Iowa Republican National Committee member Kim Lehman's "Obama is a Muslim" tweet has rippled up into the national chattering classes, but what's interesting to me is how an old rival back home is treating it.
There's no love lost between Sandra Greiner and Lehman. Greiner's 2008 retirement from the Legislature may have been prompted in part by a wish to serve on the RNC, but Lehman beat her at the state convention.
Yet today, Greiner tells the Register:
“I’ll take him at his word,” Greiner said, referring to Obama’s Christianity. “But I would say there are a lot of people out there that have time to do a lot more reading and research who disagree on taking his word for it, and I respect their point of view.”Huh?!? What exactly is there to "respect" in a xenophobic lie, especially when it's made by an old nemesis?
My thought is: this isn't about Lehman at all. It's about Greiner, now on the comeback trail and challenging Fairfield Democrat Becky Schmitz in Senate District 45, guarding her right flank.
Fairfield was the center of Iowa's political universe last September in the House District 90 special election. That same turf is the southern half of Senate 45. The special election was a four way race, and independent conservative Douglas Philips polled a couple hundred votes. That was enough to allow Democrat Curt Hanson to beat Republican Stephen Burgmaier with less than 50 percent.
And Philps is back, this time in the Schmitz-Greiner race, running on the same "Iowa Party" label as gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Narcisse.. The right of the right of the right does not love Greiner; despite her huge name and money advantages she had two primary challengers. One of them, Rick Marlar, is now Narcisse's running mate.
Greiner, with her close ties to Terry Branstad, doesn't want to go too far off the deep end, but she knows she needs the birther-types in the white-hot race with Schmitz, and it's just her luck that they have somewhere else to go. So she's trying to have it both ways "respecting" that which deserves no respect at all, and looking a bit silly in the process.
A respectable Republican would say what Colin Powell did in 2008: He isn't, but so what if he was?