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Kim Davis And The Iowa-Or-Bust Syndrome

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Kim Davis And The Iowa-Or-Bust Syndrome


Watching Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz compete to make a martyr out of Kim Davis makes me wonder if it’s finally time to send Iowa toward the back of the line in the presidential nominating process. And while we’re at it, maybe South Carolina should head in that direction, too.

Huckabee won the leadoff Iowa caucuses in 2008, the last time he ran. If he doesn’t win them this year, his quest for the Republican presidential nomination will be finished practically before it starts. What does he have to do to win? Christian conservatives are the most dominant group in Iowa’s GOP caucuses. Thus, the crazy contest to champion the Kentucky county clerk who, adhering to “God’s authority” rather than a Supreme Court ruling and a federal judge’s order, went to jail rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The unquestioned victor of this round was Huckabee. Upon her release from jail, he not only walked Davis from the jailhouse to the waiting crowd, she stood between Huckabee and Mat Staver, her lawyer, as Staver addressed the media at length. You know what that meant. Huckabee was “in the shot.” With his arm around her. While he spoke his piece to the cameras.

Christian conservatives could watch Huckabee thank “this incredibly brave lady” next to him for challenging “the tyranny of judicial action that takes people’s freedoms away.” He praised her willingness “to go to jail for what she believed.” He even said that he’d be willing to go to jail in her place, because “we cannot criminalize the Christian faith or anybody’s faith in this country.”

That’s a ready-made TV ad for Iowa and South Carolina, maybe with the lawyer cropped out of the picture.

Meanwhile, according to both The New York Times and The Washington Post, a Huckabee aide physically blocked an “incredulous” Cruz from approaching Davis and the assembled cameras. Poor guy. The Texas firebrand went all the way to Kentucky and all he got was a rope line to work. There were no visuals of him with Davis, and only a few quote snippets in the media. Bested by Huckabee just a day before he would be sharing the spotlight with Donald Trump at a Capitol rally against the Iran nuclear deal. Good luck wresting those headlines away from The Donald.

By embracing Davis’s cause, Huckabee and Cruz did their party no favors on the big-tent front. According to media reports, signs at the rally called homosexuality an “abomination” and the Supreme Court “the new ISIS,” and posed the question, “AIDS: Judgment or Cure?” The GOP should, and usually does, go with candidates more like Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a self-described supporter of “traditional marriage.” “The court has spoken,” he said on ABC’s This Week. “I respect the fact that this lady doesn’t agree, but she’s also a government employee. She’s not running a church. I wouldn’t force this on a church, but in terms of her responsibility I think she has to comply.”

Nate Cohn of the New York Times did an interesting analysis of the influence of blue states on the GOP primary process. They have ensured relatively moderate, mainstream nominees in the last two contests. So how about putting Illinois, California, or New York at the start of the primary lineup? How about Massachusetts, where only 16 percent of 2012 GOP primary voters said in exit polls that they were born-again or evangelical Christians, and only 15 percent said they were “very conservative”?

In the 2012 exit poll of Iowa caucusgoers, 57 percent said they were born-again or evangelical Christians, and 47 percent described their political philosophy as “very conservative.” A new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll of likely Iowa caucus participants found that 39 percent were Christian conservatives. That’s nearly double the size of the Tea Party and business groups.

South Carolina is, meanwhile, the fifth most religious state in the nation, according to Gallup. That goes in spades for Republicans. In a Winthrop University poll of likely GOP primary voters in April, more than 80 percent said religion was very important in their lives; 60 percent said they considered themselves born-again; 44 percent said evangelical Christians have too little influence on the Republican Party, and 69 percent opposed same-sex marriage.

It’s time to shake things up, for Democrats as well as Republicans.

Let demographically diverse Nevada stay toward the front if it switches from a caucus to a primary. Maybe even keep quirky New Hampshire as one of the first few contests as well. But let’s give blue states — and some different purple and red states — their moments in the sun. What would the candidates be talking about if faced with a new set of crucial early contests? Let’s find out.

