Shame …

Former IA Congressman Jim Nussle expressing shame over the House Bank scandal

Former IA Congressman Jim Nussle expressing shame over the House Bank scandal

I have been a Republican apologist for years. I have said that politics is a ‘team sport’ and you vote for the team that most closely matches your values — not the individuals.

People used to say to me, ‘But Dave, the GOP barely plays lip service to LIFE!’

And I have responded, ‘I know, but you can count on them to be good on marriage, the second amendment and of course holding the line on taxes!’

People used to say to me, ‘But Dave, the GOP won’t stand up to the Iowa Supreme Court on MARRIAGE!’

And I have responded, ‘I know, but you can count on them to be good on the second amendment and of course holding the line on taxes!’

People used to say to me, ‘But Dave, the GOP won’t support CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY in Iowa’

And I have responded, ‘I know, but you can count on them to hold the line on taxes!’

Today people are saying, ‘But Dave, this is a GOP TAX INCREASE!’

And I have no response … but shame ūüôĀ

The Gas Tax, the platform and the GOP cowards who now support it

Let me start out by saying that I am not opposed to taxes, having moved irrevocably beyond John Locke’s State of Nature — taxes in a civil society are a necessary evil. As a conservative, I want my government to collect the necessary and sufficient taxes to competently and efficiently perform the functions mandated by the Constitution or allowed by the Constitution and mandated by the people as voiced by their legislature.

I also agree that our transportation infrastructure needs work. It is crucial to the economic health of this state to have a robust system of roads and highways.

The problem is that if the Jeopardy answer is:¬†‘Competent, Efficient, and operating within the Constitution’

Nobody would ever believe the question is:¬†‘What is government?’

I have written on the gas tax before. While I was a vocal critic of¬†former RPI Chairman AJ Spiker¬†¬†(I never get tired of saying that), one of the good things that RPI did under Spiker’s leadership was speak out and advocate for issues in our platform (life, 2nd Amendment, gas tax). I did take issue when under Spiker, RPI spoke out on issues not in our platform like medical marijuana or random traffic stops — not because I disagreed, rather because I believe that the party leadership should advocate for things the party has actually (through the platform) agreed upon.

I also spoke out when in 2014, all four district platforms opposed a gas tax increase, yet the State Platform Committee felt that they should ignore the strong message sent by the grassroots and add support for a tax increase to the State Platform. Fortunately, enough pressure was applied to the committee that they changed their position before the convention. Unfortunately, the platform adopted at convention does not address the gas tax.

So in answer to those who ask why RPI Chairman Jeff Kauffman hasn’t publicly voiced opposition to the gas tax — it is because the platform does not address it. Since I criticized Spiker for speaking¬†Ex Cathedra (even on issues I supported) — consistency demands that I support Kaufman’s decision not to unilaterally speak out against the gas tax.

On the other hand, as I say on the about page for this blog:

… all of the commentary on this blog is my own and does not represent the position of the State Central Committee or the Republican Party of Iowa.

I do not speak for RPI. As a conservative, as a Republican, I am disgusted that¬†my guys would support a 45% in the gas tax or any other tax! I went to a lot of events, heard many candidates speak, received their flyers, and saw their commercials. Funny thing is, I can’t remember any of them (I’ll concede that there could have been a few) who made raising the gas tax a cornerstone of their campaign.

Some may say,

Dave, be realistic, you want to have your cake and eat it too!

No, the government wants to take more of my cake and eat it too!

If I believed that our state government (no matter which party controlled it) were competent, efficient and acting within the Constitution, I could probably be convinced to support a modest increase in the gas tax. However, if the state government were operating in that way, we would have all the money we need for roads!

What’s the solution? If I may make a modest suggestion —¬†MAKE CUTS IN THE BUDGET ELSEWHERE!!!!!

Recently my daughter criticized me for not listening to any music from¬†this century¬†— I told her that it’s OK because I don’t own any cars from this century either. It is time to replace our vans.

I think I’ll follow the lead of our state government and as my boss for a 45% raise!

Probably not a good plan, I guess I’ll have to put some money aside until I can afford something newer.

But when the state is getting ready to¬†ask¬†me for a 45% increase¬†—¬† a number of¬†my (Republican) guys are willing to go along, in fact, in this case they are the ones doing the asking ūüôĀ¬†It was no secret that the a gas tax increase would come up this session. Most of us knew that it would be the defining measure addressed by this session of the legislature.

To the Republicans in Des Moines I have this to say (I am going to be gentle and use my inside voice.)

If you didn’t campaign on raising the gas tax and you support it now: you are a hypocrite, a liar, or a coward!!! At least the Democrats are honest about wanting to take more of my money!

Lest we get on our high horse …

Crusaders in the Holy Land

Crusaders in the Holy Land

Last week something unusual happened at the National Prayer breakfast. President Obama while discussing ISIS’s atrocities committed in the name of religion had a warning for Christians. Obama said:

Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.

It was unusual partly because of the audience he addressed and the event at which he chose to do so. Predictably, reaction from Republican evangelicals was pretty harsh. Many of them still believe that Obama is muslim himself. Personally, I can only take him at his word, but I do know that he is a Keynsian ūüôā

I thought the best response was from Louisiana governor, and likely Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal who said:

It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer breakfast. We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.

But I think the most unusual thing about it is that it has prompted many of my friends on Facebook to defend the Crusades. I see a number of maps and videos popping up all over my social media feeds. These posts invariably point out that the Muslims started it. They show Muslim expansion into nearly all of Mediterranean Europe compared with the focused battles in the Holy Land. They claim that the Crusades were a response to Muslim aggression or a desire to protect Christian pilgrims on the way to the Holy Lands.

While there is some truth in what my friends are saying, they neglect to point several of the side effects of the Crusades. The Albigensien Crusade was not preached against expansionist Muslims at all, rather it targeted (and utterly wiped out) Catharism, a home-grown religion in France’s Massif Central. The several crusades left a swath of dead Jews across Europe. At the close of the¬†Third Crusade the most famous crusader of all, Richard I (Lionheart) was imprisoned and ransomed by the (Christian)Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI. The Fourth Crusade started out to do what Richard I failed to do, to capture Jerusalem. Instead due to the influential Venetian leader Doge Dandalo, the Fourth Crusade never did see the Holy Land. They we re-routed to attack and conquer the Christian city of Constantinople. While the crusaders established a short-lived¬†Latin Kingdom they created a schism between Eastern and Western Christianity that persists to this day.

There is a great exchange in Monty Python’s Spamalot between King Arthur and his faithful servant Patsy:

Patsy:¬†I’m Jewish
Arthur: What? Why didn’t you say so?
Patsy: Well… it’s not the sort of thing you say in front of a heavily armed Christian.

Many of these same friends are also fierce defenders of Israel yet ignore the profound and lasting effect the crusades have had on Jewish communities in Europe.

Perhaps my friends were not listening on another count. Obama compared terrorism to both the Crusades and the Inquisition. Apparently none of my friend have taken to defending the Inquisition and I am not sure why. After all the Inquisition was a great evangelistic tool converting many Jews to Christianity. Like the Jesus of the Gospel, the message of the Inquisition to heretics was repent or be tortured, burned, drowned, stretched on the rack or worse.

Obama and Jindal are both right.