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I get it, I get it. Jeff Kaufmann’s job as chair of the Republican Party of Iowa is to help get Republicans elected. I get it.

But at some point, policies had to matter more to Kaufmann than politicians.

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On Aug. 29, Kaufmann posted the following to Facebook:

“Iowa is lucky to have the best Congressional delegation in the Country! Iowans trust them and Washington fears them. In November, we must send Ashley Hinson, Randy Feenstra and Mariannette Miller-Meeks back!”

Like I said — I get it.

I get Kaufmann is all about two things — raising money and winning elections.

But I also think it would be beneficial to add a third thing — and bump it up on the list of importance — called policy.

I get that Randy Feenstra on paper is better than J.D. Scholten. And Ashley Hinson is better than Abby Finkenauer. And Mariannette Miller-Meeks is better than, well, is she better than a Democrat?

I’m kidding. Kind of. I think.

Let’s look at facts when it comes to Iowa’s GOP congressional delegation.

Iowa’s GOP congressional delegation is the only one — the only one in the country — that had multiple Republicans in the House and a Republican in the Senate (and we had two) where not a single one voted to object to the 2020 Presidential Election results.

Not sure that fact strikes fear in Washington.

Hinson and Miller-Meeks both voted for Liz Cheney to retain her leadership position in the GOP caucus. Say what you will about their vote, at least they owned it. Nearly two years later we still don’t know how Feenstra voted because he hasn’t publicly said.

Not exactly a move that strikes fear in Washington.

Hinson and Miller-Meeks voted for the radical Democrat bill codifying homosexual marriage, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, putting tax-exempt status at risk for ministries who hold to a biblical definition of marriage and forcing Iowa to acknowledge whatever California may call “marriage” in the future.

Miller-Meeks was censured by the Mahaska County GOP over this vote. So I’m not sure all Iowa Republicans trust them.

This vote goes against the Republican Party of Iowa platform.

Miller-Meeks received a score of 67 from the American Conservative Union for her voting record in 2021, which is among the lowest for Republicans in the House. It was four points less — LESS — than Liz Cheney.

Hinson received a 77 from the American Conservative Union. She was at least 13 points behind 74 congressional Republicans who scored 90 or higher.

Feenstra scored a 79. His predecessor, Congressman Steve King, served 18 years and had just one year where he scored under 80. King’s lifetime score was above 90. Feenstra represents one of the most conservative districts in the country. He won his race by 24.18 percent. Yet he’s only two points more conservative than Hinson, who won her district by a mere 2.6 points?

That’s an average score of 74.33 percent. That is supposed to strike fear in Washington?

Let’s look at their Liberty Scores from Conservative Review.

Feenstra – 76 percent
Hinson – 62 percent
Miller-Meeks – 57 percent

That’s an average of 65. While that’s low, it is 11 points better than Sen. Chuck Grassley’s score of 54.

Feenstra’s leadership PAC sent its largest donation — a $5,000 donation — to Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler. She was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump. She blamed Trump for “inciting a riot” on Jan. 6. She erroneously said that “riot” led to five deaths. She erroneously stated that the “violent mob bludgeoned to death” a Capitol Police Officer. She called the Jan. 6 protestors “terrorists.” She said Trump’s denouncement of the violence was “pathetic.”

Miller-Meeks’ PAC donated to almost every Republican who voted to impeach Trump and decided to run for re-election.

Hinson also gave to Herrera-Beutler.

Iowa’s GOP congressional delegation was one of the slowest to respond to the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago. It was almost like they waited on polling to see what they should say.

We told you earlier today about Feenstra’s article proclaiming the importance of carbon capture projects.

Miller-Meeks voted for the Jan. 6 committee, remember that?

Hinson has made public comments in support of banning conversion therapy — which again goes against the Republican Party of Iowa platform.

All three voted to send $40 billion to Ukraine. All but Feenstra voted yes on the $1.5 trillion spending bill too. As it turned out, Feenstra also was tagged for voting in favor of the bill because voted in favor of the first portion of the bill. Family Research Council Action and Heritage Action both tagged Feenstra for voting in support.

I could actually go on. But I think the point has been made.

Now, like I said, I understand Kaufmann’s responsibilities to raise money and get Republicans elected.

But proclaiming Iowa’s congressional delegation the best in the country? Boy, that’s a leap. A giant leap for Republican-kind.

I mean, three Republicans from Florida scored 100 from the American Conservative Union. So did Texas. So did Georgia.

Hey…in fact, one of Georgia’s representatives who scored 100 was none other than Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. The same Marjorie Taylor Greene who hosted an America First Rally in Des Moines last summer, during the Iowa State Fair. In fact, it was the same day as Legislator Day at the fair.

Yet not one single elected Republican showed up to MTG’s event in Des Moines that night. Not one.

Kaufmann’s role as chairman of RPI I guess is more cheerleader for politicians than leader for policy.

I haven’t seen or heard much publicly from RPI about all the issues laid out above. At all.

Nobody is going to be a perfect, “pure” conservative. I get that. But they’re not going to become better either when we falsely proclaim their greatness.

There is a time to be critical and a time to be celebratory. If someone is always critical of a politician or political party, they’re not worth listening to. If someone is always celebratory of a politician or a political party, they’re not worth listening to either.

I know I am hard on elected Republicans at times. But I also give them praise when they deserve it. And because I’m sometimes critical, it actually means a little more when I’m praising them.

There should be a way to be more loyal to the principles and beliefs of grassroots Republicans in Iowa than elected Republicans.

If we did that, we’d record so many more conservative accomplishments.

If our elected Republicans knew they would be held accountable by actual Republican Party leadership, might they vote differently in D.C. — and Des Moines, for that matter?

Rather than know they would be praised by party leadership regardless of their votes, what if instead the level of praise they received depended on how truly loyal they were to the people who elected them?

Sure, Hinson is better than a Democrat. Feenstra is better than a Democrat. Miller-Meeks, well…

But being better than a Democrat isn’t a high enough standard — not anymore. We need champions. We need warriors. We need fighters. We need conservative leaders.

We need people in power who care more about policy than politicians. Who care more about governing than they do elections.

Most Iowans don’t have the time or energy to really keep up with what is happening in Congress or in Des Moines. It is important that we, as conservatives, be honest with them about what is happening in those places.

Iowa doesn’t have the best congressional delegation in the country. I find it very hard to believe Washington “fears” them.

But, undoubtedly, we could have a better congressional delegation if we were real and honest about this stuff. If we could put down the pom-poms and pick up the party platform and put those principles on a pedestal rather than first-term congressional representatives who have let Iowans down more than once.

Again, be critical when criticism is warranted. Celebrate when celebration is warranted.

But we’re a long, long, long…long way from being “the best.” Pretending we are may help the people on the ballot and fundraising efforts in the short term, but it isn’t helping anyone long-term.

Author: Jacob Hall

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1 COMMENT

  1. Good article. Don’t forget “conservative” Randy Feenstra is running non-campaign ad campaign ads with our tax dollars. I think Miller-Meeks has been doing it to. They are all worthless, although not as worthless as Joni Ernst has turned out to be. Ernst is the worst.

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