I had the opportunity to attend a meeting with former Governor Terry Branstad and about 10 other social conservatives.  We were invited to hear from Governor Branstad about his desire to run for Governor again and a chance to ask him questions.

He did remind us of a number of good things such as:

  • He implemented spending reform measures and streamlined state government from 64 departments to 25.
  • Cut $700 million out of the budget.
  • Cut income tax by 10%
  • Eliminated the inheritance tax.
  • When he left office Iowa had a $900 million surplus after tax cuts were made.
  • He voted against collective bargaining.
  • He helped the accommodation for home educating in Iowa become law (and I certainly thank him for that).
  • He implemented tax tuition credits, as well as, arrangements for books and busing agreements between public and private schools.
  • Passed the Defense of Marriage Act
  • He was able to get a number of the fiscal measures passed with a Democratically controlled Legislature for the first 10 years of his administration (1982-1992).  His agreement to sign the sales tax increase into law came after two vetoes until the Democrats agreed with his spending reform measures.

He retired from Des Moines University and desires to run for office again because he is “disturbed by what he was seeing (with the Culver administration), and saw that there needed to be change.”  He wants to form a committee, like he did before, to reform state spending in order to reduce the size of government and reduce spending.

He wants that to be the central aspect of his campaign – a focus on the current administration’s mismanagement.  Because he says that Iowans are, “looking for experience and stability.”

And they are, but they are also looking for leadership which I think is the rub as far a social conservatives are concerned.  For instance we had discussion about gambling in Iowa.  He was against gambling.  He vetoed having the lottery twice (1983 & 1984).  He eventually relented because of popular public support (he says was about 70% at the time).  To his credit he built in safe guards and protections (background checks, ethics standards for lottery personnel and board members, required money to be set aside for gambling addictions, etc.), but he still relented.

His current stand on gambling is that he is opposed to its expansion.  He stopped the touch play machines from being introduced in Iowa in the early 90s.   He says that it is bad policy and that it is the most addictive type of gambling.  And that touch play doesn’t enjoy public support… but, what if it did?  What would his stand be then?

Which leads into social issues, and the big elephant in the room – protecting traditional marriage.  Governor Branstad said that he was shocked by the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling.  He thinks there needs to be a constitutional amendment, and he supports a constitutional amendment which, in his opinion, would be the only thing that can truly address the ruling.

He said that Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) had “no right in my mind to enforce his will on the marriage issue.  The people need to be able to vote on it.”  So as an individual Governor Branstad is in favor of a  marriage amendment.

But it isn’t going to be a campaign issue.  He mentioned one thing Iowans can do is when judges are up for retention to vote them out, but he was unwilling to campaign on that and encourage people to do so publicly.  Even though he appointed two of the justices on the Court that involved in the ruling.

He said it is “not going to be a central issue” and that we “have to use finesse, and not overplay our hand.”  He also said that in order to win the election we ought “not wear our conservatism on our sleeve.”  I can understand wanting to make the economy a central theme, but an unwillingness to address restoring traditional marriage at all in his campaign is a mistake.  It seems as though he’s getting too much of his advice from Doug Gross.

He was also unwilling to say what role Gross was going to have in his campaign.  In the hour we spent with him he did not say one tangible thing he would do to help get an amendment process started as Governor.  He did say what he wouldn’t do, such as, rejecting the notion of an executive order (I question whether that would work as well) and not campaign on it.  He seems to be content to set it on the back burner… and see what he can do in backroom deals.  Which is how he accomplished much of his fiscal agenda as Governor with a Democratically-controlled Legislature.

Likewise with abortion, it won’t be a central campaign issue, but he says he’s committed to life.  He said “Planned Parenthood hates me with a passion.” (Which is a badge of honor in my mind).  He seemed willing to defund Planned Parenthood and not allow a medicaid waiver for them.  But again you won’t likely find it on his campaigns issues page on his website (which to my knowledge doesn’t exist yet).

