Don’t Get Fooled Again? Whatever.

Deace and Trump
Photo by Dave Davidson –

My social media feeds have been entertaining to say the least ever since it became abundantly clear that Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee for president in 2016.

On one hand, you have members of the GOP establishment throwing a temper tantrum because, for the first time in decades, they didn’t get their way. Then there are the Cruz supporters, who bought stock in the campaign’s narrative that given a choice between Cruz and Trump, people would embrace the Texas Senator.

Yeah. Not so much.

One of Cruz’s chief propagandists, conservative shock-jock Steve Deace, has also taken the Texas Senator’s defeat hard. Apparently after Cruz dropped out of the race on Wednesday, Deace told his radio audience that he’s going to, “troll like a mother,” all of the people like Mike Huckabee who have come out and endorsed Trump. “I’m going to scorched-earth them all, and I’m going to enjoy doing it, actually. Maybe more than I should.

The next day, Deace lit into Huckabee, but not without some serious self-promotion where he attempted to take all of the credit for Huckabee’s 2008 win in the Iowa caucuses. Was Deace helpful to Huckabee in 2008? Of course. Was his over-the-top endorsement influential? Certainly. Especially since, at the time, he commanded the microphone of the state’s most listened-to talk radio station.

So if Deace was powerful enough to practically raise Huckabee from the dead, why has he not been able to produce similar results when his good buddy Bob Vander Plaats ran for governor, or when he was supporting his 2012 presidential candidate of choice, Newt Gingrich? The truth is that Huckabee’s charm and personality won people over in 2008. The exposure on WHO Radio helped, but there was a heck of a lot more involved in Huckabee’s rise in Iowa than Steve Deace.

What’s more humorous than Deace taking all the credit for Huckabee’s 2008 victory in the Iowa Caucuses is his sudden hatred of Donald Trump. Sudden is a relative term, but let’s be honest, Deace’s hatred of Trump elevated substantially once the race essentially came down to Trump and Cruz.

Just like the candidate he endorsed, Deace spent the summer enjoying what Trump was doing to the GOP establishment. On August 6th, just a couple weeks before he would formally endorse Cruz, Deace wrote, “The new attacks on Trump — he’s not really a Republican at all. From the same people who constantly tell us we need a ‘big tent’ of course.”

Deace went on to add, “I can’t get enough of him face-palming these GOP liars, bed-wetters and thumb-suckers. Watching him run roughshod over this party that has lied to, betrayed, and failed us so many times is the most fun I’ve had in politics since kicking the teeth in of some state Supreme Court justices.”

And even though Donald Trump has been on both sides of a number of issues throughout the campaign and insulted dozens of people along the way, it’s not like Trump is being any different than he’s been for his entire adult life. It’s not like all of a sudden people are just starting to realize that he is a megalomaniac.

So it’s kind of ironic when people like Steve Deace warn us all that he’s going to “troll like a mother” on everyone who supports Trump when not all that long ago he was asking Trump for interviews, posing for pictures, and oh lets not forget, asking Trump to endorse one of his books.

Deace obviously asked Trump to endorse his book, “Rules for Patriots, How Conservatives Can Win Again.” Trump wrote, “If you want to be able to say ‘you’re fired’ to the people plunging this great country of ours down the drain, this book is for you. Steve Deace is one of the rising stars in conservative media, and he’s able to tackle serious subject matter in a winsome way that’s so easy to understand, even a Washington, D.C. politician can get it.”

Now, Deace isn’t the only one who’s suddenly fed up with Trump. Iowa Congressman Steve King also fits that description. Last week, he told reporters that Trump would have to, “earn” the support of conservative Republicans.

King told Fox News Latino, “I’m not compelled to unconditionally endorse Donald Trump right now,” King said. “It’s up to Donald Trump to start the process of uniting the party now. The healing of this party cannot be done by anyone except Donald Trump.”

King felt differently in 2014 when Trump flew to Iowa to headline a fundraiser for his re-election campaign. It was a nice fall event, a little cold, but nothing like the cold shoulder Trump is getting now from some Iowa conservatives.

