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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.

(Photo: Lynda Waddington/The Iowa Independent)
(Photo: Lynda Waddington/The Iowa Independent)

Bachmann first to sign Vander Plaats’ social pledge

National, state Republican Party officials continue economic focus
By Andy Birkey | 07.08.11 | 6:00 am

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann became the first 2012 Republican presidential candidate to sign a pledge by a state-based religious conservative organization, The Family Leader. The pledge was unveiled Thursday by Bob Vander Plaats, chief executive of the organization, as being the only way candidates could earn his or the organization’s endorsement.

The 14-point pledge (PDF) asks candidates to ban same-sex marriage, protect women and children from pornography and reject Islamic law. Signers also must promise to affirm that same-sex marriage is akin to polygamy, and that having many children is good for America. The vow insinuates that homosexuality is a choice, and that being gay or lesbian is a public health risk.

The latter — that homosexuality is a risk to public health — is a charge previously and currently carried by the Iowa Family Policy Center, an “educational” organization under the umbrella of The Family Leader, through a series of marriage seminars. In fact, Bachmann’s agreement to this particular line item in the pledge appears to place her in opposition with her state campaign leader, Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson, who stated previously that he believed it “absurd” to claim that homosexuality is a public health threat like second-hand smoke, which is the focus of the IFPC marriage seminar series.

The Family Leader and Vander Plaats have been tapped by a handful of out-of-state pundits and media members as one of the 10 most influential and powerful in the lead-up to the 2012 caucuses.

“The Marriage Vow” contains 14 line-items and several pages of footnotes. It’s made clear that any presidential candidate signing must “support human protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy” and protect them from “seduction into promiscuity and all forms of pornography.” Signing candidates are also making clear their opposition to same-sex marriage while pledging to work toward making it illegal in states where it has been approved. Candidates must work to protect military personnel from “commingling among attracteds” in showers and barracks in a veiled reference to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

And, toward the end of the long list of religious prohibitions, the pledge demands candidates vow to oppose Sharia law because it is a “form of totalitarian control.”

Bringing it all home, footnote eight emphatically states that no scientific evidence exists to show that homosexuality is not changeable.

Bachmann quickly signed the pledge on Thursday evening shortly after it was unveiled. Alice Stewart, a Bachmann aide, said the Minnesota Congresswoman had no qualms about signing: “She has been married for over 30 years and has a strong marriage and faith.”

The campaign for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has indicated it is reviewing the document and not yet come to a decision, echoing the talking points of most campaigns as the positives and negatives associated with the document are weighed. While the line items may provide candidates a small advantage in Iowa due to the state’s roughly 60 percent social conservative GOP base, it’s unlikely that the pledge will pull approval from more fiscally-minded tea party activists or independent voters.

The Family Leader’s pledge announcement came two hours after officials at the Republican Party of Iowa assured reporters on a conference call that competition for the 2012 Iowa caucuses remains fierce.

“For those of you who have been on the ground and have had an opportunity to talk with Iowa voters, you can sense that the ground has shifted dramatically over the last few years and the concern by voters in Iowa mirror those [of voters] from all across America,” said RPI Chairman Matt Strawn, in connection with a national messaging roll-out by Republicans focusing on the economy.

“And, as we head into this election, it will be about the economy, the economy, the economy and how the President has this country heading into decline, and how Americans and Iowans need a change in direction.”

(Reporter Lynda Waddington contributed to this report.)


  • egc52556

    The Iowa Independent has documented the trail of hate and the stench by association:

    Family Research Council (labelled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center ( )) is the sole funder for….

    Bob Vander Plaats’ “Iowa For Freedom” ( ) , a group that used its organized hate to oust 3 Iowa Supreme Court justices. And now…

    BVP requires a social pledge to secure his endorsement ( ) …

    Which Bachmann immediately signs ( ) …

    So Bachmann can win the votes from the GOP.

    I think most people, especially those who consider themselves to be “Christians”, would distance themselves from people and groups that engage in hate.  But not our Michele Bachmann.  She jumps in their lap at the first opportunity.

    And does this make Bachmann unattractive to the GOP? Do you think the GOP would want their candidate to be the favored candidate of hate groups? Oh, no. She’s a front-runner for the Republican nomination here in Iowa.

    And do conservative Christian groups disavow that Bachmann and Vander Plaats speak for them? Nope. Just silence. Bringing shame to themselves.

