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Posts tagged "Iowa"

h/t: Scott Keyes at Think Progress Elections


If a Republican who aspires to national office can’t understand plain English, should they be allowed to even run, much less be elected? That’s the question I asked when I heard about Iowa’s Senate candidate Joni Ernst calling the UCSB shootings an “unfortunate accident.”

There’s nothing accidental about a rage-filled asshole with a few semi-automatic weapons picking off women standing on a sidewalk. Nothing accidental about that at all. It’s a wanton act of premeditated murder, enabled by the NRA and gun nuts across this nation. Ernst whitewashed it to pander to her bloodthirsty keepers, and now she needs to own it and be disqualified from ever holding national office.

During the debate, a viewer questioned whether she would change her ad which shows Ernst on a firing range promising to unload on Obamacare. TPM:

The moderator then asked Ernst if she would change the ad or its timing in light of the UCSB shooting.

"I would not — no. This unfortunate accident happened after the ad, but it does highlight that I want to get rid of, repeal, and replace Bruce Braley’s Obamacare," Ernst replied, referring to a Democratic Senate candidate. "And it also shows that I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. That is a fundamental right."

read more

H/T: Miranda Blue at RWW

Conservative media figures that embody messages of misogyny and hate will take center stage at a GOP candidate forum in Iowa, despite the party’s own acknowledgment that future electoral victories hinge upon the development of a more tolerant platform.

After Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee drafted a series of recommendations on how to evolve and grow the party into a force that can win consistently in the 21st century. To a large extent, the plan recommended reaching out to women and minorities, after Democrats won both groups by healthy margins that year. The RNC report recommended ”developing a forward-leaning vision for voting Republican that appeals to women.” It went on to suggest that the party needs “to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate that we care about them, too.”

But in a move that seems in total opposition to those recommendations, the Iowa Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, as well as Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), have chosen to partner with Fox News contributor Erick Erickson, radio host Steve Deace, and The Family Leader, an anti-gay organization headed by Bob Vander Plaats, to conduct a forum for the candidates on April 25.

Despite his role as “moderator” for the event, Erickson’s far-right views on women and minorities are anything but moderate. Erickson has argued that businesses that serve gay couples are “aiding and abetting” sin, that proposed anti-discrimination laws are part of a war on Christians waged by “evil” gay rights activists, and that marriage equality is akin to incest. According to the pundit, gay people are definitely “on the road to hell.”

In fact, Erickson is scheduled to appear at an event for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on the night before the candidate forum. The ADF, whose work has been touted by Erickson, is an extreme anti-gay organization working to criminalize homosexuality. The event is billed as “An Evening with Erick Erickson,” making him a de facto spokesman for a group whose stances are so extreme even some of Erickson’s peers at Fox News have distanced themselves from them.

Erickson’s relationship with women’s issues is just as offensive — he is particularly hostile to the idea that women should help support a family financially. Erickson stated on his radio show in 2013 that “some women believe they can have it all, and that’s the crux of the problem,” and told Fox host Lou Dobbs that the recent increase in the number of female breadwinners is “concerning and troubling.” He elaborated on this point, saying, “When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and female in society, and the other animals, the male typically is the dominant role.”

But it’s not just Erickson. The Republican candidate forum will also feature a post-forum focus group moderated by radio host and Washington Times columnist Steve Deace.

Deace maintains strong anti-gay and anti-immigrant views. Most recently, he penned a column suggesting that President Obama and the media were using the story of Michael Sam, an openly gay NFL prospect from the University of Missouri, as an excuse to distract attention away from the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. He has also compared gay marriage to bank robbery and strongly opposes proposals like the DREAM Act that would aid longtime immigrant children in obtaining a college education.

And the forum itself is presented by The Family Leader, whose president Bob Vander Plaats has called gay people a “public health risk,” likened being gay to adultery and polygamy, and is a vocal supporter of the fringe birther movement.

If right-wing hate mongers like Erickson and Deace continue to be chosen to represent the party, GOP rebranding efforts are likely doomed.

h/t: Brian Powell at MMFA



Is Senate candidate Sam Clovis asshole of the day for saying if Obama were white, he’d have been impeached by now?

"I would say there are people in the House of Representatives right now that would very much like to take the opportunity to start the process," Clovis said of impeaching Obama. "And I think the reason that they’re not is because they’re concerned about the media."

"They’re concerned about the media in the context of how we would cover it because he’s a black president?" the Herald asked.

"Yes," Clovis responded.

There’s no grounds for impeaching Obama either, but why should that matter. The reason Obama hasn’t been impeached is because the House GOP is so worried about looking like racists. Mmhmm.

Photo source:


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley is apologizing to Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley for comments recorded during a fundraiser in Texas in which the Democrat inferred Iowa’s senior senator was unfit to be Judiciary Committee Chairman.

h/t: Igor Volsky at Think Progress Economy


Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) announced Tuesday that he won’t seek reelection in 2014, becoming the third member of the House in one day to announce his retirement.

"It is never a perfect time or a right time to step aside," Latham wrote in an e-mail to supporters. "But for me, this is the time. I want to share with you my decision that I will not be a candidate for any office in November of 2014."

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Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) won’t seek reelection

h/t: TPM

The stigma and ignorance surrounding mental disabilities may have led the parents of teens who bullied a classmate with autism to blame the victim.

