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Iowa GOP jumps on the ‘Thirteenther’ bandwagon
A provision in the Republican Party of Iowa’s platform calling for the “reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution got some national attention this week, with the party’s spokesman admitting the plank is focused solely on Barack Obama.
The current 13th amendment bans slavery, and Iowa Republicans are not in favor of its repeal. They are, however, interested in reintroducing an amendment originally put before the states for ratification back in 1810. It outlawed any person who accepts a “title of nobility” from a foreign country from ever holding political office. The amendment was ratified by 12 states but never got the 13th state that it needed, and thus, never became law.
Some, however, argue that it was ratified and have a plethora of conspiracy theories to back up their assertion. These folks, known as “Thirteenthers,” believe that since the amendment would have banned lawyers and bankers from serving in government (since they joined the International Bar Association or the International Bankers Association, respectively), every act of the federal government since 1819 would be delegitimized.
But as Newsweek’s Jerry Adler points out, for Iowa Republicans its really all about Obama.
There are, of course, other implications of Thirteenthism, such as ensuring that the United States never again suffers the humiliation of having a president win the Nobel Peace Prize. That was just what the Iowa Republicans had in mind, according to [state GOP Communications Director Danielle] Plogmann, who wrote in an e-mail that the plank “was meant to make a statement about the delegates’ opinion about Mr. Obama receiving the prize.” (Presumably they didn’t mind if, in the process, they were also making a statement about any American scientist or writer unlucky enough to win a Nobel.) Unfortunately for them, the Department of Justice looked into whether Obama needed Congressional approval to accept the Nobel under the existing emoluments clause, and based on the meaning of “foreign state” (which would not cover the Nobel Prize Committee) concluded that he did not.
Iowa is the only state where this type of plank has been introduced into the GOP platform.