Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories." -Sun Tzu

  6. I think you are losing sight of a valuable point, at least as it concerns one of your examples, Walt Rogers. In suburban districts, like the one Walt ran in, people tend to reject the "extreme" candidate, whether it be to the right or the left. Walt made Danielson the extreme candidate, focusing on extreme spending, reckless budget priorities, taxes, and being extreme on labor union priorities like Fair Share and Chapter 20. Walt is very conservative, but he didn't campaign with a focus on those issues, and in fact, identified his "christian" credentials more with the new evangelical movement (environmental friendly, taking care to serve the poor and under-represented, charity, etc. vs. focusing on gays and abortion). Walt put a smiley face on conservatism, and it served him well (even though he may lose by 14 votes). The key is to have clarity in message and to make your opponent the extreme candidate. As a party, we have many different factions and we need to work together to have a set of core values that most of the GOP can get on board with and then let candidates adopt their own strategies and issues sets (where some may agree 100% and others 70%). Conservatives, moderates and liberal Republican candidates can all win at the polls, but they won't if any one of them is viewed as extreme.

  7. Here in the 2nd district the feedback I'm getting from the various county leadership amounts to this:

    1) We can't win on 2 or 3 issues. It doesn't matter which 2 or 3 issues either, whether taxes and budget, or abortion and gay marriage, or military or national security. We have to be engaged in ALL the issues and have a broad platform we address.

    2) Each election has it's prioritization of issues. Sometimes they're social, sometimes they're fiscal, sometimes security, or a mix of all three. And they change every election and with every group you address.

    Which should be common sense, but the Iowa GOP doesn't get it. What they don't get is rule #1 of campaigning: YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT TO TALK ABOUT!! You don't talk about abortion and gay marriage when people are losing their jobs and homes and getting their tax dollars squandered on bailouts. You don't talk taxes and military to home schoolers who want to talk about how you are going to protect home schooling.

    3) Our job is to provide conservative solutions to ALL issues, whatever issues the people care about during that election. We do NOT pick the issues that we want to talk about and force them down the public's throat. And we articulate them well and boil down the complex into the simple.

    This should be obvious, but the party has become so infected with those who only care about certain issues that we've fractured ourselves to the point where we can't function. We have to get back to a broad platform party that can address all the issues that come up as time goes along.

  8. I live in Tami's district and I think she was outworked by Kerry Burt.I think Tami sat on her name recognition and thought that would be enough.Sure she did knock on doors but only one go around she did 3 two years ago.She was also all over the airwaves 2 years ago and she wasnt on much this time around.I think she was done in by the wave of obamites who just checked off the democrat box to vote for him not realizing they were endorsing the whole slate

  9. Krusty, I'm a fiscal and social conservative, and I take issue with some of the points you've made in recent posts. Who is suggesting that the party abandon its pro-life, pro-family positions? I certainly haven't heard anyone say that.

    What I have heard are stories about Marvin Pomerantz not being able to speak at an RPI event because one of his family members gave money to Planned Parenthood. Antics like that need to stop.

    What I have heard is that the Republican National Committeewoman bashed a Republican Candidate for Congress even though she had a 70% rating from a pro-life group. That also needs to stop.

    What I have heard is that a 2006 Iowa Senate Candidate, who ultimately ended up winning, did not receive an endorsement from Iowa Right to Life because he supported exceptions for the mother's health and for rape and incest. I certainly don't want the Republican Party to go down that road.

    The pro-life and pro-family policies are important planks in the Republican Party platform. However, there hundreds of planks in that document. Not every candidate can support every single plank, and the pro-life plank is one of them.

    Additionally, we will not get the Legislature back if we force candidates in locales like West Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Bettendorf to take the same positions on social issues as candidates in the rural parts fo the state. The support just may not be there.

    Call me a RINO (and again, I'm as pro-life and pro-family as anyone, and probably more conservative than a lot of people) but I would rather have a Republican legislator who supports 90% of the planks in the platform, than a Democrats who supports 2%. I would also rather have a pro-choice Republican who supports low taxes, less spending, and Iowa's Right to Work Law, than a Democrat who supports none of those.

  10. There is a way to be pro-life and pro-family and not allienate everyone who may think differently.

    Barack Obama is a GREAT example. He came out early against gay marriage, winning centrist and what did he lose? Are gays going to vote for Republicans? NO WAY!