King Trump
Photo by Dave Davidson –
Trump King2
Photo by Dave Davidson –


The real irony is all of this is that, had these Iowa conservatives used their access and influence to truly vet Donald Trump in the years leading up to the 2016 presidential race, things may have been different. Sure, Trump’s candidacy is unique, but had people actually taken him seriously from the time he started visiting Iowa, perhaps we wouldn’t be where we are now. Who knows.

Cruz Campaign: “Fiorina goes full vagina right away.”

Deace endorse Cramer
Photo by Dave Davidson –

Steve Deace isn’t just some loud-mouth opinionated radio talk show host, he’s an integral member of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. After endorsing Cruz this summer, he traveled to Boulder, Colorado with the campaign and was a campaign representative in the media spin-room following the debate.

Deace speaks at Cruz campaign events, leads strategy sessions with activists, and hocks pro-Cruz commentary on the various political websites that he contributes to on a daily basis. Like every blogger and talk radio host, he regularly pushes the boundaries. However at the beginning CNN’s primetime Republican presidential debate, Deace may have crossed the line.

As Carly Fiorina wrapped up he opening remarks, Deace tweeted, “Wow…Fiorina goes full vagina right away.”

When a Twitter follower called his remarks “disgusting,” Deace replied, “Completely agree. I think a GOP presidential candidate’s opening statement being all about her gender is disgusting.”

Another one of Deace’s followers tweeted, “I personally like vaginas.” To which Deace responded, “Love them myself. Ask ‪@amydeace.”

In time, Deace somewhat apologized tweeting, “‪@amydeace tells me while on point about Carly and gender card I was too vulgar and need to apologize. And my wife is ALWAYS right. So I do.”

Much has been made about the endorsements Sen. Ted Cruz has received from some of the more high-profile conservative leaders in Iowa. Deace was the first to endorse. He was followed by Congressman Steve King, and FAMiLY Leader President Bob Vander Plaats. Three other members of Vander Plaats’ organization are the most recent to endorse.

Still in the span of a few seconds, an endorsee can make life difficult for their particular candidate by sending out a derogatory tweet. Already in this election cycle, we have seen political operatives lose their jobs because of an unsavory tweet they made years ago.

Regardless, this type of thing, while trivial, can derail a campaign in a general election. Iowans saw this first hand when Congressman Bruce Braley, the frontrunner for Iowa’s open US Senate seat in 2014, made stupid and uncalled for comments about farmers. Trust me, woman bashing is even worse. Deace should know better, and Cruz shouldn’t stand with people like that.

“I personally and publicly denounce this comment,” Bob Vander Plaats said. “I confronted Steve Deace about it. He has publicly admitted the comment was ‘needlessly vulgar,’ and ‘stupid’ (and I agree) and has issued a public apology.”

RPI Regime Change: The Weekly Roundup

As expected, the decision by the newly seated Republican State Central Committee to hold a new election for the chairman and co-chairman positions on Saturday has created tension among many Republican activists.

For those Republicans who participated in the caucus to convention process with a desire to completely overhaul the personalities that have controlled the Republican apparatus in Iowa for the past couple of years, the call for a new chairman and co-chairman merely represents the final act of a three-part strategy that began with the precinct caucuses in January.

For those unhappy about the coming ouster of current Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Danny Carroll and Co-Chair Gopal Krishna, the act of electing a new chairman wreaks of hypocrisy since those who now control the levers of power inside of the Republican Party of Iowa have preached unity for months.  They view the pending ouster of Carroll as a move to silence social conservatives in party politics.  These individuals are doing all they can in the days before the vote to get people worked up over Carroll’s imminent removal from office.

Here are some quick points on what will transpire at tomorrow’s State Central Committee meeting.

1. Despite what some people will say, the ouster of Carroll really has nothing to do with him.  The ultimate goal of those now in control of the party was always regime change, and Carroll just happens to be the chairman.  Remember, when this all started in January, A.J. Spiker was chairman, not Carroll.  Just because Spiker resigned in order to take a paycheck from Rand Paul’s PAC never meant the call to change the leadership of the party was going to end.

2. The newly seated committee feels that that a change in leadership is necessary to fulfill the promise they made to delegates when they ran for office.  They feel justified in making this change because they were given a clear mandate from district delegates when they went 16 for 16 in central committee elections in April.

