Iowa

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Rep. Michele Bachmann announced (again) her intention to run for president.
  • And she is off to a great start.
  • The Family Research Council says that passage of marriage equality in New York was the result of "enormous political coercion [that] resulted in a profound failure of moral courage in the New York Senate."
  • The National Organization for Marriage is pledging $2 million to defeat the NY Republicans who voted for the marriage equality bill.
  • Bryan Fischer continues his hate crime crusade.
  • Finally, part two of Randall Terry's interview with Rick Santorum was disappointingly dull.

Randall Terry Interviews Rick Santorum

I don't know about you, but if I was hoping to be taken seriously as a Republican presidential candidate and Randall Terry approached me at a conference for an interview, I would run away as fast as I could.

But, then again, I am not Rick Santorum:

Turns out that both Terry and Santorum attended a homeschool convention in Iowa and Terry managed to land an interview with the GOP presidential hopeful.  Terry is breaking the interview up into three parts which he is showing on his television program. 

Part one aired last night (starting around the 11:00 mark) and it was relatively uneventful, though Terry did try to get Santorum to promise to eliminate the Department of Education:

Hopefully parts two and three will be a little more interesting.

Religious Right Intensifies The Fight Against Gay-Straight Alliances

After Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent a letter declaring that Gay-Straight Alliances and similar groups are protected under the 1984 Equal Access Law, which was passed with the help of Religious Right activists, the Religious Right was unsurprisingly enraged. Many anti-gay organizations forcefully oppose the creation of such clubs, and the Family Research Council even urged schools to encourage clubs that support ex-gay therapy. Now, American Principles In Action (APIA) is denouncing Duncan’s letter as a threat to “the innocence” of children.

APIA is the political arm of the American Principles Project, an anti-gay group that is best known for launching the boycott of the Conservative Political Action Conference over the participation of GOProud and the alleged sidelining of the social conservatives. Even though APIA took on leading conservative groups with its CPAC boycott, recently presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum signed up for their Iowa “Tea Party Bus Tour.”

In a statement, the APIA charged Secretary Duncan with bullying for supporting students who want to form clubs that actively fight school bullying and harassment. The group instead claimed that it was part of the Obama Administration’s “sexual agenda” and need to “pander to the gay lobby,” requesting the Supreme Court overrule the decision:

Today, American Principles in Action (APIA) criticized Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan for another attempt to bully local schools into accepting the Administration’s sexual agenda. On June 14, he sent a “Dear Colleague” letter notifying schools across the country that they are prohibited from denying the formation of “Queer-Straight” and “Gay-Straight” Alliance groups.

“This is a situation where local school boards have been making their own decisions about how to protect the students entrusted to their care,” said Andy Blom, Executive Director of APIA. “It is simply unacceptable for Sec. Duncan to push local school districts around and force them to accept their sexual agenda, especially when case law is so conflicted on the issue.”

In his letter, Secretary Duncan backed up his decision by citing a July 2008 decision made in Gonzalez vs. School Board of Okeechobee County where a Florida federal judge prohibited the local school board from preventing a Gay-Straight Alliance Group from forming under the Equal Protection Act.



“What we really need is for the Supreme Court to weigh in to protect the ability of local school districts to manage the innocence of their children without interference from federal courts,” said Blom. “Instead, Sec. Duncan has used yet another opportunity to pander to the gay lobby. It is time for the Supreme Court and Congress to step forward and reign in this overaggressive Department of Education.”

Perry Reaches Out To Vander Plaats For Iowa Advice

As Governor Rick Perry ponders a run for the presidency, it is already clear that he doesn’t mind working with the most radical of anti-gay leaders. Perry’s The Response prayer rally is hosted by the American Family Association, whose spokesman Bryan Fischer wants to see homosexuality criminalized, and former activists with The Call, a prayer rally that defended Uganda’s 'kill-the-gays' bill. Other individuals working with The Response include militantly anti-gay leaders Jim Garlow, Cindy Jacobs, David Barton and David Welch.

Now, the Des Moines Register reports that Perry aides are reaching out to Bob Vander Plaats, the head of The Family Leader. Vander Plaats led the successful campaign to remove three Iowa Supreme Court justices who backed marriage equality and is closely linked to (and funded by) the AFA. Vander Plaats is also tied to an effort that likened being gay to being a cigarette smoker and once said that allowing equal marriage rights for gay couples threatened the system of private property and gun-ownership rights. One former adviser said that Vander Plaats is “obsessed with the gay marriage issue.”

