It wasn’t long after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal that some Republicans began to worry that the land-mark decision could end up being a distraction away from other issues Republicans are currently fighting for this session. This sentiment is one that the Iowa Republicans must navigate with caution.
The Iowa Supreme Court dealt a severe blow to those who support traditional marriage, but in doing so, it created an opportunity to finally pass the marriage amendment. At the same time, Governor Chet Culver and Democrat legislative leaders have shown utter disrespect to Iowa business owners and taxpayers throughout the current legislative session. Speaker Murphy went so far as to remove members of the public from a public hearing on federal deductibility, which would raise taxes by $600 million.
Those who are worried about the marriage amendment being a distraction need to remember one simple thing. The people who are currently preventing a vote in the legislature on the marriage amendment are also the same people who are attempting to pass the largest tax increase in Iowa’s history.
These same people also want to couple that enormous tax increase with a risky scheme to borrow $750 million for various infrastructure projects. Simply put, whether you are fighting to protect federal deductibility or for the passage of a marriage amendment, we are fighting against the same people, and thus, we need to stay united in our effort against them.
There is an old saying that goes something like, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” It is often used in foreign policy doctrine, but it also applies well to politics. The people who are pushing for a marriage amendment are not a hindrance to the effort against the Democrat tax increase or the bonding proposal; they are an asset. We need as much public outrage directed toward the Democrats as we can generate.
I don’t know if I can ever remember a crazier week in Iowa politics than the one we experienced last week. We saw people who were upset over a huge tax increase get kicked out of a public hearing because they wouldn’t sit quietly. We saw the Supreme Court show total disrespect to Iowa’s marriage laws. The combination of these two events not only will go down in our history books, but it also signaled the joining of fiscal and social conservatives to a common cause – a perfect storm scenario that could lead to a number of Republican victories in 2010.
For Iowa Republicans to realize those victories, we must keep our activists and talking heads focused on our true enemies – Culver and legislative Democrats. There must be a concerted effort to avoid any infighting. The news media is already trying to trying to divide our ranks by mentioning that the Court’s opinion was written by a Branstad appointee. While disappointing, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter who wrote the opinion or that the ruling was unanimous. All that matters is that there was four or more justices who felt the need to redefine marriage.
If Republicans can rally around the events of last week and focus on the real enemy, we will once again have the opportunity to lead our state.
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