    If you look at this new class of democratic Senators and Congressmen coming out of Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia and these other typical red state, you will see that they are conservatives, and split only on the issue of this widely unpopular war and Republican mismanagement of the economy.

    You have two choices, move to the middle, or be ready to take less than 40 percent in the next election.

  11. I've only read the title so far but I think that is 100% true!

  12. We did move to the middle with McCain and got smoked. Do we need to move further?

  13. Exactly, who will be our next standard barer? If people like Doug Gross have their way it will be someone like Olympia Snow ... Yeah, there’s a winning ticket .. ugh...

  14. Great post, Krusty.

    I agree with whoever said that candidates should be talking to voters about issues that are on the front burner. As a strong social conservative I have never required candidates to shout from the rooftop that they are 100% pro-life and pro-family or talk about those issues in every speech. What I want from a candidate is the understanding that they will not back down in these issues when they do come up. The candidates who attempt to "evolve" their stances on these issues just to win an election are usually the losers anyway. Voters want to see a candidate have a stance and stick with it even if they might not agree with that stance. Because if a candidate is wishy-washy on one issue, how many more issues are they willing to compromise?

    I also don't understand Christopher Reed's name continually drug through the mud. He did the best he could with the hand that was dealt to him. It is like he has become the poster boy for figuring out what went wrong in 2008. Poeple need to figure out what wrong by looking in the mirror.

  15. Right on Annon 12:26,

    We nonimated one of the most "moderate" senators we had and he was crush! The only excitement came to that pathic campaign was when a real conservative was nominated and that was Sara Palin. Moderates are intellectually bankrupt, they wait to see where the majority is forming and then they move in as "me too republicans". This party will be a force once again when the Conservative Movement leads with Conservative ideals and values.

  16. If you think that the RP is not enough or too much of something, then get off your as and get in the trench with the rest of us.

    If you think you can watch from the sidelines like Steve Deace and other purists and wait until the party is perfect, you are an idiot.

    A party is a team united by beliefs in common issues. It will never and can never be 100% perfect for everyone but not being involved because it is not is just an excuse to be lazy.

    If you aren't going to get into the battle than please STFU especially on the radio.

  17. I have heard absolutely nobody talk about the parties last chance for healthy debate amongst one another, the Iowa caucuses. In a hard fought battle, Mike Huckabee(a social conservative with a message) overcame the money machine of Mitt Romney (a fiscal conservative and absolute economy genius) to defeat him in a race that was not even close. 60% of the republicans that showed up to vote were born again evangelicals. Mike Huckabee overcame what many of you "conventional wisdom" and critical thinkers deemed impossible. It is not very hard to identify where the base of the party lies with 60% the vote being evangelicals who voted. Recognizing that fact will help us to restrategize and regroup. Now, Huckabee also had a message and brought out a lot of young voters. This has to be a model for us as we go forward. We can work together but if you don't support the social issues on the platform, you tend to have more liberal thinking in other areas as well. Conservatism is a thinking pattern and cannot be split into categories. You cannot be liberal on social issues and hold firm on fiscal responsibility. We are just not programmed that way. As we move ahead, let us remember the caucuses that many fiscal conservative/social liberals here in Iowa would rather forget.

  18. Hate to open this can:
    If Romney was not LDS, he would have won the Caucus. Being from Mass. did not help either.
    The Christian Right needs someone they trust on social issues. They trusted Bush, they do not trust Romney. If they trust the candidate, social issues do not become central to the campaign, and the candidate can talk kitchen table to the middle. If they do not trust the candidate on social issues, they beat them bloody on it (Deace) and stay home on election day--thus Romney and McCain. you can't win w/o the right, but the Christian right can't win w/o the rest of the conservatives who could care less about social issues. Pick a good candidate and you win. If you think Huck was the answer, wow, think about sitting on the sidelines.

  19. Huck was the answer! He won...Romney lost because he was a flip flopper not because he was mormon. Mormons believe in pro-life and abhor homosexuality. If Romney would have stood strong on those issues instead of changing his position multiple times, he would have been more competetive. You still cannot ignore the fact that evangelicals make up 60% of our caucus.

  20. If the general election were a caucus then a lot of things would be different. The general election includes independents. A lot of them...more than either party. The ignorance on these message boards is disheartening.

    I guess thats what happens when you get your political "knowledge" from a jackass phony conservative on the radio.