Since Vander Plaats is a powerful Religious Right figure who has hosted presidential candidates like Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Herman Cain, it is no surprise that Perry is in touch with him:

A supporter of possible presidential candidate Rick Perry of Texas telephoned an Iowa conservative leader today, inquiring about the political scene in Iowa.

“They were asking questions, asking my take on Iowa, how things are lining up and also making sure I know they like Rick Perry,” said Bob Vander Plaats, president of the Family Leader, an Iowa-based conservative advocacy group that’s hosting a presidential lecture series.



Vander Plaats said he has so far spoke with two Texans and one other out-of-stater, but declined to share their names because the conversations were intended to be private.

None of the callers included Perry’s political strategist Dave Carney, or anyone who currently works for Perry, he said. “They’re just people that are around him and they think he’d be good for the race,” Vander Plaats said.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • It looks like Newt Gingrich's entire campaign staff resigned en masse today, but Gingrich and his ego will soldier on.
  • Tim Pawlenty has secured the coveted Joe "You Lie" Wilson endorsement.
  • FRC says Govs. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) and Christine Gregoire (D-Wash.) are matching Rick Perry's prayer rally with days of prayer in their own states.
  • Herman Cain surprises nobody by saying being gay is a sin and a choice.
  • Another informative poll from the AFA.
  • Apparently, the problem with George W. Bush was that he was really just too moderate: "A lot of people who had been in the [Reagan] administration were systematically thrown out by the Bush crowd. They only wanted people who were more pragmatic...moderate...middle-of-the-road and establishment Republicans. And look at what we ultimately got -- we ultimately got Barack Obama."

GOP Presidential Candidates Join Far-Right Group For Iowa Tea Party Bus Tour

According to the Des Moines Register, Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum will take part in Iowa’s Tea Party Bus Tour. The bus tour is led by a coalition of right-wing groups: the Leadership Institute, FairTax Nation, and the American Principles Project’s affiliated groups, Preserve Innocence and American Principles in Action.

Founded by noted anti-gay activist Robert George, the group is also closely linked to the Manhattan Declaration and the National Organization for Marriage, which it worked with to defeat marriage equality in Maine. Thomas Peters, the APP’s communications director, even participated in a conference tied to the notoriously anti-Semitic Polish broadcaster Tadeusz Rydsyk of Radio Maryja.

The APP is best known for instigating the boycott of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference due to its inclusion of GOProud, a group of gay conservatives, and rallied other Religious Right organizations to leave the summit.

Preserve Innocence is the APP’s education watchdog and is mainly a voice against comprehensive sex education and anti-bullying programs. The group outspokenly opposed the role of Kevin Jennings, the White House’s outgoing Assistant Secretary for the Department of Education’s Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools and the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, asserting that his views represent a “moral atrocity”:

Kevin Jennings aggressively advocates using our schools to teach children—including young children—about homosexuality and homosexual practices. He is the author of a Foreword to a book called Queering Elementary Education, and as the former Director of GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educational Network), he supports a radical agenda that includes bringing sexual liberationist teachings into public schools. That’s what he means by “queering” elementary education.

“Queering” our elementary schools means destroying the innocence of our children. Please help us to stop that moral atrocity from happening.

The APP also bizarrely claims that President Obama was establishing “death panels” and working with Planned Parenthood to encourage students to have abortions:

“There is a frightening disconnect between what American parents believe their children should be taught about sex and by whom, and the liberal, even promiscuous sex education the Obama administration wishes to inflict upon our children through Planned Parenthood”, stated Andy Blom, Executive Director of the American Principles Project and American Principles in Action. “But this goes beyond sex education. This is opening the doors of our schools and their health programs to the nation’s largest abortion provider.”



President Obama’s Health Care plan threatens babies through Government mandated, taxpayer funded abortion. It threatens parental rights, pre-teens and teenagers through Planned Parenthood SBHC sex indoctrination. It threatens the elderly and disabled through rationed health care and end-of-life “Death Panels.”

Randall Terry Kicks Off Presidential Campaign With Iowa Ads

Last year, Randall Terry hit upon the idea of running for president in order to exploit a loophole that would allow him to air graphic anti-abortion ads on television.

