Skip to comments.Vander Plaats Says He's Still Searching for Clarity (Iowa FAMiLY leader endorsement angst)
Posted on 11/30/2011 1:35:05 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
Ever since the conclusion of the FAMiLY Leaders presidential forum eleven days ago, a handful of presidential candidates, the media, and social conservatives from all across Iowa have been waiting for hear who Bob Vander Plaats and his pro-family organization will publically support.
Waiting for word from Vander Plaats seems a lot like waiting for the white smoke to spew out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. Just as is the case in the election of a new pope to lead the Catholic Church, political observers are left to only speculate about what is transpiring at the FAMiLY Leaders board meetings and at other informal gatherings of social conservative leaders and pastors at a Windsor Heights church.
Many expected Vander Plaats and the FAMiLY Leader to have endorsed already. The presidential forum was the conclusion of a series of events in which the various Republican presidential candidates took part with the FAMiLY Leader. All of the candidates, except for Texas Governor Rick Perry, previously spent an entire day participating in the groups lecture series. Two of the candidates, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, signed the groups controversial presidential pledge. Finally they all spent hours seated around a table discussing their faith and worldviews.
No organization in Iowa has had more time to closely vet the Republican presidential candidate than the FAMiLY Leader has, and yet, as of today, the groups leaders have been unable to make a decision as to whom they will support. In an interview yesterday afternoon, Vander Plaats told TheIowaRepublican.com, I dont have clarity yet. And if I dont have clarity, I would imagine that neither do 80 percent of Iowa caucus goers.
In addition to the formal discussions that Vander Plaats and the FAMiLY Leaders Board of Directors have had, there has also been at least two meetings of social conservative leaders and pastors held at Walnut Creek Church in Windsor Heights, a Des Moines suburb. While Vander Plaats hasnt attended, Chuck Hurley, the Vice President of the FAMiLY Leader, has spearheaded the gathering.
Sources familiar with the meetings at Walnut Creek Church have indicated that the goal of the meeting is to come to a conclusion as to which candidate social conservatives should rally behind. In the first meeting there was no consensus, but when they met for a second time, a new candidate rating system was unveiled. What TheIowaRepublican.com was told is that Bachmann received the highest ranking with 36 points, followed by Santorum with 35.5, Perry with 34, and Gingrich with 31.5.
Its unknown who created the criteria and what it all entails, but the meeting has a large contingent of Bachmann supporters. The reason why this is important is because TheIowaRepublican.com was told that this group has been charged with making a recommendation to the FAMiLY Leaders board before they decide on who they will endorse. When asked why his board of directors cannot make a decision on their own, Vander Plaats admitted that the board will seek the input of others, and added that, Wisdom comes in a multitude of counsel.
Since showering praise on Gingrich in an interview with the Des Moines Register following the forum, social conservatives leaders around the state have been grumbling about what they think is a likelihood that Vander Plaats may endorse Gingrich.
Yesterday, an anonymous letter from a group called Iowans for Christian Leaders in Government distributed an open letter that they had sent Vander Plaats warning him about the negative ramifications that endorsing Gingrich would bring. The letter stated that Vander Plaats endorsement may be guided, not by prayer and conviction, but by personal benefit and prior relationships.
Vander Plaats traveled the state in 2008 to advocate on behalf Gingrichs American Solutions. Gingrich also provided financial support to Vander Plaats effort to defeat three Iowa Supreme Court justices last fall. Vander Plaats also received financial support from the American Family Association and worked with Wayne Hamilton, a key Perry aide.
As the letter states, the pre-existing relationships that Vander Plaats has with Gingrich and the members of the Perry campaign are significant. Those same types of relationships dont exist as far as Bachmann and Santorum are concerned. While Bachmann and Santorum have consistently shown that they are in line with Vander Plaats and the FAMiLY Leaders views, there seems to be a growing sentiment that, since neither of them are showing signs of momentum in the polls, Vander Plaats may be inclined to throw his support behind Perry or Gingrich for obvious reasons.
Vander Plaats believes that the selection process that he and others are going through this time is more difficult than it was four years ago. That may be because he signed on to Mike Huckabees campaign early on in the process, and the other socially conservative candidates fell to the wayside after the Ames Straw Poll. Still, Vander Plaats think this is a healthy process.
While Vander Plaats and the FAMiLY Leader are still searching for clarity, there is one thing he was very clear about. The process is more difficult because their goal is not to just find a candidate who can beat President Obama next fall, but this candidate also needs to be able to beat Mitt Romney.
The only question for Vander Plaats and the FAMiLY Leader is, what kind of candidate will best accomplish that goal? A surefire conservative whose core convictions match theirs, or a candidate who already has momentum or has the connections that may pay dividends down the road?
......"In the nineties, Mr. Nussles current wife was working for Mr. Gingrich; while Mr. Gingrichs current wife was working for a committee which Mr. Nussle served on in the House of Representatives.
Furthermore, both men were married when they began affairs with each others staff members all while Mr. Gingrich was leading the investigation into Bill Clintons extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky. This is an unfortunate irony.
More importantly, it points to a willful disregard of personal behavior and you are forever linked to both of these candidates in a way that is unacceptable for many of us who demand Christian leadership.
Which brings us to our next concern."....
Cain's backers warily consider Gingrich........."Newt is famous for being all over the board," Cary Gordon, an influential pastor from Sioux City, Iowa, told the Des Moines Register. "He is admirable in many ways, but I won't back him. I don't trust him."
Cain, for his part, told senior staff members in a Tuesday conference call that he was assessing whether the affair allegations "create too much of a cloud" for his campaign to continue.
.....Grubbs seemed bothered by a statement released Monday by Cain's attorney, Lin Wood, who said a candidate's "private sexual life" is not the business of the public or the media.
The tone of Wood's remarks also dismayed Richard Land, an evangelical leader who is president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.".........
If Vander Plaats is an honest broker, he will endorse Rick Perry.
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Just over a year ago, we here in Iowa recalled 3 supreme court justices. After the election, Vander Plaats was all over the news claiming victory. I honestly dont follow (trust) local (or other) news, so it may have been me out of the loop...but his claims seemed a bit opportunistic to me at the time...because I hadn’t heard that I was marching to his drum before the election, just after the fact.
I will make up my own mind thank you.
I get tired of these “leaders” who think they have authority to speak for us.
I remember hearing about that, maybe a commercial. But I dont think I had heard the name Vander Platts since the previous governor primaries. Like I said, I don't follow the news...I read info here, and consider myself better informed than most of my fellow citizens. But I will confess to turning on MSNBC occasionally...I love Special Ed and that Rachael dude...
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