On the Public Sanction of Homosexual Unions

Words have meaning. Like former Republican National Committeewoman Kim Lehman

, I don’t like the term gay marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman. At the core of the core of the current debate is the public sanction of homosexual unions. With that sanction gay couples will be able to avail themselves of benefits that have previously been reserved for married couples. Further, many in this culture allow the law to define their view of morality. For example when abortions were illegal, many people would never have considered going outside the law to seek one. Since Roe v. Wade abortion has become commonplace in our culture. Therefore, if the law sanctions homosexual unions, general cultural and social  acceptance is sure to follow. Consider Iowa, immediately after the Iowa Supreme Court’s Varnum decision, which opened the floodgates for legitimizing gay unions, voters took the unprecedented step of failing to retain the three justices who appeared on the 2010 ballot. You would have to be living under a rock to miss the fact that public opinion in Iowa has changed almost 180 degrees. While purists might argue about what the Supreme Court actually did in Varnum — the reality is that Iowa now issues marriage licenses to homosexual couples and tacitly (or explicitly) sanctions their unions.

As a Christian and a leader in the Republican Party, I do not believe that the government should sanction homosexual unions, but my position is a little more complicated. I should probably begin with a disclaimer.

I am a born-again Christian, a Sunday School teacher, a sometime preacher, a deacon in a Baptist Church and I believe so strongly in traditional marriage that I am trying to arrange marriages for my four daughters (just kidding about the last part — but if you have sons, we should talk)

At the 2012 State Republican Convention, I ran for the male seat on the Republican National Committee. (The idea that we must be so politically correct as to have a male and female seat will be the topic of a future post.)

As I was outside the hall shaking hands and kissing babies, a fellow came up to me and said, “I remember you, you’re the gay rights supporter.”

I am, to put it mildly, a big guy of Asian, African and Pacific-islander ancestry — so I stick out pretty conspicuously at Iowa Republican gatherings 🙂 I assumed he must be talking about me. But how did he get the idea that I was a gay rights supporter? I asked him about it and he reminded me that after the US Supreme Court struck down state anti-Sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas in 2002, there was an attempt to put a plank into our state platform supporting anti-Sodomy laws. I had argued (rather eloquently — if I recall correctly) against the plank on the convention floor. I did so, not because I am a supporter of homosexuality — I believe it is a sin, a violation of God’s moral law — rather I spoke against the plank because I do not believe that it is the government’s job to regulate sex between consenting adults. I would have been just as strongly opposed to a plank call for laws criminalizing pre-marital, or extra-marital sex — even though I believe that these too violate the moral law of God. I explained that while I believe that homosexual relations are a violation of God’s law, I do not want to put the government in the position of enforcing it. Apparently he accepted my reasoning and promised to vote for me.

So, does that mean that I think the government can’t legislate morality? Not at all, I hope morality is precisely what the government legislates. Murder, rape, theft, assault and abortion are also violations of God’s moral law and I am completely comfortable with the government legislating in these areas. In the case of sodomy (and other issues as well), I want my government to stay silent. But in the case of homosexual unions, the gay community is asking the government to sanction something that is contrary to God’s moral law, and this I oppose.

So, where do I stand on the public sanction of gay unions? I oppose it. I do find the modern libertarian position on the issue appealing but not totally compelling. That is the idea that the state should be out of the marriage business altogether. Perhaps allowing for religious marriages (of various sorts) and civil contracts or unions.

I know that I have rambled quite a bit in this post. I have probably contradicted myself a time or two but in conclusion I want to convey something that gets to my core beliefs. My core beliefs as a Christian, which in turn shape my beliefs in every other part of my life including my politics.

Like Rush Limbaugh, I believe that public sanction of homosexual unions is inevitable. Whether the Supreme Court rules this year or it happens gradually — we have already lost.

