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February 21st, 2014

Conway Goes the Wrong Way on the Issue of Life – The Friday Roundup

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Written by: Craig Robinson
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In an interview with Republican 3rd Congressional candidate Robert Cramer, Simon Conway, WHO Radio’s afternoon drive-time host stated that he was, “very pro-life.”  He then immediately began to badger Cramer for being a 100% pro-life.

Conway’s first question following Cramer’s pro-life declaration was, “Incest?”  When Cramer attempted to just continue to tell Conway’s audience about his position on the issue, Conway cut him off, saying it was a simple yes or no question.  In an effort to pin Cramer down on the issue, Conway then gave the following scenario.  “If a child is raped by her dad and there is a baby, that baby has to be born – we have to force the child to give birth?”

Cramer repeated Conway’s scenario, and then admitted that those where horrible circumstances.  Conway agreed saying, “That’s why I’m asking you the question. That’s really a simplistic yes no [question].  I just want to be clear, I’m a very pro-life person myself, but I would not do that, but I’m extremely pro-life, but based on what you [Cramer] just said, you would force the child to give birth.”

Cramer then reiterated that he’s 100 percent pro-life, but Conway was having none of that.  Conway interrupted, “Come on Robert, I told you in advance that you can’t make circles in here.  Straight questions, straight answers.”  Cramer then said, “Well I’m not forcing anybody to give birth, but what I’m saying is that life is precious and needs to be saved.”

Conway responded, “So, yes.  If there is a young lady who has been impregnated by her dad in an incestuous rape, she is going to have to deliver that child if you got your way and changed the law that life began at conception [under] all circumstances.”  Cramer then explained that he has met people in his life who have been one of those exceptions.  Cramer added, “I can’t look them in the eye and say you’re the result of a rape and you don’t deserve to live.”

Conway then summarized Cramer’s position saying, “So the simple answer is yes, if a young woman is impregnated by her father [she] would have to give birth if you were able to change the law [to say] that life begins at conception for all.”

I understand that it is Conway’s job to ask provocative questions to candidates running for public office, but his questioning of Cramer’s position on abortion was a little over the top, especially from someone who claims to be “extremely pro-life.”  While Conway thinks that Cramer’s 100 percent pro-life position is extreme or out of touch, I find Conway’s position to be uninformed and disturbing.

Conway believes that a child conceived by an incestuous rape does not have the same right to life as a child conceived in a less traumatic circumstance.  Think about that position for a second.  Does that mean that a child conceived in a one-night stand is worth less than a child who was conceived by a married couple who had planned their pregnancy?

Perhaps Conway should read this article about Kristi Hofferber.  You see, Kristi is a normal 37-year old married woman and mother of one.  Kristi is what you may call a living exception.  Here is a paragraph from an article about Kristi’s life.

Kristi’s birth-mother was repeatedly molested by her father and as a result, became pregnant with Kristi.  Out of years of abuse and torture, Kristi became the only survivor of 6 children conceived in incest.  Four of the pregnancies ended in abortion to hide her father’s crime and one forced miscarriage due to abuse.  The abuse went on for almost 20 years until Kristi’s birthmother was strong enough to put an end to it. Kristi’s birthmother/sister finally pressed charges against her father and Kristi’s birthfather/grandfather went to prison.

As you can see, the availability of no-questions-asked abortions actually prolonged the abuse of Kristi’s birthmother.  So while “extremely pro-life” people like Simon Conway can justify abortion under certain circumstances because it allows them to sleep better at night or conform to the whims of our society, I wonder if he would be so indignant about a person’s 100 percent pro-life position if the person on the other microphone was Kristi Hofferber instead of Robert Cramer.

Bragging Rights for Bruce Braley?  Hardly!

Bruce Braley is patting himself on the back for visiting all of Iowa’s 99 counties.  Like clockwork, the Des Moines Register gave him the following headline, “Braley claims bragging rights as first U.S. Senate candidate to visit all 99 Iowa counties.

There is just one problem with the Register’s headline.  Bruce Braley isn’t the first candidate to have visited all 99 counties, David Young was.  Now, Young has since dropped out of the U.S. Senate race to run for Congress in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, but still, Young visited all 99 counties as a U.S. Senate candidate long before Braley did.

It also took Braley over a year to accomplish the feat, while Young did it in a few months.  What the media often overlooks when reporting on a candidate’s 99-county trek across the state is that what a candidate does when visiting a county matters.  Braley needs to hope his 99 visits were more impactful than Young’s visits were.  I’ll be impressed when Braley holds campaign events that are open to the public in very county.