Today, he announced that his first campaign ad would begin airing in Iowa, though it is mostly just a standard political ad:

Barack Hussein Obama is the worst President in our history.

He's at war with our founding principles of life and liberty.

His bailout of Wall Street, and socialist agenda have enslaved our children to debt…to China.

His addiction to Arab oil funds Islamic terrorists, while he leaves billions of barrels untouched in ANWR.

He chose a government shutdown, paid our soldiers late, rather than defund Planned Parenthood.

He cast aside the Defense of Marriage Act.

And is guilty of the slaughter of unborn babies - defying the Commandments of God.

Who will stop this madman? The establishment? John Boehner? Mitt Romney?

I'm asking for your vote in the Iowa Caucus against Obama. I can defeat him here...if YOU put principle ahead of party; life and liberty, ahead of comfort...and slavery.

I'm Randall Terry, and I approve this message.

But, true to his main goal, his campaign website does contain several "prototype" ads featuring graphic images that likely intends to run in the future.
 

Right Wing Round-Up

Rick Perry Teams Up With AFA For Call-Like Prayer Rally

Reuters reports that Texas Governor Rick Perry has teamed up with the American Family Association to launch his own Lou Engle-like all day prayer rally:

Saying "there is hope for America, and we will find it on our knees," Texas Governor Rick Perry has invited other governors to join him in a "solemn gathering of prayer and fasting" in August in Houston, according to the event's website.

Perry, who said recently he is considering a run for the Republican nomination to contest the presidency in 2012 against Barack Obama, has frequently made calls for prayer while governor.

"I sincerely hope you'll join me in Houston on August 6th and take your place in Reliant Stadium with praying people asking for God's forgiveness, wisdom and provision," Perry wrote in materials promoting the event, called "The Response, a Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis."

A message on the event's website says it is in response to a historic crisis and calls it "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting," with the goal "to rise up and make a sound that will be heard in heaven."

The site says Perry "has invited all US governors as well as many other national and Christian political leaders."

"Right now, America is in crisis," Perry says in a message on the site. "We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together, and call upon Jesus to guide us..."

Perry's spokeswoman could not be reached for comment on the August event on Sunday.

Eric Bearse, a spokesman for The Response, said on Sunday: "The governor told the American Family Association about a month ago that we need to call Americans together for a time of prayer."

Bearse said the Mississippi-based American Family Association, a conservative Christian activist group, is paying for the event, and admission will not be charged.

According to the event website, the prayer rally will take place at Reliant Stadium in Houston and last from 10 am to 5 pm and will feature Don Wildmon and Buddy Smith of the American Family Association, Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership, David Lane, who was involved in the effort to remove the Supreme Court Justices in Iowa and is behind the various "Restoration Project" events across America, former Congressmen Bob McEwen, as well as several leaders associated with Lou Engle and/or the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott is meeting with the Council for National Policy.
  • Sarah Palin says she has the "fire in the belly" needed to run for president, which I translate as means "people please pay attention to me."
  • It seems that God just didn't want Mike Huckabee to run for president.
  • Finally, John Stemberger reports that the Florida Bar has dismissed the complaint that was brought against him over his representation of Rifqa Bary.

Right Wing Round-Up

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 5/17/11

Michele Bachmann

2012: More likely to run for president following Mike Huckabee's decision against running (CBS News, 5/16). 

Constitution: High school student challenges her to a debate on the Constitution as a result of her record of making incorrect statements (Minnesota Independent, 5/13). 

Herman Cain

Georgia: Wins praise for speech at Georgia GOP convention (Southern Political Report, 5/16). 

Florida: Tops field in Fort Lauderdale Tea Party straw poll (Sunshine State News, 5/16). 

Mitch Daniels

Reproductive Rights: Signs law defunding Planned Parenthood that costs thousands their health care, state millions of dollars (The Faster Times, 5/16).

2012: Members of Indiana Republican Party encourage Daniels to run during state convention (AP, 5/13).

Religious Right: Anti-choice activists upset Daniels weighed Condoleezza Rice as a running mate because she is pro-choice (Life News, 5/13). 

GOP: Reports say that Governors Haley Barbour, Chris Christie and Scott Walker would endorse Daniels (CBS News, 5/12). 

Newt Gingrich

Religious Right: Denies advisers' links to Dominionist theology (RWW, 5/16).

Medicare: Describes Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare as "right wing social engineering" but previously said he would've voted for it (Think Progress, 5/16). 

