Throwback Thursday: When Steve King said counties denying marriage licenses was "no solution"

I suppose it was inevitable that Representative Steve King would insert himself into the national debate over a Kentucky county clerk using her religious beliefs as an excuse not to do her job. King’s immediate reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality was to urge states to “just abolish civil marriage, let’s go back to holy matrimony the way it began.” A couple of weeks later, he introduced a Congressional resolution saying states “may refuse to be bound by the holding in Obergefell v. Hodges” and “are not required to license same-sex marriage or recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.”

This past weekend, King lit up Twitter by saying of the Rowan County clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses,

In 1963, we should not have honored SCOTUS decision to creat a wall of separation between prayer & school. Kim Davis for Rosa Parks Award.

On Tuesday, King doubled down in an interview with KSCJ radio in Sioux City: “Cheers for [Mike] Huckabee and [Ted] Cruz, whoever else has stepped up to defend Kim Davis. I think she deserves the Rosa Parks Award.”

Would you believe there was a time when King said calling for county officials to refuse to abide by a Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality was “no solution” in the battle to “protect marriage”?

Continue Reading...

IA-Sen: Tom Latham speculation thread

Many Republicans are thinking about running for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat next year, but the field is frozen until Representatives Tom Latham (IA-03) and Steve King (IA-04) make their intentions clear. King has indicated that he needs to battle “elites” like Karl Rove before he can analyze a possible Senate bid. That suggests Latham will be the first to decide whether to seek the Republican nomination.

Continue Reading...

Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 1)

I expected 2009 to be a relatively quiet year in Iowa politics, but was I ever wrong.

The governor’s race heated up, state revenues melted down, key bills lived and died during the legislative session, and the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Varnum v Brien became one of this state’s major events of the decade.

After the jump I’ve posted links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of Iowa politics from January through June 2009. Any comments about the year that passed are welcome in this thread.

Although I wrote a lot of posts last year, there were many important stories I didn’t manage to cover. I recommend reading Iowa Independent’s compilation of “Iowa’s most overlooked and under reported stories of 2009,” as well as that blog’s review of “stories that will continue to impact Iowa in 2010.”

Continue Reading...

Social conservatives have bigger fish to fry than Grassley

Over at the Campaign Diaries blog, Taniel wrote a good post on Thursday debunking the “unsubstantiated myth” of a pending primary challenge against Senator Chuck Grassley. Bill “crazier than Steve King” Salier got this speculation going in the spring, when many among the religious right were disappointed by Grassley’s reaction to the Iowa Supreme Court’s Varnum v Brien ruling.

This summer, Grassley continued to disappoint the right by negotiating with other Senate Finance Committee members on health care reform. State Representative Kent Sorenson wrote an open letter to Grassley, pleading with him to provide “principled and bold leadership”. Sorenson’s letter is the most-viewed post ever published on The Iowa Republican blog, where Craig Robinson warned last month,

The longer Sen. Grassley strings along Iowa Republicans, the more difficult his re-election effort may become. At the beginning of the year, it would have been absurd to suggest that Sen. Grassley could face a legitimate primary challenge. Now, with each and every passing day that Grassley flirts with supporting some version of health care reform, the possibility of a primary challenge grows.

Grassley’s conservative critics are misguided in the sense that the senator has done more to block health care reform than move it along. If not for Grassley and the rest of the Finance Committee “gang of six,” Democrats might have been able to get the bill through the Senate this summer.

Still, the disappointment with Grassley is real. The trouble is, you can’t defeat an incumbent just by being mad, and as Taniel points out, no Republican appears likely to run against Grassley in next year’s primary. Salier has ruled himself out, as has Sorenson (though I wish Sorenson would run for Senate, giving Iowa Democrats an open seat target in House district 74).

Social conservatives are likely to focus on the governor’s race between now and June 2010. Bob Vander Plaats will officially announce his candidacy on Labor Day and will need all the help he can get from the religious right if former Governor Terry Branstad gets back into politics. Yesterday Vander Plaats promised to give homeschooling parents and those whose children attend private schools more influence over education policy. If the GOP primary comes down to Vander Plaats against Branstad, education is sure to become an issue, since some Republicans feel Branstad didn’t do enough to fight the teacher’s union or oppose sex education. The Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators is large and well-organized.

Some Iowa legislative districts may also be targeted by social conservatives, if there is an open GOP primary or a Republican incumbent deemed to be doing too little to advance the religious right’s causes. The Iowa GOP is in a bit of a bind; party strategists understand that they should emphasize economic issues, but some social conservatives become angry when Republicans say too little about abortion or same-sex marriage. We saw this dynamic play out in the recent House district 90 special election. Although Republican candidate Stephen Burgmeier toed the line on the so-called “pro-family” agenda, two conservatives ran against him because he wasn’t emphasizing their issues. The two minor candidates received 282 votes combined, while Burgmeier lost to Democrat Curt Hanson by 107 votes.

You can run a statehouse campaign on a shoestring, while taking on Grassley in a GOP primary would be a very expensive hopeless cause. The religious right may give other establishment Republicans headaches next year, but Grassley is home free.

Continue Reading...

Chill out, Republicans: Grassley won't vote for health care reform

Iowa conservatives are becoming increasingly concerned by Senator Chuck Grassley’s refusal to “just say no” to President Obama’s health care reform plans. Grassley is part of a group of six Senate Finance Committee members who are working on a compromise bill. While some Republicans are hoping that defeating health care reform will become Obama’s “Waterloo,” Grassley has warned Republicans should could pay a price for blocking reform.

Now it’s not just Bill “crazier than Steve King” Salier who is floating the idea of a primary challenge against Grassley. Craig Robinson wrote at the Iowa Republican blog on Thursday,

The longer Sen. Grassley strings along Iowa Republicans, the more difficult his re-election effort may become. At the beginning of the year, it would have been absurd to suggest that Sen. Grassley could face a legitimate primary challenge. Now, with each and every passing day that Grassley flirts with supporting some version of health care reform, the possibility of a primary challenge grows. In fact, some Republican sources have told TheIowaRepublican.com that if Sen. Grassley votes for President Obama’s healthcare proposal, Grassley will indeed face a serious primary challenge.

Republicans needn’t worry about the game Grassley is playing on health care. I’ll explain why after the jump.

Continue Reading...
View More...