While visiting a friend in Pella today, I found an orange piece of paper lying on her doorstep. I picked it up, expecting to see publicity for some local event like next month's Tulip Time festival.
Instead, I found a flier comparing Iowa Senate Republican leader Paul McKinley to a "chicken," because he "refuses to do what it takes to get a vote on the Iowa Marriage Amendment." McKinley asked Senate Majority leader Mike Gronstal to co-sponsor a leadership bill with him so that the Senate could debate a constitutional amendment on marriage, but Gronstal refused.
Public Advocate of the US, a right-wing group based in Falls Church, Virginia, paid for this flier, according to text at the bottom. That group's president, Eugene Delgaudio, has been using direct mail and "conservative political street theater" to advance anti-gay views for years. I wouldn't be surprised to see him show up in Iowa on Monday, when same-sex marriages become legal.
The stated goal of the flier is to generate phone calls urging McKinley to take bolder action on the Iowa Marriage Amendment, but I wonder whether the real purpose is to support different leadership for the Senate Republican caucus. McKinley was elected Senate Republican leader last November on a pledge "to rebuild this party from the ground up," but according to the Iowa Republican blog, some conservatives,
including WHO Radio talk show host Steve Deace, don't think that the Republicans in the Senate have done all they can since they have not made a motion to suspend the Senate rules and force the Democrats' hand.
Republican State Representative Chris Rants tried to attach a marriage amendment to unrelated legislation in the House and forced a vote on suspending House rules. Only two House Democrats, Geri Huser and Dolores Mertz, voted with Republicans on the procedural motion. Presumably Republican candidates and interest groups will attack the other 54 House Democrats next fall for not backing up Rants.
Alternatively, the flier could be nothing more than an opportunistic attempt to raise the profile (and mailing list) of Delgaudio's group in Iowa. Does any Bleeding Heartland reader know whether Public Advocate of the US has ties to any rival of McKinley's within the Republican Party of Iowa?
I don't know whether this piece is being circulated in conservative neighborhoods across Iowa, or mainly in heavily Republican Pella. If you've seen it in your town or county, please post a comment in this thread or send an e-mail to desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com.
The full text of the one-sided, 8 1/2 by 11-inch flier is after the jump.
UPDATE: McKinley criticized the Iowa Senate's failure to take up the marriage amendment in his closing remarks on the final day of the 2009 session.
The top of the flier says in large capital letters,
THESE TWO HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON...
On the left is Paul McKinley's official photo, captioned "Sen. Paul McKinley." On the right is a cartoon drawing of a chicken, captioned "A Chicken".
Like a chicken, Sen. McKinley refuses to do what it takes to get a vote on the Iowa Marriage Amendment. He says he supports it, but he won't force those who support the destruction of Iowa families to make their position public.
There are numerous strategies Sen. McKinley, as the Republican Leader, could use to force a vote on marriage, if he has the will.
But Sen. McKinley doesn't want to do that.
He's too worried he might lose or, worse yet, that he might anger Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal if he pushes too hard.
Which does he care about more: saving marriage or preserving his relationship with the Democratic leadership, so that he can have a few scraps that fall from their table?
He's content to just use the issue politically in next year's elections without actually pushing to let the people vote on the Iowa Marriage Amendment. If he won't do the right thing now, who's to say that he'll do the right thing if he wins the next election?
If he forces the vote, who knows? Some Democrats who've been hiding behind Gronstal's skirts might vote for marriage because they know their voters will remember in November.
But in order to make an omelet, you need to break some eggs, and in order to force a vote, someone needs to stand up to Gronstal and his millionaire out-of-state homosexual allies.
Talk is cheap. McKinley wnted the title of "leader." It's time for him to lead.
Call Sen. McKinley at 641-774-5784. Tell him to stop squawking and get a vote on the Iowa Marriage Amendment!
Paid for by Public Advocate of the US
Eugene A. Delgaudio, President, (703) 845-1808
5613 Leesburg Pike, Suite 17, Falls Church, VA 22041, www.publicadvocateusa.org