Health Care: Makes inconsistent remarks over his past support for health care insurance mandates (Politico, 5/16). 

Iowa: Will make swing through Iowa this week following official announcement (Dubuque Telegraph Herald, 5/15). 

Jon Huntsman

Religious Right: Set to address Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition (RWW, 5/16).

South Carolina: Huckabee's former state campaign chair announces his support for Huntsman (Politico, 5/16). 

Florida: Meets with key donors in Florida (St. Petersburg Times, 5/11). 

Roy Moore

Religious Right: Claims President Obama is "pushing his own immoral values without regard to what the people think or believe" (WND, 5/16). 

Campaign: Launches website for exploratory committee (RoyMoore2012.com).

Sarah Palin

PAC: Embarks on new direct mail campaign with focus on 2012 election (WaPo, 5/16). 

2012: Supporters hope that Huckabee's announcement will create an opening for Palin (Commentary, 5/16). 

Tim Pawlenty

South Carolina: Hires political director for South Carolina primary (The Hill, 5/17). 

Environment: Continues to apologize for past support of ‘cap and trade’ system (Minnesota Post, 5/17).

Mitt Romney

Fundraising: Raises over $10 million on Monday call-day in Las Vegas (WaPo, 5/17). 

Health Care: Defends state health plan that is analogous to federal health care law (NYT, 5/13). 

Rick Santorum

Medicare: Criticizes Gingrich for attacking Paul Ryan’s Medicare privatization proposal (The Hill, 5/16). 

Health Care: Knocks Romney for defending his Massachusetts health care law (The State Column, 5/13).

Huntsman Signs Up For Faith and Freedom Conference

Republican presidential aspirants continue to flock to Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition. Reed today announced that former Utah governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman will speak to the group’s Conference and Strategy Briefing on June 3rd. Other GOP presidential contenders addressing the gathering include Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain, along with Donald Trump, House GOP leaders John Boehner, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan, and numerous Republican congressmen.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition seems to be the restoration of Reed’s Christian Coalition, and he has focused on building a presence in key primary and general election states like Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

Despite Reed’s duplicitous and corrupt background, Republicans persistently seek his support. The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody today profiled the group’s plans for the 2012 election and collaborations with the Tea Party movement:

"We anticipate we're going to knock on over 2 million doors," Reed, chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, told CBN News.

"We're going to register between 1 million and 2 million new voters so we're going to add 1 to 2 million new voters," he predicted. "And then we'll end up contacting somewhere between 25 and 40 million voters."



The Faith & Freedom Coalition doesn't just focus on social issues. Leaders know that fiscal concerns are huge and will be a major priority but they don't plant to co-opt the Tea Party movement.

"We're saying to them you need to continue to be who you are as Tea Party leaders," conservative strategist Gary Marx told CBN News. "At the same time, there are areas where we can work together and be allied -- like the example of cutting abortion funding for groups like Planned Parenthood," he said.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 5/10/11

Michele Bachmann

Background: NPR looks into her transition from Jimmy Carter volunteer to right-wing culture warrior (NPR, 5/9).

GOP: Breaks with Speaker John Boehner over debt ceiling (The Hill, 5/9).

Herman Cain

Nevada: Addresses conservative group in the early caucus state (Las Vegas Sun, 5/9).

Debate: Claims his candidacy gained momentum, new supporters after Fox News debate (CBS News, 5/6).

Mitch Daniels

Religious Right: Decision to defund Planned Parenthood will bolster social conservative credentials despite 'truce' talk (TPM, 5/9).

2012: Report claims that Daniels' wife is final hold-out to presidential bid (HuffPo, 5/9).

Newt Gingrich

2012: Expects to make official announcement tomorrow in Atlanta (WaPo, 5/9).

Campaign: Built vast network of political organizations to promote his clout, image (WSJ, 5/9).

Family: Wife Callista to play a pivotal role in campaign (NYT, 5/9).

Mike Huckabee

Background: NPR explores his roots as a pastor and church leader (NPR, 5/8).

Media: Fox News wants answer from Huckabee about 2012 plans (MoJo, 5/5).

Jon Huntsman

Campaign: Launches leadership PAC during swing through South Carolina and New Hampshire (Fox News, 5/9).

Religion: Concerns that Huntsman is distancing himself from his Mormon faith (Salt Lake Tribune, 5/9).