3. Electing a new chairman now is about restoring some sense of trust with donors who have declined to contribute to the party in recent years.  Unlike the previous committee which was focused more on ideology, this committee is also focused on winning elections in November and making the party relevant in the upcoming general election, and to do that, they need to be able to raise significant money.

4. It was no secret that the new committee would want to elect its own chairman, yet Carroll volunteered for the job.  Since then, he has dug in his heels and told the new committee that he’s not going to quietly step aside. That’s not necessarily a mindset that was going to win over some of the members of the committee.

5. Multiple sources told me that Carroll would resign the chairmanship of the party so long as the party would employ him as a religious outreach coordinator.  It’s not a bad idea, but Carroll’s relationship with the new committee isn’t one that allows much negotiating.  Instead of a last-minute deal, this should have been something that he talked to the new members of the committee about before they took control following the state convention.  It’s easy to understand why many on the committee would view a deal like that as rewarding bad behavior.

I still think it’s a bad idea.

While I understand the reasoning behind the new committee’s desire to elect its own chair, I fear that the costs could outweigh the benefits.  Carroll supporters are fighting mad.  Some are comparing what is happening with Carroll to the run off election in Mississippi.  Now, I think that’s a stretch, but face it, it’s easy to see how social conservative could be feeling like they are getting the short end of the stick.

This is a time when the party should be uniting around its candidates going into the general election campaign.  Yet, once again it’s the tug-of-war over control of the Republican Party of Iowa that is front page news, pitting Republicans against Republicans.  How unfortunate.

Somewhere David Fischer and A.J. Spiker are laughing.

Fischer and Spiker are the masterminds of the latest spat between Republicans, and they are enjoying every second of it.  Carroll would never be chairman today if Fischer and Spiker didn’t methodically resign their positions to create an opening for him to first get elected as co-chair and a month later become the chairman.

Not only do they enjoy watching the party bicker over Carroll, but it also helps them politically.  How did the Paul faction of the party get its start in Iowa?  By playing the role of the victim.  First it was the Iowa Christian Coalition and Iowans for Tax Relief not allowing Ron Paul to speak in 2008.  Then it was the moderates of the party wanting to shove Mitt Romney down our throats.  Now it’s that Branstad hates social conservatives.

This is a prefect scenario for Fischer and Spiker to get social conservatives to sign on to Rand Paul’s campaign.  They will deny it, and A.J. will surely email me, but he and Fischer created this mess.  They should just own it.

Some people just love to fight.

It doesn’t really matter what the new committee does, some people are simply prepared to fight their every move.  Think about some of the loudest critics of what will likely transpire on Saturday – they have made a living by attacking Governor Branstad and everything about the Republican Party they despise.  Face it, some people will never be happy because then they wouldn’t have anything to talk about.

Chair election following a state convention sets a bad precedent for the future

When the Republican State Central Committee votes to oust Carroll and Krishna on Saturday, it will establish a new precedent that could be problematic for the party in the future.  The bylaws state that leadership elections are to be held at the first meeting following the biennial general election.  However, the bylaws of the Republican Party of Iowa clearly explain that the Chair and Co-Chair serve at the pleasure of the committee, which means they can be voted out of office if and when the committee decides that new leadership is necessary.

Even though the new committee is well within their rights to hold a new leadership election on Saturday, it will establish a new precedent that a newly elected state central committee is well within its rights to elect a new chairman following the conclusion of the state convention.  It puts a chairman elected in January of the off year in a precarious position.  If he or she want’s to fulfill his or her entire term, it invites the chairman to take an active role in helping to elect friendly and supportive committee members.  All that does is create more infighting, distrust, and political maneuvering on the committee.

I’ve never liked the idea of electing new leadership for the party at the state convention because instead of focusing on the general election, a new party chair will instead focus on hiring a new staff and getting up to speed with everything that leading the party involves.

I feel bad for Carroll.

I think those who are trying to paint Danny Carroll as a bad party chair are wrong.  Now, I don’t agree with everything he’s done, and I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but he did oversee a smooth state convention and special nominating convention.  Sure there was some turbulence along the way, like tabloids not being delivered on time and the location fiasco for the Third District nominating convention, but those things were minor, and I’m not sure if they are the fault of a chairman.

