Top Stories

Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Endorsement exposes cracks in GOP unity

By Jason Hancock | 01.13.10 | 12:01 am

The public refusal of an influential social conservative group to support the eventual GOP nominee for governor is causing long-term damage to the party and could result in a second term for Gov. Chet Culver, Republican leaders said Tuesday.

Bob Vander Plaats, left, and Terry Branstad (file photos)

Bob Vander Plaats, left, and Terry Branstad (file photos)

At an event originally billed as a rally to oppose same-sex marriage, Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC) chairman Danny Carroll announced the group’s endorsement of Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob Vander Plaats. While that news wasn’t a shock, Carroll’s announcement that the group would sit out the 2010 governor’s race if former Gov. Terry Branstad wins the party’s nomination caught many by surprise.

“[Gov. Branstad] has failed to boldly address the values that we embrace,” Carroll said Tuesday. “And even if he were to win the nomination, the Iowa Family PAC would not support him.”

The endorsement followed a similar announcement last week by state Rep. Kent Sorenson, R-Indianola, where he, too, vowed only to support the nominee if it is Vander Plaats.

One Republican said the announcements are the start of a war that could “set back the Republican Party of Iowa for decades.”

“I am stunned and mortified,” said Brent Oleson, a Republican member of the Linn County Board of Supervisors and a former member of the party’s state central committee who has endorsed Branstad. “This is absolutely a recipe for disaster.”

After years of electoral defeats in Iowa, the GOP finally has the issues on their side, Oleson said. But now a “jihadist sleeper cell of so-called GOP leaders” is “refusing to work towards post-primary unity.”

Isaiah McGee, a member of the Republican Party of Iowa’s central committee and also a supporter of Branstad, used his Twitter account to express his frustration, saying that the party is trying to “snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

“While Gov. Culver’s [Condition of the State] speech flops, Republicans bicker,” he wrote.

Vander Plaats’ pledge to sign an executive order stopping same-sex marriage until a public vote on the issue could be held is one of the core reasons why social conservatives have rallied behind his campaign. Legal scholars say the idea isn’t plausible and would lead to a constitutional crisis, but Vander Plaats insists he will go forward with the order on day one of his administration even if it leads to his impeachment.

“It’s frustrating that leading Iowa Republicans do not recognize any acceptable position other than a poorly-advised executive order to somehow overturn the decision of the Iowa Supreme Court against all reason and junior high government class-level knowledge of separation of powers,” said Jeff Patch, a longtime Republican activist and former press secretary for U.S. Rep. Tom Latham.

If they truly believed in limited government they would be open to voices in their party who are skeptical of allowing politicians to decide what constitutes marriage, which is fundamentally a civil contract involving families and faith groups, Patch said.

“Instead, anyone who doesn’t support the exact agenda of some social conservative leaders is vilified as a ‘Republican In Name Only (RINO),’” he said.

In fact it is Carroll, Vander Plaats, Sorenson and the IFPC who are RINOs, Oleson said, if they refuse to support the party in the fall.

“They are not logical at all,” he said. “They are basically saying ‘If I don’t get my way I’m taking my marbles and going home.’”

Some Republicans are concerned that if Vander Plaats loses the nomination in June he will seek the state’s highest office as an independent. The Sioux City Republican re-enforced those fears last September when he endorsed an independent candidate running in state House District 8.

“Bob Vander Plaats needs to disavow this and he needs to do it soon,” Oleson said.

Ultimately, Oleson believes Branstad will be able to unify the party after the primary is over because “he’s done it before.” He’s referring to the 1994 GOP gubernatorial primary, where Branstad was able to win his fourth term in office after fending off a tough primary challenger.

“I’m glad he’s running,” Oleson said. “He’s providing adult leadership.”

But in 2002, while GOP candidate Doug Gross squeaked out a victory in a three-way primary the nearly two-thirds of Republican voters who didn’t support him never truly came home. Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack was able to easily win a second term in office.

Patch said the party doesn’t need to change its platform position on same-sex marriage but must at least be open to those who think government has more pressing problems to handle.

Follow Jason Hancock on Twitter


  • electshaw2010

    This is for Mr. Brent Oleson. You called some GOP leaders a “jihadist sleeper cell.” As my campaign as an Independent for Iowa House District 8 is mentioned in the article, are you, by default, calling me a jihadist also?
    Tom Shaw

    • brentoleson

      No, I am not calling you anything. You are not a Republican. You don't pretend to be unlike the so-called GOP leaders I reference. The best I can tell you are some 3rd party candidate for the Iowa legislature. By default, that does NOT make you a GOP leader. Understand?

      Brent Oleson

      • electshaw2010

        Thank you for your clarification. Words have meanings:
        jihad n. a holy war undertaken as a sacred duty by Muslims.
        Besides being inaccurate, I find your choice of using the words “jihadist sleeper cell” extemely distasteful. In today's politcal climate, it is encourgaging to see some Republicans stand for principle and to represent their party's voice of “We the People”, the platform.
        And, I would like to commend IFPC for their bold and courageous stand.

        • brentoleson

          Perhaps you didn't understand that my reference was not to be taken literally. I certainly know the definition of jihadist sir. It was a metaphor – a very accurate one at that. I have provided you a definition of what a metaphor is below in case you are not familiar with the concept. Good day sir.

