The near majority of Deeth Blog readers were right: Bob Vander Plaats is doing something else this cycle to fight teh gay. Specifically, running the No on Supreme Court judges campaign.
“I believe this election to unseat these three justices may be, if not one of the most, the most important campaign and election in our country,” says BVP, who appears not to have learned the maxim "it's the economy stupid."
(Given that Branstad appointed Chief Justice Ternus, there's also a cognitive dissonance problem, though these days that usually doesn't bother Republicans.)
Krusty is pleased at the "unity" (though the magic word "endorse" was not said) but he's ultimately cynical:
...if the Republican Governor’s Association is pumping some coin into Vander Plaats’ effort then it tells us a couple things about Bob.Team Chet is quick to pounce with the press release:
a. While he is unwilling to publicly endorse, he basically has made a deal with the RGA/Branstad campaign, so don’t be fooled. That’s an endorsement in itself.
b. I don’t want to be a party pooper, but if that’s the case then it really makes it seem that Vander Plaats really just wanted a paid gig. For all you people who listen to the radio, that’s another way to say he sold out for a seat at the table. He wanted asked to be the LG nominee, he then ran to be the LG nominee, and now the RGA is basically going to pay him to travel around the state to talk about judges.
"Terry Branstad and his running mate Kim Reynolds have made it clear that they want to change our system. Branstad has gone so far as to highlight Reynolds's support for changing the state's constitution, allowing the governor to reject all nominees sent by the judicial nominating committee, requiring the committee to send names again and again until the governor finds an appointee that supports a certain political agenda.And the Democratic Governor's Association rubs in the non-endorsement:
"This campaign is about the future of our state and about choosing to move forward, instead of backwards. The best way to do that is not to focus on ideological battles but to bring Iowans together by investing in our future to create jobs, continue our national leadership in renewable energy and build 21st Century schools."
“Vander Plaats’ decision to withhold his endorsement of Branstad is a humiliating snub, but it’s hardly the first for Branstad. Vander Plaats joins other groups like the Iowa Family Policy Center in sitting out the general election because of Branstad’s tax-and-spend record. Today’s announcement simply underscores that Democrats and Republicans can all agree that Branstad's greatest weakness as a candidate is his own flawed record as a tax-raising four-term former governor.”Meanwhile, back on the marriage equality front, at least two Iowa conservatives are pessimistic; Steve Deace says “If this ruling stands, this is the Roe v. Wade of marriage. It’s over. This is the end of this war. It’s just a matter now of whether we’re going to fight a new one or if we’re going to quit.”
Jeff Angelo raises the spectre, perhaps the straw man, of churches losing tax-exempt status, but concludes: "I believe that the same sex marriage debate is over. I believe the next discussion is one of protecting free, private religious practice."
I wonder if this helps or hurts. Having BVP as the point guy explicitly associates the No campaign with the theocratic wing of the GOP - the wing that couldn't even get him through the Republican primary. Bob is a VERY different breed of cat than your typical Tea Partier, who is more worried about taxes than about social issues.
Just for the record, here's how the math usually works out on these things: the judges almost always win by an 80%-20% margin, with 40% or so of voters just skipping the contests entirely. I don't see BVP swaying a typical independent voter. If he has any impact it's on the margins, lowering that undervote percentage.
In 1992 ERA vote, I learned a tough but basic lesson: Loudly reminding your people to vote Yes in an otherwise low-profile race simultaneously reminds the other side to vote No. The polarity is reversed here but BVP faces the same dilemma.