Carroll was destined to fail as Iowa GOP chairman because he was never allowed to hire his own staff, and it’s impossible to raise money when everyone and their brother knows your going to get the boot once the new State Central Committee is seated.  Again, I think Carroll was foolish to take the job in the first place, but his critics sound foolish when they attack him given that he was never given a chance.

There is no reason to beat this guy up on his way out.  Instead of being kicked on his way out the door, it would be wise for the committee to thank him for his service to the party.  Hopefully they can do something nicer than the certificate of thanks I received from the Republican Party of Iowa when I was shown the door after a leadership change.

The Anti-Endorsement of Branstad.

I’ve heard a number of people say that Danny needs to be replaced because you can’t have a chairman who said he would never support the governor in the general election.  I dug around in the archives and found the video.  Frankly, it’s not really that bad.  And do you really think the Democrats are going to attack Branstad because Carroll thinks he’s not strong enough on the issue of marriage.  Wake up, it’s not going to be an issue in the general election.

Be careful what you wish for.

I kind of view the Republican Party like I view leaders in congress.  Everyone wants the title, but once you have it, you become an easy target for all that’s wrong with the party.  Turning the party around will take a lot more than just electing new leadership.  Just because there is a new chair, co-chair, and staff doesn’t mean the money will just start to flow.

On a much happier note…

Today is the 60th wedding Anniversary of Paul and Merlene Whisenand.  Between them, Paul and Merlene supported various GOP candidates through service to the Story County Central Committee, volunteering for campaigns and being the only house on the main road in Kelley to feature GOP candidate signs.  They are the parents of Mary and Sherill Whisenand.  Congratulations.  Perhaps they could provide Iowa Republicans with some advice on long-term commitment and compromise. 🙂

Struggling to Understand the Deace/Newt Dynamic

Radio personality Steve Deace’s decision earlier this year to leave WHO Radio, one of the most influential talk radio stations in the nation, just months before a new presidential caucus season, left a lot of Iowans scratching their heads wondering what Deace was thinking.

Based on the principles he has vigorously has espoused in the past, his decision to endorse Newt Gingrich on Friday is yet another perplexing move.

First, you have to understand, in case you didn’t know, that Deace is an unabashed social conservative unlike any other.  Life and marriage are the issues that drive him.  He is the type of guy who has gone to battle against pro-life groups and legislators in Iowa because they wanted to enact a “fetal pain bill” similar to Nebraska’s which would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks into the pregnancy.  Deace opposed this because it didn’t seek to stop all abortions.  In his mind, it was just another incremental waste of time that would result a in a bill that still allowed for the murder of most babies.  For him, it was personhood or bust.  He even went so far as to call the pro-life leaders who were trying to pass the fetal pain legislation “pro-choice” or “pro-abortion.

In regard to these issues, Deace often takes aim at the courts.  Gingrich has spoken eloquently about his dramatic plan to reign in the judiciary, which includes things like legislatively eliminating large parts of the federal court system (i.e. the Ninth Circuit and other rogue liberal judges), and subpoenaing judges to testify before Congress regarding controversial decisions.

Gingrich has also articulated a novel idea for attempting to constitutionally protect unborn life via the 14th Amendment, which would not require the passage of a new, additional life amendment.

All of this is right in Deace’s wheelhouse.  These issues are immensely important to him.  And if that were all we knew about Gingrich, Deace’s endorsement would make sense.

But that’s not all we know about Gingrich.  So here’s why some Iowans’ heads are itching over this decision.

In 2006, there was a gubernatorial race in Iowa that pitted Republican Rep. Jim Nussle against liberal Democrat Secretary of State Chet Culver.  Despite a stark contrast between the stated positions of the candidates with Nussle articulating conservative ideals and having a very respectable conservative voting record on both fiscal and social issues, Deace refused to level any praise toward Nussle in the lead up to the general election, and actually took just about every chance he could get to verbally abuse the GOP nominee.


Because several years earlier, Nussle had divorced his first wife and married a congressional staffer with whom he’d had an affair.  Anytime Deace had an opportunity to make a snarky comment about Nussle’s family situation or the fact that Nussle had been unfaithful, he took it, and he took it far.  Nussle went on to lose the election.