As a Christian I should not be surprised, the picture that the Bible paints of moral decay in the last days is coming true before our very eyes. And while I may be called to fight against the tide, I am not sure that I should expect to reverse it.

This last thought is a summation of what I think is the core issue in this debate.

The real problem with marriage in our culture is not how the homosexual community treats it. The real problem with marriage in our culture is that we in the church have failed to honor it an uphold it as we have been instructed.

Christians in this country have not honored marriage the way God intends. Divorce among Christians is just as common as it is among non-believers. In the Bible we are told that the marriage relationship is a picture of the relationship of Jesus Christ to His Church. Looking at the state of Christian marriages today, it is no wonder that non-believers want nothing to do with Jesus or His Church.

As for me, I will continue to be an opponent of public sanction of homosexual unions. But if I could change one thing about marriage — it would not be stopping homosexual unions. I would see that all the marriages in my own local church were strengthened to the point that they would reflect the sacrificial love that God showed for us in sending his son.

I am OK with pointing a finger at the world about homosexual unions, but at the same time, mindful of Matthew 7:1-5, we must point the finger at ourselves and make sure that we in the Church are honoring God’s design for marriage as well. The Great Commission to which I and all Christians are called, is not to make the world follow God’s law. The Great Commission is to make disciples who will in turn desire to follow God’s law.

Why does Kevin Hall hate Liberty?

libertyThe liberty movement in Iowa has had an interesting ride. The movement reached its peak in 2012 at the State GOP convention. While the liberty candidate (Ron Paul) did not win the straw poll on caucus night, liberty slates swept the four district conventions and earned supermajorities on all the state convention committees and the State Central Committee. At the district nominating conventions they managed to win the majority of district delegate seats to the national convention. And at our State convention, their slate of National convention delegates was approved and they managed to re-elect a sympathetic Steve Scheffler to the RNC.

As regular readers of this blog know, I ran against the liberty slate for SCC (I won), for state convention rules committee (I lost) and for national committeeman (I lost). The liberty movement has done a good job of associating themselves with name ‘Liberty’. From the Campaign for Liberty, to the Iowa Liberty PAC they have adopted Liberty as their label. They have been so successful that (statists, RINOs, the establishment, etc.) non-liberty folk are often referred to as “hating liberty”. As in:

Why does Kevin Hall hate liberty?

In recent days, the liberty movement has faced some setbacks. It really started with the Fourth District Executive Committee and their revolt against RPI and Executive Director Steve Bierfeldt. It has continued with liberty candidates losing county chair elections in several counties, including the liberty strongholds of Story and Jefferson. Most recently liberty-leaning SCC member Kris Thiessen lost her bid for re-election as Clay County Chair. TheIowaRepubican.com notes that this is the first time that a sitting SCC member has ever lost a re-election bid as a county chair.

The problem is that when the Liberty Folk took over, they were not gracious winners. Their strategy was scorched earth. In victory, and they did win, they were more Scipio Africanus than Douglas MacArthur. Roman General Scipio Africanus is credited (apocryphally) with not just defeating Carthage but with destroying the city and salting the land to make it unusable. MacArthur, after utterly defeating the Japanese, was gracious in victory, he could have humiliated the Emperor and by proxy, the nation. For example he could have imprisoned Hirohito, tried him as a war criminal, and ridden his white horse through the capital. Instead, MacArthur oversaw the re-building of Japan.

To paraphrase the spiritual leader of the movement Ron Paul:

The blowback experienced by the liberty folk and RPI seems to confirm that, “he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.

When Steve Scheffler’s group (Christian Coalition, Iowa Christian Alliance or Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition) was in the driver’s seat, they worked with all of the Caucus campaigns and sent a delegation to the national convention that represented more than just the Christian Right. The 2008 delegation included people like David Roederer — prominent Republican but definitely not a Christian Right guy. The liberty folk could have learned something from the Steve Scheffler.

