Since the Tea Party is purposefully decentralized, with no single leader and anybody able to claim their event is a “Tea Party rally,” we’ve already seen some evidence of America’s most pissed off group of people inserting themselves into the marriage debate. Now in Iowa we’re seeing some new action, with Iowa State Rep. Kim Pearson appearing at a 35-person rally yesterday at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, which demanded a ban on same-sex marriage (and abortions). Heading things up: former state lawmaker Danny Carroll, who’s now helping lead the uber-conservative group Family Leader, an umbrella group that now contains the Iowa Family Policy Center. Why is this interesting?
Because Carroll, who has participated in NOM events before, spent last year’s election cycle attacking Republican Terry Branstad, who was elected governor in November. Brandstad “has failed to boldly address the values that we embrace,” claimed Carroll this time last year. “And even if he were to win the nomination, the Iowa Family PAC would not support him.” Indeed, Carroll’s group supported the failed gubernatorial campaign of Bob Vander Plaats, the guy who spearheaded the campaign to oust the three pro-gay-marriage Iowa Supreme Court justices that were up for re-election, and who’s now on a crusade to oust the four remaining justices who formed the unanimous vote. How much does Carroll hate Branstad? So much so that even when Vander Plaats lost the Republican primary to Branstad, Carroll refused to throw support behind the GOP’s pick. This, despite his attempt in 2008 to become chairman of the Iowa Republican party, which would have certainly required him to support the primary candidate.
[Pictured L-R: Brandstad, Vander Platts]
So now that he’s lost faith in the Republican establishment, Carroll is swinging with the Tea Party.
More interestingly, now that Brandstad is in the governor’s mansion having beat incumbent Gov. Chet Culver, in a single week he’s gone from not commenting on efforts to remove the justices to voicing support for it. Huh! Isn’t that one of the things Carroll demanded of Branstad?
So while Carroll — or the state’s Tea Party activists — didn’t wield enough influence to elect Vander Plaats governor, it does appear that his rebuffing of the Republican Party was enough of a blow to get Branstad siding with his anti-gay platform. And while it’s easy to laugh off a little 35-person rally on a Saturday afternoon, you’re bearing witness to one man’s personal mission to help write discrimination into the state’s constitution. He and his ilk are not going anywhere.
[top photo via]