    Hate => BVP => Bachmann => GOP => Christians

    • egc52556

      BTW, I don’t hate Christians.  I’m married to one (26 years) and love her completely.  My wife would never let herself be associated with these slime.

      Real Christians, the people my mother-in-law used to call “Good Christian People”, need to stand up and take their religion back from these people who are twisting it into a bigoted agenda, a political agenda, a self-serving agenda.

      God is not a Republican.  (Or a Democrat, either).

      America is not a theocracy.

    • Anonymous

      I remain stunned that people I know to be conservative but fair-minded aren’t outraged by the way these zealots for bigotry have hijacked their party, their religion, and their state.  But then, Bob has a history of attacking those who cross him in pretty vicious fashion…remember when the Family Leader vowed to sit out the campaign if BVP wasn’t the GOP candidate? (  And when that didn’t work, went after our supreme court for funsies?

      Bob’s efforts are furthering the rift between the main Republican party and the social ubercons.  Some tension is seeping through in their reporting: What they don’t seem to recognize is that Bob has tapped into the zeitgeist of today’s Republican party; unthinking adherence to whoever screams the loudest and the most, and has the simplest, most patriotic-seeming catchphrase (you know, as long as you aren’t concerned about accuracy or underlying issues).  So if more balanced Republicans say “We have a lot of gray issues that will take a while to sort out, and we want to focus on the economy, because clearly that’s a strong need here and now”, and Bob screams “Gay sex is worse than smoking!!  Gay sex is bringing Sharia to the US!  Gays are lusting after US soldiers in the showers!”, he pretty much wins.  The economy is a hard problem, with no easy, obvious solution.  ”Gay marriage=bad” is pretty straightforward, and easily solved: just ban it, and don’t worry about silly things like civil liberties.

      I don’t know, maybe we should be encouraged by the fact that Bob’s increasing power may mean the Iowa nomination will be someone the rest of the US will shun like a plague rat.  Certainly this document makes it very clear who supports bigotry and radical religious interference and who does not; candidates who wish to appeal to independents and centrist Republicans cannot hope to disguise themselves as remotely moderate if they sign it.  Maybe…dare I dream?…it will split the GOP into two new parties: the fiscal conservatives who just want government to limit its mucking about, a perspective that holds some value; and the social ubercons, who will promote a hyper-conservative totalitarianism, while utilizing religion to attack their opponents (which is quite the feat, considering they claim to follow a guy who essentially said “be nice to everyone”).

      Whigs vs Bigs.  Now THAT would be interesting.

  • Anonymous

    If Vander Plaats and his hate group keep pushing the Iowa GOP any further towards the right Iowa will lose any credibility and therefore its place for the first caucuses.
    Bachmann’s quick leap to sign this pledge shows her leadership style—elbowing her way to the front of something before adequately considering the implications. Can you imagine her as the POTUS with an international crisis on her hands?

    • IowaExpat

      I agree that Iowa is losing credibility.  I have recently returned to Iowa after 15 years of overseas work and I can barely recognize my home state.

  • Anonymous

    That “pledge” also asserts that African American children were better off under slavery.  Someone should ask Ms. Bachmann if she really agrees with what she just signed.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, I’m surprised more wasn’t made of that.  Guess Michele believes the only way to ensure a wholesome upbringing is by force.

  • Rickster Rickster

    michelle bachmann fulfilled her pledge by cancelling her husbands subscriptions to gay magazines. next up she gets rid of all his “luggage handlers”.

  • Anonymous

    The most disgusting part of the pledge is to affirm that black folks were better off during slavery.

    People who know about slavery know that no family of slaves was ever certain that any children who were born would stay with them. They were the master’s chattel, subject to being sold away and the parents would never see their child again. 

    The very idea that white folks who no nothing about slavery or try to white wash it so that it seems to be not so bad, is a revolting notion.

  • Anonymous

    I would be surprised if there is a “thinking” Republican in existance. However there are those who are willing to ship this country down the river to the billionaires and asshats like the Bachmanns’!

  • Citizen Kane

    Not a very good lawyer if she didn’t read the thing?  Reliezed open bigotry wasn’t probably the best content, ooops, delete. But all the things it tells us about Michele if she will blindly sign anything she is told to. Also, she isn’t Roves puppet, he would not have allowed this mistake.

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