So where does that leave us as a party? It sounds like the blowback will continue. Every time RPI does something, even something good, like getting Rand Paul to headline the Lincoln Dinner in Cedar Rapids — I get calls from county leaders and grassroots activists complaining. The first, second and third districts are planning on constituting District Executive Committees. I think this is a great idea and am helping to facilitate the effort in the 1st CD now that officer elections are almost over. I am concerned however, that many view theses committees as a way to push back against RPI.

So in this internecine conflict who is right and who is wrong? The answer is that there is blame to be placed with both the liberty folks and the statists, RINOs or establishment.

As a member of the Republican State Central Committee, I firmly believe that we at RPI must do some soul-searching. We must recognize that we have a credibility and trust problem with our county organizations. The problem is not that RPI is controlled by liberty folk — the problem is that the liberty folk who control RPI have not been able to convince our county organizations that they (we) can help them to elect Republicans.

We find ourselves in the position that when our Executive Director Steve Bierfeldt (with 4th District SCC member Chad Steenhoek and National Committeeman Steve Scheffler) went out on behalf of RPI to help facilitate the election of an SCC member and essentially said:

I’m from RPI and I’m here to help you!

The result in the 4th CD was open rebellion. I do not believe that Bierfeldt, Steenhoek or Scheffler went to that meeting with the intention of taking control. But the level of distrust is so high that as soon as the notifications were sent out, the participants were looking for a conspiracy. It was not helpful that Bierfeldt continued to assert himself once it became clear that the committee was not going to cooperate with him.

The current leadership of RPI promised to focus more on issues. They have kept their word. RPI has been very focused on issues. I was skeptical, but I think that RPI has pulled this of quite well. But now, RPI must work on establishing credibility with the county organizations and their leadership. Of course this problem is not new to RPI, we have always struggled in this area. But the problem is worse now than at anytime in my memory.

There is too much at stake in 2014 to continue to fight the battles of the 2012 caucus to convention season.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

DSC_0275This week SCC member Mark Doland was sworn in as a Mahaska County Supervisor. Mark won the seat by a razor thin margin in a special election. The election is notable because, newly-elected GOP Senator Ken Rozenboom who held the supervisor seat previously, publicly endorsed Mark’s Democrat opponent in the last days leading up to the election. Doland had initially intended to run against Rozenboom for the Senate seat but withdrew. At the time Doland endorsed Rozenboom and publicly expressed interest in the supervisor seat.

The endorsement came only a few days before the special election. There was some informal discussion on the SCC about how to respond to a GOP senator endorsing a Democrat supervisor candidate against a GOP challenger. Given the timeframe, it was not possible to call a special meeting of the SCC. So the party leadership responded and AJ Spiker made a robo-call into Mahaska County urging Republicans to get out and vote for Doland.

… AJ Spiker chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, and I’m calling to urge you to vote for Mark Doland, the Republican candidate running for Mahaska County Supervisor. The election is tomorrow, Tuesday, January 29th and the Republican in this race, Mark Doland supports the conservative values of less government and lower taxes. So, please come out tomorrow, Tuesday, January 29th and vote for Mark Doland the Republican candidate for Mahaska County Supervisor.

This message was paid for by the Republican Party of Iowa, not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

When ballots came in, Doland had a 16 vote lead. After absentee ballots were resolved Doland won by a 21 vote margin. In a race this close, the robo-call very likely made a difference. If not putting Doland over the edge, at least padding the margin so there was no recount.

So, what’s the problem? The problem is that I have been getting calls and Facebook messages from Republicans demanding to know whether I voted for RPI to spend money in this county race. The people who contacted me are upset because they feel that county races are not in RPI’s purview, and that since Doland is on the SCC it was somehow unethical for RPI to get involved in his race. None of the people who contacted me expressed any concern about Rozenboom endorsing the Democrat in the race. Some expressed concerns that this was just another case of Ron Paul supporters in the SCC funneling money to one of their own. (Doland actually worked on the Bachmann campaign.)

