I don’t have a dog (dawg for my Southern friends) in this fight

History is personal. In the recent debate over the flag (that I will not name because no matter what I call it it will start a flame war) pictured to the right this point has been made especially clear.  When the US Civil War was fought, my ancestors were living on Guam (under Spanish rule), Jamaica (or Africa — possibly as a slave under British rule) and China (during the Second Opium War.) So I really do not have a dog (dawg) in this fight. But I know how important and personal history can be. History, personal history, is in so many cases linked to our identity.

The English historian, Lord Acton said,

History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul.

On my Facebook page, I posted a link (without comment) to an article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette with the headline Republican chairman upset by Confederate flags and started a flame war! [[N.B. I believe the Gazette online article has been edited several times during the day without noting the changes.]] The Marion County Republican Party towed their parade float in the Pella and Pleasantville 4th of July Parades in a truck with three Confederate Flags. The truck belongs to a couple who are members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and they displayed them to honor the three Confederate soldiers buried in Marion County.

In the article Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann did not mince any words in his response saying,

I’m very disappointed that a local central committee would engage in such juvenile and stupid demonstrations.


We are the party of Abraham Lincoln. We were the party that supported the Union army and we are still that party of Abraham Lincoln. I absolutely won’t tolerate it. We have no room in our party for people like that — none,  I hope they toss those people out (of the local GOP) so fast, it’ll make your head swim. And, if they don’t, I’ll lead a party of 98 central committees.

An anonymous soldier wrote,

No war is really over until the last veteran is dead.

Well, the last veteran of the Civil War died in 1956, the last Civil War widow died in 2003 and by some accounts at least children of Civil War Veterans are still receiving pensions! In many ways, the Civil War (or War of Northern Aggression) is still not over. The current debate over the flag (that I dare not name) is a prime example. Was the war fought over slavery? Freedom? States rights? Was the Union the aggressor? Was the South traitorous? Was Lincoln a hero? Was Lee?

I am not a Ph.D. historian like our party chairman so I will not pretend to be expert on these questions. But what I know for sure is that apologists on all sides pontificate on this issue with a fervor bordering on religious.

As I said, I do not have a dog (dawg) in this fight. History is personal. (Ask me sometime about the Pacific in WWII, where my grandfather was a Japanese POW and my mother spent her childhood under Japanese occupation!!!) Given the current state of affairs in our country and the level of emotion that this subject brings up, I find it unfortunate that our party chairman, when speaking on behalf of the party would add fuel to this particular fire.

Binding the Iowa Delegation

Iowa at the 2008 National Convention

Iowa at the 2008 National Convention

[Note: the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. For current information on delegate binding please refer to The Caucus and Delegates to the National Convention]

I am not going to re-visit the argument about how we got here. I am not going to discuss whether it is good or bad. But as chairman of the RPI’s Organization Committee, I want to take this opportunity to tell you what has happened at the national level and describe how the changes will affect the process here in Iowa.

After the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, the RNC Rules committee adopted a new rule on binding and allocating delegates. Under the new rule all delegates to the national convention will be bound. The rule also carved out four states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada), allowing them to hold caucuses or primaries before March 1st preserving Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status. Iowa’s delegation at the RNC was split on the vote.  Iowa’s National Committeeman and RPI Chairman voted in favor of the rule, Iowa’s National Committeewoman voted against the rule.

The relevant part of RULE NO. 16 reads:

Any statewide presidential preference vote that permits a choice among candidates for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in a primary, caucuses, or a state convention must be used to allocate and bind the state’s delegation to the national convention in either a proportional or winner-take-all manner, …

So, for better or worse, every Iowa delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention will be bound beforehand to vote for a particular candidate. All that remains is to determine the mechanism. This Saturday at the State Central Committee meeting, we will be considering the following amendment to the RPI bylaws.

Amendment to add a new Article VII to the Bylaws and renumber accordingly.