Experience: Defends serving as ambassador to China in Obama administration (Business Week, 5/8).

Sarah Palin

Poll: Most popular among low-income Republicans (CBS News, 5/9).

GOP: Neoconservative Republicans increasingly abandon Palin (TNR, 5/6).

Tim Pawlenty

Environment: Abandons past support for cap and trade policy (Christian Science Monitor, 5/9). 

Foreign Policy: Knocks Obama's handling of Libya crisis (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 5/7). 

Government: Backs aspects of Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare (Politico, 5/6). 

Mitt Romney

Religious Right: Plans to address Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Conference (CNN, 5/9).

South Carolina: Campaign wary that South Carolina primary victory is out of reach (Politico, 5/8). 

Rick Santorum

South Carolina: After winning state convention straw poll, looks to gain support from state's Religious Right, business communities (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 5/8). 

Foreign Policy: Says Obama "doesn't understand what it takes to defend America" (Fox News, 5/5).

Donald Trump

Media: Ratings for reality TV show falling rapidly (Hollywood Reporter, 5/9).

Race: Says he can't be racist because he picked a Black contestant as winner of The Apprentice (Think Progress, 5/9).

Will Money Help Gingrich Win Over The Religious Right?

The Wall Street Journal today features an extensive profile on Newt Gingrich’s vast network of political organizations, including American Solutions, Renewing American Leadership (ReAL), and Gingrich Productions. The paper reports that Gingrich’s “network has amassed more than 1.7 million voter and donor contacts and raised $32 million between 2009 and 2010—more than all his potential 2012 rivals combined.” Gingrich also helped steer $150,000 to American Family Association Action to help defeat three Iowa State Supreme Court justices that ruled in favor of marriage equality. Along with ReAL, which is led by anti-gay activist Jim Garlow, and his support for the AFA, Gingrich has made overtures to other Religious Right groups and leaders including John Hagee, Bryan Fischer, Janet Porter, Liberty University, Liberty Counsel, The Family Leader and the Minnesota Family Council.

But will Gingrich’s financial influence, religious documentaries and appeals to prominent Religious Right figures translate to real support from activists who might be wary of backing a thrice-married adulterer? Fischer remains a skeptic, but Iowa’s Bob Vander Plaats, who coordinated the anti-judge campaign, is still grateful for Gingrich’s significant monetary aid:

Mr. Gingrich hasn't run a truly competitive campaign in 21 years. He is given to public gaffes, most recently criticizing President Barack Obama for failing to back the rebels fighting Col. Moammar Gadhafi, only to reverse himself after Mr. Obama ordered U.S. planes into Libya. He resigned from Congress in 1998 under an ethics cloud, after his party suffered a historic midterm loss. It was later revealed that he was having an affair with a congressional aide.

Even groups that have allied with him, such as the conservative American Family Association, aren't poised to back him, citing his two messy divorces and three marriages. "He is brilliant, and has much to offer. But he isn't what we need in the Oval Office," said the AFA's director of issue analysis, Bryan Fischer.



Wearing an array of organizational hats, he has met repeatedly with pastors, trained local candidates, consulted with doctors on his proposed health-care innovations and met with local refiners to tout ethanol. After raising money through one of his groups, Mr. Gingrich funneled $150,000 in seed money to a successful campaign last fall to oust three Iowa Supreme Court judges who supported gay marriage.

"Newt's role was quiet and very low key, but it was pivotal," said Bob Vander Plaats, a well-known Iowa conservative who led the anti-judges campaign.



The heavy emphasis on religion is part of his long push to atone for his multiple divorces, according to people who know him. "He was very direct about this," said Rev. Brad Sherman, a prominent Iowa evangelical leader, recounting a session Mr. Gingrich had last year with a small group of Iowa religious leaders. "He said he had deep regrets, and asked our forgiveness."

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 4/26/11

Michele Bachmann

Media: Included in the Time 100 (Star Tribune, 4/21).

2012: Claims she will reach a decision on presidential bid by June (LA Times, 4/20). 

Haley Barbour

2012: Decides against running for president (Politico, 4/25). 

Newt Gingrich

Energy: Received $300,000 from ethanol lobbying group (Des Moines Register, 4/25).

Immigration: Balances outreach to Hispanic voters with GOP's increasing nativism (Politico, 4/22). 

Mike Huckabee

South Carolina: Leads other candidates among South Carolina Republicans in new poll (The Ticket, 4/25).