I was at a county central committee meeting this week and a couple of the attendees asked me about factions within our party. I said that the factions were as divided as I can remember.  To my fellow Iowa Republicans, let me make this plea:

The caucuses are over, 2012 is over. In 2014 we will have an open US Senate seat and possibly two open US House seats, we will have a governor’s race along with all the other statewide races. The entire Iowa House will be up for re-election along with half of the Iowa Senate. This is not the time for in-fighting. A robust primary season in 2014 will be healthy for our party — if when it is done, we come together to turn Iowa red. 2014 will be all hands-on-deck, the staked are too high, we must work together to win.

The decision to get RPI involved in this race was made by the RPI leadership, the SCC could not have met the 10-day notice requirement to meet and act between the Rozenboom endorsement and the election. AJ Spiker is entirely responsible for getting RPI involved in the Mahaska County race.

In the end, the Republican Party of Iowa did something that everyone says we never do. RPI provided support to a GOP candidate in a county race. That support may just have helped put our candidate over the top. RPI’s actions were meaningful and relevant and resulted in a GOP victory. Instead of celebrating, some Republicans across the state are complaining.

The grassroots of this party choose the candidates and the leadership works to see them elected. It’s time to take off the tinfoil hats. I have and will be critical of our leadership when they deserve it but I will praise them when they succeed as well. AJ, thank you for your leadership — a job well done!

[The photo in this article was originally displayed without attribution. The copyright is now displayed. The photographer is Ken Allsup of the Oskaloosa News, used with permission.]

Republican Insanity

2012 Republican National Convention: Day 2The election of 2012 was a crushing national defeat for the national Republican Party. A defeat like this forces us to do some soul-searching. Why did we lose? Was it our message, our messenger(s), our ground game? Some have suggested that we abandon our core principles, change with the times. Others have said we need to re-frame our message to make it more attractive to women, minorities and youth. Others have said that we are not conservative enough and we need to double down on our core principles.

Unfortunately, serving on the Republican State Central Committee does not give me clairvoyance. What I do know is that we need to change. We cannot carry the failed strategies of 2012 into the crucial 2014 mid-terms.

… doing the same old thing the same old way doesn’t sound like a winning option.

It’s time for a new day, a re-birth at the RNC. The above quote is from our newly-elected RNC chairman. The only problem is the newly-elected chairman, this champion of change, this leader who will help us put the past behind us is non other than Reince Priebus. Priebus is the same RNC chairman who oversaw the train wreck of 2012.

The Republican National Committee unanimously re-elected the chairman who led our party to the defeats of 2012. The only announced challenger, couldn’t even find enough support to be formally nominated.

I have heard the arguments, Reince is a great fundraiser. He put the party back on a positive footing after the disastrous term or Michael Steele. Reince was great to work with here in Iowa.

No matter what good qualities he may possess, the job of the RNC Chairman is to win elections. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, after all, despite the 2012 losses in Iowa, we overwhelmingly re-elected A.J. Spiker too.

As Einstein supposedly said:

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

RPI, the SCC and the elections of 2014

senateIn Iowa politics, we refer to the non-presidential years as off-years. The reason is that  Iowa’s First in the Nation Caucuses are the main event. Several Republicans seem to be jockeying for position leading up to the 2016 caucuses, we’ve heard from Jindahl, Rubio, and Huckabee. Rand Paul went on a trip to Israel, arranged by the American Family Association, with National Committeewoman Tamara Scott and RPI Chairman AJ Spiker. But last week, everything changed. When Tom Harkin decided not to seek a sixth term in the Senate. Politicos have been waiting anxiously for the retirement of both Grassley and Harkin. For Harkin to step down at a time when his seat will be up for election in the sixth year of a Democrat president’s term is a dream come true for Iowa Republicans.