Follow Jill Lawrence on Twitter @JillDLawrence. To find out more about Jill Lawrence and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo: Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, flanked by Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (left), attorney Mathew Staver (second from right) and her husband Joe Davis (right) celebrates her release from the Carter County Detention center in Grayson, Kentucky on September 8, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Tilley

Jill Lawrence

Award-winning journalist Jill Lawrence is a nationally syndicated columnist and a contributing editor to U.S. News & World Report. She also contributed to The Surge: 2014's Big GOP Win and What It Means for the Next Presidential Race (2015). Lawrence has discussed political and policy developments on television, radio, and many other media outlets. She was an adjunct professorial lecturer at American University in 2014, teaching on the relationship between politics and the media.

Lawrence has covered every presidential campaign since 1988, as well as historic events such as the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress, the Clinton impeachment, the Florida recount, and the 1993 and 2009 battles over health reform.

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  1. Dominick Vila September 10, 2015

    Since we had our crusades just a few years ago, the only thing missing from these demonstrations of ancient and medieval fervor are the pitch forks and pyres.

    1. Grannysmovin September 10, 2015

      Since they are so persecuted, I was waiting for the arrival of the lions.

  2. FireBaron September 10, 2015

    The irony of Iowa is it rarely selects the electable candidates from EITHER party. Iowa invariably selects a Culture War Conservative for the Republicans and whichever Democrat showed up and ate enough deep fried food. New Hampshire, on the other hand, selects Political Conservatives bordering on Libertarians who want nothing to do with the Culture Wars that the Christian Conservatives want to keep fighting – and losing.

    1. davidfishman2001 September 10, 2015

      Iowa has selected in the caucuses since 2000, Obama, Kerry and Gore.

      1. johninPCFL September 10, 2015

        Yes: “whichever Democrat showed up and ate enough deep fried food”

      2. Robert Eckert September 11, 2015

        And on the Republican side?

  3. Joan September 10, 2015

    Could we please put Mike Huckabee in jail, pretty please? He volunteered after all. I find it offensive and historically inaccurate to compare Kim Davis to MLK. The songwriters of “Eye of the Tiger” should sue Mike Huckabee for violations of intellectual property rights in fact most GOP presidental hopefuls should be sued by rock bands for ruining great songs. They are the ones always telling us that actions have consequences. The band members of Survivor should ensure that they do.

    1. @HawaiianTater September 10, 2015

      Oh, they absolutely did sue. Survivor dropped a 1.2 million dollar lawsuit on both Huckabee and Davis for the use of their song. You might say they have the Eye of the Tiger.

  4. @HawaiianTater September 10, 2015

    I disagree with the assessment here. Let’s keep Iowa so the nation can see the full crazy that these people are willing to put on to impress the ultra conservatives of that area. The rest of the country needs to know what these people are all about.

  5. ococoob September 10, 2015

    Huckabee is Elmer Gantry.

  6. Eleanore Whitaker September 10, 2015

    Iowa may be geographically the center of the US. But it’s ego is in error if it thinks it can exist without help from the Dems states. Iowa gets back more for the $1 they pay in federal taxes making that state a taker, not a giver. Not unlike most of the Republican states who get anywhere from $1.35 to $1.87 for every $1 they pay in federal taxes. Compare that to the average of 55 cent Dems states get back for the $1 paid in federal taxes.

    When a state like Iowa relies so heavily on federal dole outs, Iowa is not going to impose Iowa Christianity on the states who support them the most.

    1. 13factfinder September 10, 2015

      Muslim “Sharia Law” sure the hell will not be imposed on any U.S. gun owners either!

      1. Eleanore Whitaker September 10, 2015

        Notice in that photo, two men are holding lil Kimmie’s wrists? What are they expecting a bona fide tent style stigmata? Gun owners in the midwest and south just don’t get it. They appear in public armed like Rambos and then wonder why the rest of the country thinks they are ill bred corn pones and Mutton Chops.

        1. 13factfinder September 10, 2015

          “Just say no” to Muslim terrorists at the end of your gun. After all the terrorism threats here in the U.S; good luck Obama getting more worthless gun control. Gun owners are EVERYWHERE not just the Midwest and South!