Deace crucified Nussle for having had an affair.  Gingrich has had two.  Ironically, Karen Nussle, that congressional staffer mentioned earlier who eventually became Jim Nussle’s wife, worked for Newt Gingrich at the time the affair began.  Even more ironically, Newt’s current wife, Callista Gingrich, happened to be a congressional staffer for Jim Nussle at that same time, which is how she met Newt.

So, apparently, Deace feels that unfaithfulness is evil when Jim Nussle does it, but it’s not quite as bad when Newt does it… twice?

This endorsement decision is also confusing because of the positions that Deace was espousing during the most recent gubernatorial campaign in 2010.  There was a heated primary battle between Terry Branstad and Deace’s friend Bob Vander Plaats.  Once again, Branstad had a pretty conservative record both fiscally and socially.  He had signed every piece of pro-life legislation ever enacted in the state of Iowa during his previous terms as governor.  He vowed to de-fund Planned Parenthood once such a measure passed the legislature, and he promised to appoint conservative judges and support efforts to enact a marriage amendment.

But Deace brutally vilified Branstad in that election, repeatedly referring to him as a RINO (and worse), partly because his opponent, Bob Vander Plaats, was a personal friend of Deace’s, but mostly because Deace didn’t think Branstad was as ideologically pure as Vander Plaats, who was advocating for an unprecedented (and likely unconstitutional) executive order that Vander Plaats and Deace claimed would eliminate gay marriage in Iowa via executive fiat.

According to Deace back then, only candidates who measured up to a gold standard (i.e. Vander Plaats) were worthy of our votes.  Nothing less was good enough.

Now, apparently he’s willing to vote for a guy who sponsored a environment/population control bill with Nancy Pelosi that would have provided taxpayer funded abortions overseas and overturned the Mexico City Policy.

He’s now willing to vote for a guy who voiced support for Romneycare, which allowed for $50 elective abortions in Massachusetts.  And do you know how I know that Romneycare allowed for $50 elective abortions in Massachusetts?  I know that because Steve Deace mentioned it while bashing Romney 37,598 times on his radio show during the last caucus cycle.

He’s now willing to vote for a guy who, on several occasions, spoke out in favor of embryonic stem cell research and went into great detail to explain why he believed the practice passed ethical muster.  Newt has now apparently changed his opinion on this issue.  Of course, Romney now claims to have had a change of heart on abortion, too, but Deace didn’t find that convincing.  He must find thrice-married Newt much more trustworthy.

Deace is also now willing to vote for a guy who has a history of endorsing extremely pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage candidates.  Newt notoriously stuck his neck out to endorse Dede Scozzafava in a special election for New York’s 23rd Congressional District.  The move was controversial because most establishment Republicans in New York are infamously liberal, particularly on social issues, and in this case, there was a true alternative – a viable Conservative Party candidate named Doug Hoffman.  Before the general election, anticipating defeat, Scozzafava actually dropped out and endorsed her Democrat opponent over Hoffman.

This is particularly interesting given Deace’s persistent criticism of other current presidential candidates for their past endorsements of a few moderate republicans.  Once again, it seems Deace has a different, and much lower, standard for Newt.

In the past, Deace has always claimed that we must seek candidates of “conviction rather than position.”  In other words, vote for candidates who are consistent and who actually believe in their hearts the values they espouse on the political stump.

Deace has also been critical of political operatives who he believed made opportunistic decisions to support candidates, not because they truly believed in the candidate, but because they thought that candidate might give them a “seat at the table.”

One has to wonder whether his new job has made Deace forget all of his old advice.  For someone who has had such high standards and who says he “won’t get fooled again,” it seems an odd choice that he’d publically endorsed a candidate who has fooled a lot of people on an awful lot of issues in the past.

Photo by Dave Davidson –

Enhanced by Zemanta

Constitutional Convention – The People’s Option

Iowa Capitol DaveLast night WHO Radio host Steve Deace, IFPC communications Director Bryan English, and myself debated some of the options that conservatives are exploring in the wake of the Iowa Supreme Court’s April 3rd ruling that opened the door to gay marriages in Iowa.