There are a number of intriguing scenarios, including a potentially competitive governor’s race, two open US House seats and the open US Senate seat. No matter who decides to run or which scenario plays out, 2014 will certainly be an intense political year.

Watching the blogs and commentators, a common sub-theme has been the question of whether SCC members will remain neutral in the inevitable primaries. I can tell you with certainty, that SCC members will not recuse themselves from the 2014 primaries.

RPI has no rule preventing SCC members or officers from endorsing candidates or even taking paid positions on campigns during primaries.

Five members have, in the past, served concurrently in RPI leadership positions and as paid staffers for campaigns:

  • National Commiteeman Steve Scheffler (Steve has said he will not take a paid position in the future)
  • RPI Chairman AJ Spiker
  • RPI Co-Chairman David Fischer
  • RPI Finance Chairman Drew Ivers
  • SCC Member Wes Enos (Wes has said he will not take a paid position in the future)

At both the 2002 and 2012 state conventions, delegates rejected amendments to the RPI constitution calling for some form of neutrality for RPI members in primaries. (While I was a co-author of the 2012 amendment, I believe it over-reached. I still believe that the grassroots would support a move to prevent party leaders form getting paid by campaigns in primaries, though I digress.)

The SCC Organization Committee is considering a proposed amendment to the RPI bylaws. The purpose of the amendment it to keep RPI neutral in primaries, however the amendment specifically calls out the right of members to support candidates in primaries. The last line of the proposed amendment is:

… This section shall not preclude any member of The Republican Party of Iowa from individually supporting candidates in Primary races.

Some have read this post (pictured below) on the party’s Facebook to say that SCC members will remain neutral in primaries. What this actually says is that the party will remain neutral — members will not.


To be honest, I don’t really have much of a problem with SCC members endorsing primary candidates. I have promised that I will not do so, but I set that standard for myself and promised my district that I would honor it. My daughter is a 1L at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, she says that I am naive because I hold myself to a higher standard than those around me, even if it gives them an advantage.

I do however have a problem with party leaders taking a paycheck from primary candidates. I think it sends a message that this party can be bought — maybe it can. (And yes, I had a problem with Matt Strawn taking a paycheck from Strong America Now who was trying to influence the 2012 caucuses.)

So the question isn’t whether SCC members will interject themselves into the 2014 primaries — rather the question is, which members and who will be paying.

The RPI Chairman Race

This Saturday, the State Central Committee will meet in Des Moines to elect a chairman for the Republican Party of Iowa. There are no last minute candidates, at least not yet. The race has come down to two well known, experienced members of the State Central Committee, current RPI chairman AJ Spiker and current co -chairman Bill Schickel. Like the Iowa State bowl game, it is a rematch of the last chairman race when Matt Strawn stepped down. AJ won that contest by a single vote over Schickel.

In a previous post I wrote about the role of the RPI chairman and said;

… the single most important job an SCC member has is to elect a chairman for the Republican Party of Iowa.

The RPI chairman is elected by a majority vote of the State Central Committee. As I prepare to carry out this most important of my duties, I decided to take the opportunity and share some of my thoughts on the issue. I will start by saying that as an SCC member I have gotten to know Bill and AJ and I like them both.

Let me start by stating that as RPI chairman, AJ Spiker is not responsible for the Iowa GOP’s dismal electoral performances in 2012. On the other hand, he and the team he assembled (as well as the SCC) did not exactly lead the party to victory either.

We had the same situation in the recent past with Ray Hoffman when was RPI chair during the electoral train wreck of 2006. When the SCC chose to elect Hoffman to another term, I was so angry that I couldn’t talk to any of my friends on the committee for weeks. The re-election of Hoffman and the secrecy that surrounded it were key factors in my deciding to run for SCC.

Ray Hoffman was not the reason we got swept in 2006 and AJ Spiker is not the reason we got swept again in 2012. But, having lead the party to defeat, it was then and is now, time to search for new leadership.