In all the meeting, in my opinion, didn’t go well for him.  Social conservatives are looking for tangible ideas on items of concern for us.  He was unwilling to provide them.  We are looking for principled leadership, and instead we saw political maneuvering.

These are all things that Governor Branstad will need to address if he is to win the Republican nomination, let alone become the next Governor.

Sidenote: I’m including raw, non-edited audio of the opening of our session.  The battery in the digital recorder died so I’m not able to provide all of it though that was my intention.  I know others recorded as well, and if I can get my hands on that audio I will.  A big thanks to Mike Demastus who brought the recorder (and he apologizes for the battery dying).

Update: Mike wrote about what he thought of the meeting, and well, he’s a little more direct than I was.

2nd Update: Linked by the Iowa Independent.

3rd Update – 11/02/09: Linked by Steve Deace at WHO Radio gives more background on the meeting from others who were there, and info about the meeting that took place after my meeting.  Also the faithful opposition Bleeding Heartland linked and DesMoinesDem (who has commented here before) speculates who Branstad’s running mate might be.

4th Update – 11/03/09: Linked again at the Iowa Independent and O. Kay Henderson of Radio Iowa.

46 comments
  1. Way to go, Shane. I hate to do this to someone whose picture was on the Iowa road map when I was a kid, but Branstad’s an idiot if he thinks those answers are sufficient. Gronstal did not block the peoples right to vote. The Republicans in the Senate dropped the ball. (More GOP double speak.) Planned Parenthood hates him? Does that mean Joy Corning/running mate hates him also? And why wouldn’t you wear something “on your sleeve” that 70% of Iowans want to do……..vote on marraige. DUH!
    .-= Iowans Rock´s last blog ..Guest Commentary: The Politics of Soda Pop Part Two =-.

    1. @Iowans Rock, Joy Corning was addressed, and again she was picked for purely political reasons. He says that he’d pick a younger conservative this time around.

      His comment about “not wearing conservatism on your sleeve” is going to come back to haunt him as well. I wish I was able to have record the whole thing.

  2. I want leadership!!! Not all of this marriage/abortion crap. I agree on those issues but I need a job!!! Job!!! Job!!! Job!!! Let’s elect someone with experience at getting people jobs and turning 64 state departments into 24 state departments with a democratic legislature. The SoCo certainly can’t get anyone elected!

  3. I am now officially on record as being EXTREMELY excited about a Branstad campaign. I fear Vander Plaats will be detrimental to the conservative cause if elected due to his irrational stances on issues, his willingness to over-promise to court those of us who are social conservatives, and his overall non-gubernatorial demeanor. I agree with his positions on issues but vehemently disagree with his tack or his qualifications to be Governor of Iowa.

    Branstad is a known-quantity. Where was all this vitriol in the 90s? Why weren’t social conservatives on his case then? Because he was a good governor. Your list of Branstad accomplishments near the beginning of your post is impressive. I can’t picture Vander Plaats getting 1 of those things done with a Democratically controlled House or Senate. Not one.

    I think we need to be careful as conservative evangelicals (I cringe to admit I am one anymore) to not apply litmus tests for political leaders that are reserved in the Scriptures only for Elders…

    1. @Eric Goranson, Did I bring up the qualifications of an elder anywhere here?

      I just don’t want a pat on the head on the marriage debate. I don’t want lip service, I want action. There was concern over Corning as his Lt. Gov pick. Also, you didn’t have the vitriol because we didn’t have the gay marriage ruling then.

      Different times we live in Eric, need to look to the future, and not to the past.

      I know Vander Plaats has issues, but I’m not convinced Branstad is the answer. He certainly did not do himself any favors today.

  4. I brought up the qualifications of an elder. My point is that evangelicals tend to hold public office seekers and holders to some bazaar high standard that most church elders couldn’t attain.

    We are not going to win the culture war by getting evangelicals in office. We are going to win the culture war and THEN get evangelicals in office. It has always worked that way and is the nature of a Republic.