          1. bobnstuff September 10, 2015

            Yes all the terrorists threats that people with guns have stopped, wait, has there been any terrorist threats stop by gun owners? More worthless gun control, like there has been any new gun control laws. If gun ownership means lower crime then we should have one of the lowest crime rate in the would.

          2. David September 10, 2015

            Well, not a lot of crime being committed at NRA Convention is there?

          3. bobnstuff September 10, 2015

            I don’t know, have you seen the prices in the dealer room.

          4. David September 10, 2015


          5. Eleanore Whitaker September 11, 2015

            Not true. The last 2 NRA Conventions had gun dealers displaying their wares. Two gun nuts shot themselves with rifles, one in the foot and the other in his nuts.

          6. David September 11, 2015

            Eleanore!!! So nice to hear from you! Two problems with your post. First, there are no NRA conventions where two “gun nuts” shot themselves with a rifle..”

          7. David September 11, 2015

            Second, if an accident did occur, it. was not a crime.

          8. Fed up September 13, 2015

            oxymoron there I do believe

          9. David September 13, 2015

            Gun and nuts?

          10. Eleanore Whitaker September 11, 2015

            Really? So gun owners are everywhere? If they are, it’s because billionaire gun manfacturers are glutting this country with assault rifles you see on the mini Rambos in the south and midwest. Not up north.

            You just try Ramboing your way into a theater or shopping mall in any Northeast state and see have fast your gun is confiscated.

            As for Muslims terrorists, when your southern or midwestern states live every day in fear of terrorists on crowded subsways, buses and trains on your way to work, let us know. We lived through 9/11 …the south and midwest gun nuts didn’t.

            Terrorists don’t attack the south or midwest for one reason…it is not the center of trade. New York and Boston are. And before an “ignernt” like you goes there, NO we don’t want AK47s on hot crowded subways, buses or trains. You nuts think being armed is protection? Then why the hell did that Congresswoman in a state with minimal gun control get gunned down in a crowd? What? no gun nuts in the crowd fast enough to protect her?

          11. David September 11, 2015

            Eleanore!!! The northern states (Vermont excepted) traditionally do their best to limit an individual’s right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment. That is one reason why the crime rate is so high in the large northern cities — Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Detroit and, of course, Washington, D.C.
            We don’t take subways, buses or trains to work. In the South, we drive our pickups to work.
            Terrorists don’t attack the south or Midwest because they know that many of the “victims” are likely armed. When the two Muslim slime tried to attack that convention of cartoonists drawing Muhammed, they were summarily executed. Couldn’t happen to nice people! We don’t live in fear of inanimate objects. Unlike the northern cities which with their “gun free” zones. Gun Free Zone? You mean, “Free Fire Zone” don’t you?
            Remember this Eleanore, “An armed society is a polite society.”
            Molon Labe

        2. David September 10, 2015

          Eleanore!!!! Do you really think all of us 2nd Amendment proponents could care less what “the rest of the country thinks…”?
          And, by the way, who do exactly you define as, “the rest of the country”?
          Maybe you need to be a little more thoughtful before making your geriatric posts.

          1. Eleanore Whitaker September 11, 2015

            Men with your arrogance are usually hauling garbage for a living. Just because proponents of a reinterpreted 2nd Amendment could care less doesn’t mean we have to tolerate phony illbred idiots who think they will force the rest of us into submission. Go the hell back to that wasteland you call Texas. No one wants your blowhard opinions based on arrogant “ignernce.”

          2. David September 11, 2015

            Eleanore!!! Your geriatric rant is so amusing. Hmm…garbage haulers are “arrogant”? Not any that I have met. Maybe so in New Joisey. A “reinterpreted” 2nd Amendment? Who did this “interpreting”? When? What did they say? If you are referring to gun owners, then please read the amendment for yourself. I know that you can read. I also think you can muster some understanding of the printed word even in your old age. What does “…shall not be infringed.” mean?
            Molon Labe

          3. Fed up September 13, 2015

            you forgot about A well regulated militia didn’t you?