Therefore, I am publicly supporting Bill Schickel for RPI chairman. My support for Bill is likely a Quixotic effort. I believe that the coalition of evangelicals and libertarians that elected AJ and swept our conventions in 2012 is strong enough to carry the day and re-elect AJ. I guess, it shouldn’t be a surprise, it sounds like the RNC will also re-elect Reince Priebus.

Whatever happened to the captain going down with the ship?

Guns in School — A Perspective

The Newtown shootings have rekindled the national debate on gun control. Some are saying that guns are the problem while others re suggesting that guns (arming teachers) are the solution. Growing up, I personally experienced guns in school but there were never any problems.

It started in 1975, I was a freshman in high school and my friend Bryan and I were making a super-8 movie for a class. It was a humorous short called, A Hillbilly Cleans Up. The film followed a hillbilly who comes to town and eventually ends up in a laundromat. The hillbilly then proceeds to remove his overalls and do his laundry wearing only his red long johns. Bryan was the hillbilly and I was the cameraman. Guns play a part in this story because in his role as the hillbilly Bryan needed a couple of props, a corn cob pipe, a straw hat and a shotgun. We got out of school and spent the whole day walking around the College Hill Business District in Cedar Falls with my 14 year old friend Bryan carrying a double barreled 12 gauge shotgun over his shoulder. I don’t remember if we entered any businesses other than the laundromat but no one thought it at all unusual.

During my high school years, I can remember a number of guns brought to school as part of school projects and while I wasn’t in the class, I think one of my classmates did a reloading demonstration in a speech class.

My junior (or sophomore) year our PE class went out to the local range to do some trap shooting. It was my first opportunity to use a shotgun. If you can believe it, students were allowed to bring their own shotguns and ammo for the day. My friend Doug gave me a ride to school and brought his shotgun. Rather than leave it in his car, we carried in to the  school building and stored it in my unlocked locker! No one thought it was unusual for us to be walking through the building with a gun — maybe because it was in a case 🙂

I have to admit that I was not entirely truthful in my opening paragraph when I said:

… I personally experienced guns in school but there were never any problems.

One incident stands out, and yes, it was a problem. I like to refer to it as The Day Andy Shot The Clock. It was opening night of the play, Dark of the Moon. My classmate Jon and I were working stage crew. Jon was stage manager and I was running the fly loft. I was working about 12 feet above the stage with the crew that ran the curtain and raised and lowered the sets from above.

My friend Andy was in charge of the sound crew and about midway through the play there supposed to be a gunshot. To make it as authentic as possible, Andy was in the unoccupied hallway just offstage. My classmate Jeff  had provided a 12 gauge shotgun along with some blank shotgun rounds. Jeff handloaded the blank rounds himself.

So in the hallway, armed with a 12 gauge and blanks, Andy was supposed to aim the shotgun down the long hallway and fire it on cue from the student director. In rehearsals, the gunshot always went off without a hitch, but on opening day, things were different. When the time came, we heard the gunshot and … the sound of broken glass.

I think Andy was getting bored. Instead of aiming down the hallway,  when the cue came, Andy aimed the shotgun at the IBM wall clock hanging a few feet away on the wall. Since the shotgun was firing blanks he wrongly assumed that there would be no damage. The trouble is that the blank round still has a paper or plastic wadding plus the concussive force of the 12 gauge is still able to  do damage. When Jon and I heard the broken glass, I practically slid down the ladder to the loft and we ran out in the hallway to find Andy sheepishly holding the shotgun amidst a pile of broken glass.

It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away … it was the 1970’s. I had a leisure suit and platform shoes. It really was a different world, and I am beginning to believe that I am that old guy who doesn’t understand the modern world. It really was a different time, we had guns but no problems … other than Andy shooting the clock 🙂

I guess if Andy didn’t have a gun, the clock would still be alive today.