Media: War of words with Glenn Beck escalates (HuffPo, 4/22). 

2012: Former campaign manager predicts he will run (The Daily Beast, 4/21). 

Jon Huntsman

Foreign Affairs: Wins praise from Chinese leaders as he leaves post as Ambassador (Salt Lake Tribune, 4/21). 

Campaign: Hires prominent GOP pollster (Fox News, 4/20). 

Roy Moore

Iowa: Completes 27-stop tour in Iowa, focusing on religious voters (Iowa Republican, 4/22). 

Religious Right: Addresses militantly anti-gay Cornerstone World Outreach church (Sioux City Journal, 4/22) 

Sarah Palin

Alaska: 61% of home state voters view her unfavorably (Anchorage Daily News, 4/25). 

Family: Estranged ex-future-son-in-law Levi Johnston to write tell-all on Palin family (LA Times, 4/25). 

Religious Right: Set to speak alongside dominionist ex-General William Boykin (HuffPo, 4/25).

Iowa: Campaign in Iowa a one-man operation (WSJ, 4/22). 

Tim Pawlenty

Polls: Fails to increase support among GOP primary voters in polls (Minnesota Public Radio, 4/25). 

Environment: Former adviser and polar explorer disappointed with Pawlenty's move towards climate change denial (Mother Jones, 4/21). 

Mitt Romney

Budget: Wrongly claims that Obama is managing a "peacetime" budget in op-ed (Washington Monthly, 4/25).

Fundraising: Escalates fundraising to build campaign war chest (AP, 4/25). 

Rick Santorum

Equality: Doubles down on opposition to civil rights for gays and lesbians (Crooks and Liars, 4/25). 

Health care: Regrets voting for Medicare prescription drug benefit plan (HuffPo, 4/24). 

Iowa: Hires state campaign manager and field director before embarking on tour (Politico, 4/21). 

Donald Trump

Birther: Claims President Obama's birth certificate is either "missing" or "does not exist" (Daily Caller, 4/25). 

Voting: Has spotty voting record during primary elections (NY1, 4/23).

Iowa GOP Tries To Impeach State Supreme Court Over Marriage Equality

After the Religious Right’s successful campaign, with massive funding from Newt Gingrich, to remove three state Supreme Court justices in the 2010 elections who backed marriage equality, now the Iowa GOP is pushing for the impeachment of the remaining justices. Bob Vander Plaats, the anti-gay activist who led the drive to remove the Justices and heads The Family Leader, has previously called for the resignation of the entire Supreme Court and advocated for their removal over the marriage equality ruling in Varnum v. Brien. He is also building ties with likely presidential candidates as Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Herman Cain have either addressed or plan to speak during The Family Leader’s “presidential lecture series.”

Despite the heightened activism of the state’s social conservatives, Lynda Waddington of the Iowa Independent reports that the impeachment resolution faces an uphill battle:

Iowa House Republicans drew an immediate negative reaction late Thursday when they filed four articles of impeachment, one for each remaining member of the Iowa Supreme Court that participated in an April 2009 decision that struck down a legislative ban on same-sex marriage as a violation of the state’s equal protection clause.

The four House resolutions target Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady (HR 48) and Justices Brent Appel (HR 47), Daryl Hecht (HR 49) and David Wiggins (HR 50) for “malfeasance in office” specifically for their ruling in the Varnum v. Brien case, saying that each justice “exercis[ed] functions properly belonging to the legislative and executive departments.” …

The articles of impeachment drafted and filed by the five legislators were also immediately attacked by Justice Not Politics, a nonpartisan group that formed in advance of the 2010 retention election in hopes of bolstering support for the three justices on the November ballot and to stress the non-political nature of the Iowa Judicial Branch.



Opposition to retention was led by Bob Vander Plaats, who formed Iowa for Freedom following an unsuccessful GOP gubernatorial primary bid. The ouster movement was well financed by out-of-state anti-gay interest groups. Currently, Vander Plaats is employed as head of The Family Leader organization, which has traveled the state in hopes of “building on the momentum” of the November ousters.

The three ousted justices were replaced by Gov. Terry Branstad in February, following a winnowing of candidates by the State Judicial Nominating Commission.

Although Republicans hold a majority in the Iowa House, it remains doubtful that the articles of impeachment will live beyond their referral to the Judiciary Committee.
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