This one could take a while. And it is difficult to know just where to begin.
So let’s head to court and simply examine the evidence:
Exhibit A: GLBT Youth In Iowa Schools Task Force (Iowa Safe Schools as the group is known fictitiously) still hosts the Annual Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth. Historically the event has been a disaster. You can read about it here.
When Terry Branstad won the office of governor in 2010, he was encouraged by Iowa conservatives to remove the title from the conference. He refused. Instead, he doubled down and spoke in support of the conference. Gov. Kim Reynolds to this day allows the title to be used on the conference.
Now, some will say the governor can’t remove the title from the conference, but I find it hard to believe the KKK could host the Annual Secretary of State’s Conference on Voting Rights if Paul Pate didn’t want the title used.
Exhibit B: One Iowa, an LGBTQ activist group, claimed victory over the 2021 legislative session. This despite the fact Republicans held a 59-41 majority in the Iowa House, a 32-18 advantage in the Iowa Senate and Iowa has a Republican governor.
“We are excited to announce that all 15 original bills plus the last-second attacks on transgender youth have been defeated,” the email said. “Through cooperative work with our coalition members, our business partners, and YOU, we were able to accomplish this astonishing feat in the middle of a pandemic. That is certainly something to celebrate.”
Both Kaufmann and Cournoyer appeared on Iowa Safe Schools’ “Rainbow Forum.”
Asked his favorite color of the rainbow, Kaufmann said as a farmer, he likes green. However, as a slow-pitch softball player who wears a bandana or batting gloves, “it’s fun for me to switch it up and to wear pink.”
“And so, for that, not being normal, not fitting a trend, not fitting in a box… I would say a traditional Iowa farmer isn’t thought of, particularly a male Iowa farmer, isn’t thought of to enjoy wearing pink but I think it’s fun to just do that and see peoples’ reactions.”
He was asked who his favorite drag performer is and why.
“That’s a good question,” Kaufmann said. “So, I have been to a couple of drag performances with friends in the community and, to pick out a favorite, I can’t say that I’ve got an expansive vocabulary or an expansive encyclopedic knowledge of several of the drag queens, but I would say Roxie Andrews would be right up there for me.”
Kaufmann apologized for “misspeaking” as Kaufmann referred to Roxie Andrews as a male in his answer.
“She is what I meant to refer,” Kaufmann said.
If his next election came down to a lip sync challenge, Kaufmann started out saying he would choose “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” but then changed his answer to “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga.
“I have an affinity for a lot of the Lady Gaga songs, a number of which point to LGBTQ struggles,” he said. “Particularly one I can think of is ‘Born This Way’ because I was born a rebel, I was born not to follow rules, I was born to break norms and I was born not to be a conformist. If it wasn’t a farm song, it would probably have to be Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way.'”
We also know all the issues that surround GLBT Youth In Iowa Schools Task Force (Iowa Safe Schools), yet Kaufmann called the group a “great organization.”
Kaufmann is the son of Jeff Kaufmann, the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. And while he represents part of Johnson County, geography doesn’t determine right and wrong.
“I don’t think (conversion therapy) should be used on minors,” she said. “I don’t support it. I think, you know, if you’re 18 you can make your own decision, but when it comes to kids that’s something we need to protect.”
Hinson said she thought there was still a lot of learning to be done on that issue throughout Iowa.
“It’s a no-brainer for me to be able to say that,” she said. “Not afraid to say it.”
Exhibit I: Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks way back in 2010 reportedly said the “trans marriage” issue is “hard” and that it points out the contradiction between social conservatism and small government.
In 2016, Miller-Meeks shared an article from the Washington Examiner titled “A Thoughtful Approach to the Transgender Bathrooms Controversy.”
It was written by someone who did not support North Carolina’s bathroom bill.
Exhibit J: Remember back at the beginning of 2021 when Nancy Pelosi made headlines for unveiling details of the rules package for Congress? The news broke on Jan. 1 that it would make things “gender-neutral.”
Well, on Jan. 2, Congressman Randy Feenstra tweeted that he is in D.C. to be an effective “congressperson.”
Exhibit K: David Kochel has been a Republican insider in Iowa for years. He was Mitt Romney’s Iowa guy. He was Jeb!’s Iowa guy. He was a Terry Branstad guy. He was a senior adviser to Gov. Kim Reynolds. He was a top strategist for Sen. Joni Ernst. He was a cheerleader for Miller-Meeks, Hinson and Feenstra.
He is as entrenched as it gets in the GOP establishment in Iowa. Oh, and he despised Congressman Steve King with a passion.
Kochel signed a Supreme Court friend of the court brief when justices overturned California’s gay marriage ban in 2013. Kochel put a sign in his yard that supported retaining an Iowa justice who co-authored the homosexual marriage ruling. He said Republicans have to recognize how voters feel about homosexual marriage “in order to move forward and field good candidates and win elections again.”
“You talk to younger people, they want to move past some of the old arguments we’ve been having on the culture wars. Frankly, the culture wars are kind of over and Republicans largely lost,” he said.
Kochel proudly promotes the fact he supported homosexual marriage before Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
“We’re going to change a lot of attitudes,” he said. “From one comes many.”