Tinfoil Hats — Fifth in a Series on The Republican Party of Iowa

After the November 6th election, I am convinced that the Obama regime will increase its attempts at mind control. Republican activists will be especially targeted. So in an effort to protect my brain from invasive government mind control rays, I have constructed a metallic foil cranial radiation deflection device or tinfoil hat. I am writing this post because as I see it, all kidding aside, in the Iowa GOP today — tinfoil hats are all the rage. It is no secret that the Iowa GOP is divided into factions. The divisions we are experiencing are as strong as any I have seen during my time in the party.

In a previous post, I referred to the factions as the gods, the mods and the pauls. Others have identified or labeled factions as: paulbots, establishment, tea party, populist, RINO, political industry, power brokers, liberty, evangelical, etc. It doesn’t matter what labels you apply, we are a party divided.

In this political season, there have been a lot of threats to take our ball and go home …

I have heard some say that Ron Paul was the only hope to beat Obama and if the party failed to come to their senses and nominate him, they would leave the party. Some of those same people who left the party or at the very least did not support the nominee are now pointing fingers saying, “see you chose the wrong guy.”

There are others who look at the Ron Paul influence at RPI and say, we’re not writing any more checks. Some of these same people are now pointing fingers saying, “see you can’t raise funds.”

Everyone is looking for a conspiracy. I know one thing to be true, if you look had enough for a conspiracy, you are certain to find one. I have mentioned two on this blog. First, when the SCC decided to give money to every GOP legislative candidate, those outside the paul faction dutifully put on their tinfoil hats and said:

Conspiracy, conspiracy! The paulbots are just trying to funnel money to so-called ‘Liberty’ candidates who otherwise couldn’t raise a dime.

The second case was when the governor suggested that the Straw Poll may have outlived its usefulness. The paul faction dutifully put on their tinfoil hats and said:

Conspiracy, conspiracy! The establishment is just trying to silence the grassroots and the voice of the people so they and their corporate buddies can choose the nominee.

This post is a plea for sanity. 2014 will soon be upon us. We have all the statewide races, 4 congressional seats, and a senate seat to worry about. We also want to build our majority in the Iowa House and gain the majority in the Iowa Senate. All across Iowa, our party will need to fight for local GOP candidates as well. We do not have time for these internecine battles.

While we have our tinfoil hats on, I do want to point out a conspiracy that worries me:

Conspiracy, conspiracy! The Democrats are out to increase our taxes, they have not shown a willingness to cut spending. The number of people on government assistance has increased, they want to force businesses and even churches to provide services that violate their moral values. They believe they have a mandate to raise taxes on the ‘rich’. …

Now, if only I knew how to combat the effects of chemtrails

Amending the Bylaws — Fourth in a Series on the Republican Party of Iowa

There is an amendment to the bylaws of the Republican Party of Iowa up for consideration at the Dec 8th meeting of the State Central Committee. The current constitution and bylaws are available on the party’s website. The bylaw change is being proposed by 2nd District SCC member Marcus Fedler.

The change is in response to some events that occurred during the 2012 primary campaign. During the primary, the House Majority Fund sent out some mailings in support of incumbents who had Republican primary challengers.

The problem that many people had (myself included) is that the House Majority Fund is run through RPI and the mailing said, Paid for by the Republican Party of Iowa. It certainly gave the appearance that the RPI, the state party, was picking sides in the primary.

To put in perspective, the House Majority Fund, and its sibling, the Senate Majority Fund, consist of monies raised by the House and Senate caucuses under their respective leaders. RPI comes into the picture because neither caucus is an independent political entity. RPI provides numerous services to the caucuses. Both funds have employees and these employees are employees of RPI. RPI handles all the paperwork and payroll for them. RPI provides office space, equipment, utilities, etc. The controversy occurred because the caucuses also use RPI’s mailing permit and mailings must include the disclaimer,Paid for by the Republican Party of Iowa. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen came to an SCC meeting to address the issue this summer. He and I spoke beforehand and I assured him that I did not want to hinder his ability to raise money and spend it as he saw fit to benefit his caucus. I reiterated that one of the tangible benefits that RPI provides is handling the paperwork, being the employer of record and managing the bank accounts, mailing and ethics filing for the caucuses. Significantly, we wanted to continue supporting the caucuses in these ways. The only stipulation would be that the caucuses could no longer use RPI’s disclaimer in support of a particular candidate in a contested primary.

