Tag Archives: Representative

Iowa: Gay Marriage Mecca? Oh! Of Course!

After taking a short vacation overseas, and thus being unable to blog, I’m back! And it looks like I have a lot of news to catch up on…

An internal battle has been ensuing about what to discuss first, since really quite a lot as happened over here while I was watching World Cup qualifying games in Holland, but this small piece from Ben Martin on Politico.com is impossible for me to ignore:

King warns of ‘gay marriage Mecca’

Western Iowa Rep. Steve King:

This is an unconstitutional ruling and another example of activist judges molding the Constitution to achieve their personal political ends. Iowa law says that marriage is between one man and one woman. If judges believe the Iowa legislature should grant same sex marriage, they should resign from their positions and run for office, not legislate from the bench.

Now it is the Iowa legislature’s responsibility to pass the Marriage Amendment to the Iowa Constitution, clarifying that marriage is between one man and one woman, to give the power that the Supreme Court has arrogated to itself back to the people of Iowa. Along with a constitutional amendment, the legislature must also enact marriage license residency requirements so that Iowa does not become the gay marriage Mecca due to the Supreme Court’s latest experiment in social engineering.

Democrats, however, control the legislature, and their leaders welcomed the ruling.

Ok. 1) I support the right for homosexuals to marry as they please because I believe that personal freedoms and rights apply equally to all members of society, regardless of sexual orientation or anything else for that matter. You either believe in full equality or you don’t. Period. (And of course it’s worth pointing out that homosexuality occurs in nature, whereas our marriage laws were created by a bunch of guys.)

2) Are there any gay people in Iowa who are looking to get married? Is this a Brokeback Mountain kind of thing? Assuming that there isn’t a vast hidden rainbow-enrobed community, I don’t think Iowa has much to actually worry about from their own citizenry.

3) And as for Iowa as a potential “gay marriage Mecca.” It could happen….but I assume that most homosexuals would rather go to a state where they can marry while not worrying about being lynched by one of the most socially conservative constituencies in the country.

so, State of Iowa and Steve King: RELAX! Let’s say that gays start getting married in Des Moines. Best-case scenario: your state accepts their new position as one of the few moving towards greater respect for personal liberties and a true right to privacy. Worst-case scenario: the quality of food, fashion, shopping, the arts, etc in Iowa goes way up. OUCH.

Here’s the bottom line for me: In preface, though I do believe in a woman’s right to choose, I understand why others fervently disagree. They believe that somebody or something, depending on how you view it, is being irreparably harmed. They see abortion as murder and thus feel like this practice is not simply immoral, but akin to breaking one of the ten commandments and must stop. Again, I don’t agree, but the general anti-abortion view is not irrational.

But what about gay marriage? It doesn’t cause any irreparable harm to anyone or anything, except for potentially the traditional (and by that I mean post-Victorian) view of marriage, and even that argument is silly, both in general and in historical perspective. When gays get married nobody is hurt, let alone murdered, in the process, and there is no empirical evidence that allowing such unions is detrimental in any way to society as a whole. So, if you’re heterosexual, why do you even care?

And then again, if you are a really conservative Iowan (is that an oxymoron?) and just can’t give this whole gay marriage thing up, you can always take some comfort in the fact that there’s at least one segment of your population that definitely won’t be murdering fetuses….

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Jim Leach: The GOP, Michael Steele, And That Big Tent Everybody Keeps Talking About

Remember Jim Leach? The moderate Republican Rep. from Iowa defeated in 2006 by Dave Loebsack in a major upset partially attributed to his refusal to allow Republican activists to distribute an anti-gay mailing? Phew. Had a lot to say there.

Today, on Politico’s The Arena, Leach posted a very thoughtful comment on where the GOP is today, how it moved there, and why everybody keeps talking about tents. The initial question asked was: “Is there room for Michael Steele in the GOP tent? How small can a tent get anyway?”

Jim Leach’s response:

If he doesn’t survive it will be a shame

Yes, this is all about the most overused metaphor in Republican politics – the tent. At issue is not only how big it is but how many doors it has. 

The pillars of Goldwater’s tent were decidedly of an individual rights, individual initiative nature. They were not considered strong or compassionate enough to hold a majority of the American people, at least at the time. The tent therefore got broadened with 1) a Southern strategy, based in part on Republican connivance but principally on a Democratic Party becoming philosophically committed to a Northern abolitionist soul, and 2) an appeal to fundamentalist pro-life values which gave a perceived moral legitimacy to a collectivist spectrum of issues beyond the realm of the traditional Rockefeller/Goldwater divisions within the party. 

What this meant was that the door to the Republican tent was opened to include two huge groups that had for most of the 20th Century been Democrats – Catholics and fundamentalist Christians. At the same time, however, as these new entrants came in the front door, traditional “country club” Republicans who had been comfortable with Taft, Eisenhower, Goldwater, Ford, and the gentler sides of Reagan and G.H.W. Bush began walking out the back of the tent. They – doctors, lawyers, business leaders – found their values and their leadership challenged. Understandably, the new entrants to the party determined that they didn’t simply want to be manipulated at the voting booth as “strategists” from Atwater to Rove may have wanted. They wanted to lead, to insist on more absolutist approaches to values, and abandon the tolerance and diversity which had been the progressive pinions of Republican philosophy from 1853 through much of the 20th Century. 

In this context it is impressive not that Michael Steele is proving controversial but that he was elected in the first place. If he doesn’t survive, it will be a shame; but the party should be given more than a little credit that he has been given a chance.

Interesting.

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Heath Shuler Not Running In 2010. North Carolina Erupts Into Spontaneous Celebration.

According to Poltico’s The Scorecard, it has  been confirmed by a Shuler sposkesperson that Rep. Heath Shuler  (D-NC) will not be running against Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) in the 2010 NC Senate race.

Phew! As much as I would like to see a Democrat take that seat, I’m not entirely convinced that Heath Shuler would be a better representative for North Carolina than Burr…and that’s saying a lot. 

So who’s left?

In my mind, there are two potential Democratic candidates for that 2010 race, but only one viable one (sorry Brad Miller). I’ve prepared a short bio below:

Rep. Bob Etheridge– This guy is LITERALLY salt of the Earth. A Representative from NC’s 2nd district (essentially the area in the middle of the state slightly east and south of Raleigh), who has really put in his time:

  • Served in the U.S. Army
Exactly

Exactly

  • Small tobacco farmer and hardware store owner by trade
This may or may not be Etheridge and his wife.

This may or may not be Etheridge and his wife.

  • Served as Hartnett County Commissioner for 4 years
Trust me, it's a good one.

Trust me, it's a good one.

  • Served 4 terms in the NC House of Representatives
Mythical

Mythical

  • Elected North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction (2 terms)
I have not been able to confirm that Etheridge wrote this himself, but it's not entirely unlikely.

I have not been able to confirm that Etheridge wrote this himself, but it's not entirely unlikely.

  • Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996 and still there
And thus, Bob enters the big game.

And thus, Bob enters the big game.

  • Member of the New Democrat Coalition
(Need New Logo)

(Need New Logo)

Fun Fact: “Bob” is not short for Robert, but rather for “Bobby Ray.”  This is not a joke.

How can North Carolina not fall in love with this guy?

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