Monday, October 13, 2008


My old boss, former Congressman Jim Leach of Iowa, a republican, has publicly come out in support of Barack Obama. That is the back story for this article from the Cedar Rapids Gazette a week or two ago:

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Leach's activity on behalf of Democrat Barack Obama doesn't please state GOP officials, but they conceded there's little they can do."I don't think he should expect an invite to any of our party functions for the remainder of the election cycle," GOP Executive Director Caleb Hunter said Wednesday. Leach, who was defeated in 2006 after representing parts of Eastern Iowa for 30 years, very publicly endorsed Obama and spoke on his behalf at the Democratic National Convention.Leach is hosting Republicans for Obama events around Iowa today and Friday. In Cedar Rapids, Leach will host a coffee for Republicans supporting Obama. While Leach is free to register as a Republican, Hunter said it might be time for him to consider a party change "if he has decided the party of higher taxes and irresponsible foreign policy and massive increases in government spending is the party for him.""I'd be happy to send him a voter registration form," Hunter said. The party's board will be meeting later this month, Hunter said, and "if they want to take some action, it would be within their purview."

This fool infuriates me. As a republican and a former member of the Iowa state party, I have no problem with Jim endorsing and supporting a candidate who is not one. Being a member of a party does not mean blindly following a party platform, and for those who argue that it does, they're idiots and the reason the public becomes more and more disenfranchised with politics with each election. Jim or myself or anyone else should be free to pick any candidate they want to support and work for their election, and railing against that in the media makes you a hack. They are the reason party membership and participation is plummeting and politics is seemingly more and more polarized. It's not that those in the middle are a shrinking population; it's that those on the fringe yell louder and have more outrageous (and therefore quotable) soundbites.

And for being chairman of the state party, he's pathetically unaware of the fact that his party has spent through the roof for the last 7 years, and has been anything but the model of fiscal restraint. These are the people who give republicans a bad name.

Whew, that was therapeutic.


Anonymous said...

very interesting thoughts, keeling. thanks..amy

Anonymous said...

Actually, it is a little ridiculous that a Republican would come out and endorse Obama. He's about as far left as they come these days. As far as I can tell, Obama has NOTHING in common with the Republican party, so I would be curious as to why Mr. Leach is out there endorsing a candidate like Obama. I can understand why he might not like McCain as a Republican candidate. But do you really have to endorse a candidate every election year? I don't know... it seems really strange to me, but I suppose I don't know the whole story anyway!

I will say though, that as much as people like to downplay party affiliation, it really does have a lot of influence on the way people vote. It may be an unfortunate part of our political system--these parties--but they're here for a reason. They help people get elected, and those elected turn around and help the party out. You can't bite the hand that feeds you. Most politicians vote with their party... that's reality!!