Article VII – Binding of National Convention Delegates

The Iowa delegation to the Republican National Convention shall be bound on the first ballot to cast a vote that reflects the outcome of the Iowa Caucuses. The Chair of the Republican Party of Iowa, or his or her designee, shall cast the vote of the delegation on the first ballot, for those candidates who have been officially placed in nomination, in proportion to the statewide Iowa Precinct Caucus vote. The proportional delegate allocation shall be rounded to the nearest whole delegate. In the event that a delegate is unallocated due to mathematical rounding, the unallocated delegate vote shall be cast in favor of the candidate closest to the rounding threshold.

Under this proposed amendment, the RPI chairman will announce the vote of the Iowa delegation in the first round based solely on the math based on the outcome of caucus night. The chairman will not poll the delegation. All of Iowa’s votes will go to candidates who have officially been placed in nomination, so if a candidate drops out before the convention, the math is re-figured and Iowa’s votes are divided up among the remaining candidates. If there is a second (or further) round of voting, all delegates may vote for the candidate of their choice.

I would love to hear your input on this.


Living a Lie — I self-identify as White!

White David

The author as White

This week, I have realized that I have been living a lie — I self-identify as white. I came to this realization after reading about Rachel Dolezal. Dolezal is the former head of the Spokane NAACP who was born white but has been passing herself off as black. Dolezal apparently went so far as to invent an African American father and post pictures of him in place of her biological father. Like Dolezal, I began thinking of myself as white at a young age. There is a difference however, in my opinion, Dolezal’s actions seem to fall somewhere between mental illness and fraud. But Dolezal is right on one thing — racial identity is complex and multi-layered.

The author as an Asian Man

The author as Asian

My father was from Jamaica. Racially he was 1/2 Jamaican and 1/2 Chinese. The Jamaican half was almost certainly African courtesy of the slave trade. As a university professor, students would ask him about his racial background and he would tell them to guess. I suspect that it was his Chinese last name that threw them off because students never could seem to figure it out. To me, my father always looked black. He was a handsome man with dark skin and thick jet black hair. I always thought he looked a little like Harry Belafonte (also Jamaican). I couldn’t really see much hint of Chinese/Asian features. Today when I tell people that my father was Jamaican/Chinese they are surprised. Since Jamaica was a British Colony there were many immigrant from the British colonies, and later the commonwealth, in Jamaica.

The author as an Pacific-Islander

The author as Pacific-Islander

My mother is from Guam a small island in the Pacific. Guam is a US territory and part of Micronesia. The native people of Guam are called Chamorro though today many consider Chamorro to be the exonymic spelling and have adopted the endonymic Chammoru. [[Actually the word Chamorro comes from Spanish so Chammoru is the endonymic spelling of anexonymic name ;-)]] My mother has relatively light skin and black hair though many of her relatives have considerably darker skin. Guam was colonized and ruled by Spain until the Spanish American War so most islanders have Spanish surnames. (BTW having a Spanish surname is in many cases sufficient to call oneself hispanic). Since my mom is light skinned, it is difficult for people to visually discern her race. I suspect most people consider her Caucasian or white. Though I am guessing that on forms she classifies herself as Asian/Pacific Islander.

The author as Hispanic

The author as Hispanic

So given that my father was Jamaican-Chinese and that my mother is Chammoru — how is it that I have come to identify myself as white? It reminds me of Steve Martin’s character in The Jerk who says, “I was born a poor black child.” But in my case (or for that matter Rachel Dolezal’s) it would not be true. I was born to educated middle class parents whose racial backgrounds I have detailed above. My birth took place in Cedar Falls, Iowa, a small midwestern college town. Cedar Falls, like the rest of Iowa had a minority population of under 5%. When I was born in the early 1960’s that number was probably more like 2%. That number is not just blacks but all minorities combined. Since we were part of the university community, my parent’s circle of friends included more minorities than most. Growing up we were an active part of a small but vibrant Chinese community.