The debate focused on two main areas. First, is voting for a constitutional convention a risky or prudent way to pass a marriage amendment? And second, is Bob Vander Plaats’ executive order proposal an unnecessary step in passing a marriage amendment and does it set the precedent for future governors to have too much power?

In the 1850’s the legislature was unresponsive to the will of the people in passing legislation that would allow banking in the state. Today, we find ourselves in a similar position, where our elected officials are unresponsive to the will of the people on the issue of marriage.

There is no doubt that the constitutional convention option is not the preferred way to amend the state’s constitution. Like those at the Iowa Family Policy Center, I too would prefer to pass a constitutional amendment through the legislative process. However, as in the 1850’s, we have legislative leaders who are thwarting the will of the people. We have legislators who refuse to put the will of the people above the desires and politics of their leaders. The legislative process has failed the people of Iowa. That leaves the people only one option to pass a constitutional amendment that would define marriage – a constitutional convention.

In short, if the legislature will not listen to the people of Iowa, we must go around them by using the only constitutional route provided to us.

In last night’s debate, there was some confusion regarding whether or not the constitutional convention would allow only for amendments or whether liberals could use this as an opportunity to throw the entire thing out and simply start over. Below is Article Ten, Section Three of the Iowa Constitution. I think it is important to note that Article Ten is entitled “Amending the Constitution,” not “Throwing it Out.”

At the general election to be held in the year one thousand nine hundred and seventy, and in each tenth year thereafter, and also at such times as the general assembly may, by law, provide, the question, “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution, and propose amendment or amendments to same?” shall be decided by the electors[which means eligible voters] qualified to vote for members of the general assembly; and in case a majority of the electors so qualified, voting at such election, for and against such proposition, shall decide in favor of a convention for such purpose, the general assembly, at its next session, shall provide by law for the election of delegates to such convention, and for submitting the results of said convention to the people, in such manner and at such time as the general assembly shall provide; and if the people shall approve and ratify such amendment or amendments, by a majority of the electors qualified to vote for members of the general assembly, voting thereon, such amendment or amendments shall become a part of the constitution of this state. If two or more amendments shall be submitted at the same time, they shall be submitted in such a manner that electors may vote for or against each such amendment separately.

While there are no limits to the number of amendments that could be forwarded, the Iowa Constitution is very clear that the purpose of the constitutional convention is to revise or amend the document, not to toss it out. Additionally, the people of Iowa are required to approve each such change that is made to the constitution at the convention separately.

Bryan English and IFPC object to the constitutional convention option because they believe that Sen. Mike Gronstal and Speaker Pat Murphy will have a hand in determining how delegates to the convention are selected. While I understand their concerns, I don’t think the legislative option for amending the constitution is a better option at this point in time. There is no way that the legislature will vote for the constitutional amendment on marriage if Gronstal and Murphy are still in their leadership positions. That means marriage proponents will have to wait for Republican majorities before any action is taken on the marriage issue.

Unfortunately, time and patience is not on our side, and English and IFPC know this. So, while they want to pass an amendment through the legislature which will take at least four years, they also support Bob Vander Plaats’ executive order proposal which they contend would force a vote in the legislature.

Vander Plaats’ executive order purports to put a stay on gay marriages in the state while the legislature passes a law that would define marriage. On its face, it seems like a good idea. When Vander Plaats mentions his executive order, he is greeted by cheers from the conservative activists supporting his campaign. Yet, authorization for this option can’t be found anywhere in the state’s constitution.

During last night’s debate, Steve Deace pointed out that in Article IV of the constitution, which deals with the executive, reads, “The supreme executive power of this state shall be vested in a chief magistrate, who shall be styled the governor of the state of Iowa.” Deace contends that, since the governor is called the chief magistrate, it implies that he/she has some supreme judicial authority.

As I pointed out, Black’s Law Dictionary defines magistrate as, “The highest ranking official in a government, such as the king in a monarchy, the president in a republic, or the governor in a state. – also termed chief magistrate; first magistrate.” The point that I made is that the term “chief magistrate” is just another name for governor, just like the constitution refers to voters as electors. This provision simply gives the office of governor its name, nothing more.