  21. Huck is the answer? He is a liberal! Populism is liberal light. Don't be a fool and listen to faux conservative's on the radio. Turn to 98.3 WOW FM for a real conservatives point of view. Or Rush from 1-4.

  22. I guess people still eat their young.

  23. Eating our own? Well its better than listening to stories from Huckabee about eating squirrels that he cooked in the popcorn popper.

    And if I recall, the only eating of our own has been done by Huckabee and Brownback towards Romney during the caucus and especially Huckabee attacking Mitt during the general election.


  24. Thh fact is Huckabee is the reason Obama will be the next President. Huck never had a chance at getting the nomination, but he made sure that Romney couldn't get it by splitting votes of conservatives and then makeing the deal with McCain in W.Virginia. Republican voters did not choose McCain, but independants in the open primary states and Huckabee made sure it happened. Thus we hav Pres. Obama. Thanks a lot Huck.

  25. brownchickenbrowncowNovember 14, 2008 at 6:30 PM

    Nice try. Mitt didn't get the nomination because he was a bad candidate. He bet a lot on Iowa and lost to a partial field. Romney should have killed off McCain in July 2007 so he wouldn't have been waiting to take him on in NH.

  26. Yep, Mitt can't beat the guy who you claim never had a chance and yet you think he would've beaten Obama? If the moderates come in to vote for someone else they wouldn't have voted for Mitt in the General. He is a poor candidate. Quit whining.

  27. Agreed, Romney was a horrible candidate. If your logic is that Romney could have won over independents then you need to rethink your position. NO ONE liked Romney. People still talk positively about Huckabee and Romney's a distant afterthought. Had Romney been the nominee we would have lost worse than we lost with McCain.

    Romney, with the best campaign money could buy (because money was all he had) couldnt beat Huckabee in Iowa ... Or Georgia ... Or Tennessee ... Or Alabama ... Or South Carolina ... Of Missouri (where he had the Governor's endorsement) ... Or Oklahoma.

    Really, the only state he won was his boyhood home state where his dad was a legend. Beyond that he won only states where other candidates didn’t compete.

  28. I believe that Romney and Palin are out. Romney is just so unlikable and Palin is a complete ditz, total minor leaguer.

    Huckabee will have problems fundraising but he definitely had an edge where it mattered.

    McCain thought he could win left-leaning indies in NH, CO, PA and turn some red states blue to make up for losing red states.

    Huckabee would have an edge over anyother Republican in CO, NC, and Virginia and would definitely not lose Indiana.

    However I think Obama will cruise to re-election in 2012. All he truly has to say is "Are you better now than you where 4 years ago" and to be honest I don't know if there is any room for things to get worse.

    I think Jindal will have a great chance in 2016, especially if pitted against Warner or Bayh

  29. I would tend to disagree 9:42. Romney will likely be back. You don’t sink that much of your own money into a race just to walk off into the sunset. But, he probably goes the way of Lamar Alexander circa 2000. He’ll come in with trumpets blaring, get embarrassed by a set-back early and be out before the contests actually start. However, you’re probably right about Palin. Not so much because she is a ditz but because Alaska is a LONG way from Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina and now she wont get the Senate seat she was planning on taking from Stevens.

    I predict Huckabee will do much better in fundraising in 2012 … Mostly because now, unlike before, he’s viable. He’s already won several states, he’s got a huge following nationally and he was the 1st runner-up this year (Republicans tend to like the guy who came in second in the next election … Unless your name happens to be Pat Buchanan and you start splintering off to join the Reform Party.) On Obama, I have a hard time believing that he’ll cruise to re-election. The man is a snake-oil sales man and things are going to get worse … a lot worse … Even Community Colleges are cutting back course offerings and downsizing their staff … That’s pretty bad when your fail-safe institutions start to fail. It also helps that Obama (in his infinite wisdom) is going to hand the Fed over to the same guy who drove up interest rates into the 17 and 18% range under Carter. If you think the economy is bad now, just imagine what it will look like when lending grinds to a total halt. You’ll be paying cash for houses and cars (imagine what that will do to Detroit and industrial centers.) By 2010 don’t be surprised if unemployment is sitting at around 10% and the Government is up to its eyeballs in bailout money for every industry that is failing due to its quazi-socialist policies.

    If that scenario plays out the last question Obama will want to ask is “are you better off today than you were 4 years ago.” Time Magazine is trying to paint Obama as the “New FDR” but he will probably go down in history as the “21st Century Herbert Hoover.”