The Boys who Cried Wolf

The Bob Vander Plaats for U.S. Senate Saga is over.  On one hand, I think Vander Plaats used the hysteria created by his possible candidacy to advance his latest book.  On the other hand, holding himself out as a likely candidate also brought him some unnecessary criticism.

For example, after numerous conversations with Vander Plaats over the past year, I never really thought he would run for the U.S. Senate.  Yet, those closest to Vander Plaats, radio talk show host Steve Deace and newly elected RPI Chairman Danny Carroll both publically predicted that he would join the race.  When I talked to Vander Plaats last Thursday, he admitted that his wife was still undecided.  I left that event even more convinced that Vander Plaats wasn’t about to jump into the Senate race.

At 6:30 on Saturday morning, the Des Moines Register published an interview with Vander Plaats saying that he would not run for the Senate.  Like clockwork, my mailbox had a FAMiLY Leader mailer in it on Tuesday, promoting what else – Bob’s new book.  FYI, bulk mailings take a little time to print and go through the postal system, so it seems that Vander Plaats knew he wasn’t running for the U.S. Senate long before his Des Moines Register interview.

Conservative Cannibalism

I don’t know anyone who thinks that State Representative Greg Heartsill isn’t a staunch conservative, but Heartsill is taking on some friendly fire for pushing a bill that would allow the Knoxville Speedway to receive $2 million in sales tax rebates that would then be used to finance expansion of the race track.

Former State Senator Kent Sorenson commented, “I’m curious did you campaign on this kind of pork?”  Former State Representative Kim Pearson chimed in with, “et tu, brute?”  Others also took issue with Heartsill’s bill helping the Knoxville Speedway finance its expansion.

I don’t know if letting a racetrack keep a portion of the sales taxes it collects on its property is pork like Sorenson suggests.  The track is an attraction that not only generates tax revenue for the state, but it also helps the local community by putting on large events like the Knoxville Nationals.

It would also be interesting to hear from the critics how the Marion County Fair Association should go about making improvements?  It they borrow the money, it’s public debt.  They could raise taxes to fund the expansion.  Or they could follow the lead of the Newton Speedway, which was allowed to keep some of the sales taxes they collected to fund the construction of the facility.

Frankly, deals like this one make sense for the state.  First, it only costs the state some temporary revenue.  It’s not like the state of Iowa is dipping into its treasury to help out a local entity.  Second, the people who are going to the track are funding it.  What a novel concept.  And finally, the state has done far more frivolous things than this, like constructing a resort at Lake Rathbun.  The $2 million over ten years is chump change compared to what the state of Iowa collects in sales taxes each year.

Just Say No to Legalizing Marijuana

Iowa isn’t the conservative state we all think it is.  Gay marriage is legal.  We have wide-spread gambling, and the legislature looks as if it’s ready to give the green light to more gambling in the future.  We rank 39th out of 50 states in terms of our pro-life policies.  At the dawn of the legislative session, our Governor was asked about his position on polygamy, no I’m serious, and recently we have been debating legalizing marijuana.  And we wonder why it’s so damn hard to advance conservative policies in this state…

Legalizing pot is a stupid idea.  And just because it’s “legal” to smoke or to grow – it is in a state like Colorado – that doesn’t mean that other laws or rules still will not apply.  You know, like if you need to pass a drug test for your job, you can’t just say “Sorry, I was smoking the wacky tobacky, you know it’s legal now!”

Senator Grassley sent out this press release last week:

“Marijuana trafficking is illegal under federal law, and it’s illegal for banks to deal with marijuana sale proceeds under federal law.  Only Congress can change these laws.  The Administration can’t change the law with a memo.  While the Justice Department’s memo tries to guide prosecutorial discretion, that discretion shouldn’t be used to facilitate illegal conduct.  The Justice Department is encouraging an improper use of prosecutorial discretion.  This is just one more area in which the Obama Administration is undermining our system of checks and balances and the rule of law.”

It seems odd to me that on this issue, I’m on the opposite side from local conservative libertarian talk show hosts like Jan Mickelson and Simon Conway, who both believe that there should not be laws to prohibit the use of marijuana.  Instead I’m siding with Patrick Kennedy of all people.  Marijuana legalization is making for some strange bedfellows.  No matter what side of the issue you are on, I highly recommend you read this article about Kennedy and his current mission against legalizing pot.


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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