Thursday, Steve Scheffler, Director of the Iowa Christian Alliance and Iowa’s Republican National Committeeman, told Eastern Iowa News Now that he predicted the party would come together after Governor Terry Branstad’s primary victory on June 8th. They report:
Earlier Thursday, Steve Scheffler, one of the party’s two national committee members and leader of the Iowa Christian Alliance, said any party divisions are “going to heal pretty quickly.” He expects some conservative groups, like the Iowa Family Policy Center, that pledged to sit out the fall election if Branstad was the GOP nominee, to reconsider “because the alternative is unthinkable” to have Democratic Gov. Chet Culver win another four-year term.
“This is our candidate and he is 100 percent better than what the alternative is,” Scheffler said.
When Iowa Family PAC which is the candidate PAC of the Iowa Family Policy Center endorsed Bob Vander Plaats candidacy, they unequivocally stated that they would not support a Branstad general election campaign, should he be the nominee. I don’t think Steve should have speculated they would go back on their word, but I don’t think he said that because he thought IFPC is unprincipled, rather he thinks Culver is that bad. He should respect their decision to stay out of the race, and I fully expect that they will stay out of the Gubernatorial race and instead focus on legislative races. In think these races will be more instrumental regarding the gay marriage issue anyway.
Iowa Family Policy Center issued a statement today affirming that they will keep their word on their previous statement of support.
After nearly a week of calls for blind partisan unity from Republican loyalists, the Iowa Family PAC today reaffirmed their intention to withhold support from either major party candidate for governor in 2010 unless one or both of them illustrates a fundamental transformation…
…Sheffler’s comments seemed to misrepresent the position of IFPC, and appeared to suggest that the Iowa Family PAC would unconditionally support GOP gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad. When making the comments, Scheffler concluded that the Iowa Family PAC’s support would be forthcoming because “the alternative would be unthinkable.”
Referring to the comments made by Scheffler, Carroll said, “As Republican National Committeeman, Steve probably feels obligated to support the Republican nominee, and is apparently willing to go along with politics as usual. Times like these, however, call for something more. Those of us who are concerned about life, family, and constitutional government know we must hold candidates to a higher standard. That is especially true for Christians. We will NOT adjust our standard based on the current occupant of the Governor’s office.”..
…“Our organization desires to honor God. We are looking for candidates who we can support, not for candidates who aren’t quite as bad as their opponent. In our opinion, to abandon God’s calling for our ministry and civic involvement is what would truly be unacceptable. If you disagree, tell me: what’s your standard?” (emphasis mine)
This primary season has made me think that perhaps Christian organizations shouldn’t make endorsements. Stick to issues, do scorecards, hold all candidates feet to the fire, etc. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have the constitutional right to do it, because obviously they do. If they do make endorsements I’m not even saying they shouldn’t have the standard that they have. It makes sense for a political action committee founded by an organization based on Biblical principles to have standards like these.
I can’t judge those standards because I haven’t seen the questionnaire or interview they conduct with candidate. I disagreed with their endorsement of Vander Plaats mainly because I thought they shouldn’t endorse when you had several good candidates still running. But that’s history… moving on.
What bothers me the most is the rhetoric that has gone on in defense of that endorsement and statement of non-support for Branstad. I know Branstad supporters have slung arrows at IFPC, but since IFPC is an organization that desires to follow Christ should I hold them to a higher standard as well?
I believe so.
Perhaps it wasn’t intentional, but this statement first seemed like a personal attack on Steve Scheffler, mainly when they said that Scheffler is “apparently willing to go along with politics as usual.” Did Danny Carroll really need to say that? Why wouldn’t Steve not support Branstad now that he is the nominee and a better choice than Culver? Now perhaps there is background behind this that I’m not aware of, but it was an inappropriate comment.
I also don’t care for the “those of us” comments because it comes across as if you truly support life, family and the constitution you wouldn’t support Branstad. Well I didn’t vote for him in the primary, but I certainly think he is a better choice than Culver. At some point you do have to be pragmatic as an individual voter. That doesn’t make me or others who feel this way unprincipled or just “willing to go along with politics as usual.”
No my candidate lost the primary. Branstad won. I can’t honestly say he is worse than Culver. I think he is the only one on the ballot in November who can beat Culver. I believe since I am to “render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s” I am to exercise my right to vote. I’ll be voting my conscience just like I did last week. I think that is the gist of what Steve is saying as well, though he certainly should not have spoken for IFPC.
So I’m not calling on IFPC to abandon their calling or to endorse Branstad, quite the contrary. Hold candidates accountable, but do it in love. Don’t personally attack those who disagree with you, and don’t question the principles of Christians who support a different candidate, remember that there is a limit to politics. The Apostle Paul says for us to speak truth, but do so in love, (Ephesians 4:15). That would require that our rhetoric is not so sharp we are not winsome. We should exercise humility whether in public or in private. We should be concerned that we glorify Christ not only in our positions, but in our speech as well. If we don’t do this we can be as right as rain, but we’re just a noisy gong, (1 Corinthians 13:1-7).