The FAMiLY LEADER’s (formerly known as Iowa Family Policy Center ACTION) new President and CEO Bob Vander Plaats seems to be drilling down on Sarah Palin this week. First in an interview with The Hill, Vander Plaats complained that she wasn’t in Iowa enough. Then on Tuesday during a press conference discussing Iowa Governor-Elect Terry Branstad’s position on the replacement of the three Iowa Supreme Court Justices that were ousted Vander Plaats doubled down on the criticism. He used the media’s complaint about Sarah Palin’s “lack of transparency” during her book signing in West Des Moines as an example of what the media should do with the judicial nominating process.
I was asked afterwards by a couple of people there what he was talking about. I guess because she didn’t make an announcement on whether she was running or not in 2012 or because she didn’t give interviews in Iowa. She has given numerous interviews, and as far as having transparency “regarding her political intentions” she has been clear she is open to a possible 2012 run. She’s just not willing to commit one way or another yet.
So because she didn’t grant an interview or do a press conference (we all know how much Bob loves press conferences) she isn’t being transparent? The evidence doesn’t’ bear that out. She is just choosy about who she interviews with a lesson she learned in 2008. Also there is the fact she had a packed schedule, and when she was doing the book signings she was there for the people, not the media.
I find it ironic to hear Vander Plaats complain about transparency when the day before the press conference I met with him for an hour-and-a-half in his office, and he asked what was discussed to be off-the-record. I can respect that (and will honor that), but because of that he should understand that potential presidential candidates may not be ready to go on the record while they are considering their next move.
Mike Huckabee hasn’t come out and declared his intentions, but I don’t see him complaining about that. Vander Plaats being the leader of an organization that intends on making an endorsement for the 2012 Iowa Caucus should understand he needs to demonstrate consistency and apply the same standard to all candidates. If he doesn’t it makes him look petty, biased and gives presidential candidates a reason not to engage with him.