    If that is true (and I think it is), then pragmatism, shrewdness, and wisdom are in order to position ourselves to stop as much of the bleeding at the public policy level as possible.

    But the real hard work is in the Church. Christians can’t managed to stay married any longer than non-Christians. We can’t manage money, we have abdicated the well-fare of our citizens to Government welfare, and our attractional church models have failed. Where’s the outrage from Pastor Mike and others about that? Where are the voices from the ICA, pastors, and laypeople around Iowa about how we suck at living in community and reaching the lost?

    When that happens I can be much more patient with church people who don’t support any candidate that isn’t a poster-child for some Leave It To Beaver sequel. But we don’t just crucify candidates that aren’t absolutely perfect, we throw our weight behind the first guy who waves an evangelical flag without considering that he may have no curb appeal to average Iowans. [sigh]

    1. @Eric Goranson,

      We are not going to win the culture war by getting evangelicals in office. We are going to win the culture war and THEN get evangelicals in office. It has always worked that way and is the nature of a Republic.

      If that is true (and I think it is), then pragmatism, shrewdness, and wisdom are in order to position ourselves to stop as much of the bleeding at the public policy level as possible.

      Historically it’s never had to be that way because culture was by and large “churched” for most of our nation’s history. Though I agree with you that the “culture war” (I hate that term) needs to be brought to homes and neighborhoods and that we are effectively proclaiming the Gospel. And being salt and light.

      I agree that there needs to be pragmatism, but I believe that is for the general election. Branstad’s position I’m not sure is pragmatic… 70% people want a vote. What will he do as Governor to help make that happen? That’s all I want to know.

      By the way, even his fiscal street cred is being challenged (at least from the early 80s) by both the left and the right. Another problem with his candidacy is that he has 16 years of service for people to pick at.

      1. @Shane Vander Hart, What is Vander Plaats going to do to get a vote? Write an executive order that three County Recorders might respect? Branstad said he supported a vote. What more, at this point, do you want him to say specifically? Anyone got other ideas? Legislators have to take the first step on this.

        Anyone is going to make mistakes over 16 years in a job. The reason he’s being picked on by the left is because they are scared. Very scared.

  5. @Eric Goranson You don’t know me. Nor do you know what does or does not upset me about the church.

    Here are the facts, I attended a meeting and shared from my heart my thoughts about that meeting. I wasn’t addressing in my thoughts all that is wrong in the world or the church. I gave my opinion on what I saw happen at this meeting with Terry Branstad.

    Terry Branstad was in a room with loving Christian leaders. He had the perfect opportunity to say some very pointed things. But he didn’t.

    He let us know that he will not address the social/moral issues in his campaign publicly. He is running a campaign based on the poor record of Culver.

    I call that weak, shoddy leadership. Currently I could run Iowa better than Culver…so it isn’t saying much that you can do better than Culver. Just about anyone can.

    What my church wants, what I want is to hear someone speak passionately from their heart about the things that are always going to be true and right. Things that won’t change for you as a person no matter how many in the state agree or disagree.

    We need leaders of conviction, strong conviction. And we definitely need a leader who will address the issue of marriage and take that bull by the horn.

    Our state is crumbling, both fiscally and morally. The reason is because the bedrock of social/moral issues has been marginalized by both parties. Focusing only on fiscal matters has gotten us into the mess we are in.

    When it comes to addressing what is wrong in the church, I will leave that for that discussion. But pardon me for thinking we were addressing gubernatorial candidates.

  6. You prove my point that evangelicals are looking to solve moral problems through public policy. It isn’t going to happen. Gov. Branstad is about as “do no harm” on social issues as you are going to find from a competent conservative.

    The problem with addressing what is wrong with the church in another discussion is that nothing ever gets done about it. Evangelicals have, largely, chosen to spend more energy promoting faith in politics than in their neighborhoods. It’s hypocritical.

