Iowa GOP chair pulls punches on Donald Trump's bigotry

Republican Party of Iowa Chair Jeff Kaufmann blew a gasket in March when soon-to-be presidential candidate Scott Walker hired a consultant who had said some disparaging things about Iowa:

“It’s obvious she doesn’t have a clue what Iowa’s all about,” Mr. Kaufmann said. “I find her to be shallow and ignorant,” he added, “and I’ll tell you, if I was Governor Walker, I’d send her her walking papers.”

A few months later, Kaufmann brought down the hammer on some volunteers who displayed the Confederate flag on behalf of a county GOP committee:

“I am just absolutely, utterly disgusted on multiple levels,” Kaufmann said in a telephone interview. “Shame on them and I don’t want them in my party.”

The Iowa GOP leader’s reaction to Donald Trump’s latest disgraceful, illegal idea was weak by comparison.

I haven’t written about Trump’s descent into more bigoted appeals, because others have expressed well my views on the subject. As Maggie Haberman and Patrick Healy revealed in this must-read linguistic analysis, Trump uses the classic techniques of demagogues: the “language of division,” a “cult of personality,” a “manner of categorizing and maligning people with a broad brush.” It’s frightening to see how many Americans support such a toxic approach to political combat.

How ugly is Trump’s latest proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States? So ugly that the co-chair of a New Hampshire veterans group for Trump defended the idea by comparing it to putting Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II.

So ugly that New Hampshire GOP Chair Jennifer Horn described it as “un-Republican,” “unconstitutional,” and “un-American.”

So ugly that South Carolina GOP Chair Matt Moore said Trump’s “bad idea and rhetoric send a shiver down my spine” as “a conservative who truly cares about religious liberty.”

But Kaufmann pulled his punches.

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That’s all you got? A swipe at Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, followed by an oblique reference to “political cynicism,” and finally, a defense of the Constitution buried under another “Obama has failed” talking point?

The unnamed person who is “betraying [our] bedrock Constitutional values” happens to be your party’s front-runner for the presidential nomination. He has led most polls of Iowa Republicans for the past five months.

Not being a mind-reader, I don’t know why Kaufmann hesitated to call out Trump the way he condemned Scott Walker’s former consultant Liz Mair or a couple of volunteers for the Marion County GOP.

Kaufmann’s been an adjunct American history professor for many years, so he of all people should recognize the danger posed by a skillful demagogue. How disappointing to see the Iowa GOP leader refuse to engage this battle.

  • The Chair is Neutral

    All members of the State Central Committee took s neutrality pledge. Several members resigned so they would have the ability to frankly discuss the Presidential Candidates.

    Chairman Kauffmann must remain neutral. He’s maintaining his integrity and pledge to Iowa Republicans. The Iowa GOP caucus goers don’t need his feedback on this. They need his integrity.

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