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January 7th, 2011

Vander Plaats Shows Ignorance of History and Government

Bob Vander Plaats was a guest on Rekha Basu’s “Between the Lines” show yesterday.  Basu, a liberal columnist for the Des Moines Register, questioned Vander Plaats for nearly 45 minutes on homosexual issues and the state’s judicial system.

The entire segment is worth watching, but here are a few things that stood out.

Vander Plaats Continues to Punt on the Issue of Impeachment

Vander Plaats continues to avoid answering questions on impeachment by saying that the remaining justices should simply resign.   Vander Plaats told Basu, “The business of the people is at hand.  Impeachment is going to take a lot of that focus, a lot of that tension, and a lot of resource away from the other issues, but if the judges don’t do the right thing [resign], I think those legislators will draft articles of impeachment.”  So while Vander Plaats seems supportive of impeachment he always stops short of saying that the remaining justices should be impeached.

Vander Plaats questioned about segregation as an analogy to   the current politics involving the gay marriage and courts.  Vander Plaats gets his history wrong.

Basu asked Vander Plaats if judges should base their decisions on popular opinion.  She then asked him if school desegregation would have taken place had that been the case.

Vander Plaats said, “If my history serves me correct, after the court made their opinion there, the governor called out the National Guard, the governor executed their opinion.”

Vander Plaats is wrong.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued it opinion on May 17, 1954.

George Wallace was elected Governor of Alabama in 1962.

In his inaugural address, Governor Wallace said, “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

On June 11, 1963, Governor Wallace stood in front of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to stop the forced desegregation of the school.  President John Kennedy is the one who authorized the National Guard, Assistant Attorney General, and the federal marshals to confront Wallace.

Vander Plaats’ weak grasp on a significant part of American history is extremely troubling considering that he is the leading conservative voice in regards to the issue of the courts and the rights of homosexuals.  It is equally troubling that he stated in this interview that the Attorney General is a part of the judicial branch not the executive branch, when in fact, the Attorney General is part of the executive branch.

We simply cannot have conservative leaders running around the state half-cocked talking to members of the media if they do not have a firm understanding of our nation’s history and our laws.  Their arguments are entirely emotional and not based on a firm understanding of history and law.  This does far more damage than good to the cause of traditional marriage.

We live in a Republic where our Constitution, which gives reverence to the Creator, is the law of the land, not the Bible.  While Christians need to work to ensure our laws reflect our Christian principles, we can’t just claim that they do without doing to work to actually codify those Christian principles.  Until Vander Plaats and others take the time to actually dismantle the Court’s Varnum decision through legitimate means, they are doing nothing but grandstanding.

That might be good for their name I.D. since it has gotten them all a lot of press. However, it actually hurts the cause of preserving and restoring traditional values in Iowa.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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