    And, if I may be so blunt, there isn’t anything loving about your post concerning Gov. Branstad. It’s shameful in my humble opinion. I understand that many have drunk the V.P. Kool-Aide but the treatment of Branstad by many in the social conservative clique has not be loving, accurate, or wise.

    1. @Eric Goranson, Eric, please also consider your critique of Vander Plaats when you point a finger at those who have criticized Branstad.

      I’ll let Mike defend his own post, but I think my post was fair. I did highlight the good that he has done. While the meeting yesterday was tense I think everybody showed proper respect.

      I also think you need to reflect and realize that perhaps you’ve drunk some Branstad kool-aid, as much as, you are accusing Vander Plaats supporters of drinking his. Is he above critique?

      I know he’s a nice guy, but he’s wrong on this issue and that is where my critique lies. I understand that it won’t be a central issue in his campaign. I just wanted to know what tangible things he would do as Governor to address this issue.

      And he didn’t do it. If he does that later on I’ll point that out as well.

      By the way, please don’t interpret my critique of Branstad to be a ringing endorsement of Vander Plaats. I’m still at this point not making an endorsement of anybody.

      That leaves me free to be able to criticize everybody 😉

      Also, remember this is a primary where we are supposed to be looking at principles remember? That is why you and I supported Huckabee over somebody the establishment said was the pragmatic pick. If Branstad wins the nomination he would most certainly have my vote in the general election because he would be far better than Culver.

      Regarding the church… I think some headway is being made, I’m starting to see Grace Church, Valley Church, Walnut Creek, etc. do some wonderful outreach into the community. Is the church perfect? No, but I think we’re making progress.

      1. @Shane Vander Hart, I appreciate your comment. I have no problem with critique. But to claim he was surrounded by “loving Christian leaders” after reading his blog post is disingenuous at best. Outside of this website, the “critique” by “Christians” has not been respectful or “loving.”

        I have not been critical of your comments specifically for a reason. I appreciate where you are at, Shane. I’m critical of the “loving Christian leaders” who show anything but love or respect in their public comments and who throw shrewdness and wisdom out the door in order to compete in the I’m-a-bigger-idealogue-than-you competition. It’s just not helpful. Ask Gov. Branstad tough questions. What I heard of Narcisse’s question(s) was great! Branstad needs to answer that question [cough, battery goes out…seriously? 🙂 ] – especially on something as important as education.

        I supported Huckabee because, outside of an unfortunate last name, he was not only ideologically with me (except for School Choice and Parental Rights), but also avoided the rhetorical pitfalls that most evangelicals fall into when they run for office. You run as someone who is looking to lead ALL Iowans (or Americans in Huckabee’s case), not just those of us with a Biblical worldview. Huckabee did a good job with that. If Vander Plaats had Huckabee’s tone and personal presence, I may be an enthusiastic supporter because I like the guy personally. He’s just not gubernatorial. I REALLY want him to run for state senate or state house or Secretary of State or something…

        But lately I’m wondering if evangelicals would vote for me in spite of my tireless work on behalf of Christ-centered schools, parental rights, and faith-based education and radio. I think everyone knows how passionate I am on the marriage, education, and abortion issues. But I wouldn’t run on them in the metro area or statewide. Maybe in Carroll or Sioux Center… You’d just have to get to know me to know that I’m not going to do anything that would move in the wrong direction on those issues and I’d look everyday for every opportunity to get things done/changed. But I’m not going to over-promise on those issues only to get into office and make a fool out of myself and the cause…which is what most “Christian” candidates do.

        I’d be very happy if McKinley, Roberts, or Rants (especially McKinley. He’s one of my favorite legislators) won the nomination. But I’m afraid they may lack the momentum to get it done. So it’s possible it will boil down to Branstad and V.P. I am terrified of a V.P. governorship. I wouldn’t have to look over my shoulder all the time like I do now with Culver but I’m also afraid I’d be cringing constantly at what actions and rhetoric would be coming from his office should he win. Being an ideologue during the campaign is one thing…but I’m not sure he could translate that into effective governing once there. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have spent a lot of time with candidates and have to vote with what I know…

        In a V.P. vs. Culver race, I’d not only vote for V.P. but I’d help however I could. But I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    2. @Eric Goranson, my post wasn’t “loving”? Speaking out against someone who wants to lead me and my family down the well-trodden path of keeping moral issues marginalized is somehow seen as mean-spirited?I’ll take that. Because I will fight for what is right until I’m dead. The way I see it is we are in a war.