The author as Black

The author as Black

When I was growing up, I went to a laboratory school. This school was a part of the university and served as a teaching lab for the College of Education. The schools enrollment area was so white — that the university bussed in African American students from a nearby town to provide a more diverse student population. (This was long before forced bussing — the program was totally voluntary.) Therefore as a child, almost all of my friends were white. While I never drew pictures of myself with blond hair, all of the action figures I played with — GI Joe and Major Matt Mason (an astronaut) — were white. I watched white TV shows, listened to white music, played white games and grew up in a white world. It is no wonder that as a child I thought of myself as white.

The author as an Asian Man

The author as White Hispanic

In reality, I never thought of myself as being of any particular race. I did not (and still don’t) have a strong sense of racial identity. But I guess if I had thought about it at all, I would have self-identified with my peers who were almost all white. All of this changed in my early teens. After I finished fifth grade, my father took a sabbatical from the university and took a position at the University of Guam. We moved to Guam and I went to sixth, seventh and eighth grade on the island. Living on Guam made my racial identity much more complicated. Growing up in Iowa with all of my extended family on Guam or Jamaica — I never really felt connected to my larger family. Chammoru culture is very family centered and families are large and close. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles, and various other relatives on a daily basis. It was a wonderful experience and played an important role in forming who I am.

The author's Caucasian father

The author’s Caucasian father

As for my racial identity, it became more complicated. All of those aunts, uncles and cousins were Chammoru, they were brown. Except for two of my female cousins who were light skinned with red hair — I was part of a brown family in a majority brown society. But in school, my closest friends were all haoles (a lovingly derogatory term like ‘cracker’ or ‘honky’). Today I understand that this affinity was more cultural than racial. The white kids (most from the mainland US) and I shared a common culture. We had significant shared experiences and we tended to stick together. My best friends had names like Browder and Chase not Lujan and Gutierrez.

On the other hand, when my father came to the US as a young man he went to the DOT and in those days they put race on the driver’s license. Being Jamaican and Chinese so puzzled the DOT employees that they decided to list him as Caucasian. So, if my father was Caucasian — I must be white, it’s not a lie after all!!!

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 🙁

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 🙁 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


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.

Obstructionist? — In this case we should wear the label proudly!

Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch

Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch

In November, Republicans won a convincing majority in the US Senate and increased their majority in the house. However, with Barack Obama in the Whitehouse, we are unlikely to see any significant legislative initiatives actually implemented. (e.g. Keystone Pipeline)

In some ways, the best we can do is play ‘defense’ and prevent this administration from doing more damage. We Republicans fought hard to win a Senate majority. Now that we control the Senate it is up to our guys to lead.

I am not opposed to going after pyrrhic victories like Keystone, but if we are really going to lead, really going to make a difference, we need to act on those things that we really can affect. I know that if we reject this nominee, the press will label us ‘obstructionists’. Strangely, when Obama vetoes Keystone they will see his action as courageous.

In her Senate confirmation hearing, when asked whether illegal aliens have the same right to work in the United States as citizens, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch said,

Senator, I believe the right and the obligation to work is one that is shared by everyone in this country, regardless of how they came here

This nomination is the first ‘real’ test of our new Senate majority. It will not be graded on a curve, it is pass/fail. Senator Grassley and Senator Ernst, I hope you are listening.

Doing the Right Thing — the Linn County Central Committee Votes to Remove a GOP Supervisor

Linn County Supervisor Brent Oleson

Supervisor Brent Oleson

The Cedar Rapids Gazette has an article titled, Linn County GOP boot prompts soul search about the recent move by the Linn County Republican Central Committee to remove GOP Supervisor Brent Oleson from its membership for publicly supporting a Democrat over a Republican nominee for state house in the last election. Olson is a successful politician, he was at one time the only Republican member of the Linn County Board of Supervisors. He was unopposed for re-election and the article points out that he received 98% of the vote. He has long been a Republican activist serving on both the county and state central committees. The strong implication in the Gazette article is that Oleson is considering leaving the GOP.