On Monday, WHO-TV reported that students at an Iowa high school had posted a video onlinemocking the involuntary movements of classmate Levi Null, a 13-year old with Asperger’s syndrome. “People tell me to run into things and I don’t really like it,” said Null, who also has ADHD. “And I tell them that I don’t want to and they just laugh at me, whenever I do it.”

On Thursday, it was revealed that the report had triggered an outpouring of support — for the accused bullies.

Some of those defending the teens who posted the video have turned to shaming the autistic victim. Levi Weatherly, a parent of one of the accused teens insisted his child was not wholly in the wrong. “Three-fourths of this stuff he brings on himself,” he said, “and probably a fourth of it is bullying that shouldn’t be going on.” One implied that he was asking for it: “This kid has done things to get people mad that I think he could probably control.”

But this sentiment betrays a basic ignorance of autism. According to advocacy group Autism Speaks, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are “characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors.” Like Levi Null’s Asperger’s syndrome, his repetitive movements and difficulties socializing are not voluntary, and he cannot turn them off at will.

The students and parents at Melcher-Dallas High School are not alone in their misunderstanding of mental disabilities. In schools, students viewed negatively because of mental disorders are often easy targets for bullying and unfair treatment at the hands of teachers. According to a report by the Interactive Autism Network, 63 percent of children with ASD aged 6 to 15 have experienced bullying, with kids like Levi who also have ADHD more likely to be victimized. Forty percent of ASD children have been punished by school teachers and administrators after suffering a meltdown or outburst in response to bullying.

Last year, the Huffington Post interviewed Stuart Chalfetz, a father who discovered that public school instructors were verbally abusing his autistic son. Chalfetz said his son was treated as if he were “subhuman.”

h/t: Christopher Butterfield at Think Progress Health

Abortion rights opponent David Leach made news this week when he posted a video of himself on YouTube speaking with George Tiller murder Scott Roeder and threatening Kansas abortion providers.

Leach has a long record of promoting violence against clinic workers and has defended Roeder’s murder of Tiller.

As a GOP state senate nominee in 2010, Leach suggested that HIV/AIDS was divine punishment for homosexuality. He was eventually defeated by Democratic incumbent Matt McCoy, but his candidacy did win the support of one leading anti-choice activist: Personhood USA board member Chet Gallagher.

h/t: RWW

At a social conservative conference this week, Iowa’s Secretary of State argued that Republicans need to pass voter ID in order to advance their top policy goals, including banning abortion and same-sex marriage.

Matt Schultz (R), elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, spoke at length about his support for implementing voter ID in a speech before the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition on Monday. In the process he accused the other side of cheating in order to win elections, but provided no evidence to back up this claim.

SCHULTZ: There are a whole lot of issues that we care about, abortion, gay marriage, a whole lot of social issues that we care deeply about. But you have to start caring about voter ID and election integrity as well, because if you don’t have that, you’ll never be able to make a difference in any other issue you care about. Never. Because they will cheat! They’ll cheat. And we need to make sure we stop them. So what do I need you to do? I need you start telling your friends and neighbors that you love voter ID. You love voter ID.

There’s a reason why Schultz couldn’t provide any evidence that people are using voter fraud at the polls to rig elections: none exists. In-person voter fraud is extraordinarily rare; a study in nearby Wisconsin found a fraud rate of 0.0002 percentfar less common than even being struck by lightning. Still, a dearth of actual voter fraud hasn’t stopped conservatives from using it as a phantom menace to gin up support for voter ID.

Schultz isn’t the only Republican official pushing voter ID as a means for enacting the Party’s policy goals. Indeed, because approximately 1 in 10 Americans — particularly young voters and minorities, groups who tend to vote Democratic — lack photo ID, a strict voter ID requirement would help Republicans win more elections. 

h/t: Scott Keyes at Think Progress Justice

But under the laws of our land, you got to have a jury that is a reflection of society as a whole, and on an Indian reservation, it’s going to be made up of Indians, right? So the non-Indian doesn’t get a fair trial.

Proclaiming he’s “ready to go,” U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, is telling supporters today that he’s forming a campaign committee to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated in 2014 by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin.

Braley is sending the news in an email today, saying it’s a “big responsibility” to try to fill Harkin’s shoes.

“But if you are willing to help me, I’m ready to go,” he said in the email, which was obtained by the Quad-City Times.

The announcement comes about two weeks after Harkin shocked Iowans by announcing he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2014. Since then, Braley, who has long been rumored to be interested in the Senate, has been exploring a potential bid.

In the email, Braley said he would kick off a series of conversations with a Facebook chat in the next few weeks. Link said the conversations would extend for several months.

While Braley is considered by many to be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, it’s possible others could run in a primary. If that happens, Link made it clear Braley will be ready for any challenge.

“We’re going to be in the best position when the filing deadline hits,” he said.

Braley has been a proficient fundraiser since kicking off his first bid for the 1st Congressional District seat in 2005. He’s won four races in eastern Iowa since then, with only one, in 2010, a close call.

Now, he faces the challenge of introducing himself to other parts of the state, including a heavily Republican western Iowa.

Link said Braley has been encouraged in particular by two events in the days since Harkin made his announcement: His meeting with Statehouse Democrats in Des Moines and a big labor union event over the weekend in Dubuque, where he appeared with Harkin.

Harkin did not endorse Braley — and he has said that he wouldn’t get involved in a primary — but he generously praised the Waterloo Democrat.

Braley also has met with the political arm of the Senate Democrats.

On the Republican side, Reps. Tom Latham and Steve King have both sent signals they could run.


He was a really great Senator.