  30. A lot of people seem to be missing the point here. The caucus is behind us. The election is behind us. It is time to stop blaming one faction or the other for our loss.

    Now we have to concentrate on the future and making sure that we win back Terrace Hill in 2010. We need to put our differences behind us.

  31. Huckabee is full of shit. He is a typical right to life backstabber. Once he gets slaughtered in the primary his supporters will do everything to ensure a Democrat wins. This is the problem that we are dealing with in Iowa and around the country.

  32. Anon 12:07 I am going to ask you for something that I know that you don't have. When did Huckabee ever not support McCain. Huh. Show us the proof rather than your emotional gut feeling.

  33. November 14, 2008 9:42 PM - Can't get any worse? Go talk to the oldest person you can find about the Great Depression.

    Pray, really pray, that that's all the worse this gets. It is not going to be pretty unless they start making some smart moves fast.

  34. Go google HuckPac, Huckabee has worked hard for McCain/Palin and many other conservative candidates. He's still working hard for Saxby Chambliss.

  35. Alright Matt,

    This is not about what "THEY" do!! As YOU put it.

    For the one millionth time!

    How do you call yourself a conservative when you campaign against more government intervention and than hope and pray that the government does something quick to save you?!

    Sounds like Voodoo ideology to me.

    It is about individual effort.

  36. What they're doing is making it worse. The govt has to be involved because THEY'RE THE ONES WHO SCREWED IT UP!

    They need to put in legislation based on free market principles and undo some of the stupid legislation that got us into this mess. If they keep doing the socialist stuff it going to make the problem 10X worse than it is now.

  37. Just read all these take:
    All Huck had was social conservatism. That and a bunch of Iowa Evangelicals will get you a show on Foxnews and that's about it.
    Huck was "real" & a good talker, Mitt had brains and $, but was "fake," Fred just muddied it up--he didn't want it; McCain was the remaining default the moderates won with conservatives split. Also recall the war was more important last year which helped McCain.
    Bottom line, we just didn't have a good candidate.
    OH, a previous post said 60% of caucus goers are Evangels....I think that backs up the other post that said Romney may have lost due to Mormonism....most of the Evangels I know would be very very hard pressed to vote for a Mormon. Same is true for the Southern states.....the conservative protestants did not trust him, and they added to the "flip flop" charges to feed that doubt. Being Mormon wasn't the reason he lost, but it put him in a hole with a large number of GOP voters that are typically easy to pickings.

  38. Huckabee Lashes Back, Settles Scores

    Out this week: Do The Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America by Mike Huckabee.

    Time calls it "at once a memoir of his campaign, a treatise on the ills of the Republican Party, and a blueprint for his own political future." The book is also "filled with sharp words for fellow Republicans who frustrated his bid for the party's nomination."

    Mitt Romney "comes in for the roughest treatment... He notes that Romney declined to make a phone call of congratulations after Huckabee beat the oddsmakers to win the Iowa caucuses, 'which we took as a sign of total disrespect.'"

    He also "calls out Pat Robertson, the Virginia-based televangelist, and Dr. Bob Jones III, chancellor of Bob Jones University in South Carolina, for endorsing Rudy Giuliani and Romney, respectively. He also has words for the Texas-based Rev. John Hagee, who endorsed the more moderate John McCain in the primaries, as someone who was drawn to the eventual Republican nominee because of the lure of power."

    What a douchebag. He's still taking shots at Romney. Huck has become the new Pat Buchanan.

  39. Oh yes Matt, more government involvement will fix big government :)

    You should run for office buddy!

  40. Everyone takes shots at Romney anon 9:06. Because hes a spoiled jerk whos had everything in life handed to him on a silver plate. He feels somehow genetically entitled to party leadership so he systematically destroys anyone who would dare stand between him and what he considered to be his birthright. I used to like Romney, but now, after having seen his true colors, I wouldn’t support the guy if he ran for dogcatcher.

  41. Krusty -

    Thanks for your post. Couldn't agree more. In order to win, our party doesn't need to abandon tried and true positions on important issues (both fiscal and social).

    Rather, we need to tweak our language, tactics and tone. And then we need to work our butts off on the campaign trail. Both Sorenson and Walt did these things in 2008.

    The fiscal and social issues go hand in hand. It is logically inconsistent and philosophically incoherent to separate them.

    Thanks again for the post.