Charles Grassley

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Dan Gilgoff reports that retired NFL Coach Tony Dungy, who endorsed an Indiana ballot initiative banning gay marriage in 2007 and accepted an award from the right-wing Indiana Family Institute, has been invited to join the White House's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. We have released a statement criticizing the move, as has Americans United - and Pastor Dan likewise disapproves and Sarah Posner says the White House is running low on slots to "represent a cross-section of American religion."
  • As Steve Benen says "It's had to argue with logic like that."
  • Religion Clause notes that Sen. Charles Grassley says he may subpoena records from those televangelists who have failed to cooperate with him in his investigation of their financial dealings.
  • David Neiwert catches Newt Gingrich advocating draconian measures for drug users in America.
  • AU's Rob Boston is hoping that "Obama’s future appointments annoy the Religious Right as much as [David Hamilton] has."
  • Terry Krepel reports that the Western Journalism Center is back.
  • Pam notes that Sally Kern fits right in among the legislators in Oklahoma.

Grassley Gets Bounced From Iowa Delegation

Normally, merely being a Republican Senator from any state in the nation would all but assure said Senator of getting a spot on his or her state’s delegation to the Republican National Convention in September.  But not if you are Charles Grassley of Iowa and your state party has been taken over by right-wing zealots who are upset about your investigation into potential financial improprieties at several high-profile televangelist ministries:   

Evangelical Christians in Iowa, dominant in the state's Republican Party, have denied Sen. Charles E. Grassley his request for a place on the state's delegation to this summer's Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

Mr. Grassley may attend the party's Sept. 1-4 nominating convention in St. Paul, but not as a voting delegate.

With a majority of nine out of 17 members on the Iowa Republican central committee, religious conservatives made Iowa Christian Alliance President Steve Scheffler chairman of Iowa's 40-member delegation in a vote immediately after their state party convention July 12.

"The Republican Party of Iowa is moving significantly to the right on social issues," the just-ousted Iowa Republican National Committee member Steve Roberts told The Washington Times. "It hurts John McCain's chances to win this state."

Other party officials said money for the party is drying up because of past mismanagement and current religious dominance, which has turned traditional Republican politics upside down.

"It's pretty well controlled now by the Christian Alliance," Mr. Roberts said. "If somebody came to me and wanted to be a delegate to the national party convention, I used to say, 'Talk to the state party chairman or to Grassley.' Now it's very simple. You go to the Christian Alliance, and they determine who is a delegate, and you have to do exactly as they say."

In recent weeks, religious activists replaced Mr. Roberts as the national Republican committeeman and also replaced the national committeewoman with pro-life advocates who also oppose gay marriage.

Barring Mr. Grassley from voting-delegate status is seen as a blow to him as the senior Republican official in the state, who normally might have led the convention's delegation.

Mr. Grassley had said "yes" when asked by Iowa Republican Chairman Stewart Iverson if he wanted to be a voting delegate to the national convention, Mr. Iverson said.

Political observers in Iowa saw the move against Mr. Grassley as retribution for his having tangled with evangelical pastors in his state. He initiated a Senate Finance Committee investigation of six televangelists for conspicuous personal spending.

GOP's Preacher Candidate Politicizes Effort to Depoliticize Church

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has withdrawn from an effort to disentangle Baptists from partisan politics – citing politics. Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and a Southern Baptist pastor, was invited and expected to attend a meeting of the New Baptist Covenant organized by former President Jimmy Carter to bring together members of the North American Baptist Fellowship, African-American Baptists, the Southern Baptist Convention – which was “taken over” by theological (and, largely, political) conservatives more than 20 years ago but has recently made motions toward centrism – and others around common-ground issues like poverty and AIDS. Huckabee, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley were among prominent Southern Baptist Republicans invited, joining prominent Baptist Democrats Carter, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore.

This effort to establish the New Baptist Covenant’s bipartisan credentials has been stymied, however, by Huckabee’s withdrawal over comments made by Carter in the political realm. After Carter criticized President Bush’s foreign policy, Huckabee told the Florida Baptist Witness that the comments were “unbecoming to one whose conference is supposed to be about civility and bringing people together.” Also complaining that Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, whom Huckabee described as “very, very liberal,” would be speaking, Huckabee said,

In light of the program and roster of speakers, as well as the very harsh comments toward our president this weekend, I feel it would be best for me to decline the invitation and to not appear to be giving approval to what could be a political, rather than spiritual agenda.

Huckabee was in Florida that day, along with fellow presidential candidate Sam Brownback, to speak to the far-right Florida Family Policy Council (a state affiliate of Focus on the Family). The two long-shot candidates, popular among the Religious Right, apparently impressed the partisan crowd (which included Republican National Committee chair Mel Martinez). But while Brownback was willing to share the stage with Democrat Barack Obama at Rick Warren’s megachurch to talk about global AIDS last winter – in spite of vicious criticisms from the far Right – Huckabee is apparently unwilling to give up the partisan mantle of his presidential campaign for the Baptist-unity event.

David Currie of Texas Baptists Committed responded,

The [New] Baptist Covenant meeting has never been about politics but about Jesus and unity. The fact is, if we have a meeting and only preachers preach, the national press will not cover our message. If prominent politicians of both parties speak, the national press will cover it. I am sorry Gov. Huckabee withdrew, as I have been impressed with him on TV several times. But I'm sure the Religious Right put great pressure upon him. I wish him well.

Still, Huckabee’s act may gain him some new friends, such as Richard Land, the Southern Baptist Convention leader who has helped define the SBC’s right-wing political reputation and who had scoffed at the New Baptist Covenant’s aims.

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Charles Grassley Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/31/2009, 4:52pm
Dan Gilgoff reports that retired NFL Coach Tony Dungy, who endorsed an Indiana ballot initiative banning gay marriage in 2007 and accepted an award from the right-wing Indiana Family Institute, has been invited to join the White House's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. We have released a statement criticizing the move, as has Americans United - and Pastor Dan likewise disapproves and Sarah Posner says the White House is running low on slots to "represent a cross-section of American religion."As Steve Benen says "It's had to argue with logic like that.... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 07/21/2008, 3:48pm
Normally, merely being a Republican Senator from any state in the nation would all but assure said Senator of getting a spot on his or her state’s delegation to the Republican National Convention in September.  But not if you are Charles Grassley of Iowa and your state party has been taken over by right-wing zealots who are upset about your investigation into potential financial improprieties at several high-profile televangelist ministries:    Evangelical Christians in Iowa, dominant in the state's Republican Party, have denied Sen. Charles E. Grassley his... MORE >
, Tuesday 05/22/2007, 3:24pm
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has withdrawn from an effort to disentangle Baptists from partisan politics – citing politics. Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and a Southern Baptist pastor, was invited and expected to attend a meeting of the New Baptist Covenant organized by former President Jimmy Carter to bring together members of the North American Baptist Fellowship, African-American Baptists, the Southern Baptist Convention – which was “taken over” by theological (and, largely, political) conservatives more than 20 years ago... MORE >