I think it would be unfortunate – I hope Oleson decides to stay in the party. But by way of full disclosure I should let readers know

I am the one who made the parliamentary motion that allowed the central committee to consider Oleson’s removal

I won’t bore readers with the procedural minutiae, The Constitution of the Republican Party of Linn County states:

A member may be removed by the County Central Committee for … active support of an opponent of a Republican nominee

I understand why Supervisor Oleson supported Democrat Daniel Lundby’s re-election bid against Republican Ken Rizer. Oelson was practically part of Lundby’s family and they are like brothers. Blood IS thicker than water and as I said at the Central Committee, Oleson did the right thing … at least half of the right thing.

In this article Oleson is quoted saying, “What I did, technically, violated the rules …” And in response the committee technically removed him from membership. It does not mean he can’t be a Republican or run under the Republican banner. It simply means that he knowingly choose a course of action in conflict with the rules of the committee.

In my opinion, in a perfect world, Oleson would have come to the committee before he went to the Gazette, and said that he was going to support his childhood friend, his ‘brother’ and knowing that such action would run afoul of our constitution, given his resignation.

It should be noted that this is not the first time in recent years that the committee has removed members for violating the same clause in the constitution. If this standard is applied to relatively unknown members, it is only fair that it be applied to high profile members like Oleson.

The vote to remove Oleson was convincing but not unanimous. In the end Oleson did the right thing, he put support for his friend, his brother above a party label, knowing that it violated the organization’s constitution and he could be removed for it. I think the committee did the right thing as well, knowing Oleson’s actions were antithetical to the goal of electing Republicans and in violation of the constitution, the committee voted to remove him, knowing that hew could decide to leave the GOP altogether.

Sometimes doing the right thing is hard.

On Race in America

E Pluribus Unum

E Pluribus Unum

There is an Eagle on the Great Seal of the United States. The eagle holds a yellow ribbon in its mouth with the Latin words E Pluribus Unum. The phrase means ‘out of many one’. Most Americans view this statement as referring to the melting pot of the United States, we are a nation of immigrants united into one nation. Many have said that with the election of the first African-American president that we now live in a post-racial America.  It’s a nice thought but it is not true — the America we live in today is as divided along racial lines as it ever was.

Most people who read this blog (or know me personally) know that I sometimes climate be Hispanic, Asian, African or Pacific Islander as the mood suits me. Indeed racially, I am all of those things, my mother was from Guam and my father was Jamaican-Chinese.

I hate to admit it, but in reality (ethnically, culturally) — I am white.

I may have some Caucasian blood since I have a couple of red-headed first cousins on my mom’s side but I cannot trace any white folks in my ancestry.  My parents were both college professors and I grew up surrounded by other kids whose parents were educated middle class professionals. Now, my neighborhood was pretty well integrated for Cedar Falls, Iowa. We had an Indian family and two black families (or three if you count us) but they were ethnically and culturally white just like me.

Twenty years ago, OJ Simpson was on trial for the murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. OJ of course is black and Nicole was white. I remember the trail like it was yesterday, in some ways it was the birth of reality TV. Ultimately, OJ was acquitted. Regardless of what I think about the verdict one thing was crystal clear. If you were white — you believed OJ was guilty and if you were black you believed he was innocent! There seemed to be no middle ground Americans were firmly divided down racial lines.

Fast forward about twenty years. Whether it is Trayvon Martin in Florida or Michael Brown in Missouri, America is once again divided sharply among racial lines. Nearly all of my white friends believed that both shootings were justified. Likewise a large majority of minorities (I like the phrase) are equally convinced that the shootings were not justified.

I really don’t have many African-American friends (in a state with a 3% African-American population — that’s not too unusual) I do have a fair number of African-African friends but they are statistical outliers.

So, as a nation, how do we move beyond, Simpson, Martin and Brown? One of the first things is that we all need to understand that not everyone views the world exactly the way we do.