          A metaphor is a figure of speech concisely expressed by an implied analogy between two objects or ideas, conveyed by the use of a word instead of another. The English metaphor derives from the 16th c. Old French métaphore, from the Latin metaphora “carrying over”, Greek (μεταφορά) metaphorá “transfer”, [1] from (μεταφέρω) metaphero “to carry over”, “to transfer” [2] and from (μετά) meta “between” [3] + (φέρω) phero, “to bear”, “to carry”.[4] Moreover, metaphor also denotes rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison, and resemblance, e.g. antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy, and simile; all are species of metaphor. [5]

          • electshaw2010

            Your metaphor was in very poor taste. Perhaps in the future, you could choose words which accurately describe the situation, such as crusade.

            crusade (uncapitolized): a remedial enterprise undertaken with zeal and enthusiasm.

            remedial: intended as a remedy

          • Alexander Smith

            Why do you prefer crusade? It it because you think using “jihad” is offensive to Muslims or because you don't like having the anti-same sex marriage cause portrayed in a negative light? Or perhaps a third reason that I have not considered.

          • electshaw2010

            I prefer uncapitalized “crusade” because it has no religious connotation to it.

            Crusade with a capital “C” is defined as “any of the military expeditions undertaken by Christian powers in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries to win the Holy Land from the Muslims.

            Source: Merriam-Webster online dictionary

          • RegularJoe

            theo-fundi-nutter hell-bent on the destruction of your party……is that better? IFPC is about the worst bunch you could chose to co-brand with….unless the Taliban is endorsing.

    • RegularJoe

      Being literate and cogent, it appears to me that Mr. Oleson was referring to “GOP leaders”. Neither of those operative words appears to be a relevant descriptive of you.

  • frankcvozenilek

    As newly returned to Iowa from being in the military for most of my adult life, I cannot truly see what Terry Brandstadt has LASTINGLY done for Iowa first off. Next, the issue of a divided RNC, STARTS at the grassroots level where even the local Republican no longer has a grasp on the Republican Party and its goals anymore. And why is that? Not ONE Republican (or Democratic) leader knows their hind-end from a hole-in-the-ground! They're ALL lost somewhere in “Left Field.” And yes,that includes Steele. Finally, referring to my first sentence, the Linn County Iowa Republicans are a JOKE. Disorganized, leaderless, and self-serving, they're only seeking their own spotlights and NOT trying to serve local, state, party or national interests. Linn County Republicans are REGULARLY embarrassed by their Democratic counterparts for lack of fresh thoughts, innovation, ingenuity, real leadership and as addressed, unity.

  • frankcvozenilek

    EXCELLENT response Mr. Shaw! Good for you Sir!

  • John Bisceglia

    The GOP dug their own grave by clinging to their own historical bigotry, but I will be dancing gleefully on the dirt once the last shovel is patted down.

    Oppressing others through religious tyranny, outrageous greed and concern for themselves regardless of society's best interests, and laughable “morals” when it comes to closet case and hetero politicians both cheating on their spouses behind every door they can squeeze behind.

  • GhostofLincoln

    Mr Oleson: Although you may be trying to brush off your comments now. Words do mean things. Calling people who oppose your political persuasion, the name of our enemies in the war on terror, only exemplifies your disregard for your constituents of Linn County, you as a Supervisor represent. Words mean things sir. Whether you meant it or not people do take things literally. You show what has happend to our country. The two party system was formed to SERVE this country, not to be served. With the equation you formed in this article with the enemy of the fine men and women of Linn County for the political purpose of a primary race, you stepped over the line of decency. There are veterans in the group you are comdemning sir!! Including Jodi Tymeson, who if I were her would never for give you. Your insensitivity to the cause of freedom, dishonors you and you should resign from the privilege of serving Linn County.

    • RegularJoe

      Just because there are “veterans in the group” Mr Oleson is condemning is of no relevance to whether they are deserving of condemnation. So what that Jodi is a veteran. Big whoop. She votes against the troops and their families as she showed in her vote on HF 2110. She's got no problem leaving her buddies behind, which is completely counter to being a real veteran and a true hero. She's a partisan hack, one of Paulsen's Puppets, and a disgrace to those who have died for our freedoms. Just as I honor John McCain's past service, I condemn his present spurning of those who serve and those who have served. Same with Jodi. Presently, she's unfit for duty, and a disgrace to true Americans.
      You should really work on your grammar, Mr. Faux Ghost (sane people don't believe in ghosts) and you show yourself to be no equal to Mr. Lincoln, much less a manifestation of the great man. Perhaps you're the wannabe wisp of something Mr. Lincoln stepped in.

  • RegularJoe

    Being literate and cogent, it appears to me that Mr. Oleson was referring to “GOP leaders”. Neither of those operative words appears to be a relevant descriptive of you.

  • RegularJoe

    theo-fundi-nutter hell-bent on the destruction of your party……is that better? IFPC is about the worst bunch you could chose to co-brand with….unless the Taliban is endorsing.

  • Marble Repair

    One Republican said the announcements are the start of a war that could “set back the Republican Party of Iowa for decades.”

  • Pingback: SHOP ELECTRONICS!!!

Switch to our mobile site