      Your compartmentalized approach to faith and politics might play well in the squishy middle but not on the solid ground on which I stand. There is no time to mince words anymore.

      We have been lulled into the current situation we are in by many who would say that compromise and deal-making are the right and best approach to politics. I say forget the old way!

      We need principled leadership. We need conviction. We need people to lead who have a spine.

      And I didn’t find one the other day (a leader with a spine, that is) in my meeting with Branstad. What I found is much of the same that we have seen for too long. And I know droves of men and women that feel the exact same as I do.

      We are simply not going to accept bought-and-paid-for politicians any longer.

      And you can think I am mean-spirited all you want but it won’t lessen my passion over this issue, in fact, it only fuels it. Because the reason people like me come across like we do, is because the way I see it is this: Our house is burning down. And what kind of a person would I be if I didn’t do everything in my power to try to get us out of that burning building?

      Something shifted when the Supreme Court took our state’s constitution hostage this year. That tyrannical act awoken many people. And I believe you will see the shift away from the squishy middle to a solid right in future elections.

      It seems you put competency as the highest hallmark of leadership. I say character is the most important aspect of leadership. Bill Clinton was competent, but he had no character. I believe Branstad is a competent leader, but there are too many issues in his past and what he has verbalized to me personally to be able to trust in his character.

      1. @Michael Demastus, Well, you continue to cannibalize fellow believers (Branstad is one) and continue a vain attempt to stack public offices with evangelicals (good luck with that) thinking it will somehow change the heart of our culture. I’d love to hear an example in history of a governor (any public office) creating spiritual awakening in the governed. If anything, it led to awful marriages of church and state that created problems we are plagued with to this day.

        I’ll spend my time encouraging believers to do the hard work of focusing our attention on our neighbors by meeting them where they are at with love and truth; where the REAL battle for hearts is waged.

        It’s ironic that the lobbyist is telling the pastor this. Saddening, really.

      2. @Eric Goranson, Sorry, but my faith bleeds. It doesn’t stay in the neat compartments you would like for me to keep them in. I believe that my faith is pertinent in every arena…the political arena is only one of them.

        As I said, conviction and character matter. Unfortunately those are two qualities I do not believe Branstad can offer as Governor of Iowa. You may have the last word, friend.

  7. Right, I get that social conservatives cheer tax cuts for the wealthy and could not care less about tax increases that disproportionately affect lower-income people. I was responding to Branstad’s version of reality, in which he was supposedly reluctant to agree to raise the sales tax. The truth is that he campaigned against tax increases and immediately asked the legislature to raise the sales tax after his inauguration.

    1. @desmoinesdem, I wasn’t dismissing your comment. I only wanted to know where I could look into it myself.

      Hard to find stuff from the 80s pre-google. Maybe I can find it on Rants’ website.

      Or, I guess I could always go to the library and do it the old school way.

  8. After talking with Shane on the phone tonight at length about this and other issues, I thought i should clarify:

    I want to be VERY clear that:
    A. Branstad hasn’t answered all the questions I want him to answer. I’m excited he’s in the race and I like him a lot. But the worst case scenario is that his entrance to the race forces him and Vander Plaats to answer questions they have not had to answer.

    B. I like Vander Plaats. I want him to run for State House or State Senate. He’d be great. I just question his ability to be elected and I question his ability to be an effective governor. He’s become a one-issue candidate that, in my opinion, also lacks that intangible gubernatorial quality about him. But I repeat: I really like him.