          4. David September 13, 2015

            Well…as a matter of fact I didn’t forget about a “well regulated militia”. Do you even have the slightest inkling of what the word “militia” meant in late 1700’s? Google it. Then have the backbone to come back on this site and tell us what you found.

          5. Fed up September 13, 2015

            of course you don’t David. cause you have not a clue what the 2nd Amendment was all about to begin with. Come into the 21st Century…where the most powerful military in the entire world could care less about you and your guns…..step up to the plate and you’ll be slammed out of the park.

          6. David September 13, 2015

            I will say that I probably know more about the 2nd Amendment than you can fathom. “Slammed out of the park”? Maybe pu–ies like you. But, tell that to the Afghani resistance and the Viet Cong. No one let them know that they were supposed to just give up. Trust me, there are many combat vets like me that could make life tough for a tyrant. Molon labe

  7. ps0rjl September 10, 2015

    I’ve always said that these extreme evangelicals don’t have the cross to represent Jesus’ suffering but rather so they can crawl up on it when they feel persecuted. Of course they feel persecuted any time they can’t force their beliefs on the rest of us.

    1. Fed up September 13, 2015

      or make money off it.

  8. Richard La France September 10, 2015

    Those evangelicals want to be persecuted. They love playing the martyr. Po’ me! Po’ me! Everyone hates me because I love Jesus so much.

    Kim Davis hasn’t had time to even begin to absorb the message of Jesus Christ, having only been a member of her church for two years. And it’s obvious she (or possibly none of the evangelicals) hasn’t read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John for herself or she wouldn’t be so fanatical about gay bashing.

    If these fools think we’re going to go back into the closet so they can rule the nation they’ve got another think coming. The Supreme Court’s decision has given us the tools to fight tooth and nails against the unconstitutional discrimination these haters use.

    They have a new catch phrase based on something a preacher started a few months ago. He was searching the Bible for a way to be allowed to kill gays without getting into trouble. Finally, he announced to his congregation that he’d found the solution. God’s will is to be put above all others. Thus the new phrase the thumpers are echoing:

    “The Bible trumps the Constitution.”

    Newsflash to the Fundamentalists, the Evangelicals, and the Southern Baptists who are particularly interested in doing away with the LGBT population: The Bible trumps nothing in the United States laws, rules, regulations, NOTHING!

    Just like the Moral Majority, the Tea Party and these loud-mouthed hate groups pretending to be religious think that their shouting and foot-stomping and carrying on like lunatics in public is going to get them their way. Even though today’s fanatics are like the Moral Majority on steroids, all their mugging and sign-carrying and demanding that they have the right to discriminate is not going to take precedence over the United States Constitution. And the Republican Tea Party goons who have taken control of this nation are going to have to step back and allow a semblance of sanity to return to the governing of United States or risk being investigated for the infractions they’ve committed for many years now against the people of the United States.

    The Republicans are only kissing up to the religious fanatics for their votes. Their real cause is to hand our tax dollars over to the wealthiest people in the world in an attempt to overthrow our government by corporate control. There is enough evidence of this to put every last one of them away for many years and they know it. They are servants to only a few who lead them by the noses and use pay-offs to force bills and new laws through that are solely related to giving corporations more power and to hell with the middle class and the poor and needy.

    Trust me. I’ve been following their actions for two years and there is every sign that everything Bernie Sanders is saying in his campaigning is true. There is an Oligarchy ready to pounce at any moment and if they do, then and only then the fanatics for Christ will have their way.

    Until then, we can fight them off and push them back into their glass temples, demand that the IRS tax their churches for getting so politically involved, but without touching mainstream Christian establishments who are just as harmed by these nut cases as the rest of us are. The trouble is, they’re not speaking out.

    So, keep in mind the mock-Latin aphorism: Illegitimi non carborundum (don’t let the bastards get you down) and fight like hell to maintain Democracy.

    1. bobnstuff September 10, 2015

      Don’t let the bastards wear you down,

    2. David September 13, 2015

      Sorry to clue you in…God’s law is above man’s law.

      1. prenestino September 13, 2015

        Which God?

        1. David September 13, 2015

          The God.

          1. prenestino September 13, 2015

            Oh! That one! (Whichever one your talking about)
            Krishna? Zeus?