Exhibit L: It was just last week we told you about Republican Rep. Ann Meyer’s train wreck of an interview on transgender issues.
Meyer described bills filed by Representatives Sandy Salmon and Jeff Shipley and took a swipe at her Republican colleagues who introduce legislation “against LGBTQ, and transgender.”
Meyer said everyone should just “live and let live.”
“When that legislation gets introduced by one or two people, it makes our entire caucus look bad,” she said. “A lot of those bills come right to my desk as chair of Human Resources — those are not advanced. Our caucus doesn’t support that kind of discrimination.”
She added that those bills give Republicans a “bad name.”
Meyer also misrepresented the legislation that dealt with protecting women’s sports, saying that internal and external exams would be required for all members of a girls’ team.
Then, when The Iowa Standard highlighted this, other lawmakers came to Meyer’s defense, ignoring the fact that Meyer bashed conservative Republicans who were simply introducing bills that reflect the will of Iowa Republicans as expressed in the party’s platform.
Exhibit M: We are halfway through the alphabet. But hang with me!
Let’s talk about Damian Thompson who is the lobbyist for GLBT Youth In Iowa Schools Task Force. Thompson was previously an intern for Congressman David Young and also worked for Gov. Kim Reynolds.
In fact, Thompson played a large role in Iowa becoming the first state in the nation to fly the transgender flag pride over the Capitol. But that’s another story for another day.
We’ve already gone into detail about GLBT Youth In Iowa Schools Task Force (Iowa Safe Schools) and their evil, wicked promotion of perversion. Thompson lobbies against GOP bills that address the LGBTQ radical agenda and makes inroads with Republicans on efforts to, say, ban conversion therapy.
For example, here with Republican Representatives Garrett Gobble and Jacob Bossman.
But did you know that Damian Thompson is chair of the Central Iowa Young Republicans? And he is running for re-election to the position of chairman.
While some downplay the importance of such a role with such a group, who “leads” any group of “young Republicans” matters a lot. Or at least it should.
It sends a signal to the party leaders what the next generation of voters cares — or doesn’t care — about. And it allows for influence on “young Republicans.”
Thompson is not the only individual running for the chair position. But he has collected endorsements from a number of Republican legislators and/or staffers:
Austin Harris, who managed Miller-Meeks’ campaign and is her deputy chief of staff:
“(Thompson’s) passionate defense of the GOP and its values, as well as his consistent work ethic, make him the perfect candidate. A vote for Damian is a vote for continued leadership that we need to be able to win in 2022!”
State Sen. Chris Cournoyer:
“He is a thoughtful, compassionate leader and has demonstrated that he embraces the values upon which our Republican was founded.”
Mackenzie Nading, chief of staff to Majority Leader Matt Windschitl:
“I know that Damian Thompson is a strong embodiment of what it means to be a Young Republican.”
Representative Ann Meyer:
“As soon as I first met Damian, I knew that he was a solid and trustworthy conservative.”
Representative Megan Jones:
“I’ve served in the Iowa Legislature since 2013; there is no doubt that Damian has proved himself an outstanding supporter of our Republican elected officials and as Chair of the Central Iowa Young Republicans.”
Representative Jacob Bossman:
“As a Young Republican myself, I know how critical these organizations are to keeping our conservative majority. Please keep Damian’s name in mind for this leadership election – his tenure has resulted in solid growth for Central Iowa Young Republicans!”
Here is what Damian Thompson said about efforts to ensure students participate in athletics based on their biological sex rather than their gender identity in Iowa:
“The Governor responded, really quite forcefully which caught us off guard, that she was looking forward to signing a bill banning this before the end of session,” Thompson said. “I think we’ve seen both in the state of Iowa and across the country that the radical, far-right folks that hate LGBTQ individuals really have seen that the LGB fight in many ways, not universally it is not finished but I mean marriage equality was a massive blow to them being able to be opposed to…I think we’re seeing that folks on the right have identified blood in the water for transgender individuals.”
Thompson spoke against legislation that would ban teaching divisive concepts as fact in diversity training.
“It’s pretty distressing to see the legislature just trying to shut that down as we’re making so much progress on racial justice across the country,” he said.
Thompson did say something interesting about moderate Republicans:
“We have surprisingly a decent amount of moderate Republican friends, I wouldn’t say super-strong allies, but there’s a couple of them,” he said. “A lot of them are just like, ‘we don’t want to have a voting record on this. This is just not helpful for my re-election efforts and fundraising efforts.’ Which, at the very least, we’ll take that. If they don’t wanna vote on it, that at the end of the day is what matters.”
I could go on, and on. And on.
But I believe the picture is painted.
And for the record, this is not about Damian Thompson as a person. This is about his championing of issues that go directly against the values and beliefs of the Republican Party.
If I’m being honest, there are probably more exhibits I could introduce, but that’s all I have for now. And yes, these were all recalled off the top of my head.
In the next article of this series, I will present closing arguments for why the Republican Party of Iowa should not wave the white flag of surrender in exchange for the rainbow flag of the radical LGBTQ activists.