    C. I’ll be the first to write a post for this blog recanting my excitment about Branstad if, in the course of the primary, his governorship would do harm in light of my Biblical Worldview. I just don’t see that yet and I want to give him time to answer questions.

  9. I am truly disappointed in Eric Goranson, whom I know as “lobbyist for Christian school” including mine. He has now shown he could care less about the issue, but is a partisan cheerleader. Branstad is not Christian-school friendly, and no friend to homeschoolers, despite the credit given to him above which was something he signed but didn’t care about. Leadership means more than signing bills your party generates. It means respecting and publicly defending freedom, educating the public on why issues (gambling, welfare, etc) are destructive, and why cutting taxes for everyone is good for everyone and encourages personal responsibility. Democrat Vilsack gave Christian schools the STO 65% tax credit, and Culver extended and expanded it. I am certainly not a democrat, but giving credit where it is due is only right, and they certainly did more (for their despised-but-necessary Catholic democrats) that Branstad ever did for evangelical Christians that make up the foot soldiers of the republican party. VanderPlaats is a strong, dynamic leader and it is easy to see that the old alliances with regard to party are starting to waver…BVP will do a better job dealing with rank and file union guys, teachers, and minorities than the fat old white guy who is doing whatever he can to eliminate Christian influence on our society, even at cost of the future of the republican party in Iowa. If the old dinosaur jumps in whenever they don’t like what the young future of the party decides, what young person will EVER consider running as a civilian statesman?

  10. Farmgirl – I’m sorry you are disappointed. I thought I made it clear that, although I am excited about his getting into the race and my feeling that he is more qualified to lead the state through hard economic times than Bob Vander Plaats; that I still needed some questions answered.

    You are right to suggest that Republicans did very little to help out private education in Iowa while they were in control. That isn’t just true of Gov. Branstad but of Republicans in the legislature too comfortable with the status quo in education over the years. And we are paying for it with lagging achievement, increased bureaucracy, and a Department of Education increasingly hostile toward our schools.

    The other issue to consider is that Chrisitan advocacy groups were largely quiet during Branstad’s 16 years in office. They have only begun to truly fight the good fight, in my humble opinion, in the last 4 or 5 years. You can hardly fault a Governor for not doing anything for Christian Schools when he wasn’t asked and when the Legislature wasn’t motivated.

    That being said, I’m waiting to hear from the Branstad campaign how they feel about the ISEA (they were too cozy with them in the past), the single biggest detriment to quality education and religious freedom in Iowa, as well as their openness to reforms and innovation that includes private school participation.

    I said it above and I’ll say it again: If Branstad is on the wrong side of those issues, my support for him will end. i’m hopeful Branstad understands the changing nature of education in Iowa since he left office and will side with those who would change the status quo regarding our Socialized Education system in Iowa. Until I hear from him on those issues, however, I’m looking forward (not behind) and am excited that both Branstad AND Vander Plaats will have to answer the tough questions they wouldn’t have to address if one or the other wasn’t running.

    Also, please read my previous comments with the knowledge that I was reacting overly-emotionally to Demastus’ unloving and disappointing tone toward the subject. I apologize for my tone or for making it seem my endorsement of Branstad is unqualified. It isn’t. You can bet, however, that if Branstad is willing to support parental rights and school choice in Iowa among other conservative principles, I will, once again, support him enthusiastically.