Furthermore, nowhere in Article IV, Section eight of the constitution, which deals with the duties of the governor, is there any indication that the governor is granted such far-reaching executive powers. In fact, the historical analysis that I’ve found argues that the lack of any description of gubernatorial duties in the Iowa Constitution shows that the drafters constructed the governorship to be a relatively weak office.

The fact that two principled conservatives would advocate for such expanded executive powers is troubling. While I agree with them that a definition of marriage needs to be inserted into the constitution, failing to use the proper constitutional procedures for making these necessary changes is a mistake.

I asked Deace if he believes that President Obama has the right to put a stay on the US Supreme Court Decision that overturned a portion of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law recently found to be unconstitutional by the nation’s highest court. He agreed that Obama has that ability. I then asked him if he would support President Obama’s right to put a stay on a Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, so that the legislature could act. He told me that elections have consequences, so, in essence, he was saying yes.

I understand that people are frustrated with the options that they have to chose from here in Iowa, but the last thing that conservatives should do is overreact and expand the powers of the executive branch. All that would do is create the all-powerful executive that our founders tried so desperately to avoid.

The state’s history of the constitution clearly shows that our founders wanted a weak executive.

The 1857 constitution [the version still in use today] provided for three branches and expressly prohibited any branch from exercising a function of the other. This explicit separation of powers is a difference from the federal constitution which keeps the branches separate but does not explicitly say that they are separate. As in earlier documents, the Senate and House were again given broad powers [and] few subjects of legislation were prohibited. The 1857 document, however, did include more prohibited subjects of legislation than did the constitution of 1846.

The governor could veto legislation, but his veto was to be limited, not absolute. The 1846 document allowed an override upon the vote of two-thirds of those members of the legislature present and voting. The veto in the 1857 constitution required a two-thirds vote of the entire membership of the legislature and thus was harder to override than the veto in the 1846 constitution. The veto provision was also modified to give the governor additional time to consider his action on bills delivered to him in the three calendar days just prior to final adjournment.

From 1846 to 1857, the Executive Article was changed somewhat in form but not really in substance. The governor was declared to have the “supreme executive power”, but there is otherwise little in the document which sets out exactly the nature of his executive power.

While it would be nice to believe that we could elect a new governor who could fix the marriage problem in the state on their first day in office, the reality is that such an act is not supported by the constitution of the state of Iowa. Even if a governor is elected who would attempt an executive order, the constitutionality of that action will be decided the courts. Trading in seven tyrants on the court for an all powerful executive is something that all conservatives should soundly reject.

The only way to solve the crisis we are faced with today is to insert the definition of marriage into the state’s constitution. There are only two ways to amend our constitution – through the legislature or a vote by the people to hold a constitutional convention. Ironically, or maybe by the providence of our Creator, the constitutional convention question will be on the ballot in 2010. After this next general election, the only route that we will have to amend our constitution for the foreseeable future is through the legislature.

Passing amendments through legislature has not historically been easy. The women’s suffrage movement tried for 47 years to pass an amendment to the state’s constitution; they ultimately passed an amendment to the United States Constitution first. Even with Republican majorities, the marriage amendment failed to pass in both legislative chambers in one general assembly, let alone two.

If you really believe that the people of Iowa deserve the right to vote on the issue of marriage, you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the constitutional convention option.

It might be our only option.

Photo by Dave Davidson

TIR vs. Deace, English, and Alons (4 to 6 p.m. Tonight)

Monday Debate copyNo, I’m not getting sued. I’m probably just going to get roughed up a bit.

From 4 to 6 p.m. tonight, I will be debating Steve Deace, Bryan English (IFPC), and State Representative Dwayne Alons on WHO Radio.

Here are the questions that we will be debating.

1) Is voting for a constitutional convention a risky or prudent way to pass a marriage amendment?

2) Is Bob Vander Plaats’ executive order proposal an unnecessary step in passing a marriage amendment and does it set the precedent for future governors to have too much power?

3) Did the Iowa Family PAC make a strategic blunder by betting the marriage issue completely on the gubernatorial campaign of Bob Vander Plaats?

It should be a fascinating two hours of radio. If you can’t listen to the radio, you can listen on-line by clicking here. Then click the ‘Listen Live’ button on the right side of the page.

Please feel free to post you reaction in the comment section. Tomorrow’s top story will address these topics as well.