          2. David September 14, 2015

            The one that made everything and sent his Son to fulfill what the prophets had foretold and be the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

      2. Fed up September 13, 2015

        well let God rule you…but not me, huh?

        1. David September 13, 2015

          Oh, he rules.

  9. paulyz September 11, 2015

    I suppose “making a martyr out of” Kim Davis is much less a problem that Obama & the Loony Lefties making a martyr out of Travon Martin & Freddie Gray. LMAO. You Libtards are so phony & predictable in your “outrage”.

    1. Robert Eckert September 11, 2015

      Trayvon and Freddie are dead. Kim just had a bad weekend.

      1. paulyz September 13, 2015

        Many Police Officers & innocent people are also dead from the idols of the Left.

        1. Robert Eckert September 13, 2015

          Fewer police officers are dying than in past years, and almost none of those cases have any politics involved at all: the Texas case, maybe; but in the Illinois case, the shooters were white, despite the Fox News slander that it was inspired by Black Lives Matter (actually, it was an ordinary case of police coming across some people doing something they didn’t want seen).

          1. David September 13, 2015

            Robert —
            We have two shootings in Texas where white LEO’s were gunned down. Houston and Clyde. The leadership of BLM is calling for the killing of whites.

          2. Robert Eckert September 13, 2015

            No “leadership” of BLM is calling for any such thing. The Clyde case was a murder inside the home, which has nothing to do with anything else.

          3. David September 14, 2015

            I stand corrected. The call for the killing of “whites, cops, and crackers” was made on a radio show hosted by a spokeswoman supporting BLM. She did not rebuke the caller who made this plea for murder. In fact, she encouraged it.
            The Clyde, Texas killing was not a domestic event. The couple that are being questioned have no known relation to the policeman.

          4. paulyz September 14, 2015

            Whatever the number we have seen BLM marches & their followers calling for dead Pigs, which you know damn well. Always the condencending, intellectual response to diffuse the facts.

          5. Robert Eckert September 14, 2015

            You want to tar everyone who is worried about the 800+ deaths at police hands this year by citing some crazy people that I have never seen or heard from: I’m sure they exist, since you can find people in favor of any kind of craziness if that’s what you look for, but those aren’t the people I know.

        2. SecludedCompound September 15, 2015

          Funny. Police deaths are lower under Obama than any time in the past fifty years. Why did Reagan hate the cops so, Pauly?

    2. mbm September 13, 2015

      The right to LIFE, liberty…and due process are not forfeited when suspected of breaking a law; ‘innocent until proven guilty’ remains a sacred principle in our judicial system, as contrasted with lawless nations. Feigning religious persecution based on sham pseudo christianity for fame and advancing a political agenda is hypocritical and immoral. The True Gospel message advocates love, tolerance, acceptance, judging not lest ye be judged and an admonition to not call attention to the speck in your brother’s eye, but to first remove the log from your own.

      1. David September 13, 2015

        No, the true Gospel message is to not judge with personal bias and hypocrisy. To judge using God’s law.

        1. mbm September 14, 2015

          Judge not lest ye be judged.

  10. Whatmeworry September 13, 2015

    Amazing that a group that is LESS than 2% of the population garners so much press Time gays understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them. And yet the govt provides unlimited protection for moooslims

  11. Fed up September 13, 2015

    malfeasance in office plain and simple….easy conviction, remove her and jail her.

  12. Rusty Inman September 13, 2015

    Though I’m no fan of Lindsey Graham, he’s got a decent sense of humor. When asked about Huckabee saying he would go to jail in place of “this brave lady,” Graham, who is no fan of Huckabee, laughed and said, “Well, I wish him the best. We’ll miss him around here.”

  13. greenlantern1 September 14, 2015

    Did John Brown have the divine right to raid Harper’s Ferry?
    Didn’t President Lincoln praise Lee for capturing him?

  14. greenlantern1 September 14, 2015

    Ever hear of a fiend named Viktor Bout?
    Thanks to Eric Holder, and the FBI, he is behind bars!
    Why is the NRA so quiet?


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