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Guest Commentary

Iowa GOP adamant about its stupidity

3/13/2013

Talk about Daniel in the lion’s den!

Maybe Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal — an occasional visitor to Iowa because of his possible interest in being President some day — had better cross future visits off his list.

That’s because in surveying the wreckage of the 2012 elections, Jindal told fellow Republicans, “We must stop being the stupid party.”

“STOP BEING THE STUPID PARTY?”

Them’s fightin’ words to Iowa Republicans.

Stop being the stupid party? Not when they’ve got it down to a science.

The father figure for today’s Iowa GOP is not Abraham Lincoln of the 1860s. It’s more like one-term — 1978-84 — U.S Senator Roger Jepsen. Among other follies, he used his credit card to pay for favors at a place later raided for prostitution.

Stop being the stupid party? Have you read the Iowa GOP Party Platform lately? That’s the one that would abolish just about anything at the federal level having to do with education, government revenue or agriculture — and those are the saner planks of the platform.

Stop being the stupid party? What, and do away with the Iowa Straw Poll that crowned U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann as the party’s choice to be President?

It doesn’t get any brighter in the Iowa legislature this year where many of the introduced bills call for Iowa to submit to the rule of cranky old white men.

To top it off, you have the recent list of potential GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate seat being left open by the retirement of Democrat Tom Harkin. The top of the list isn’t all that great what with the volatile U.S. Rep. Steve King and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, whom Cityview columnist Doug Burns dubbed as Iowa’s highest paid intern. But then you get to the bottom of the list and you find the likes of radio “personality” Steve Deace, and the legislators who for a time were the Bachmann braintrust — State Senators Brad Zaun and Kent Sorenson. Joining them is the evangelical Robert Vander Plaats, who seems driven to inflict upon non-believers his versions of Old Testament plagues, with each visitation worst than the last.

Good night! What’s going on here?

Maybe it’s all part of a master plan to make King look like a reasonable candidate and Gov. Terry Branstad look like a thoughtful, dynamic leader.

Maybe it’s all part of a conspiracy by the left wing media and old line Republicans like Doug Gross — they’re in cahoots, you know — to build frustration with the current Iowa GOP to such a level that real Republicans are spurred to regain control of the party for the good of us all.

That’s all speculation.

What’s not speculation is that the current Iowa GOP in its addiction to right wing evangelicals simply cannot “Stop being the stupid party.”

And too many Iowans are willing to live with that. CV

Herb Strentz is a retired administrator and professor in the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication and writes occasional columns for Cityview.

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