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Dysfunction Junction

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Iowa Statesman.


By Krusty Konservative
Dictator of the Iowa Blogosphere



It’s a word that is bandied about quite often these days, usually in reference to the Republican-controlled Congress’ inability to rein in the socialist Obama Administration. But what does it really mean?

The dictionary definition is “lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible.” Some appropriate synonyms include: useless, worthless, incompetent, and inept. And, in the case of the Republican-controlled Congress, I think we can all agree the shoe fits.

I’d like to turn it in a new direction, though. And the best example of it came gift wrapped on Monday afternoon in the form of a press release sent out by a conservative state legislator here in Iowa.

The Republican leadership in Des Moines is the epitome of feckless. In fact, you could take a group shot of them all — Terry Branstad, Kim Reynolds, Kraig Paulsen, Linda Upmeyer, and Bill Dix — and slap right in next to the definition in the dictionary.

Six months ago, they lied, cheated, and steamrolled their base and legislators in their own party to ram through a 10-cent increase in the gas tax, which resulted in a NET LOSS in gas tax revenue. But now that there is overwhelming public outcry over the public funding of Planned Parenthood, the overwhelming largest provider of abortion services in the state, they claim there is nothing more they can do.

To quote the incomparable Col. Sherman T. Potter … “That is Grade A 100-percent bull cookies!”

Branstad has tremendous authority to put a stop to the slaughter of the innocent unborn, but he refuses to exercise it beyond “a thorough review.” He completely ignored the will of the legislature, shut down half of the state’s mental health institutes, and refused to spend money earmarked to keep them open.

But he won’t lift a finger to save a life, even after he pledged during a statewide televised gubernatorial debate, to end funding. Sure, you can buy the line that there is no line item to provide direct funding for Planned Parenthood in the budget. That’s 100-percent true.

But, it’s also 100-percent true that Planned Parenthood qualifies for and receives funding through block grants provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Human Services. That’s federal money, again 100-percent true, but how it is spent is dictated entirely by each state.

Branstad could terminate Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid contract right now. Who would stop him? The Iowa Supreme Court? With what authority?

Article III Sections 19 and 20 of the Iowa Constitution require the Articles of Impeachment begin in the House, where Republicans hold an overwhelming majority, and conviction requires 34 votes in the Democrat-controlled Senate, where there are only 26 Democrats right now.

Now, speaking of the legislature. On Monday, a group of 40 Republican legislators signed a letter urging Attorney General Tom Miller to take action and investigate the actions of Planned Parenthood in Iowa, as if — as a Democrat — he would. Current Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen didn’t sign it. Speaker-select Linda Upmeyer didn’t. Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix didn’t, either.

In fact, a whole bunch of dyed-in-the-wool pro-life legislators didn’t sign off on the letter, either, which begs the question: Why?

Well, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out why. It’s because the leadership in both chambers was feckless this last session. Case in point: the gas tax “debate.”

When legislators realized they were either being lied to, or their concerns were being ignored, they had to turn to media sources like The Iowa Statesman just to know what was going on in the other chamber. Either on purpose, or due to utter uselessness, the lines of communication between House and Senate Republicans were nonexistent.

If we are ever to advance conservative principles in Iowa ever again, that has got to change from Day 1 under Speaker Upmeyer.

Conservatism works and it wins big in Iowa when espoused by a party that leads with conservative principles and ideas. Feckless cow towing to corporatist donors and lobbyists is not leadership. It’s way past time for the Republican leaders to lead.

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Herschel Krustofski is the pseudonym for the anonymous author of Krusty Konservative, the undisputed heavyweight champion of the Iowa blogosphere. If you have a suggestion for his contributions to The Iowa Statesman, write to him at krustykonservative@outlook.com.