  11. Branstad is on the wrong side of the issues, but you won’t ask him the hard questions and will take his responses to poorly worded questions at face value. This Christian group did ask tougher questions, and he couldn’t answer them in a direct manner because he doesn’t believe what we do. If you ask Terry if he supports the rights of parents to choose where their kid goes to school OF COURSE he’ll say yes, as would Vilsack and maybe even Culver. Then he’ll go away chuckling because he’s convinced another foolish naive Christian. He’d sign a voucher or school choice bill or support a tax deduction for Christian ed only if thrust upon him, just as Vilsack did, but do everything in his power to stop that from happening to disturb his relationship with the ISEA. (Don’t wanna rock the boat.) It is so blatantly obvious that he and his Gross buddies despise us as much as the dems hate (but need) Catholics. I have asked BVP those questions, and hard, pointed ones, and he’ll be 1000% more active in leading the charge than status quo Terry. Doing the right thing even when the political climate is placid is leadership; Terry helped make sure Iowa didn’t have a Marriage Amendment when we all knew about the liberal courts and DOMA. Equally frustrating, you don’t even know what Huckabee really did believe on school choice; too much media, too little research. I am proud of being a Christ-follower, even being called an evangelical. I am sorry for you, but it shows why our Christian school lobby couldn’t even get the Iowa Core Curriculum private school exemption done.

    1. @Farmgirl,
      To all the BVP supporters out there……..I admire his conservative stance on many fronts But, BVP will never get elected by wearing his ultra conservative stance on his sleeve. He needs to soften his stance if he is going to get elected and turn it up a few notches after he would win. His conservative stance WILL NOT garner him the votes he needs to win in the eastern population centers of this state. THAT is where this election will be won or lost. Branstad will be taking a softer, more subtle, less ultra right wing approach at least through the primaries if not the election itself. The man is far more shrewd and intelligent than many give him credit for. BVP needs to take a page out of that play book or he won’t even make it past the primaries. Mark my words when you’re wondering what went wrong!

    2. @Farmgirl

      In Eric’s defense…

      I’ve been to the State House numerous times, and NOBODY would have been able to get an exemption passed with this General Assembly. So please don’t lay that at Eric’s feet. He worked hard on Christian schools’ behalf, and thanks in part to his lobby when the civil rights bill was passed it did include an exemption for Christian schools.

      The litmus test for our faith in Christ should not be which candidate we support. Branstad has problems which is why I wrote this post. BVR has problems that also need to be addressed. Neither are perfect candidates. We need to prayerfully consider whom God is leading us to support. We need to use discernment. Talking with Eric privately I know he has questions that he wants to see Branstad answer specifically.

      It is easy to criticize when we remain anonymous, but as Christ-followers we need to also be civil in our disagreements. I really think that your remarks challenging his competency as a lobbyist crosses the line. If you truly have a problem with the job he has been doing you need to Matthew 18 it and go to him privately.

      1. @Shane Vander Hart, Thanks, Shane. The Iowa Association of Christian Schools was the ONLY group outside of the Professional Educators of Iowa opposed to the Core Curriculum. It’s hard to defeat a bill like that when Democrats control both branches of government, the Dept. of Ed., and want the bill bad. The Catholic Superintendents wanted it too. What were we supposed to do? We fought the good fight. I was exhausted at the end of that session.

        We won major concessions on a number of bills over the last few years. We’ve killed a number of them too. We’ve made good progress on the Educational Opportunities Act (EOA/STO) I have POURED myself into advocating for School Choice and Parental Rights. I’m passionate about it. The story about how I became the lobbyist for IACS is a great story about God directing our paths.

        But I speak in this primary not as a lobbyist for a special interest group but as a registered Republican, a former candidate myself, and a former Branstad employee. As a former employee in Governor Branstad’s office, being from the same hometown and who’s family has been treated very well by the Governor when he was a lawyer in Lake Mills, I know a little bit about him. I’m not in his outer circle let alone his inner circle. But I’ve spent time with him and I trust his intent, his heart, and his skills. Primaries are made for people to advocate for different candidates. I simply am not excited, currently, about BVP’s resume or his overall strategy.

        FarmGirl didn’t address BVP’s comments on vouchers I linked to in my previous blog post I linked to above. Interesting.

        And I find it interesting that BVP supporters fail to mention that their Ace supporter, Mike Huckabee (whom I supported wholeheartedly) also raised taxes with a Democratically controlled legislature in exchange for concessions elsewhere. (Am I wrong on this? I seem to remember that being part of the debate) I’d like to see an end to that “tax hiker” rhetoric until they can adequately compare the two.