Here is Fedler’s proposed amendment:

The Republican Party of Iowa shall not use any resources for the benefit of any Republican candidate in contested primary races. “Resources” includes but is not limited to; the use of Party funds obtained in any way; the use of the name “The Republican Party of Iowa” on mailers, emails, press releases, or any campaign materials of any kind; the use of nonprofit mail status; lists; or staff. This section shall not preclude any member of The Republican Party of Iowa from individually supporting candidates in Primary races.

I am in favor of the principle. The principle that RPI remain officially neutral in primaries. My view on SCC members publicly endorsing or working for primary candidates is well known. But I believe that the last sentence of this amendment is redundant. There is indeed nothing in this section that could be construed as preventing individual members from supporting or even accepting paid positions with candidates in primaries.

As a rules guy, I believe in simple clear language. When this amendment comes up for debate, I will be a supporter, but I will suggest the following alternative language:

The resources of the Republican Party of Iowa shall not be used to benefit any individual candidate in a contested primary.

In the current climate, I suspect that there will be some who believe that my proposal is an effort to weaken the amendment. That I am trying to set up a rule that would force the SCC to remove members who support candidates in primaries. There is no conspiracy here, I am on board with this amendment. I just believe in simple concise wording.

RPI Chairman — Third in a Series on the Republican Party of Iowa

During my tenure on the State Central Committee, I have come to understand that the single most important job an SCC member has is to elect a chairman for the Republican Party of Iowa. The party chairman appoints the Executive Director with the approval of the SCC. In the day to day life of the party, the SCC acts primarily as a board of directors, leaving the operation to the chairman and staff. The SCC is not typically involved in event planning, selecting speakers, press releases or other staff hires. In a year when we do not hold Terrace Hill, the chairman’s role is even more important, being viewed by those in the party and those outside as the public face of the Iowa GOP. The chairman is also our third representative to the Republican National Committee and plays an important role in maintaining Iowa’s First in the Nation Caucus.

Historically, the election of an RPI chairman has been conducted in secret, in smokey back rooms. It used to be done in such a way that no one outside the SCC knew who was running and even SCC members did not really know the result of the vote. Before I was on the SCC, the vote was taken in secret and the Vauditor (State Auditor David Vaudt) was asked to count the votes and announce the winner. The SCC would then move to declare the vote unanimous after the fact. When I ran for SCC I vowed that all of that would change, and it did. The 2008 Chairman’s race was unlike any other. At one point there were as many as eight declared candidates. Several candidates made direct appeals to the GOP rank and file. RPI held a public forum for candidates and a large number of supporters turned out for the vote. The vote was still by secret ballot but the results were made public immediately.

When Matt Strawn resigned, the SCC felt that it was important to select his replacement and get the new team up and running quickly. It was a unique situation and I hope it does not become a precedent. I hope we once again have an open and robust process with input from the grassroots of our party. So, if you want to have input in this process, lobby your SCC members (contact information here) or attend the December 8th or January 5th SCC meetings at RPI headquarters. We need to hear from you.

I just received official notice of the January 5th State Central meeting and the election of officers. (Chairman, Cochairman, Treasurer and Secretary) As of now, current chairman A.J. Spiker has not declared whether he will be seeking re-election. Cochairman Bill Schickel has indicated that he is a candidate for chairman. I have been on the receiving end of some quiet inquiries but no one else has made an announcement.