Staff Columnist

Lies, lies and the GOP

GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks on the Des Moines Register Soapbox at the 2015 Iowa State Fair in Des Mo
GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks on the Des Moines Register Soapbox at the 2015 Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. (The Gazette)

The first time I met the head of the Republican Party of Iowa was at a rally against impeachment. The impeachment itself is a kind of a protest against the unchecked criminality of this administration. The anti-impeachment rally was protesting impeachment and across the street was another protest protesting the protest. It’s the kind of earnest self-satire that’s easy to do in politics.

At this rally, the head of the Iowa GOP took one look at me and began to call me fake. Anyone who has ever seen me try to cut a vegetable, something I don’t do often, knows that I bleed profusely and scientists tell me this is what real humans do. But if the Iowa GOP says I’m fake, then they must be right, because they would know a thing or two about fakery.

The Iowa GOP’s hue and cry against its opponents is one of socialism. And yet, it was telephone and electricity co-ops — community-owned endeavors, which is the definition of socialism — that brought technology to the rural parts of this state. And any member of the GOP truly upset about the rising tide of socialism is welcome to give up their Social Security check.

At this point the Iowa GOP is churning out more fiction than the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and hell of a lot less poetry.

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Another part of the GOP agenda is a push to pass the USMCA. The news release section of their website is filled with articles criticizing Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne for not passing the trade bill, whose passage has been held up for a year. Yet, in none of those materials do they mention that one of the reasons the bill was delayed was because of the president’s tariffs on Canada and Mexico. And you don’t have to believe me; Sen. Chuck Grassley said that. Another reason the deal was being held up was because of concerns that it actually could lead to a surge in prices on lifesaving medicine.

It’s a cynical and false move of the GOP to hound Finkenauer and Axne for not passing a bill that was being undermined by the actual GOP president. It’s not the Democrats’ fault he’s a tariff-wielding, reactionary crook, but here we are.

Another recent claim by the Iowa GOP also is that the editorial board of this paper is biased and has refused to talk with them. Aaron Britt from the Iowa GOP insists there was a call, but a quick check of our inboxes and voicemail showed absolutely no call or request to meet or talk. On the other hand, multiple emails from the editorial board to state party chairman Jeff Kaufmann were routinely ignored.

At this point, the Iowa GOP is churning out more fiction than the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and hell of a lot less poetry.

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This sounds like the snide back and forth of politics in a state subsumed by it. The lunacy of politics is an exhausting enterprise. It makes sense to tune out or believe the lie because you know the guy that posted it on Facebook. But there is more at stake here. These lies are what is truly undermining our state and nation. If the cards of this political game are the rhetoric, the chips are our democracy.

It’s easy enough to say both sides lie. They do. I came of age during the debate over whether Bill Clinton had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. Spoiler: He did, and it was predatory as hell.

I don’t think any party has a monopoly on truth. We just take turns orbiting it, endlessly turning closer or farther away. But right now, the Iowa GOP is located on a lonely, icy, faraway planet.

Comments: (319) 398-8513; lyz.lenz@thegazette.com

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