        If BVP wins the primary, he’ll be my candidate too. And I’ll be energetic in my support. Until then, primaries are designed to be competitions within the party. I’m waiting for Branstad to come out with an education plan (as well as one for other areas) and we’ll see what happens when it manifests itself.

        I’m a Christ-loving, God-fearing, tea party loving, Republitarian that’s loving The Truth Project, is passionate about the 2nd Amendment, and acting with a clear conscience. I won’t apologize for having an opinion created through the lenses of that world-view. And I’m going to work extra hard (because I’ve failed even in this thread of comments) to demonstrate the kind of respect and loving dialogue I would love to see start coming from BVP supporters.

  12. The type of “moderate” strategy, and moderated message from candidates (as opposed to “wearing conservatism on sleeve”) has obviously been so effective with candidates like Gross, Nussle, Ganske, Lamberti; even in R years? I will exclude all 2008 candidates because the ultimate moderate GW Bush destroyed any chance for R candidates last year.

    It is obvious this strategy has failed, both in elections and in lobbying, and it is time to use their strategy of no-holds-barred strength. I don’t buy that it couldn’t be done because I watched a no-compromise conservative bill that no insider thought could even get a vote get a 49-49 vote in the Ia House this session using just this strategy. Watched McCarthy scurrying to candidates in conservative dem districts and telling them if they wanted to hold their seats they WOULD vote for the bill. The push came from their knowledge that the voters WOULD hear about (repeatedly) how they voted during the upcoming election cycles.

    Perhaps I was a little harsh, but I am so tired of Christians be mamby-pamby, especially men. Christ was a macho guy, strong and gentle. Defending God’s righteousness is a call for strength, not whimpering pleas for fairness and niceties, let alone honoring “unwritten rules” of men in political manuevering. I appreciate the hard questions, not only about the views but also about the actions to be followed. Someone who “believes personally” but won’t DO anything is as worthless as an complacent unbeliever, and as the book of James says, faith without works is dead. And a person who truly believes is motivated to change and challenge evil through action.

    It is time to rethink the old alliances in political parties. We should be wearing our conservativism on our sleeves and engage Catholic Dems and social conservatives that often have voted D in the past. I am helping convert many of them as new R voters who didn’t really realize they have always been philosophically closer to the platform of the R’s…but the R’s need to push for their platform, not sleep on it as the RPI and Branstad Gross crew always have, even when they have had a majority and ability to do what is right.

    I don’t know where y’all get your time, but I am real short of it so I will let you battle it out on the blogs while I work on converting our new allies. I have work to do.

    1. @Farmgirl,

      I appreciate hard questions as well, and I ask them, of all candidates.

      Perhaps I was a little harsh, but I am so tired of Christians be mamby-pamby, especially men. Christ was a macho guy, strong and gentle. Defending God’s righteousness is a call for strength, not whimpering pleas for fairness and niceties, let alone honoring “unwritten rules” of men in political manuevering. I appreciate the hard questions, not only about the views but also about the actions to be followed. Someone who “believes personally” but won’t DO anything is as worthless as an complacent unbeliever, and as the book of James says, faith without works is dead. And a person who truly believes is motivated to change and challenge evil through action.

      I also expect tangible action and not just rhetoric. Don’t forget that we are to “speak truth in love,” (Ephesians 4:15). Also Peter said to “always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15-16). That doesn’t just apply to a defense of the Christian faith, but also in the political realm.

      Also you said, “I don’t know where y’all get your time, but I am real short of it so I will let you battle it out on the blogs while I work on converting our new allies. I have work to do.”

      Thanks for making the assumption that we are not working offline. I’m very much involved offline in political activism, as well as, ministry that impacts hearts and lives. Regarding blogging though it is a valid and effective means for getting the message out. You came here to read this, did you not? It also brought attention to Branstad, and put a spotlight on this issue didn’t it?

      I know Eric is done commenting on this, and so am I. I think you’re done, but if you want, the last word is yours.

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