In this case almost all of my white friends (mostly conservative Republicans) were quick to believe that Officer Wilson acted appropriately in self-defense. That if a thug who has just committed a robbery and assault attacks and attempts to disarm a police officer, they deserve to be shot.

Likewise African-Americans were quick to believe that this was a case of a white police officer over-reacting and executing a young black youth whose hands were in the air in the act of surrendering. A police officer who acts this way is a murderer and deserves to be in jail.

Some of my conservative friends on Facebook have talked about taking up arms if the government continues to infringe on their rights. A popular anti illegal immigration meme for a while was:

The founding fathers would be shooting by now.

In some ways the protesters are just doing what some of us conservatives have fantasized about (well, apart from the looting). I have personally talked about taking our wagons and pitchforks to Washington.

I am not at all trying to defend the actions of the protesters, in fact (being white) I believe that the grand jury came to the appropriate decision. I further believe that it would be a travesty for the Justice Department to try Wilson on civil rights charges. If that happens, maybe I will be in the street protesting. Perhaps I have more in common with the Ferguson protesters than I care to admit.

Politics is a Team Sport — Why I Always Vote Straight Ticket



I hear it every election year from friends and family, “I look at the issues and candidates and always vote for the best person regardless of party.” Sometimes, it is said matter-of-factly, sometimes it is said condescendingly but it is always said sincerely.

The implication is that only the naive or uninformed vote straight ticket. Nothing could be further from the truth. In nearly every election, I have had the opportunity to talk to my party’s candidate for every office from county supervisor to president. Typically I know where they stand on all of the issues I care about.

I hear this from both liberals and conservatives. Many of my conservative friends say that the lesser of two evils is still evil. I am sometimes asked whether I support principle over party or party over principle.

I am sure that I will be accused by some of being an unprincipled party shill. But let me state it as clearly as I possibly can:

Politics is a team sport, and it is precisely because I support principles over party, that I vote a straight Republican ticket every time.

You may ask, “Doesn’t that mean that sometimes, you end up voting for politicians with whom you have significant ideological differences?” My answer is yes. I live in Cedar Rapids and with re-districting we have been part of both Iowa’s first and second congressional districts. So, Over the course of several general election I have found myself casting a ballot for Jim Leach. Leach was a moderate republican in the US House and he and I would differ significantly on a number of key issues from Life to the Second Amendment. So, why did I vote compromise my principles and vote for Leach?

The answer is that politics is a team sport. Say for example, Leach had a conservative Democrat challenger, on who agreed with me on these key issues (I am not sure such a Democrat exists … but I digress). If I had voted for that Democrat and they were to win, my congressional district would have a much more conservative voice in Washington. The problem is that even a conservative Democrat (when they are in the majority) votes for a liberal Democrat Speaker of the House. Unfortunately in our current system, the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate have tremendous power in setting the agendas for their respective chambers and can unilaterally prevent legislation form even being considered.

To put it in simple terms, voting for a pro-life Democrat (is there such a thing) over a pro-abortion Repiblican (unfortunately there is such a thing)  for Iowa Senate, does nothing for personhood if Mike Gronstal remains the Majority leader in the Iowa Senate.

In order to be effective in today’s political climate, a party must hold the majority. I have chosen to align myself with the party that most closely aligns with the majority of positions I hold dear. I am not so naive to believe that everyone in my party agrees with me. But I know that almost no one in the other major party agrees with me on anything.

I currently serve on the Republican State Central Committee, essentially the Board of Directors of the Republican Party of Iowa. In 2012, I ran an unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the Republican national Committee. I am a Republican, I vote a straight Republican ticket — because I believe that it is the best chance in today’s system to effect the changes that I believe are crucial to our nation. Even if it means that (like Jesse Benton) I have to hold my nose sometime.

Of course, if you are a Democrat, please continue to vote for some of my guys from time to time 🙂