It’s unfortunate that Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann feels the need to do so in his official capacity.
A little context. A truck, owned by Owen and Linda Golay of Pleasantville, was used to tow the Marion County Republican Party’s float in the Pella and Pleasantville Independence Day parades. The Golays are members of Sons of Confederate Veterans said they displayed the flag to honor three Confederate soldiers buried in Marion County.
Ok then, it’s not a personal choice I would make and I wouldn’t do that as part of an official county party function. I’ve never displayed a Confederate flag however because 1. I’m not from the South and 2. It’s not part of my family’s heritage (not that I display a Dutch flag either, but I digress).
Politically it was stupid decision, the county party co-chair said she allowed it in order to respect free speech. I get that, but they had to know it was going to be controversial.
Kaufmann, as reported by the Cedar Rapids Gazette, unfortunately threw gasoline on the fire.
“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.”…
“I’m disappointed in what I’ve heard. I condemn their actions on behalf of the Republican Party of Iowa in the strongest words possible,” Kaufman said. “I’m very disappointed that a local central committee would engage in such juvenile and stupid demonstrations.”…
“We are the party of Abraham Lincoln. We were the party that supported the Union army and we are still that party of Abraham Lincoln. I absolutely won’t tolerate it. We have no room in our party for people like that — none,” he said. “I hope they toss those people out (of the local GOP) so fast, it’ll make your head swim. And, if they don’t, I’ll lead a party of 98 central committees.”
And Kaufmann got his wish, the Golays resigned from the Marion County Republican Central Committee.
Frankly I wish he’d get more fired up about marriage… religious liberty… life… but insinuating that the state party wouldn’t recognize Marion County if they didn’t “toss those people out” is just as juvenile and stupid as the demonstration he was protesting.
Anyway if this is how Kaufmann intends to grow the state party I think he may need to rethink his strategy. Kicking everyone out of the party who may disagree with him on controversial issues won’t help expand the party’s tent. The solution the county party offered is a reasonable one for a party with dissenting views – if an issue is not agreeable to the county party central committee then it would have to be represented as a separate float. It’s a response that could have been achieved without the state party chair, on behalf of the state party, giving such an inflammatory statement.
Kaufmann and the Golays are entitled to free speech, but that doesn’t mean it should be made representing the state party for Kaufmann or the county party in the case of the Golays. In both cases they represent more than their respective point of view.